New Yorker Cartoon Shop Talk
Is There Such a Thing As a Newsletter Being TOO Interesting? GUILTY!
Substack, when no one else will have you.
I did get feedback from readers before switching here to Substack. First, less words. That was one recommendation got regarding my newsletter. Less words. Actually, just less. Less everything. (I suppose nothing would be great.)
I did add a new feature; The Snort of the Month, where I will award The Felix to the best cartoon of the month. A portion of you reading this are cartoonists. When I thought about how to grow this newsletter and attract eyeballs, I knew what would really do the trick would be to judge the cartoons in the “Magazine.” But, of course, it would be unprofessional of me to speak ill-will of any cartoonseven if there is a good number of cartoonists who would LOVE that (there used to be two websites that critiqued New Yorker cartoons and both became popular rather fast.). That said, I will just single out a favorite (or two) and discuss. I will be inviting noted cartoonists to chime in as well.
And I am also adding a section called Shop Talk. Just ignore that part if you are not in the business as you will find it boring. You may have stopped already.
From the latest The New York Times Book Review. Special thanks to friend Nava Atlas for helping me on this piece. She creates wonderful bestselling books and hosts the popular Literary Ladies Guide. Click on artwork below to enlarge.
If you are not a subscriber of The Bob, please do so now for FREE. The Bob is published every second Monday morning of the month.
Top Ten Sport Predictions of 2023
10. The First electric car wins the Indy 500. Team ECO crosses the finish line with a packed car of other drivers who were carpooling.
9. Zach Wilson gets a restraining order from MET Stadium. Jet fans win an injunction to keep Zach from even watching any home games.
8. The Paris Summer Olympics makes Twerking an official Olympic sport. Miley Cyrus and Lizzo will round out the US Olympic Team and begin training in earnest.
7. Peyton Manning will become Speaker of the House. By summer it will be official but will not make the news as it will be the least crazy thing happening in DC.
6. The Houston Astros hire the first robot manager. This is only discovered when they are accused of cheating, again, after winning 113 straight games and their manager giving very strange post-game interviews.
5. The least surprising sport trend for 2023 will be Fantasy Pickle-ball. It will surpass all other sports for gambling and be the second most played sport on the moon, after golf.
4. As a matter of fact, tennis will become totally extinct. The #1 pickle ball player will become Raphael Nadal. The top female player will be Salma Hayek.
3. Patrick Mahomes becomes first NFL quarterback to marry a man. Neil Patrick Harris will become Mr. Neil Patrick Mahomes in a brave and heartwarming story which inspires other NFL quarterbacks to come out of the closet.
2. War breaks out during the Masters. The PGA throws down arms with the LIV tour with hand-to-hand combat using wedges and drivers to bash each other over the head.
1. The biggest sports story of 2023 will be Elon Musk buys Major League Baseball. He immediately fires all the umpires and games are played on the honor system. They even take away the foul lines—every ball is in play. Every game is protested. Half the teams have animatronic infielders. It’s a mess.
It’s tricky writing about the inside baseball of gag cartooning as it can be a sensitive subject. I’ve had heated discussions on the topic. To clarify, I find many cartoonists have a surprisingly positive attitude and this is by no means reflective of the level of their success. I know cartoonists who are regulars in The New Yorker who complain they are not in more and those who have not made it in yet who harbor zero resentment and their perspective is it’s not their time or for whatever reason, it’s on them. The feelings have a spectacular range from pledging to never give up trying to getting in, to swearing to never utter the magazine’s name again while retiring from submitting again.
I will leave it at that for now except to bring up one point. And that is when friends discuss with me the importance of creating a “world” in the magazine out of their cartoons. Edward Koren has a world. Ed Steed has created a world. I like these worlds. I love their work. I’m a real fan of Liana Finck, who shares a unique take on things, using a visual style that feels confessional and personal. She’s created a world (which I notice created imitators and more on that subject in next issue). And of course there are many others like Roz Chast, where the viewer feels they are entering that cartoonist’s world. Ideally, that would be the case for each cartoonist but I don’t like the assumption that most cartoonists couldn’t have their own world. Or it’s our fault, if a cartoonist doesn’t have a “world,”…it’s mostly a lack of real estate. It takes repetition to cultivate a world. I feel like if I were to appear a few times a month my world would emerge. I know it would. Or most anyone’s would. Who doesn’t want a world?
Feel free to disagree or share your two cents here, anonymously or not.
I will promote other cartoon and humor newsletters each issue. Here are four I randomly chose that I subscribe to:
Accomplished cartoonist Shannon Wheeler
Exploding Unicorn by humorist James Breakwell
ToonStack which includes new New Yorker cartoonists like Ellis Rosen, Amy Kurzweil and many others.
American Bystander, a humor magazine and now also a newsletter.
Q. Can you add more writing advice? How does one get into MAD magazine?
Yep, I will. MAD, as far as I know, only publishes old work now. I don’t even know who is left there but most everyone I knew is gone.
I will share any news if I hear anything. Good time to endorse Gag Recap who is way better at that sort of thing. Put out by Van Scott, it lists contacts and shares info on the gag cartoon market. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org to subscribe. If you were asking just about humor writing, find places by googling, checking other humorists credits or peruse the Writer’s Market.
Drumroll…the Felix goes to Ellis Rosen, for his cartoon in AIR MAIL, Jan. 6.
I picked it as the first Felix because it’s one of those jokes I wish I thought of first, it’s well-written and most of all, it’s a difficult premise to pull off but he managed to tell the story (by coincidence, his newsletter is mentioned earlier. Mr. Rosen did not pay me.). His precise style helped here—I can see where some, myself included, would have had problems showing the book speaking AND in a submissive position. Congrats, Ellis. Your award money is in the mail.
And with that, this ends another issue of The Bob. This was my first edition on Substack and when I sent a sample post everything came back looking like this:
Substack, orem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Mauris fringilla rutrum viverra. New Yorker egestas…
I almost exploded Auto Correct but then I learned this was Latin used just for spacing. But if you would like your editions of The Bob in Latin, let me know and I will look into that.
The Bob is published every second Monday morning of the month.
I like the new Bobb. That cartoon is good but the bedside lamp is ugly.
I don't mind at all when my books become coasters. They're multi-functional like that. It's one of their main selling points.