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Punch magazine

Punch, or The London Charivari was a British weekly magazine founded in 1841 by Henry Mayhew and a wood engraver named Ebenezer Landells. Punch was responsible for the modern use of the word 'cartoon' to refer to a comic satirical drawing. The magazine was intended to be humorous and satirical, and to signify this intent, took as its name and masthead figure the anarchic glove puppet Mr. Punch. The subtitle "The London Charivari" was a reference to the French humorous magazine, Le Charivari. The illustrator Richard Doyle designed the cover of the magazine's first issues, and was a regular contributor.

Notable authors who contributed at one time or another included John Betjeman, A. A. Milne, Anthony Powell, W. C. Sellar and R. J. Yeatman, Thackeray; John Tenniel was a regular political cartoonist in the late 19th century. Tom Taylor served as editor for a period starting in 1874.

Circulation slowly declined over the years, until the magazine was forced to close in 1992 after 150 years. However, in early 1996, the controversial businessman, Mohammed Al-Fayed bought the rights to the name, and it was re-launched later that year. However, the magazine never became profitable in its new incarnation, and at the end of May 2002, it was announced that Punch would once more cease publication. Press reports at the time quoted a total loss to its owner of some 16 million pounds over the six years of publication, with only 6,000 subscribers at the end.

See also cartoon, comic strip, humour.