Sunday, April 05, 2009

Two Books of New Yorker Cartoons

These were both in the library as I was poking through the middle of the 700s (where they hide graphic novels and similar stuff), so I read them both in an afternoon.

First was The New Yorker Book of Money Cartoons, published by Bloomberg in 1999. This was two stock market crashes (and various other events) ago, but the jokes about bankers, bosses, and were not all that different. Being the New Yorker, though, most of the cartoons are less specifically targeted -- they all have something vaguely money-related behind them, but otherwise don't have much in common. (I have a mental picture of a huge database of cartoons at the New Yorker, and some functionary punching in "Keyword: Money" and outputting the first 110 cartoons that come up.) There's no individual copyright notices, but I got the sense that these were mostly '80s and '90s cartoons -- only a few things looked much older than that. (Perhaps the first generation of New Yorker cartoonists thought that it was vulgar to joke about money?)

This was a perfectly adequate New Yorker collection, but it did suffer a bit from repetitive punch lines: rich people have lots of money and hold onto it tightly; average shlubby New Yorker types have no clue about their finances.

The other book was The New Yorker Book of True Love Cartoons (also from 1999), which I might actually own. (Now that I've read it, and think about it.) This one reads a bit like they were aiming for a New Yorker Book of Sex Cartoons and either ran low too soon or lost their nerve -- the more pointed and funnier pieces are about sex rather than "luurve." This one also fails to have information on how old the cartoons are, but the net seems to be cast wider -- there's Arno and Booth and Addams and Saul Steinberg here, as well as the moderns Roz Chast, Bruce Eric Kaplan, and Robert Mankoff. I thought this was a stronger collection, probably because New Yorker cartoonists know more about sex and love than they do about money.

1 comment:

John D. said...

I still maintain that the only funny thing to come from a New Yorker cartoon is that the Editors are able to pass off New Yorker cartoons as funny.

Post a Comment