Nothing But Max

Nothing But Max

By Pericle Luigi Giovannetti (Macmillan)

Pericle Luigi Giovanetti was a huge star in the cartoon firmament in the years following World War II, and one look at his work will instantly show you why.

Born in 1916 in Basel, he launched his most famous character in Punch in April 1953. Max is a small, round furry creature most likened to a hamster, whose wordless pantomimes were both cute and whimsical and trenchantly self-deprecating. Don’t ask me how a beautifully rendered little puff-ball could stand for pride and pomposity punctured, but he did. It was also blissfully free of mawkish sentimentality, a funny animal for adults.

Max was syndicated across the world, (known as Mr. Makkusu-san in Japan) numbering such diverse luminaries as Jason Robards and Charles Schulz as fans and even lending its star to the British Navy and Swiss Air Force as mascot and figurehead. There were four collections between 1954 and 1961: Max, Max Presents, this volume (from 1959) and the Penguin Max. Like these, two other collections, Beware of the Dog and Birds without Words, are also criminally out of print.

The sheer artistic virtuosity of Giovanetti is astounding to see. That his work should be forgotten is a travesty. If you ever, ever see a collection of his work do yourself the biggest favour of your life and grab it with both hands!

© 1959 P. L. Giovannetti. All Rights Reserved.

3 Replies to “Nothing But Max”

  1. Hello over-there…
    My name is Anne-Birgitte Brandt, and I am the owner of the smallest Gallery in Denmark, named Guromalu. I´m opening an exhibition called “Birds witout words” the 18th of april this year in Kirkepladsen 3, DK 4220 Korsoer, You can watsch a lot of birds here, with Giovannettis fantastic birds in front. They are all framed, and you can buy them of a price from dkr. 80 – 250.
    I´ve loved that marvellous artist, from the very day in autumn 1962 when I bought his book in a bookshop in Copenhagen…I can send you som photograhs from the exhibition if you like – or come to look by yourself…
    Love from Anne-Birgitte

  2. Hi Anne-Birgitte

    Great to hear from you, and wonderful to find we share a passion.

    I’m unable to travel, unfortunately, but I would love to see photographs of your exhibition; would you mind if I posted them in the Events section of our Comics Creators Guild newsletter?

  3. Hi again Win…

    I´m so sorry that I haven´t seen your kindly reply before this very moment…

    My website is under construction, so I would very much like to send you some photos by e-mail instead, if I could get your e-mail-adress…It sounds rather interesting if you could use some of them in the Comics Creators Guild newsletter…

    Best regards from

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