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I can’t tell you how much the Surrealists hated mornings because I made it up. Still, the evidence is there…and there…and there.


You can find more unbelievable tales like this in my new book, Peter Duggan’s Artoons.


“Irreverent and uproariously hilarious…Peter Duggan’s Artoons is sensational…I can’t remember when I last laughed so much…I’m blown away by Artoons. It’s genuinely hilarious…I absolutely love this book…It’s just brilliant!”



“There are too many funny ones”



If you can’t find it in your local bookstore then try online: (UK) (USA)

Or in French:

Librairie Flammarion

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True Romance

First published in The Guardian, 16 April 2014


Cinderella’s life story is a  true rags to riches fairytale. She went from nothing to ultimately marrying the most desirable man in the kingdom. Prince Charming was ridiculously good looking – a fortunate genetic accident that partially compensated for his extreme stupidity. By asking every single woman in the kingdom to suck on the end of a shoe while he tried to light the heel, he managed to infect them all with a rare colon disease, the only known cause of which is the ingestion of horse dung. Within six months every single woman in the kingdom, with the exception of Cinderella, had died an agonising death. Indicted by The Hague on charges of crimes against humanity, Prince Charming desperately tried to flee to countries without extradition treaties to the International Criminal Court. This didn’t happen because he kept ticking the yes box on the visa forms to the question “Have you ever been charged with crimes against humanity?”. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.  Cinderella had the marriage annulled and immediately became the most desirable (and only) single woman in the kingdom. Of her thousands of suitors she fell “head over heels in love” with a 74 year old billionaire with lucrative business interests in coal mining, rainforest logging, and banking. She lived happily ever after. No more treading in horse shit for her.

The painting in the first panel is Rene Magritte’s famous ode on the nature of painting “The Treachery of Images”. Under a very realistic painting of a pipe are the words “Ceci n’est pas une pipe”, French for “This is not a pipe”. It makes the point that this is just a representation of a pipe, not a real pipe. I could have told him that before he started. 
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This is not a knife

First published in The Guardian online, 23 June 2011
This is a riff on Rene Magritte’s famous painting The Treachery of Images. It shows a pipe. Written below it are the words “Ceci nest pas use pipe.”, French for “This is not a pipe.” This highlights the fact that, despite its realism, this is a painting of a pipe, not an actual pipe.
In the first version of this cartoon I had the two Surrealists, Magritte and Dali, making the explanation that no, it wasn’t a crack-pipe, merely a drawing of one. The joke, of course, is that the same rule applies to themselves. They too are just drawings.
I believe the premise is a very funny one but doing this cartoon taught me that a great premise does not, on its own, make a great cartoon – it has to be presented right. The earliest incarnation had the two artists happy and smug that they had pulled the wool over the cop’s eyes. But the whiff of nastiness really bugged me. I was sure I could end better than this, and ideally you want the final panel to be a strong one, not a winding down of the jokey climax in a previous panel. I then changed it to the cop being the one to point out that the pipe was actually just a drawing. Good, but what happens then? The two surrealists exclaim he is a genius? Baffled themselves? Neither of these, nor several other variants, quite worked. Finally I hit on the angle of the final version above. All Magritte has said is that it isn’t a crack-pipe. By saying this the cop has a revelation about the Treachery of Images, Dali is bowled over by Magritte’s ingenuity in getting them out of a tight spot and Magritte doesn’t have a clue what’s gone on.
It’s a good solution and the artoon is possibly my favourite. It is also is one of those few cartoons of mine that takes the meaning of an artwork and adds another layer. It took a lot of rewrites to find the right angle, and as it was one of the first artoons I ever drew, it was a good lesson to learn. Don’t settle if you are not satisfied. The only thing that ever prevents me doing this is the roaring, ravenous face of a fast approaching deadline.
In case anyone has missed the references, here is a picture of Dali’s flaccid clock, and something Dali designed to be sat on.
A little aside about cruelty in humour: 
I remember seeing an interview with John Cleese where he talked about writing A Fish Called Wanda. He said he was struck by a comment by Paul Hogan (this was the time of Crocodile Dundee) that he didn’t like Monty Python humour because it was emotionally “cold”. This really affected Cleese. It struck him to be true, that the English were, he felt, too reserved, and he made a big effort with A Fish Called Wanda to make the characters and their interactions a lot warmer.
I remember being surprised that Cleese didn’t realise that Monty Python humour was ‘cold’ (The Meaning of Life?). It’s a fairly obvious observation I guess that if characters are emotionally closed off from each other they can, and do, treat each other in a colder, crueller manner. The whole essence of Hogan’s humour was warmth between the characters. People who are real fuck-ups are still your good mates, and treat each other with equal respect. That’s a funny scenario and the humour of the situation is inextricably tied up with human warmth. It gives you a warm glow.
Anyway, perhaps because I grew up watching The Paul Hogan Show, perhaps just because there’s a difference between the Australian psyche than the English one, but I find a mocking type of humour just not quite as funny. As you grow up your tastes expand and the initial cringiness of Fawlty Towers becomes hilarious. However I still retain that initial prejudice.
Oh don’t get me wrong. Times have changed. The English are less tightly buttoned up than they were decades ago, and there are plenty of Australians who are absolute pricks. Just ask my mates.