History of New Yorker Cartoon Art
Discover the history of New Yorker Cartoon Art.
A Brief History of New Yorker Cartoon Art
From its inception in 1925, the New Yorker Magazine was, and continues to be, world-renowned for its cartoon art and illustrations. Here is brief history of the development of the magazine’s cartoon art, organized in four “eras” which track the respective tenures of New Yorker’s principal art or cartoon editors. Enjoy!
Credit for the creation and launch of the New Yorker falls on Harold Ross, a Colorado born, and by most-accounts, a witty, independent, and adventure-seeking young man who took to newspapers at an early age, and taught himself journalism – along with philosophy, politics, religion, and literature -- by associating with other hard-drinking, tough-talking, poker-playing, independent men also captivated by the news industry at the turn of the century. Arriving in Paris in 1917 after enlisting in the Army, Ross went AWOL (literally) to serve on the editorial board of a paper for servicemen stationed there known as Stars and Stripes. There, Ross learned the finer crafts of the trade, and soon came to develop the inspiration for an upscale weekly tabloid. When the war wound down (and with it, Stars and Stripes), Ross was lured to the Big Apple by a journalist friend and his soon-to-be wife, Jane Grant, who was returning to a job at the New York Times. Once situated, Ross bounced from small publication to small publication until he saw the opportunity to put his dream in motion. and by that we mean access to capital, from a prosperous bakery businessman, Raoul Fleischmann.
Harold Ross, creator and Editor of the New Yorker from its inception in 1925 until his passing in 1951
Fleishman bought into the proposal and Ross began assembling a publication team, including the former art editor of Life Magazine, Rea Irvin (1881-1972), who designed the typeface, headings, and logos for the magazine, including its now famous mascot, the Regency Dandy, later dubbed “Eustace Tilley”. Rea Irvin served as principal art advisor to Ross from 1925 through 1951, but he ceded the official position of Art Director in 1939.
Rea Irvin’s Regency Dandy (later dubbed “Eustace Tilley”) was based on a sketch of Comte d’Orsay, a well-known French dandy, and man of fashion in the first half of the 19th century.
Sample header developed by Rea Irvin, which appears above the Talk of the Town section of the magazine (with a recent face-lift by Christoph Niemann) to this day.
From inception (the first issue hit newsstands on February 17, 1925), Ross was inclined to distinguish the New Yorker for its illustrations. An announcement of the magazine’s launch declared matter-of-factly that “The New Yorkerexpects to be distinguished for its illustrations, which will include caricatures, sketches, cartoons and humorous and satirical drawings in keeping with its purpose.” In fact, the early illustrations for the magazine were reportedly more in tune with Ross’s vision than the journalism. These early drawings were not cartoons as we know them today, but rather sprawling illustrations that served as capstones to sections of the magazine, satirical sketches, spots and caricatures. Of the few gags that were published, most featured a simple exchange of dialogue, typically between a man and woman.
An example of the “he said/she said” cartoon style typical of the early years of the New Yorker, this one by Gilbert Wilkinson.
Possibly the largest and earliest catalyst to the transformation of the New Yorker’s illustrations to cartoons was Peter Arno. Yale educated, sophisticated, and exceedingly witty, there were few things that Arno did not do. He was a self-taught draftsman (he designed his own automobile and wardrobe), musician and producer (he played piano, and wrote and produced his own musical reviews), and journalist (he wrote for newspapers, magazines, the Broadway stage, and Hollywood). As conveyed by New Yorker Cartoon Editor and historian Lee Lorenz, “[n]ightclubs were [Arno’s] natural milieu, and his club-hopping, in variably in the company of the most glamorous debutantes of the day, was widely reported in the press.” Oddly enough, the one thing Arno seemed incapable of doing was create captions for his own drawings – these were supplied by others, including Philip Wylie and later, James Geraghty. Arno’s bold, often sexually charged, images made an enormous impact on the magazine and are among the most recognizable of its cartoons from the historic Gold Era.
An example of Peter Arno’s bold sexually charged style, published later in his career. This particular cartoon spanned two full pages in the September 10, 1960 issue.
