Shortly after the first Rejection Collection appeared I was at a party and someone asked me if I was in the book. “Nope,” I said. “Why,” my persistent inquisitor asked, “because The New Yorker never rejects you?”
The truth is, of course, that I have a mountain of rejected work – a mountain as high and dusty and unorganized as any of my New Yorker cartoonist buddies. So much of this work is just plain awful – it had every right to be rejected by The New Yorker. But like any cartoonist, I still hold onto the notion that a few of these rejects are golden ( “How could The New Yorker reject this one?! How!!! ).
Back in 2006 when New Yorker cartoonist, Matt Diffee first put out a call for rejected work, I scooped up my golden rejects (lets say there were ten thousand) and submitted them. And yet – and oh how painful is this to admit: none of these cut the muster. My rejects were rejected. And an even sadder tale of woe: I resubmitted those very same drawings for the second Rejection Collection…and they were rejected again. Go ahead, laugh.
Much as The New Yorker has an invisible standard, so does the Rejection Collection – in a perverse reverse. You might say that my rejects, not up to snuff for The New Yorker, were not down to snuff for The Rejection Collection. They’re caught in between, in a rejection purgatory. I like to tell myself that if there’s ever a collection of cartoons rejected from The Rejection Collection, these might have a shot.
So what you have here in the brand new Best of The Rejection Collection (Workman), out just this month, are 293 drawings; if, as the second volume proclaimed, these drawings are ‘The Cream of The Crap” this new volume incorporating work from the first two Rejection Collections is definitely The Creamiest of the Crap.
I emailed Matt Diffee (with whom I’m no longer on speaking terms since he twice rejected my rejects. (Just kidding! ;-)) and asked him to explain what this new collection offers in the “new” department:
“…a new intro from me and an updated forward from Bob [Mankoff – The New Yorker’s Cartoon Editor] (including one of his own rejected cartoons) and we put a new appendix in the back with cartoons that the cartoonist themselves have rejected over the years from their friends or family.”
This new volume is what you want to take on the train with you, or to bed at night, or to the beach, or over the river and to the woods to Grandma’s house. It is at times insanely gross, which means, it will make you laugh despite your better judgment. Oh how I envy the cartoonists within its pages.