Ed Koren – RIP

New Yorker cartoonist Ed Koren has passed away.

Edward Benjamin (Ed) Koren
December 13, 1935 – April 14, 2023

From VTDigger:

Edward Koren, who spent more than six decades delighting readers of the New Yorker with his unmistakably shaggy and joyous cartoons, died Friday at his home in Brookfield. He was 87 years old. 

Koren’s wife, Curtis, confirmed his death to the New York Times

sold his first cartoon to the New Yorker in 1962. The magazine would go on to publish some 1,100 of his pieces, according to the Times, featuring a universe of humans and animals sharing similarly immense noses and wild hair. 

[Ed] published many collections over the years — including his latest, “In the Wild,” in 2018 — and contributed to children’s books, a poetry collection and even a cookbook. 

While his New Yorker cartoons and covers are his most famous he wasn’t limited to only that outlet.

From Ed’s biography at his website:

Edward Koren has long been associated with the The New Yorker magazine, where he has published over 1000 cartoons, as well as numerous covers and illustrations. He has also contributed to many other publications, including The New York Times, Newsweek, Time, G.Q., Esquire, Sports Illustrated, Vogue, Fortune, Vanity Fair, The Nation and The Boston Globe. His illustrated books include “How to Eat Like a Child,” “Teenage Romance” and “Do I Have to Say Hello” (all by Delia Ephron), “A Dog’s Life” by Peter Mayle, “Pet Peeves” by George Plimpton, and “The New Legal Seafoods Cookbook” by Roger Berkowitz and Jane Doerfer. “Thelonius Monster’s Sky-High Fly Pie” was published in 2006, “Oops” by Alan Katz in 2008, “How to Clean Your Room in 2010 and “Poems I Wrote When No One Was Looking” by Alan Katz in 2011. He has also written and illustrated books for children, “Behind the Wheel,” and “Very Hairy Harry”. He has also published six collections of cartoons which first appeared in The New Yorker, the most recent being “The Hard Work of Simple Living”.

Inkspill pays tribute:

Last year, Ed reached his 60th anniversary as a New Yorker contributor, a feat equalled only by five other New Yorker artists. Ink Spill readers might recall that an interview appeared on this site celebrating that milestone. During the interview he told me that when he started out he tried to do “New Yorker cartoons” — something that didn’t quite work out at first. It wasn’t until he began drawing how and what he wanted to draw that he became, along with a select few in the 1960s, one of the magazine’s cartoon gods. Ed’s cartoon world encompassed both his life in the small town of Brookfield, Vermont as well as the isle of Manhattan, the place of his birth.

Maslin also linked to The New York Times and The New Yorker recognizing Ed on his passing:

The New Yorker‘s cartoon editor, Emma Allen:  “Edward Koren, The Cheery Philosopher Of Cartoons”

Ed liked to describe the single-panel cartoon as “a lightning-fast one-act play that takes place in a frozen moment in time, with a specific goal: laughter.” And the productions that his characters put on—whether suburban community theatre or Broadway spectacle—were sidesplitting. He was a philosopher of the form, but he never stopped marvelling at the miracle of its creation. “When pen hits the paper, the mind follows the hand,” he once told me.

The New York Times, “Edward Koren, Whose Cartoon Creatures Poked Fun At People, Dies”

With Charles Addams, James Thurber and Saul Steinberg, Mr. Koren was one of the most popular cartoonists in The New Yorker’s long love affair with humor. To connoisseurs, his bristling pen-and-ink characters, with or without captions, were instantly recognizable — nonconfrontational humans and a blend of fanged crocodile and antlered reindeer who poked fun at a society preoccupied with fitness fads (bike-riding), electronic gadgets (cellphones) and pop psychology.

Vermont’s Seven Days:

Koren’s artwork is warm, approachable and instantly recognizable. He’s known for his drawings of people (and other creatures) who often had lots of hair, and for gags that display a nuanced understanding of human nature. Koren observed trends and poked good-natured fun at them.

He drew his first cartoon for the New Yorker in 1962  and continued to publish in the magazine until the week of his death: a  drawing of his signature furry folk appears in the April 17 issue.

Liza Donnelly remembers Ed Koren:

One of the wonderful things about the professional community I am a part of is that it’s small and we all know each other. The down side of that intimacy is losing people. Yesterday, we lost one of the greats, Ed Koren, and it is reverberating throughout our small gang of New Yorker cartoonists.

Most of the drawing above are © The New Yorker; the rest are © Ed Koren

One thought on “Ed Koren – RIP

  1. I fell in love with Ed Koren’s cartoons as a freshman at Barnard College in 1968, with my own New Yorker subscription. Shortly after, I learned that my regular babysitting-gig family were friends of Ed’s and he needed a babysitter while he was visiting New York. He seemed genuinely pleased when I admired his cartoons — me a young college student. Oh, I loved to visit his drafting table after the kids were sleeping! I ended up with several inscriptions of books as well as a cookbook he made for his kids’ school, and a quick sketch he gave me. In his published cartoons, I could commonly see his friends (for whom I also babysat) especially shaggy Shale B. I was thrilled every time Ed signed (with quick sketches) something for me, and he always seemed “thrilled” that I was thrilled. Years later, when I wrote to him, I still got a personalized card in return. He was a real mensch.

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