Oh the Shame!


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?”


Yeah, right.


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.

Mick Stevens’ Illustrated song; Peter Steiner’s blog Hopeless but not Serious; New Yorker’s Cartoon Issue out

From Mick Stevens’ site mickstevens.com, October 24, 2011,  this illustrated song


And a reminder that Peter Steiner has a brand new blog, Hopeless but not Serious, wherein he posts daily energetic graphic swipes at politics, politicians, etc..


Finally:  The 15th annual New Yorker Cartoon Issue hits the stands today.  It features a wonderful cover by George Booth, and includes color work by the likes of Mark Alan Stamaty, Emily Flake, Zach Kanin, and Roz Chast.   There’s a b&w spread of work by the late Leo Cullum, and The Funnies, where you’ll find drawings by Jack Ziegler, Lee Lorenz, Bruce Eric Kaplan, and more.  There’re a handful of cartoonists sprinkled among the ads as well (Marisa Acocella Marchetto, Danny Shanahan, and Liza Donnelly).


Liza Donnelly curates exhibit; Chast speaks in Princeton; Gahan Wilson signs in NYC; Mankoff and Cartoon Violence

From Liza Donnelly’s blog, When Do They Serve The Wine, September 29, 2011, “International Cartoon and Humor Festival in France, 2011” (with slide show)


From Princeton Patch, September 30, 2011, “New Yorker Cartoonist Roz Chast to Speak at Library Benefit”

From Convention Scene, September 30, 2011, this post noting a signing by Gahan Wilson: NYC-Nuts Signing


From The Gothamist, September 29, 2011, “The New Yorker Admits To Troubling/Amusing Spike In Cartoon Body Count” — ( with a link to Bob Mankoff’s blog post on newyorker.com)

Posted Note: Cartoon Library


A few years ago I put up eight foot long by eight foot high bookshelves exclusively devoted to holding the sprawling collection of cartoon books my wife (and fellow cartoonist) Liza Donnelly, and I have collected over the years. Before the cartoon library wall of shelves went up, our cartoon collection was here and there throughout the house, in piles on various shelves.  It might take twenty minutes to find a desired book, or it might never happen.


Once the shelves were up, and the shelving of books began, it became obvious that the cartoon library wouldn’t be the place to go for cartoon books in our home –- it was just another place to go.


What I didn’t realize was that I was reluctant to remove favorite cartoon collections from my work room. Most of these books have been at arm’s reach my entire cartoon working life – they had to stay put (included among the within reach books: certain titles by Thurber, Addams, Peter Arno, Steinberg, and Soglow).  Our Thurber collection had to stay nearby my work room, on bookshelves in our living room.  So did our small collection of graphic novels and comic book anthologies.


In the last few months I’ve taken certain books out of the cartoon library, and brought them back closer to my desk.  The most recent transfer was Superman: The Complete History by Les Daniels.  I love its cover – a blow up of the early Superman. One of these days Daniel’s companion volume, Batman: The Complete History will be retrieved from the library.   As there’s no space left on any of the shelves in my room, it will have to rest on top of the Superman book, in a pile.