Emdashes—Modern Times Between the Lines

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Before it moved to The New Yorker:
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Best of Emdashes: Hit Parade
A Web Comic: The Wavy Rule


The Great Kate Beaton on Drawing for The New Yorker

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From a recent A.V. Club interview about Kate Beaton’s essential new book, Hark! A Vagrant. The as-close-to-universally-beloved-as-it’s-possible-to-get-without-being-a-baby-panda Beaton and cartoonist Sam Means had a cartoon in the June 28 issue of the magazine (as “Beans,” which is a great combi-name). Are more forthcoming? Only Bob Mankoff knows for sure.
AVC: How did you get involved with The New Yorker? Did they come to you, or did you go to them?

KB: No, you have to submit to them. You give them packages. The New Yorker doesn’t come to anybody, not even the people who’ve been published there for 20 years. You have to submit, and you just keep doing it until they buy one.

AVC: What’s it like doing comics for them?

KB: It’s just a different audience—and by “audience,” I mean the New Yorker editor who buys your comic or doesn’t, and he’s the guy you want to really impress. I could do anything I wanted on my site, but I just wanted to get in somewhere where an editor said, “This is good enough,” or, “This is not good enough.” There’s a certain New Yorker sensibility, style, sense of humor, that I thought about when I was making them, like, “I want this to look like a New Yorker cartoon.” And I thought that’s how I should go about it. I didn’t write them, Sam Means wrote them, and I drew them. We had a partnership. But recently, I was on a panel with Roz Chast. She’s amazing, and she was like, “You shouldn’t adhere to any style, you should just do what you wanna do. You shouldn’t make it look like a New Yorker cartoon, you should make it look like yours.” Which I never really considered. [Laughs.] I mean, The New Yorker’s kind of an institution. But she probably is right. I enjoyed doing it, but maybe I would enjoy it more if I had stuck to my own sensibilities more. I don’t know.

See, we do sometimes still write about The New Yorker!

—Emily Gordon


I miss the old Emdashes.

Ah driedchar, I miss your handle in the comments, and our old playful sparring! Emdashes 3.0 is beginning to be in the works, starting with a design refresh. Maybe you and I could have a little New Yorker-related gchat each week and publish it, and scratch the old itch?

I’m not very good at “chat.” My typing speed is glacial. But I’d be pleased to be a contributing writer. Check out my “The New Yorker & Me” blog (thenewyorkerandme.blogspot.com).

I’d love it. And your new site is grand! Let’s talk in the next week or two and scheme about how we can collaborate.

Thanks for the positive feedback. I could write a weekly “The New Yorker & Me” column for Emdashes or I could do something more specific, like, say, my “Interesting Emendations” posts. I’m open to suggestions. The potential is vast. I suggest we discuss it via email. My address is driedchar@yahoo.com.

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2008 Webby Awards Official Honoree