Tuesday, November 05, 2013

The Best of the Rejection Collection edited by Matthew Diffee

The New Yorker runs cartoons -- it always was one of the top markets for single-panels, but now it stands pretty much alone (though you could make a case for Playboy) as the best market left. And The New Yorker rejects several hundred cartoons for every one they publish -- including a hundred or so by people you or I would consider prime "New Yorker cartoonists." And that means there's a lot of New Yorker-style cartoons that the New Yorker didn't buy, and that are pretty much unfit for any other use.

Matthew Diffee is a cartoonist whose work regularly appears in the New Yorker, and he deplored this situation -- so, in 2006, he convinced thirty of his fellow cartoonists to submit the best of their rejected cartoons, and a publishing company to issue them all as The Rejection Collection. It was not a book of New Yorker cartoons, of course -- every single cartoon failed to be published in the New Yorker -- but it was very much like a New Yorker collection. A year later, there was the inevitable sequel, The Rejection Collection 2.

The Best of the Rejection Collection collects bits of both of those books, and possibly a bit of new material, into what the subtitle of RC2 called "the cream of the crap." Diffee is still editing, and this time he adds an introduction anatomizing the various ways that these cartoons fail to be New Yorker-worthy -- too sexy, too dumb, too nasty, too weird, too silly, too hackneyed.

If you have the first two books, you don't need this one: it's basically the same material. If you don't have those books, and like the New Yorker style but wish it could loosen up a bit, this is exactly the book for you. If you can't stand New Yorker cartoons, you might find this amusing, but probably not hugely enjoy it. If you've never heard of the New Yorker...why did you read this far to begin with?

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