Not many books should come with warning labels, but Rob Roger’s No Cartoon Left Behind should be one of them. It’s not the content that’s troubling. It’s the sheer size of his book. If everyone could find time to work out and build muscles like Tom Richmond this book wouldn’t be a problem, but alas, I have to beg those with chronic back pain to find something else to read.
All kidding aside, Rob’s best of book raises the bar of what a career milestone collection should be. Here are the characteristics that make this book worth picking up next time you’re at your local book store or on Amazon (which at this writing has only 4 left in stock) .
1. The book is 390 pages. Apparently that’s how many pages it takes to print a 25-year retrospective. You’d think to fill 390 pages, Rob would have to include just about every cartoon he’s ever done – including the ones that suck. Since that doesn’t appear to be the case it either means Rob has been very consistent in his quality or he’s drawn several million less-than-steller cartoons that didn’t make it into the book.
2. The layout is impressive. Maybe I’m just used to Pelican’s Best Editorial Cartoons of the Year volumes with two similarly sized cartoons per page. Rob (or whoever laid out this volume) spent a good deal of time layout each page. Each page has a different layout. Sometimes it’s a big cartoon punctuated with smaller cartoons, sometimes it’s five small cartoons and the rest of the time it’s something in between.
3. Rob added a lot of small touches – like a note and date each cartoon ran. Cartoons that require a backstory for us non-Pittsburgh residents are thoughtfully present. He’s included writings from his blog, doodles from campaign conventions, reproductions of his Newsweek cover, and the Newsweek Perspectives page where all three cartoon slots went to him.
4. The book has 25 chapters! organized by topic – with snappy chapter titles.
5. It has an entertaining foreword written by Pulitzer Prize humor columnist Dave Berry who recounts his successful attempt to crash a private Who’s Who 2000 Democratic convention party with the help of Rob, Chip Bok and other cartoonists who pretended to be Dave’s security detail (for believability, they stick the end of a phone cord in their ear and run the rest down the back of their jackets like Secret Service agents ear pieces).
Rob is one of those genuine good guys with a good deal of talent. This best of volume speaks to the later. If you buy his book and catch up to him in real life and ask him to autograph it you’ll discover the former is true as well.