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Book review: Bob Mankoff’s ‘How About Never–Is Never Good for You?: My Life in Cartoons’

Earlier this week, I received an advance copy of Bob Mankoff’s new book, How About Never–Is Never Good for You?: My Life in Cartoons. The first test of whether I’m excited about a book is whether after pulling it from the package, I sit down and read it or put it aside with a mental note to come back to it. Bob’s book was a page turner from the moment I cracked it open. A great balance of cartoons (not just his) and anecdotal stories about the cartoons. It’s an easy read both because of his writing style and every other paragraph there’s a funny cartoon. From interviews, I get the sense that Bob’s a New York narcosis, but that doesn’t come through in this book. He has his earliest cartoons (they’re not great) and you can see his development over time. All in all, I can heartily recommend this to anyone who wants enjoys magazine/gag cartoons and the New Yorker.

Here’s a Wall Street Journal interview with Bob. They cover a range of topics in and outside of the book – all cartooning related. It’s worth the time if you’re interested in magazine cartoons or the New Yorker.

Community Comments

#1 Doug Bratton
March/27/2014
@ 6:13 pm

Bob’s book “The Naked Cartoonist” was excellent, certainly worthwhile for new and experienced cartoonists alike. I’m looking forward to reading this one.

#2 Dale Stout
March/27/2014
@ 8:48 pm

I rushed out to Barnes and Noble and bought the book. I contemplated ordering a signed copy online, but I couldn’t wait. All the news, hype and press releases have been a great buildup.

As a side note, I really like Bob’s ping-pong videos on YouTube (table tennis, as perhaps they say in New York?) I didn’t know that Bob is left handed – maybe that makes him funnier somehow. He might be able to take me at ping-pong – he’s pretty good.

I had to start off reading the cartoons first, out of habit. Great stuff.

#3 Ivan Camilli
March/29/2014
@ 2:43 am

?How About Never?Is Never Good for You?? Yeah, I bet that?s what he thinks when he rejects hundreds of cartoonists submissions every week!!!

But besides that he seems to be a good and cool guy. I like his cartoons and his book will be a valuable addition to my art books collection.

Thanks for posting this interview.

#4 Frank M Hansen
March/31/2014
@ 1:47 pm

Great interview. It is god to break down humor every now and then to see why something worked or didn’t and what we as humans usually lean towards when presented with humor. Thanks for sharing.

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