I got involved pretty early when this Dow-Jones publication was launched. NBEW only printed one cartoon per weekly issue. Their editorial offices were in Princeton, New Jersey, so I didn't have any personal contact, except occasionally by phone. The first editor, Ellen Kolton, LOVED my cartoons and puchased them like they were going out of style, sometimes as many as five at a time. Of course, we cartoonists realize that this sort of thing can't possibly last, and sure enough Ellen eventually left NBEW to work for INC. magazine (which has never published cartoons, by the way). I was so devastated that I called her at INC., at their Massachusetts office, and jokingly pleaded with her to get back to NBEW, or at least convince INC. to start using cartoons. I still remember one of her kindly comments to me over the phone: "Y'know, The New Yorker publishes cartoons, too!"
Anyway, and inevitably, her replacement wasn't so enthusiastic about my work, but still kept buying at a decent pace, out of habit, I imagine. Then more editors came and went, and each one seemed even less enthusiastic. Sales came fewer and farther apart, until the publication folded in 1999. According to my records, NBEW printed 113 of my cartoons, which I consider a pretty good run.
Aside: For a while there, it seemed like there was a contest between me and New Yorker cartoonist Tom Cheney as to who would be the principal cartoonist at NBEW. In the end, Cheney won out easily. The late Henry Martin, another New Yorker cartoonist, also appeared regularly. When a small paperback of the best cartoons from NBEW was printed, I had six cartoons included, and Cheney had about ten times as many.
Cartoon Editors should never change jobs — unless they're not buying my cartoons, of course!
Note the date of publication — Christmas Day, 1988. The quote, of course, is from “A Visit From Saint Nicholas”. Because of its literary merit, I was hoping to sell this gag to the New Yorker, but many months before Christmas, I casually included it in a batch to NBEW — and to my dismay the editor snapped it up. So Cartoonist/Editor Lee Lorenz at The New Yorker never had a crack at it. My advice to cartoonists: don't send it out if you don't want it sold!
Visit this page to post general comments about the site.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org