Ed Koren – 60 Years at The New Yorker

Edward Koren first appeared as a New Yorker cartoonist in the issue of May 26, 1962,
his latest for the magazine appeared in this week’s issue dated May 30, 2022.

Ed Koren's first New Yorker cartoon (left) and his latest (right)

Michael Maslin interviews Ed Koren on the occasion of 60 years at The New Yorker.

MM: So, here you are in your 60th year contributing to the magazine. Incredible! I looked up a lot of stuff about you in preparation for this talk, and one of the things I found was that you are #6 on the all-time longevity list of New Yorker cartoonist contributors.

EK: You mean I’m not first? [EK & MM laugh]

MM: Sorry, no. Steig’s in first place with 73 years.

EK:  That’s impressive. So 73 years. Wow. 

MM: You bypassed your buddy [Saul] Steinberg, who contributed for 58 years. You’re in rarified air up there in the 60 year category, Ed.  [the others: Chon Day, 67 years; Al Ross, 65 years; George Price, 62 years, and Mischa Richter, 61 years].

© Condé Nast

MM: Here’re two quotes from you, from very different times, that fit in here. One’s from 1983, and the other much later, 2010. but I feel they’re related: 

You said you “develop cartoons by instinct,” and in the other you asked: “How do you seize the moment.”  Cartoonists have some kind of instinct to recognize at that very moment that we should grab something.  

EK: And to structure them so that the timing is just right. The caption for one thing, or setting up a situation. For instance, an idea came to me the other day, and I thought that could be funny, but I have to figure out how to do it. How to really make it funny, and not mundane. What physical moment should it be put in? And how the caption should work: frontwards, backwards? The most important surprise line in front, the back, the middle? On and on and on and on — the decisions. But once you get a start, it’s kind of easier to try and figure it out that way, kind of knowing where you want to go, but you’re not quite sure how. And so working these out is exactly what you’re talking about. It’s all very personal —  what you think is the most effective way of conveying what you want to convey. 

An enlightening Ink Spill interview with master cartoonist Ed Koren.

Browse the Edward Koren pages at The Cartoon Bank.