Another noteworthy cartoonist of the magazine’s early years was not an artist at all. Harold Ross hired James Thurber as an editor, charged with bringing order to the magazine, but he also collaborated with other writers on pieces for the “Talk of the Town” and “Notes and Comment” sections of the New Yorker. However, also a prolific doodler, Thurber’s loose scribblings caught the attention of other writers and editors on the staff, including E.B. White (of Charlotte’s Web fame) who came to pester Ross incessantly to take a stab at publishing them. Ross was unconvinced of their merit, and Irvin too was apparently indifferent. It was only after the success of Thurber’s illustrations in a book authored by E.B. White, “Is Sex Necessary”, that Ross had a change of heart. Thurber’s cartoons were an instant success despite their unfinished feel. Although his characters are typically anatomically challenged, and his settings sparsely furnished, Thurber’s work came to be revered for the genius of its simplicity.
An example of James Thurber’s genius, published January 30, 1932.
On the other end of the spectrum, the New Yorker of the 30s and 40s also featured the work of some truly awesome illustrators, among them William Crawford Galbraith, Wallace Morgan, Richard Decker, Garrett Price, and Carl Rose -- their work frequently usurping full pages of the magazine. Sadly, these masterful illustrations are of a bygone era, and art of their impact rarely, if ever, appears in the magazine today.
A sprawling full-page cartoon illustration by Carl Rose, published on August 24, 1935.
By 1939, the New Yorker was widely celebrated for its cartoons, but its internal art department was wildly fragmented. As future Cartoon Editor Lee Lorenz quipped, “[t]he art department was not an entity but a process shaped in Darwinian fashion by the constant pressures of weekly deadlines.” In the fall of that year, James Geraghty was invited to add cohesiveness to the process. Formerly a gag writer for artists like Richard Decker, Perry Barlow, and Peter Arno, Geraghty accepted the position and led the magazine through the years of the second world war. This was a furtive time for the New Yorker as established artists were called into service, and Geraghty became adept at developing relationships with the existing and new artists and providing viable gags for their work-product.
James Geraghty became Art Editor in 1939, added an all-to-necessary cohesiveness to the department, and served in that position until 1973.
Possibly the most well-known New Yorker cartoonist of them all, Charles Addams, fully blossomed during Geraghty’s tenure even though his first illustrations in the magazine were published in the early 1930s (before Geraghty assumed his role as Art Director). Over time, Addams developed his signature bizarre style and Harold Ross is said to have actively encouraged it. Ross also suggested that Addams expand his first sketches of a family of darkly humorous and macabre characters into a recurring series, which Addams famously did. The “Addams Family” concept subsequently spawned assorted media adaptations, including the 1964 television series by the same name (yes, that Charles Addams!), which made Addams famous (if not rich). Since hitting his stride in about 1937, Addams’ work appeared regularly in the New Yorker until his death in 1988.
Samples of sans caption cartoons by Charles Addams, the second depicting the now-famous “Addams Family”, published January 13, 1940 and October 5, 1946, respectively.
Upon the passing of Harold Ross in 1951, William Shawn was appointed Editor of the New Yorker. (He officially took up the position in 1952). Shawn quickly made clear that he had his own ideas about the magazine’s art, and with its cartoons, in particular. Shawn was primarily responsible, for instance, in phasing out the magazine’s reliance on gagmen to caption the work of artists. Shawn’s perspective helped open the door for an entirely new generation of cartoonists who drew and captioned their own work – among them Ed Koren, George Booth, Charlie Barsotti, and Lee Lorenz – although many did not attain regular publication until the next great era of the New Yorker cartoon art.
William Shawn took up the position of Editor of the New Yorker in 1952 and continued in that role until 1987.
Lee Lorenz was drawn to the world of cartoonists in 1956, just two years after graduating Pratt Institute and coming to realize that success as a professional abstract expressionist was hard to come by. In those days (the “heyday,” some say), a cartoonist could eke out a modest living by selling cartoons to the bevy of publications stationed in New York City that paid for such services, including The Saturday Evening Post (a favorite among cartoonists because it offered free jelly doughnuts on the designated submission day), Look, Collier’s, Sports Illustrated, and Playboy. At that point, the New Yorker would occasionally purchase unsolicited work but if something caught Jim Geraghty’s interest, he would forward the concept to one of the magazine’s regular contributing artists to work up the final piece. Lorenz sold his first concept about a year after he started making weekly submissions, but the final cartoon was drawn up by regular contributing cartoonist, Richard Taylor. It would take a few more months before Lorenz’s drawings (in his own hand) were deemed worthy of publication, but by 1958, he had made such an impression that Geraghty offered him a full contract. Lee Lorenz became a permanent fixture in the New Yorker’s offices at 25 West 43rdStreet, although never (at least initially) with a fixed office space of his own, and he learned to draw on a pad on his lap so as not to disturb the endless rotation of desks he “borrowed” during the workday. By 1972, Geraghty had announced his retirement and the search began for a replacement. By his own account, Lorenz was no one’s first choice to succeed Geraghty, but when proposals made to other insiders failed to pan out, William Shawn offered the coveted spot to Lorenz, who accepted in 1973 and served in the post of Art Editor for the New Yorker for the next 24 years.
