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How About Never--Is Never Good for You?: My Life in Cartoons by [Mankoff, Bob]
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How About Never--Is Never Good for You?: My Life in Cartoons Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 162 customer reviews

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Length: 304 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Mankoff was close to earning a PhD in psychology when he finally admitted that cartooning was his true calling. He developed his distinctive “dot” style as a vehicle for his heady sense of humor, had his first cartoon published in the New Yorker in 1977, and has been serving as the magazine’s cartoon editor since 1997. In a witty mix of memoir and New Yorker cartoon history exuberantly illustrated with New Yorker cartoons past and present, Mankoff discusses his mother’s complicated influence (“Humor thrives on conflict”), how his psychology background helps him understand what makes cartoons funny or thought-provoking, and why he created the Cartoon Bank, which transformed the profession. He also unveils the magazine’s cartoon selection process under editors William Shawn, Tina Brown, and David Remnick and describes his own rigorous assessment of 1,000 cartoons a week. Other cartoonists describe their working methods, and Mankoff even offers inside information on the New Yorker’s devilishly difficult Cartoon Caption Contest, which the late great movie critic Roger Ebert won in 2011 “after 107 tries.” A cartoon lover’s feast. --Donna Seaman


“Lucid, illuminating, and encouraging.” ―The New York Times Book Review

“Fascinating, forthright, and funny . . . Mankoff also writes with first-hand knowledge about the topic of laughter itself. He dares to ask the question, 'What makes something funny?', and answers it with intelligence, originality, and, of course, humor.” ―Roz Chast, cartoonist for The New Yorker

“Mankoff's deep understanding of humor, both its power and its practice, is the live wire that crackles through his new book. . . . How About Never is more than a memoir . . . it's also an enormous window into the mystery and alchemy behind the creation and selection of New Yorker cartoons.” ―The Washington Post

How About Never is not just a charming memoir but also a charming grab bag of cartoon history, cartoon theory (nothing too woolly), and shop talk.” ―The New York Times Book Review

“Is Bob Mankoff mad, a genius, or a mad genius? This book does not answer that question, but you'll love it.” ―Andy Borowitz

“This is a generous book, giving abundant credit to both the older generation of cartoonists whom the young Mr. Mankoff hero worshiped to the new blood he has brought to the magazine during his tenure.” ―Janet Maslin, The New York Times

“More than anyone, Bob Mankoff has kept the New Yorker tradition in cartooning alive, while managing to oversee its renewal. He's also a very funny guy, with either a stipple-pen in his hand or a computer keyboard beneath his fingers. And, if that's not enough, he's one of the few funny guys around who actually has something sensible to say about what makes funny funny and he does so here.” ―Adam Gopnik

“Evidence that The New Yorker's cartoons can still unerringly reflect the texture of our times.” ―The Wall Street Journal

“Hilarious . . . A unique look at how the best cartoons in the world are created.” ―Christopher Guest

“Fascinating . . . Mankoff offers a number of tips on the ‘intelligent humor' that makes it into the New Yorker--and even how to better your odds in the weekly caption process . . . Those who aspire to a career drawing for the New Yorker will find this essential reading.” ―Kirkus

How About Never serves up not only a mini-collection of great cartoons but also a look at the shift in styles through the editorships of legendary William Shawn, Tina Brown, and current editor David Remnick. Mankoff also provides a very funny and insightful look at how to win The New Yorker caption contest. . . A must read for devotees of the magazine.” ―Publishers Weekly

Product Details

  • File Size: 37925 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (March 25, 2014)
  • Publication Date: March 25, 2014
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00H0UT8T2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #217,969 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John Williamson TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 20, 2014
Format: 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:
...Read more ›
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By shiny on March 26, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Bob Mankoff, the current Cartoon Editor for The New Yorker magazine, has written a delightful, funny memoir of how and why he became a cartoonist. The title is taken from the caption from his most well known New Yorker cartoon, a quip also now found on magnets and occasionally in general conversation, but that idea of "Never" also could apply to the likelihood of getting a cartoon published in one of the few remaining magazines valuing cartoons.

This book is not part of well-known series of collected cartoons from The New Yorker Magazine; however, it is an perfect complement to the series. And it would make an excellent gift for anyone who appreciates a New Yorker cartoon or who needs to be introduced to them.

Mr. Mankoff humorously zips through the twists of his life and career as a cartoonist, but along the way he also explores what creates the essence of the New Yorker magazine's cartoon, and he does so with a fine sense of humor and great cartoons.

Along the way, you find out what the job of being the Cartoon Editor for The New Yorker actually entails, and you discover that cartooning is harder work than we all fantasize. Mr. Mankoff explains the decisions about which cartoons are chosen for publication, demonstrates how that particularly intelligent form of humor at The New Yorker has evolved (due to changing times, humor, and editors), and shows how a mildly funny idea and drawing can be improved into a cartoon contender for the New Yorker. As a bonus, Mr. Mankoff does a great job of teaching you how to win the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest (or at least how to approach the challenge and to improve your chances).

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Format: Hardcover
Some cartoons published in The New Yorker may puzzle those who do not get the artists' offbeat humor and obscure allusions. On the whole, however, loyal fans enjoy the whimsical drawings and captions that have long been a distinctive feature of this iconic publication. New Yorker cartoons stand out because of their amusing sight gags, puns, topical political references, and/or mockery of contemporary mores. A few of the cartoonists' favorite targets are yuppies, the arrogant rich, stuffy businessmen, married couples, and deceased men and women trying to gain admission to heaven.

Who decides what is funny and "New Yorkerish" enough to make the cut? One of the gatekeepers is Bronx-born Bob Mankoff, the magazine's cartoon editor since 1997. In his memoir, "How about Never? Is Never Good for You?" Mankoff provides an overview of his childhood, early influences, education, and career. In addition, he analyzes what goes into creating cartoons that will appeal to The New Yorker's audience. Finally, he tips his hat to the up-and-coming artists who, he hopes, will carry the torch for the foreseeable future.

Bob Mankoff is a self-proclaimed smart aleck who, like so many others aspiring cartoonists, papered his walls with rejection slips until he finally made the grade. Mankoff entertainingly talks about such creative geniuses as Sam Gross and the inimitable Roz Chast, and explains how and why he developed his "stippling" style. In addition, he points out that The New Yorker's standards and traditions have changed according to who has been at the helm. When Tina Brown was chief, she opened the door to risqué themes that her predecessor, William Shawn, would have firmly rejected. Now that David Remnick is the editor, the pendulum has swung more to the center.
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