Saturday, October 6, 2012

Book Review: The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest Book

The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest Book (2008)
Introduction by Robert Mankoff

By its nature, The New Yorker's cartoon caption contest turns selected offbeat cartoons into long-distance collaborations between the cartoonist and contestant. Perhaps it's more correct to liken the contest to solving a complex puzzle using the tools of creativity and humor. The surprise here is just how funny the resulting gags are. It's also very interesting to see three very different yet successful approaches to the weekly challenge, as well as a couple of inspired runners up.

The New Yorker first ran its cartoon caption contest in 1999 but it didn't become a weekly feature until 2005. How did we ever manage without it? The cartoons here tend to be visually strong, with very specific incongruities that cry out for a few brilliant words to pull it all together. This collection was published in 2008. It presents the results of one hundred contests, the best of about three years' worth of the feature. It's a very successful collection, and I'd say a second volume is overdue.

Note:  My post about The Best of the Rejection Collection Event can be read here.



  1. This is a fun one! Thanks for linking it in.

    1. You're welcome, Carole. I'd think a caption contest like this might appeal to you with your own prodigious puzzling skills.