A prisoner in a WWII concentration camp discovers a superpower that could keep him alive – he can make the commandant laugh by telling jokes. Pushed to ends of his wit and humanity, Gagman is propelled into a spiralling madness in which he would sell his soul for a gag simply to live another day.

Evoking themes from The Tattooist of Auschwitz and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Fedler weaves the story of a Faustian bargain brokered in hell, where redemption only comes in the form of a punchline. He must stay funny – or die.

Enhanced by Fedler’s own haunting illustrations, Gagman masterfully juxtaposes humour and pathos, while exploring themes of survivor guilt, desperate determination and the search for the meaning of life in the wake of the Holocaust. Swapping his yellow star for a tattered comic book, Gagman roams the new world and our consciousness determined to find answers to the deepest questions about loss, hope and belonging.

Gagman is a touching and unique tale of survival through unimaginable horror.


Gagman is a daring and uncompromising work, both allegory and achingly real — a confronting, haunting, and disturbing descent into hell, drawing on word and image to create a world in which to remain sane one must go mad. Dov Fedler totally inhabits his protagonist, and pushes his craft and his imagination to the limits to expose the horrors of Nazism, and to explore the redemptive power of art, humanity and humour.” — Arnold Zable

“Dov Fedler, in Gagman, has plunged the reader into a crazy world where the Holocaust collides with Superman and Nietzche and the result is a virtuosic graphic and written allegory. It is a very original take on a highly contested history – who can tell the story of the Holocaust? Through a pastiche of Talmudic scholarship and confronting black humour, Gagman is a way of looking into the abyss. A 21st century Scheherazade, a tale for our times.” — Sydney Jewish Museum

Gagman is a searing and brilliant book which does more to expose the horrors of the Nazis than any book since Eli Wiesel’s Night.” — Alan Gold

“With a humour so searing and audacious it made me gasp, revered cartoonist Dov Fedler bears witness to the horrors of the Holocaust in this extraordinary work of startling originality and ingenuity.” — Suzanne Leal, author of The Deceptions

Gagman is an extraordinary piece of work — strange and haunting and uniquely itself.” — John Maytham

“Can we transform suffering into art and, more outrageously, into humour? Two Jews walk into my heart with a book that made me laugh and cry at the same time. Gagman treads the edge of the forbidden joke, speaking to the histories of all marginalized people. A book of bitter and sweet nuance in which ‘everything is speakable’.” — Tyson Yunkaporta, author of Sand Talk


DOV FEDLER, one of South Africa’s legendary political cartoonists (now retired), has been working on this story for 35 years. His earliest dream was to work for Walt Disney but he ended up working for The Star newspaper as their cartoonist in the early 1970’s instead, and had a career that spanned half a century. Gagman is his fourth book. His previous titles include his memoir, Out of Line (Tracey McDonald Publishers, 2015), If You Can Write, You Can Draw (Joanne Fedler Media, 2018) and Starlite Memories (Tafelberg, 2020).

JOANNE FEDLER is an internationally bestselling author of 14 books, speaker and publisher. Her book Things Without a Name has been optioned for a TV mini-series. She is Dov’s writing mentor, editor and middle daughter.


Publisher: Brio Books (Booktopia)

Publication date: February 2022

ISBN: 9781922598554

If you are a bookseller, please contact Protea Distribution to order copies of Gagman. If you are a reader, please ask your local bookshop to order the book for you via Protea Distribution.

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