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The Complete Cartoons of The New Yorker by Robert Mankoff, Ed.

The Complete Cartoons of The New Yorker by Robert Mankoff (ed.)

The Complete Cartoons of The New Yorker

While this book is widely available now at a bargain price, it was worth its original price tag too.

2004 cartoons in excellent print quality on 650 pages plus, on two CDs (or a DVD in the paperback edition), almost 70,000 cartoons in PDF format, comprising every cartoon The New Yorker ever ran from 1925–2004. The cartoons on the CDs, though, are not in the best quality; one has to zoom in rather often and should have a large-ish screen to do so. Still, some details will be hard to recognize or lost altogether. (Plus, you can’t copy/paste the cartoons.) On the upside, the CDs are browsable by date, subject, and artist.

Three key aspects stand out with regard to these cartoons.

First, they’re practically all absolutely brilliant, even if you have to have loads of “cultural knowledge” to be able to appreciate them at all, or to appreciate them even more. The second aspect is that these cartoons convey a sense of historical and social change in a medium that’s anything but dry and wearisome, to say the least. And the third aspect is that you can develop a sense for how many different possibilities there are to “think out of the box”—with techniques like combining seemingly incompatible topics by juxtaposition, understatement, and so on, both in text and artwork. If you’re a writer and/or copywriter, this gives you an idea about what you can achieve if you try hard.

Mankoff, Robert, ed. The Complete Cartoons of The New Yorker. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2004.
This review was also published at LibraryThing.

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