Lee Lorenz served as Art Editor of the New Yorker from 1973 to 1997
Lee Lorenz’s acceptance of the position of Art Editor did not result in an abatement of his own creative energies. He continued to produce cartoons for the New Yorker, although under special arrangement, William Shawn was tasked with “editing” and selecting Lorenz’s submissions for publication (since, in good conscience, Lorenz couldn’t properly edit his own submissions).
Cartoon by Lee Lorenz published on January 4, 1987
Many of the cartoonists who blossomed during Lorenz’s tenure actually began, like Lorenz himself, during the last decade of the Art Department under Geraghty, including Jim Stevenson, Bill Hamilton, Warren Miller, Bud Handelsman, and Don Reilly. This brief history is too brief to highlight them all, of course, but here a few you might recognize.
Charles Saxon was a late bloomer to the cartoon world, entering well after a successful career as a writer and executive. According to Lee Lorenz, Saxon approached his friend and then-Art Editor, James Geraghty, with his vision to chronicle “the vacuity and despair at the core of affluent middle-class suburban life.” Geraghty finally caved in 1943, and published Saxon’s first drawing, a spot illustration (a small uncaptioned illustration often featured with the text of articles). Saxon later joined the New Yorker staff in 1955 and went on to develop one of the most recognizable bodies of New Yorker art in existence; in a career that extended well into the mid-1980s, Saxon produced 92 covers and more than 700 cartoons.
Cartoon by Charles Saxon, published April 14, 1986
Charles Barsotti was briefly the cartoon editor for the Saturday Evening Post in the late 1960s; he joined the staff of the New Yorker in 1970 (after the Post folded in ‘69). His work is also immediately recognizable, and for good reason: in the words of Bob Mankoff, his “deceptively simple line drawings of pups, kings, and businessmen [were] a presence in the New Yorker for over 50 years,” from the early 1960s until his passing in 2014.
A sample of Charles Barsotti’s famed puppy cartoons, published on December 14, 1987
Henry Martin began his association with the New Yorker in the 1950s by drawing spot art, but by the mid-1960s he caught the eye of James Geraghty who began publishing his cartoons with more frequency. Looking back from the perch of the 21st century, Martin’s work is instantly reflective of a pre-women’s rights era, often featuring an executive seated behind a large desk, pondering an absurd workplace oddity, or sometimes, a female secretary. His interest in business settings helped launch a syndicated cartoon in the late 1970s called “Good News/Bad News,” which largely lampooned businessmen. Lee Lorenz remembers Henry Martin for his unusual means of eliciting inspiration: Henry “puts a blank piece of paper on his drawing table and keeps staring at it until he comes with an idea. He then pencils it in, types the caption, and puts a fresh piece of paper in front of himself.” This technique resulted in a total of 691 published cartoons in the New Yorker over 35 years.
Samples of Henry Martin’s business executive humor, published December 20, 1969 and November 28, 1970, respectively.
Lee Lorenz recalls fondly that the first new face he brought to the New Yorker was Jack Ziegler in 1974, whose cartoons were “unlike anything else [he] saw in [his] weekly romp through the slush pile” – referring, of course, to the hundreds of unsolicited cartoons he received each week, and which his role as Cartoon Editor required him to review. Jack’s unique style frequently borrowed from the conventions of the comic strip, featuring a heading that substituted for the traditional gag line. Lorenz took an immediate liking to the style, as did editor William Shawn, but despite the magazine’s purchase of his work, it failed to appear in the published magazine for weeks. The bottle neck turned out to be Carmine Peppe, who headed up the “make-up department,” which physically assembled each week’s issue before it was dispatched to the printer. In Peppe’s estimation, Ziegler’s work fell short of the New Yorker’s standards, and Lorenz was constrained to seek Shawn’s intervention on the matter. Ultimately, Lorenz prevailed to our good fortune. Ziegler went on to contribute over 1,400 cartoons to the magazine until his passing in 2017.
