The Complete Cartoons of the New Yorker with Robert Mankoff
by Jen Bergman
April 7, 2005
New Yorker's Cartoon Editor Visits Tuesday, April 19 at Seattle's Town Hall, 7:30PM
Seattle, WA-Foolproof's American Voices speaker series presents the distinctly American voice of Robert Mankoff, New Yorker cartoon editor for a night of comedy, learning (something along these lines). Considered a national treasure, the cartoons of The New Yorker are beloved, iconic images that have made us laugh at the social issues of the day and have defined a markedly American sensibility. Mr. Mankoff will direct a presentation on this admired collection on Tuesday, April 19th at Town Hall in Seattle (1119 8th Ave).
"Over the years, I had developed a passionate interest in The New Yorker cartoon as a great cultural heritage that had to be preserved and passed on to yet another new generation of artists," says Mankoff.
Last fall, all 68,647 The New Yorker cartoons were published together for the first time in The Complete Cartoons of The New Yorker, edited by Mankoff. Organized by decade and introduced by some of the magazine's most esteemed writers - including Roger Angell, Nancy Franklin, Lillian Ross, John Updike, Ian Frazier, Calvin Trillin, Mark Singer, Nancy Franklin and Rebecca Mead, the book showcases the talented cartoonists who have contributed to the magazine over the years.
Mankoff- who in '91 created the The Cartoon Bank (The New Yorker's virtual storehouse for these images)- tackled the enormous task of selecting the cartoons included in the print version. What he discovered in the process was that various themes emerged from each decade, such as:
- sex and nudity in the 1940s
- the burgeoning space program in the 1960s
- the high tech explosion in the 1990s
Mankoff notes that by picking cartoons that were most representative of the modes of thought, desires, and conventions that spawned them, it was possible to create a history of The New Yorker cartoon and a cultural history rolled into one. Reading through the volume, then, is a history lesson framed by laughter, a look at what was occupying the headlines, and perhaps even the American psyche, at each particular moment in time.
Mankoff recounts the selection process in the book's Introduction: "From the start of the process we were relentless, unsparing, obsessive, compulsive, possessed-and even paranoid in our efforts. We examined every single page of The New Yorker published since 1925, to ensure that not a single cartoon was missed. In the end, after examining over 400,000 pages, we found 68,647 cartoons. That's one for each resident of Springfield, Ohio, according to the 2000 census, with enough left over for quite a few of their pets."
The American Voices series is presented by Foolproof, a non-profit corporation presenting entertaining exchanges of ideas balanced with critical thought in an effort to raise social consciousness. They seek to inspire citizens to seek truths through free speech, thought and action. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Foolproof at 206-325-3554 or www.foolproof.org.
contact: Jen Bergman