Cartoons: Bittersweet laughter

2014-10-12 15:00

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Schadenfreude is a German word that roughly means “laughing at someone’s misfortune”.

In that vein, Jerm’s new cartoon compilation, ComedyClub, gives South Africans the perfect opportunity to laugh at themselves.

I love Jerm’s quirky style of illustrating and the watercolour look of his work. Some of his comics are devilishly spot-on. His work on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is particularly strong.

Unfortunately, Jerm also has a few misses. Some of his gags can fall a little flat, particularly his jabs at President Jacob Zuma.

However, he joins a handful of strong South African comics who provide a palatable way of digesting the at-times alarming politics of our nation. It’s perfect satire at its best. –?Grethe Koen

Jerm – Jeremy Nell to his parents – is not the kind of cartoonist who lampoons his subjects using the tried-and-tested medium such as pens and sketch pads, something that makes his work unique in every respect.

His latest offering, ComedyClub, has packaged another batch of hard-hitting yet wacky cartoons he created digitally. His work matches his loud mouth. You see, Jerm is more like Zapiro when it comes to dealing with topics involving President Zuma. He hangs Msholozi out to dry.

The cartoons also sometimes go where some are afraid to go, such as dealing with subjects on religious extremists. ComedyClub is a coffee table-type of book that will get the conversations going on everything from the ANC and Helen Zille to Israel and Barack Obama.

For a man who refers to himself as “South Africa’s 39th-best cartoonist”, Jerm is getting better with every line. As Chester Missing put it, Jerm has established himself as Mzansi’s favourite cartoonist who isn’t Zapiro. – Daniel Mothowagae (former City Press cartoonist)

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