More Mankoff; Tom Bachtell Interview(s); Liana Finck in conversation with Liza Donnelly

images-1Here’re a few recent pieces on the New Yorker‘s current cartoon editor, Bob Mankoff, as he ranges far and wide in support of his new book, How About Never — Is Never Good For You?


From The Boston Globe, April 15, “Editor Bob Mankoff on the evolution of New Yorker cartoons”


From The Buffalo News, April 15, 2014, “How About Never — Is Never Good For You?”

From the BBC, April 10, 2014, this piece with video,   “New Yorker cartoons: Editor Bob Mankoff on what’s funny”





The New Yorker‘s Talk of Town section is illustrator Tom Bachtell’s playground, graphically speaking (Bachtell’s Philip Roth appears to the left).  Here’s a recent interview with him as well as a video from 2011:

From Frail Friend, April 2014,  “Big Interview — Tom Bachtell”

From, “Talking Pictures”

Link here to Tom Bachtell’s website.




finckdonnely_eventThis coming Friday, April 18, Liza Donnelly will be in conversation with Liana Finck at Brooklyn’s  Book Court. The event celebrates the release of Ms. Finck’s new book, A Bintel Brief. Here’s all the information.

Link to Liza Donnelly’s New Yorker work.

Link to Liana Finck’s New Yorker work.


“The New Yorker Family Reunion Panel” at Westport Historical Society; Liana Finck signing A Bintel Brief at MoCCA Arts Fest; Bob Mankoff Book Tour Rolls On


“The New Yorker Family Reunion Panel” featuring children of Golden Age New Yorker artists, Alice Harvey, Perry Barlow, Edna Eicke, Arthur Getz and Whitney Darrow, Jr., Saturday, April 12th at The Westport Historical Society. Also on the panel: the children of James Geraghty, the magazine’s Art Editor from 1939 through 1973.  You can find examples of work by the artists on The New Yorker‘s Cartoon Bank site.






(photo of The New Yorker Albums by Michael Maslin)




A Bintel Brief















If you’d like to secure a copy of Liana Finck‘s soon-to-be-released book, A Bintel Brief, she’ll be at the MoCCA Arts Fest this weekend signing copies.

















Bob Mankoff, The New Yorker‘s current Cartoon Editor is on the road promoting his new book, How About Never — Is Never Good for You?  This latest report comes from The Princeton Packet.

New Yorker in Westport Redux; MoCCA Arts Fest 2014


From Connecticut Magazine, March 31, 2014, “When The New Yorker Moved to Connecticut; Westport a Hotbed for Covers”

Left: Garrett Price‘s cover for the December 19, 1947 issue
























Here’s all the info about the upcoming MoCCA Arts fest taking place this April 5th & 6th.  Browsing through the information on the site, I noted that Liana Finck (signing her new book, A Bintel Brief),  Shannon Wheeler, Peter Kuper and Francoise Mouly will be in attendance.

New New Yorker Cartoonists, Part 1: Liana Finck



   Thirty or forty years ago, a new cartoonist published in The New Yorker  was about as rare as The New Yorker messing with its fabled Irvin typeface. That’s changed in recent years, as more and more cartoonists are embraced by the magazine. In the upcoming documentary film,  Very Semi-Serious, Bob Mankoff, the New Yorker‘s current cartoon editor, says, “When I became cartoon editor I realized this was a plane that was gonna run out of fuel. Unless we interceded this was going to be the last generation of cartoonists doing this.  I made it an open call.  So now all you have to do is call and say I want to show you my cartoons.” The open call policy has resulted in a sometimes lively scene on Tuesday mornings in and around the Cartoonists Lounge, a small rectangular room just a few feet from Mr. Mankoff’s office. Aspiring cartoonists mingle with veteran contributors as well as more recently added contributors.

This week Ink Spill checks in with three of the newer cartoonists whose work has been published in the magazine. I’ve asked each to tell us a little about themselves and how it was they ended up at The New Yorker. First up is Liana Finck, whose first cartoon (below) appeared in The New Yorker exactly one year ago today, February 25, 2013.

Without further ado, here’s Liana:

Liana_Finck_09Finck: Feb 25:13

My parents tell me that I started drawing when I was five months old. Drawing was the thing I loved to do, and it earned me praise; it was my ticket into the world. I needed a ticket, because when I was a kid I was an awkward weird-o who couldn’t make eye contact or talk loudly enough for people to hear, and who was brought to fear and trembling by the sound of blenders, vacuum cleaners. There was always a strong connection for me between making pictures and looking at them. I think I started to draw early because I was surrounded by pictures. My mom drew all the time, virtuosically and with joy–watching her draw was magic. Our house was also full of children’s books. I still read them: William Steig, Maurice Sendak, Maira Kalman. Those books still seem to me like the most sophisticated – and the most human – form of expression.

I’ve been under the spell of The New Yorker since I was twelve or fourteen. My family had donated to WNYC and received a year of the magazine as a free bonus gift. (They’ve been renewing their membership since then). One of my first New Yorker memories is of Saul Steinberg’s obituary. Something clicked when I looked at the pictures that accompanied it. I also remember looking at Roz Chast’s cartoons for the first time, and falling in love. I rediscovered Maira Kalman and William Steig, whom I had known from their children’s books. These drawings were the adult versions of the brilliant kids’ books illustrations that had always enchanted me.

