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The New (Diverse) Yorker Starts With Emma Allen


photo: Anna Watts for The Washington Post

The tiniest line and the big picture. That is her purview since becoming only the fourth cartoon editor in the magazine’s near-century-long history — and the first woman to ascend to that lofty title — after succeeding Bob Mankoff four years ago.

[Emma] Allen, 33, is shaking up the popular notion of just what a New Yorker cartoon is, knowing that imitation is the sincerest form of apathy: “There was a vernacular shorthand of what a New Yorker cartoon looked like that people were copying — it was getting into a cycle of preexisting jokes,” which is “rarely the best way to go for a laugh.”

 
cartoons by Ian Boothby/Pia Guerra, Sarah Akinterinwa; © Condé Nast

Nearly 100 cartoonists have made their New Yorker debut during Allen’s tenure — about half of whom have been women, [Michael] Maslin says, noting that as a significant increase.

[Bob] Mankoff, Allen’s predecessor, acknowledges in an email that during his editorship, 90 percent of the cartoons came from “40 or so” contract cartoonists, who ?were a diverse group when came to height and weight, but that’s about it.”

Michael Cavna, at The Washington Post, sees the new boss as not the same as the old boss.

“Emma is smart, she is funny and she knows and appreciates humor,” [Roz] Chast says. “She’s pretty tactful, also. For instance, she has never called me up and said: ‘This batch is dreck! Why don’t you get a job in the box factory?!?’ ”

          
art by Sofia Warren; © Condé Nast

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