An example of Jack Ziegler’s use of headings in place of gag lines, published on December 19, 1977
Roz Chast was also an anomaly. Lorenz himself observed that her drawings “looked more like illustrated pages torn from an eccentric’s diary than traditional gag cartoons.” William Shawn queried similarly how she even knew they were cartoons. Nonetheless, Lorenz immediately recognized her as something special, reflective of a new sensibility that was emerging in the seventies. In fact, Roz is famous for having a cartoon submission accepted on her very first try. (Michael Maslin, no slouch by any definition of the word, tried for seven years before receiving an acceptance, which is the far more common experience among cartoonists, even the most successful ones). Notwithstanding, the public’s acceptance of Roz Chast did not come easy. Lorenz recalls that “[r]eaders, staff members, and [even] some cartoonists shared with [him] their negative reactions, which ranged from bafflement to outrage.” In time, of course, Roz Chast persevered. Since 1977, she’s contributed more than 800 cartoons to the magazine.
Age neuroses from the genius of Roz Chast, published October 25, 1993.
As the New Yorker plunged into the 1980s, it was struck by some pretty hard times. By this point, television had largely eclipsed magazines as a primary form of entertainment in the country and as a result, advertising dollars went south. A sale of the magazine was in order, and Advance Publications (owned by the Newhouse family) was the ultimate suitor. The acquisition closed in 1985. The New Yorker continued to be run independently of Advance’s other publications, including its massive Condé Nast conglomerate, which at the time included Vogue, House & Garden, Vanity Fair, and Glamour, among others. (The New Yorker would not be folded into Condé Nast directly until 1997).
Just a few short years later, in 1987, William Shawn retired and Advance Publications installed Robert Gottlieb as Editor, almost universally regarded an unusual choice given his lack of magazine publishing experience (he worked extensively in book publishing prior to his gig at the New Yorker). According to William Shawn, any experience Gottlieb lacked in magazine publishing he made up with charisma.
Robert Gottlieb served as the New Yorker’s Editor from 1987 to 1992
Bob Gottlieb’s quirky style forced a few of the regular cartoonists to adapt, and a few newcomers favored by Gottlieb joined the team, including Danny Shanahan, whose “off-the-wall wit and shameless punning” quickly became a favorite of the readers.
A popular cartoon by Danny Shanahan, published on May 8, 1989
For better or worse, Bob Gottlieb’s tenure at the New Yorker was not meant to be, and in June 1992, the Newhouse family announced that he would be replaced by the then high-profile editor of Vanity Fair, Tina Brown. Tina’s first foray with the magazine’s stable of cartoonists occurred in a full-on meeting with them all (or as many as could attend), at which she announced her desire for more cutting edge work product: sex was in, and whimsy and puns were out. As Lee Lorenz recalls her directive, “[f]ranker language and more explicit drawings were acceptable if they sharpened the joke.” The cartoonists were elated.
Editor Tina Brown, who served from 1992 through 1998
A decidedly edgier cartoon published during Tina Brown’s tenure on December 8, 1992, by Sam Gross
Bob Mankoff had been a contract cartoonist for the New Yorker for years (since 1981), sporting (in the words of the famed New York Times), an “erudite, absurdist sensibility and a distinctive pointillist drawing style.” His most famous published cartoon (and possibly the most famous published New Yorker cartoon) features an executive behind a desk, on the phone, pointing to his diary; the caption reads “No, Thursday’s out. How about never — is never good for you?”
