Even in a world where major media coverage of comics personnel is a daily habit, this profile of The New Yorker’s cartoon process by Morley Safer is a delight. The occasion is the release of cartoon editor Robert Mankoff’s book How about Never—is Never good for you? whih is also excellent, but the taped segment includes folks like Sam Gross, Emily Flake, Roz Chast, Ben Schwartz and more tlaking about the process and at long last we get to SEE the legendary Wednesday cartoon meetings as they unfold — or at least as they would unfold with a 60 Mintues camera crew watching your every move. There’s a transcript in the above link:
We assembled a roundtable of veteran New Yorker regulars to talk about rejection. Ben Schwartz, who gave up being a doctor to draw cartoons. David Sipress, Roz Chast, and Charlie Hankin, the new kid on the block.
David Sipress: We all probably do probably 700 or 800 cartoons a year we hand in. And it’s, we’re lucky if we sell 30 cartoons a year. So that’s a lot of rejection.
Roz Chast: When I do a cartoon and I think, “This is, they’re gonna love this one. It’s a classic.”
David Sipress: That’s the one that gets rejected, right?
Roz Chast: That, right away that goes in the garbage.
Charlie Hankin: I was addicted to the rejection before I got addicted to the, you know, actually making the sales.
Morley Safer: Addicted to the rejection?
Charlie Hankin: Kind of. It makes you feel alive.
Mankoff comes off as something of a cartoon character himself, lean and mobile at age 69; and see the old and young New Yorker cartoonists profiled so lovingly and respectfully truly made my day.
The CBS site includes three supplemental videos on Mankoff, a close up of rejection, and 83-year-old Safer picking his favorite New Yorker cartoons, among them some old favorites you probably know by heart.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.