The Washington Post

BOB MANKOFF: Cartoon editor offers peek behind New Yorker curtain. Is now good for you?

Bob Mankoff, photographed in his New Yorker offices.


THERE IS SOMETHING refreshing about talking to another creative person whose work requires the ability to toggle brain function between “editor” and “gag cartoonist.” It is not so easy to shift quickly from judge/jury/red-mark mode — as you dissect someone’s else work — to the “creating from scratch” mode without blowing a mental gasket off the line.

But how Bob Mankoff does it, even I’ll never fully fathom.

Mankoff, of course, is not only a veteran cartoonist, but also the cartoon editor of the New Yorker magazine since 1997. And he shows his gift for deftly riding that professional duality in his new memoir, “How About Never — Is Never Good for You?” — which naturally is a savvy nod to his 1993 cartoon turned catchphrase.

With the new book out, and with Mankoff coming to Washington’s Politics & Prose bookstore next week, Comic Riffs caught up with the editor/cartoonist to talk about how he arrived at his style; how he cultivates a new crop of cartoonists; and the power of an obssessively doting Jewish mother.

To read our profile of Mankoff (which is also published in Friday’s print Style section), just click HERE.

[ROZ CHAST: Forthcoming memoir about aging parents is hardly the same old story]

(Cartoon by Bob Mankoff/ Courtesy of Henry Holt)


Writer/artist/visual storyteller Michael Cavna is creator of the "Comic Riffs" column and graphic-novel reviewer for The Post's Book World. He relishes sharp-eyed satire in most any form.
Show Comments
Most Read
Close video player
Now Playing

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.