The Realist was the legendary satirical magazine published from 1958 to 2001. Founded and edited by the brash provocateur, radical, and prankster Paul Krassner, humor and ridicule were the magazine’s weapons of choice, and Krassner assembled an amazingly eclectic list of contributing writers — including Norman Mailer, Lenny Bruce, Ken Kesey, Joseph Heller, and Woody Allen — who assaulted the American culture. Krassner’s credo was “Irreverence is our only sacred cow,” and in order to practice what he preached, he published some of the most incendiary cartoons that ever appeared in an American magazine. In “Why Doesn’t America Have Its Own Charlie Hebdo? A Brief History of American Satire Since the 1950s,” Time magazine concluded: “Perhaps the satire magazine that most closely resembles Charlie Hebdo in terms of inflammatory imagery was The Realist. The most notorious items from this publication appeared in 1967, including Wally Wood’s ‘Disneyland Memorial Orgy,’ an illustration (by Wally Wood) of classic animated Disney characters engaged in a variety of obscene acts …” The Realist Cartoons collects for the first time the best, the wittiest, and the most provocative drawings that appeared throughout the magazine’s history, including work by R. Crumb, Art Spiegelman, S. Clay Wilson, Jay Lynch, Trina Robbins, Mort Gerberg, Jay Kinney, Richard Guindon, Nicole Hollander, Skip Williamson, and many others.
"Throughout its various incarnations, The Realist proved a clearinghouse for cartoons rejected by mainstream outlets ... A number of cartoons expose today's alt-right as simply the most recent outbreak of America's same-ol' same-ol' racism ... A number of strips redline the trippy meter ... Still, a number of the gags are simply lol funny ... Alas, there are no cartoons of Trump in these 300 pages, but, as Krassner, momentarily somber, said to me over the phone, 'His inhumanity is in there.'" — The Village Voice
"It is arguable, given the cartoons and cartoonists so lavishly celebrated in Fantagraphics’ new release, The Realist Cartoons, that without humor we would not have such a precise tool with which to ridicule—nor the incentive to deviate from—the myopic mainstream narrative that would have us believe that the government, or at least the party with which we choose to identify, is consistently maintained by wise and benign stewards of justice." — Truth Dig
"The Realist Cartoons is quite impressive. Its nearly 300 generously-sized pages are rich with well over 800 clever, trenchant, irreverent social and political critique. It also provides a unique pictorial chronicle of a turbulent, transformative era." — Print Magazine
"Some of these cartoons are angry; some are wry. Some critique the country's most powerful institutions; some just seem happy breaking taboos. They all exude irreverence, just like the journal that published them." — Reason
"Throughout the latter part of the twentieth century, Paul Krassner's satirical magazine The Realist published some of the most lauded and controversial cartoons, lampooning every aspect of American culture. Fantagraphics has put together a collection of those cartoons, featuring the work of notable pioneering alt-comic artists like Robert Crumb, Art Spiegelman, S. Clay Wilson, Jay Lynch, and more." — Under the Radar
"The Realist Cartoons is many things at once. It is a collection of works by some of the later twentieth century’s most adventuresome and innovative cartoonists. It is also a graphic history of those years told from a perspective best defined as countercultural. ... Fantagraphics Books' published collection of hundreds of the cartoons is a beautifully rendered deluxe edition." — CounterPunch