Customer Review

24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How About Never: How about great cartooning fun from a master?, March 20, 2014
This review is from: How About Never--Is Never Good for You?: My Life in Cartoons (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Cartoonist Bob Mankoff has a long and rich history of putting pen to paper and creating images that make readers smile. In fact, the title of this book, How About Never--Is Never Good for You?: My Life in Cartoons has its origin in one of his most celebrated cartoons, one that comes from a famous Mankoff cartoon that illustrates a businessman on the phone, trying to duck out of a lunch appointment.

And there on the cover of the book is a self-depiction of the author with a wide grin on his face, complete with a lipstick kiss on his forehead. Get to page 6 within the introduction and you'll see the follow-up image: same "How about never--is never good for you?" quote, but with the black-cloaked Grim Reaper at the door. This is typical wittiness from the author as he approaches his 70th birthday
It's a splendid start to an excellent book, one that is about half illustrations and half anecdotes. The author explains that he had had submitted a multitude of cartoons to The New Yorker before selling the first one. We learn that he was a freelance cartoonist for the the magazine for twenty years before becoming the cartoon editor... and that was while the previous cartoon editor was still there.
Bob Mankoff founded the online Cartoon Bank in the early '90s, which is the agency that sells and licenses the cartoons from The New Yorker. He also edited a number of cartoon compilations, including two personal favorites: The New Yorker Book of Literary Cartoons and The New Yorker Book of Technology Cartoons. His own drawing style is distinctive, as are those of the other New Yorker artists, and to his credit, this book is made up of a good number of their works that are familiar to many of us.

Without dropping too many spoilers, about halfway through this book, Mankoff explores his love/hate relationship with computers, and the cartoons and illustrations are plentiful. He had started with a Radio Shack TRS-80 Model III in the mid-'80s, then moved on to the original Mac, commenting with his iconic with that using the mouse was "like drawing with a bar of soap."

Chapter Fourteen delves heavily into some of the other cartooning talent at the New Yorker, and some of the examples here are among the best of the best. One that is noteworthy is the classic cartoon by Peter Steiner, which went on to be one of the most cited, well known and reprinted in the magazine's history. It pictures one dog at a computer keyboard conversing with a canine friend, and is captioned: "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog."

The book is also somewhat of a guide of sorts for would-be cartoonists, offering a broad range of tips about keeping illustrations coherent and to the point, about the difference between funniness that works and doesn't, about how to build on originality. The book also explains how freelance cartoonists might approach the magazine, but keep in mind that the New Yorker has a truly intimidating accept vs. reject ratio.

How About Never--Is Never Good for You?: My Life in Cartoons illustrates (and pardon the pun) that Bob Mankoff is a true humorist, and it shows up on almost every page. Longtime readers of the New Yorker will appreciate this one, as it's a humorous and absorbing look at an urbane art form by one of most highly regarded top editors. New readers should appreciate the easy-going style, the background and the cartoons that have become contemporary classics.

JW ▪ 3/20/2014
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 

Comments


Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 21, 2014 6:31:59 PM PDT
Darcy Panak says:
Great review! I will have to get this book!

Posted on Mar 21, 2014 6:32:49 PM PDT
Darcy Panak says:
Great review! I will have to get this book!

Posted on Mar 24, 2014 11:13:51 PM PDT
Me too.

Posted on Mar 25, 2014 5:55:23 AM PDT
Thanks for your comments on my review. For anyone reading this, as a longtime reader of The New Yorker, and of course the cartoons therein, I might also suggest The Complete Cartoons of the New Yorker (2004), a huge +650 page collection that was edited by Bob Mankoff. It's a good one and worthy of a 5-star recommendation, but the included DVD-ROM is of abysmal quality. Get it for the book itself and use the DVD as a coaster.

Another well worth mentioning is The Naked Cartoonist (2002), also by Bob Mankoff. In this one he dissects and explains what a cartoon is, then explores the creative process. Read the reviews here, but this is a delight for humor lovers of all types.

Posted on Mar 27, 2014 1:22:56 PM PDT
Eric Selby says:
I just love this book. I am one of those who submit a caption every week and have done so for a long time, but, alas, alas, have, like Roger Ebert (except finally he wasn't) been a finalist.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 27, 2014 1:23:16 PM PDT
Eric Selby says:
You won't regret it.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 27, 2014 10:04:31 PM PDT
C.E. Selby, thanks for your feedback on my review of Bob Mankoff's latest. I've also submitted a few captions over the years, yet not a one has ever been in the running... so far. But I'm hoping.

And many thank for your comment!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 30, 2014 10:29:33 AM PDT
Eric Selby says:
But you must look again on page 3 where you are guaranteed to win! He says so. So I expect to see your winner soon. And you can expect to see my winner soon. Or else! Well, or else nothing, right?!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 31, 2014 1:24:35 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 31, 2014 1:25:29 AM PDT
He says that in the third page of the Introduction, but right now I would be satisfied with a replacement of my coffee mug that bears the title of this book. I've posted a note on his Facebook author page, asking where can I get a replacement on my aged coffee mug. The handle is cracked (no cliché, either)... any Thursday would be good for me.

I found a No, Thursday's Out Plate here on Amazon, but no coffee mug. If all else fails, I'll probably have to fall back on this set with the classic cartoon by Peter Steiner, and then give the plate away.

"On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog." Indeed.

Posted on Jun 22, 2015 8:55:27 AM PDT
Terrific review
‹ Previous 1 2 Next ›

Review Details