Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Rejection Collection, Vol. 2 edited by Mathew Diffee

The New Yorker is the pinnacle of single-panel cartoons: they pay the best, and claim to only print the best. (Some might argue the latter point.) And, because of that, they recieve vastly more submissions than they could ever print. Dozens of cartoonists send in their "batch" weekly to Bob Makoff, the New Yorker's cartoon editor, and he whittles that huge stack (over 500 a week) down to a smaller stack that goes to the New Yorker's editor, David Remnick. And so about twenty cartoons are chosen a week, leaving hundreds rejected each and every week.

Matthew Diffee, himself a New Yorker cartoonist, wanted to find a home for the "orphan" cartoons, so last year he edited The Rejection Collection. (And I can only imagine what it was like for all of the cartoons that were rejected for the book of rejected cartoons.)

It was a success, so he's back again with a sequel -- more cartoons the New Yorker didn't want, from cartoonists like S. Gross (who did the cover), Gahan Wilson, Roz Chast, Sidney Harris, and Jack Ziegler. As in the first book, each cartoonist provided three or five cartoons, filled out a two-page questionnaire for Diffee, and took a number of pictures (face, feet, writing utensil, work-space, and refrigerator) for the title page of his/her section.

The questionnaires get repetitive, though they're all amusing. The cartoons are the point, though, and what they mostly turn out to be are New Yorker cartoons on non-New Yorker subjects (bathroom humor, sex, general tastelessness). If you miss the cartoons from the '70s National Lampoon, this is as close as you're going to get this century.

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