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WOMAN CARTOON EDITOR AT THE NEW YORKER

Emma Allen caricatureBob Mankoff, the cartoon editor at the fabled magazine, left last spring after 20 years on the job. He immediately accepted a job as “Humor and Cartoon Editor” at Esquire. Mankoff’s replacement is, surprise, a woman, a young woman — 29-year-old Emma Allen.

She’s been on staff at The New Yorker since 2012, merely five years. Some cartoonists submitted cartoons to the magazine for longer than that before being published there.

Allen has done some editing and whatnot for a New Yorker online feature called Daily Shouts — plus a little Talk of the Town and Shouts and Murmurs. She says she’s an avid fan of cartooning and points to a misspent youth cutting out and filing (in a lime-green folder) all the cartoons in The New Yorker. It’s a dubious credential, and it scarcely matches Mankoff’s decades of experience as a cartoonist and cartoon editor.

Allen’s job is to sift through a thousand or so submissions every week and cull out 50 or so to show to the editor, David Remnick, who makes the final selection. Allen has an assistant who helps.

Offhand, based upon Allen’s age and inexperience, it doesn’t seem likely that she will be able to find and nurture new talent for the magazine, which was one of Mankoff’s signal achievements as cartoon editor. I doubt she has the experience to tell newcomers how to tinker with and improve their cartooning enough to qualify for publication in The New Yorker, something Mankoff was always doing (or so he has told us). But then, I’m just a grumpy old man.

As for the actual cartoon content of the magazine going forward, we’ll wait and see. In interviews, Allen says she likes weird and surreal humor and hopes to have more full-page comic-strip-style cartoons. Even before she officially took office, we saw more whimsy and absurdity in the cartoons, a notable drift away from its traditional snide social commentary directed at the phoney urban snob of the Big Apple and his/her contemporary often trivial preoccupations. The change has already set in.

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com

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