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Tom Gauld's Department of Mind-Blowing Theories: In stores now

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Tom Gauld is a timeless talent. His tight simple drawings pile on the details to create an entire world almost magically. It’s perfect cartooning—clear and delightful to look at. Working on his books over the years has given me the opportunity to read Tom’s cartoons over and over again and each time I marvel at the simplicity and effectiveness of his jokes.

Like Charles Schulz or Gary Larson, his constructions are iconic and even obvious in their way. But they work. They stand up to repeat reading. The casual reader can chuckle at a turn of phrase. The scholar can delight at the careful placement of characters and objects and how the eye is lead around right into the punchline. Tom is a watchmaker of a cartoonist—tiny working parts in perfect concert make a beautiful object. Boy, that is a dry way to describe hilarious comics.

DEPARTMENT OF MIND-BLOWING THEORIES is Tom’s latest collection and this one is focused on his science cartoons for NEW SCIENTIST magazine. It features now-classics like his “Cards for Scientists from their non-Scientist Relations” (“Congratulations!…But please don’t try to explain it again” or “Well Done! Doing well at whatever it is that you do.”)

Or my all-time favorite “then we’ll deal with the wormhole and the poodles.” This is a book that should be in every home like that treasured FAR SIDE collection or your Kliban’s Cats book. You’ll return to it again and again.

Tom was also profiled by the New York Times’s Gal Beckerman, who writes “Over the past few years, Gauld’s style has become instantly recognizable. His figures… stand in for a kind of Everyman or woman, up against institutions and social mores that Gauld is intent on presenting as silly.” There’s some wonderful photos of his studio in the piece. Don’t miss it!