A Cartoonist’s Diary

Shannon Wheeler: Day Two — The New Yorker

The New Yorker is one of the few magazines which traditionally has its cartoonists submit work in person. Once a week veterans and newbies hang out together in a small room, waiting to show editor Bob Mankoff their cartoons, usually in sets of around ten apiece. Bob has an amazing memory and an even better eye. He always calls me out when I take a short cut with a cartoon. This week’s group of cartoonists included Sam Gross, Corey Pandolph, Drew Dernavich, and Gahan Wilson.

Gahan Wilson signed my (his) book and did an appropriately absent drawing for a blank book.

Sam Gross raves.

Traditionally, the cartoonists go out to lunch. Someone almost spilled wine on my sketchbook. They apologized, and I said, “Don’t worry, this is not art.” The phrase became a theme of the evening.

On to $7 pitchers with a small crew of younger cartoonists—and jokes that got worse and worse.

We get a bite up in Harlem, then take the subway back down to a comedy event that Corey’s friend is stage managing. Oddly, I know the performers: Julia Wertz, Michael Kupperman, and Kate Beaton.

We were a few sheets to the wind by this point.

At McSorley’s bar later on, I told a story about my first comic convention as a pro. Nobody at the con was interested in what I had to offer, so I started taking a buck to draw any superhero taking a crap. It wasn’t long before every kid at the convention was lining up for a sketch. Everyone at our table at the bar that night had to take a shot and draw their own contribution. We voted that the bat-pole poop was the winner.

Shannon Wheeler is the Eisner Award-winning creator of Too Much Coffee Man, and contributes cartoons to The New Yorker. His latest book, Oil and Water, is in stores now. He is currently at work on the Bible.