Bob Mankoff’s famed “How about Never” cartoon, published on May 3, 1993
However, even with his success, Mankoff experienced far more rejection. Then, in 1990 he had an epiphany. Why not develop a “bank” on this newly developing thing called the “internet” of all of the cartoons that had been rejected by cartoonists over the years, and make them available for sale and licensing? The idea was supported by tons of Mankoff’s cartoonist friends as an opportunity to earn a few extra dollars. “Cartoon Bank” launched in 1991 and soon enough caught the attention of New Yorker editor Tina Brown, who, believing it to be a “million dollar idea,” convinced the Newhouse family to buy it (to provide a vehicle for licensing published New Yorker cartoons as well as the rejects). Mankoff declared boldly that he was willing to sell on the condition that he serve as the next Cartoon Editor of the New Yorker. As Mankoff recalls it, he “was very grateful to Lee [Lorenz, the current Cartoon editor] for having brought [him] into the magazine, but not so grateful that [he] didn’t want his job.” As a matter of coincidence, Lorenz had planned to retire the next year, and thus in 1997 Bob Mankoff succeeded to the “best job in the world.”
Bob Mankoff served as Cartoon Editor of the New Yorker from 1997 to 2017
Just a year after Bob Mankoff accepted the coveted position as Cartoon Editor, Tina Brown announced her retirement as Editor of the New Yorker (a decision apparently driven by frustration over plans to merge the New Yorker's operations into Condé Nast, and a dangling offer from Harvey Weinstein to serve as chairman of and own equity in a new multimedia company in partnership with Miramax Films). Pulitzer Prize-winning New Yorker staff writer David Remnick found himself on the short list to replace her, even though he had no editorial experience to speak of. But S.I. Newhouse favored him over veteran editor, Michael Kinsley, and he was offered the position fairly quickly.
David Remick, Current Editor of the New Yorker
Among his extended duties as Editor, David Remnick held the final decision on whittling down the 50 or so contending cartoons Bob Mankoff brought to a weekly meeting to the 17 that would make the final cut. Remnick’s decision-making process is described by Mankoff as not overly arbitrated and, indeed, even somewhat arbitrary. “David doesn’t dither.” Although, according to Mankoff, there was at least some harkening to the “olden days” when Harold Ross and William Shawn ran the show to consider whether the submissions fit the ideals of the New Yorker as envisioned by those prior editors, and also an effort to swing the pendulum out of the Wild West territory favored by Tina Brown. Even still, Remnick was known to push some boundaries, particularly where a cartoon poked fun at sensitivities of the New Yorker readers themselves.
An example of a cartoon favored by David Remick that satirized the pieties of New Yorker’s readership, by John Kane, published November 29, 2004
As with previous Cartoon Editors, Bob Mankoff’s role did not involve simply selecting cartoons for publication, it also involved a good amount of cartoon editing (working collaboratively with cartoonists to focus their submissions – a job that Mankoff took seriously), as well as cultivating new talent to keep the New Yorker’s tradition of cartoon excellence thriving. Of course, Mankoff inherited a wealth of great cartoonists from Lee Lorenz, like Michael Maslin.
Like many cartoonists who came to fame during Lee Lorenz’s tenure as Art Editor, Michael Maslin submitted for seven years (since he was 16 years old!) before the New Yorker purchased his first concept in 1977, which was re-animated by a veteran staffer – in Maslin’s case, Whitney Darrow, Jr. In an autobiographical “cartoonography”, Maslin describes his very early work as a “jumble of influences: Crumb meets Wyeth meets Schultz meets Norman Rockwell meets Vasarely meets Chic Young” – that is, until he discovered the New Yorker and James Thurber, in particular. Lucky for us, the magazine purchased his first cartoon – in his own hand – in 1978, and Maslin has gone on to publish nearly a thousand cartoons in the New Yorker (an interview from 2012 said 700, so we just kinda guessed) and continues to do so to this very day. Maslin has also developed into possibly the premier authority on New Yorker cartoon history in the world. He is the author of a fascinating biography of Peter Arno, and his website, “Ink Spill” (published at michaelmaslin.com) – a valuable resource for us, at Curated Cartoons -- reports at least weekly on developments in the industry and maintains a database of all known books on the subject.
An example of Maslin’s work, published on June 7, 1999
Maslin wasn’t the only boon to Bob Mankoff’s success as Cartoon Editor. Mankoff also had the benefit of weekly submissions from cartoon veterans like Jack Ziegler, Bernard Schoenbaum, Leo Cullum, Mick Stevens, and others who, Mankoff candidly admits, “made [his] job very easy.” But there were many new faces too. Here are some that we enjoy:
A published cartoonist in some of the few remaining publications and a regular seller on Cartoon Bank, David Sipress first published in the New Yorker under Mankoff’s tenure and quickly became Mankoff’s “go-to-guy for A-issue cartoons”—cartoons that would appear in the next issue. His ability to produce topical humor also served the New Yorker’s newly developed web-only Daily Cartoon feature upon its launch in 2012. For about twenty bucks you can learn the secret origin of his cartoon ideas in a recently published memoir, “What’s So Funny?”
