Cartoonist lives that feature the art of the magazine cartoonist thrives at The New Yorker in the oddest of vacuums. Imagine if there were major league baseball without any minor leagues, or if Broadway existed and off-off-Broadway did not. In essence, this has been the situation in the world of magazine cartooning for at least a generation, as nearly every popular, mainstream magazine that used to run cartoons (and many of them did) has either gone out of business or has long stopped featuring cartoons.
For all intents and purposes, the only one left is the one that’s always been considered the best in the field – yes, The New Yorker. There was no good reason for the cartoons unlucky fate. Readers were not contacting their favorite magazines, demanding that cartoons be abolished. To the contrary, most of us will admit to flipping through The New Yorker‘s cartoons before getting to anything else in the magazine.
Some of us will admit to reading little else! Who hasn’t cut out a particular favorite? Who hasn’t taped a New Yorker cartoon to the refrigerator or office bulletin board, or sent one to a friend? Why on Earth would other magazines reject such a popular feature? “I think the demise of the magazine cartoon has to do with the ascendancy of the art director,” says Lee Lorenz, The New Yorker‘s art editor since 1973, and a cartoonist there since 1958.
The above columns are excepts from a magazine article in Connecticut Magazine’s August 1991 issue and profiles those cartoonist lives who draw cartoons for the highly revered market for gag cartoonists The New Yorker. I’ve previously written about New Yorker cartoons and thought it was time I shared this old article dating back so many moons ago. In a sense, the content is still timely because I know most artistic creatives and would-be cartoonists and even accomplished cartoonists can relate.
Thanks for visiting the ToonBlog and hope the actual pages from the article itself help to enlighten and inspire any magazine gag cartoon fans!