AVC: How did you get involved with The New Yorker? Did they come to you, or did you go to them?See, we do sometimes still write about The New Yorker!
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.
Hello! I’m Emily Gordon, a content strategist, critic, and copywriter. Emdashes, born in 2004, spent its formative years as a New Yorker fan blog. (The project garnered some nice compliments and press.) It’s now a collection of conversations—generally civilized—about punctuation, magazines, movies, design, and other things that stir me.
Over the years, I’ve worked with a small army of culture writers, editors, and artists. You can read all about the people who've helped build Emdashes here at “Who We?” (That’s a New Yorker joke. Old habits die hard.)
I welcome submissions, questions, corrections, and ardent, obsessive contributors. I also host occasional book-related contests and giveaways. Questioners and publishers, just email me.
Looking for The New Yorker magazine? Kudos on your classy taste. Here’s how to contact The New Yorker.
The original Emdashes pencil logo was designed by Jennifer Hadley, based on a 1943 Dorothy Gray ad.