The more streamlined, punch-liney, black and white New Yorker cartoons fascinated and daunted me. I was funny, and I was good at drawing, but my mind sprawled all over the place, ran in tangents. My life’s struggle has been to impose order on this chaos, and so I’ve always been attracted by precise art-forms in which every tiny piece matters. It seemed natural that I should try my hand at some cartoons. I tried, gave up, tried again. I sent a few cartoons to the New Yorker when I was sixteen. They were really bad. I don’t remember getting a rejection slip. I kept drawing them, but didn’t send any in again for a few years. I felt like I’d crossed a boundary that shouldn’t have been crossed.

In a drawing class I was taking Sophomore year at art college, in which we were allowed to choose our own projects, I hung fifty cartoons I’d made on the wall during my critique. Suddenly, the classroom emptied of students. I’m still trying to figure out what that was all about. Were the cartoons terrible? (Yes). Did the other kids hate New Yorker cartoons in general? (Yes). Was it disrespectful to make New Yorker cartoons for a drawing class? (Yes, but screw the academy). I felt like a presumptuous monster. I sent the cartoons to The New Yorker by mail. I got a rejection slip that time.

I came to The New Yorker’s office with a batch when I was twenty-four. The cartoonists in their waiting room were very nice. Bob Mankoff, the editor, was encouraging. He flipped through my cartoons and said, “Print these out bigger and bring them back.” I meant to, but I kept putting it off. I was afraid I’d misunderstood him somehow. I stayed away for two years.

I came back when I was twenty-six. This time, the stakes were less high than they’d seemed in the past. I was working on a graphic novel, and I felt anchored by it. I wasn’t as desperate to be ‘discovered’ as a cartoonist – I just wanted a reason to draw cartoons, and showing them at The New Yorker felt like an adventure. By coincidence, the day I went in, a film crew was shooting for a documentary about the New Yorker cartoons, and many of The New Yorker cartoonists were there, and a lot of prospective cartoonists. I had to wait for hours and got to know a bunch of people. I was happy. The gathering felt like a meeting of like-minded people, not a club I didn’t belong to. I decided to keep coming back every week. And I did.

Forcing myself to make ten cartoons every week has taught me how to fight various demons, including the big one: writer’s block. I’ve become a much stronger and saner graphic novelist, writer, human. I love the process of making New Yorker cartoons (especially the process of coming up with them. Free-drawing makes me feel completely alive), but I still feel self-conscious, like I’m trying to impersonate some witty, dapper New Yorker Cartoonist I have in my head. I’m missing something that I think other New Yorker cartoonists have: the ability to think objectively, translate an idea into a picture. I have something else, instead – a mind that makes surprising, organic leaps, and can’t do anything else. I used to think this was a failing, caused by the same thing that made me a weird-o when I was a kid, but I wonder now whether it’s just a way of thinking many people have: writers? Artists? Women?

I need to learn certain things from that idealized New Yorker cartoonist who lives in my head. How to be prolific rather than perfect. How to force myself to take a step back sometimes, as if this (being good, being noticed) weren’t the only thing that mattered to me. How to learn from my mistakes. By learning these things, I believe that I will finally learn how to acknowledge my real thoughts and feelings, survey them without falling in, and give them form, let them out.





Ms. Finck’s new book,

A Bintel Brief

A Bintel Brief, will be released April 15th from Ecco Press.

Link to Ms. Finck’s New Yorker work on the magazine’s Cartoon Bank site here.

An excerpt from Ms. Finck’s webcomic, “Diary of A Shadow” appears below.  Click on it to enlarge.

(Photo of Ms. Finck: John Madere)










New film on New Yorker Cartoonists: “Very Semi-Serious”

We’ve known that Leah Wolchok has been hard at work on her film about New Yorker cartoonists and thought this was an excellent time to check in with her (Ink Spill will revisit Very Semi-Serious in a matter of weeks).  We asked Leah to describe her film, and give us an idea of who’s in it (so far). Here’s what she had to say:


Very Semi-Serious is an offbeat meditation on humor, art and the genius of the single panel.  The film takes an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at the 88-year old New Yorker and introduces the cartooning legends and hopefuls who create the iconic cartoons that have inspired, baffled—and occasionally pissed off—all of us for decades.

The film has been a labor of love and obsession for 6 ½ years. The film is supported by Tribeca Film Institute, IFP, the Pacific Pioneer Fund, Women Make Movies and BAVC. We are working closely with cartoon editor Bob Mankoff, and we’ve interviewed a dozen cartoonists, including Roz Chast, Michael Maslin, Liza Donnelly, Sam Gross, Mort Gerberg, Lee Lorenz, Matt Diffee, Drew Dernavich, Zach Kanin, Emily Flake, Liam Walsh and Liana Finck, who recently published her first cartoon in The New Yorker.  Next up is Bruce Eric Kaplan. 

We’ve also filmed scenes with Gahan Wilson, PC Vey, Sidney Harris, David Sipress, Mike Twohy, Joe Dator, Bob Eckstein, Robert Leighton, Farley Katz, Benjamin Schwartz, Carolita Johnson, Felippe Galindo, David Borchardt, Corey Pandolph, Paul Noth and Barbara Smaller.

Jack Ziegler and Andy Friedman both created original artwork for the film.

In a few weeks we are launching our website and trailer, featuring animation, interviews and never-before-seen footage from the New Yorker headquarters, cartoonists’ studios and inside the homes of caption contest devotees.  Plus a killer ping pong match between Bob Mankoff and Puzzlemaster Will Shortz.