An example of David Sipress’s topical humor, published on the New Yorker’s web-only Daily Cartoon on February 11, 2016
William Haefeli also joined the magazine in 1998, possibly the first to draw on his homosexuality to fuel his gags. In the words of the Cartoon Bank’s editors, Bill’s cartoons “carry on that whip-smart tradition in a modernized atmosphere. Though his distinctive drawings regularly feature gay and lesbian characters and people of color, the first thing you notice isn’t always their identity; more often, it’s the uncanny talent for self-expression they all seem to share.” His angular drawings are immediately recognizable and fan favorites.
A fun example of William Haefeli’s humor rooted in homosexuality, published on January 19, 2009.
Drew Dernavich previously drew political cartoons for various publications in Boston, an endeavor he ultimately abandoned because he got tired of following politics. Drew began submitting to the New Yorker, on, off, and on again, experiencing rejection until he adopted a distinctive woodcut-style derived from, of all places, grave-stone etching. The unusual style immediately appealed to Bob Mankoff, who first published his work in 2002. As Drew himself explains, “[a]ll his cartoons are really funny, and if you don't understand one of them, please just assume it's really funny.” Drew’s ubiquity in the magazine is all the more fascinating because each piece takes roughly two hours to complete.
Drew Dernavich’s woodcut style demonstrated in this cartoon published on November 4, 2013
Matt Diffee first met Bob Mankoff after winning a cartoon contest the magazine and the Algonquin Hotel sponsored for an all-cartoon issue in 1998. Mankoff encouraged Diffee to begin submitting, and in 1999 Mankoff convinced David Remnick to purchase a cartoon even though Diffee wasn’t quite ready for prime time. Diffee didn’t sell another cartoon for eight months, but the success of that first sale was enough to keep him going back. Matt is now a regular, of course, and edits the ever-popular “Rejection Collection”, a collection of cartoons rejected by the New Yorker (now in its third volume). He’s also a recognized mentor of a whole generation of budding cartoonists.
A decidedly edgier cartoon by Matt Diffee published on October 25, 2004
One of Bob Mankoff’s lasting legacies as Cartoon Editor for the New Yorker launched in 2005: the weekly Caption Contest. The genesis of the contest was actually a once per year affair developed by Mankoff that ran on the back page of the New Yorker’s annual Cartoon Issue from 1999 to 2004. In 2005, David Remnick suggested to Mankoff that they make the contest a weekly feature. The first weekly contest was published on September 12, 2005, inviting readers to supply the caption to a cartoon by Jack Ziegler. The caption contest has been featured in every issue since then, drawing thousands of submissions each week and spawning a Facebook group and a weekly podcast (both hosted by Curated Cartoons owner, Beth Lawler).
2017 - Present Day
In March 2017, David Remnick announced that Bob Mankoff would be retiring at the end of April. Asked on reflection what he would miss most, Bob answered: “The unwarranted adulation and respect that comes with the imprimatur of being cartoon editor of the New Yorker,” adding slyly, “However, if no one is looking, I might try to sneak that imprimatur out of the building.”
His replacement would be Emma Allen, an almost universally regarded odd choice as she was only 29, and had never worked as a cartoonist. (By contrast, both Lorenz and Mankoff were cartoonists, and Geraghty had been a gag writer). However, Emma had worked as an editor across the various humor sections of the magazine and had earned the post, and Remnick was eager to cater to the obvious change in the New Yorker’s readership: no longer was it populated by Jewish men and women, but by a younger, educated, and infinitely more diverse populace. Emma took the bull by the horns.
Emma Allen, the current New Yorker Cartoon Editor, is bringing diverse perspectives to the cartoon world
Michael Maslin observed in 2021 that in the few short years that Emma Allen had served as Cartoon Editor for the New Yorker, she added nearly 100 new cartoonists to the publication, about half of whom are women. She added cartoonists of color, such as Ngozi Ukazu, Keith Knight, Lonnie Millsap, and Liz Montague, and LGBTQ perspectives, such as Bishakh Som and Mads Horwath. No longer was the New Yorker cartoon staff saturated with white men, leading cartoonist Liz Montague to comment, “she’s actually serious about this diversity thing.”
