January is an appropriate month for this latest post about Puck magazine (1871-1918). Here at Balladeer’s Blog I’ve long made clear my fascination with that political humor magazine. Puck political cartoons – especially from the covers – are still much sought-after and I own a few myself.
The magazine was a German language publication targeted at new arrivals from Europe and the cartoons stood out early on. There is no language barrier to satirical political cartoons, so even Americans who spoke no German could follow the editorial drift of those humorous illustrations. In 1877 Puck began publishing both English AND German language editions.
Here’s a cartoon from its pro-Theodore Roosevelt heyday depicting the wildly different opinions of the bombastic, “rock the boat of political corruption” Teddy Roosevelt. President Trump is a lot like T.R. and his cousin F.D.R. – hated by corrupt career politicians but loved by the working class and the poor.
Finally the paper shortage during World War One brought about the end of this iconoclastic magazine.
As a pop culture reference, the building which housed the magazine’s New York offices is still known as the Puck Building and was where Grace worked on Will & Grace. The statue of the magazine’s mascot Puck is usually featured in exterior shots establishing the location.