Here are a few newbies we’re keeping our eye on:
E.S. Glenn is a self-described “semi reclusive American cartoonist living in Berlin,” whose “work grows out of his tumultuous upbringing and personal experiences.” A graphic novelist by trade (“Unsmooth”) – his passion is developing characters and story-telling -- he began submitting to the New Yorker at the request of Emma Allen to produce daily strips for the web-version of the magazine. To graduate to single panels gags, he had to “learn the language” and treat the project “like a job.” His goal, ultimately, is to convey “a deeper message in a joke” and become “more chill.”
Cartoon by E.S. Glenn, published October 18, 2021
Pia Guerra had been successful drawing comic books since 1990 (Will Eisner Award winning, “Y: The Last Man”), and moved into editorial cartoons to refocus her anger about politics. She met (and later married) comic writer Ian Boothby on the comic scene and the two began to work collaboratively. Pia was invited to take a stab at cartooning for the New Yorker by Emma Allen, who had seen some of her editorial cartoons and asked if she was interested in submitting a four panel strip for the daily feature on web version of the magazine. Pia preferred the single panel gag format and so she tried her hand at submitting directly for the print version of the magazine, enjoying the process of reducing a drawing – which was instinctively more complex -- to a simpler form. Their process (when collaborative; Pia also works independently) typically starts with Ian, who develops the gag concepts (usually about 20 per week), which Pia refines to about 7 and then attempts to draw for submission. They quip that ghosts, snowman, quicks and, cats are go-to concepts because Pia can draw them quickly. Like many cartoonists today, Pia draws her gag cartoons entirely electronically.
An example of a collaborative cartoon by Pia Guerra and Ian Boothby, published on July 1, 2019
Hilary Campbell grew up in Sonoma, California, literally dreaming of someday becoming a cartoonist. It didn’t hurt that her grandfather had original Charles Schultz cartoons displayed throughout the house. She learned to draw cartoons under the tutelage of Scott Bromley, who is now a senior producer at Lucasfilm. After studying film and a film career in LA, Hilary moved to New York in 2015 and began submitting cartoons to the New Yorker weekly. The transition in cartoon editors worked in her favor; Emma Allen bought a submission following the change in guard. Although Hilary lives in New York, she finds herself drawing on her small-town experiences in Sonoma for cartoon fodder. The Sonoma Index-Tribune observed in a bio-piece of Hilary published in July 2022 that “[j]okes about excessive wine drinking and grapevines permeate her stacks of comics.” In addition to cartooning, Hilary is obsessed with true crime. She got a chance to marry her passions in a graphic novel published in 2021 called “Murder Book: A Graphic Memoir of a True Crime Obsession”.
A wine-related Hilary Campbell cartoon published on April 20, 2020
Bob Mankoff, “How About Never – Is Never Good for You?” (Henry Holt & Company, 2014)
Lee Lorenz, “The Art of The New Yorker: 1925-1995” (Knopf Publishing Group, 1995)
Nick Danlag, “Former ‘New Yorker’ cartoon editor Bob Mankoff draws on career to talk visual humor,” The Chautauquan Daily (July 30, 2021)
Alex Dueben, “An Interview with Michael Maslin,” The Comics Journal (June 16, 2016)
Cartoon Bank Editorial Staff, “Meet the Artist: William Haefelli,” The Cartoon Bank Blog (January 19, 2010)
Howard Kurtz, “Tina Brown Quits the New Yorker,” Washington Post (July 9, 1998)
Michael Cavna, “Emma Allen is redefining what a New Yorker cartoon can be,” Washington Post (October 5, 2021)
Michael Cavna, “A last laugh: Bob Mankoff will step down as the New Yorker’s cartoon editor”, Washington Post (March 3, 2017)
Chase Hunter, “New Yorker cartoonist Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell and the ‘farm town’ of Sonoma,” Sonoma Index-Tribune (July 25, 2022)
The New Yorker Archives
New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest Podcast, various Cartoonist Interviews (2021-2022)
Various New Yorker Cartoonists’ personal websites