Wednesday, April 16, 2014

My Moment with Bob Mankoff

Last month I attended a signing event at a Manhattan Barnes & Noble for Bob Mankoff's new memoir How about Never--Is Never Good for You?: My Life in Cartoons. This is the first time I got to see the New Yorker's cartoon editor. It came amidst a major marketing blitz for the book which included a segment on "60 Minutes" just two days before. Mr. Mankoff spoke with candor and humor about cartoons, the New Yorker, and what he does for a living. I arrived ten minutes early and he was already addressing the audience.

Bob Mankoff's signing event at Barnes & Noble, 86th Street

When it was time to introduce myself at the signing, I could think of two major points that might be relevant to him. One was that I have been a finalist four times running in his Moment magazine Cartoon Caption Contest, although I have never been a winner. The other is that I am the perpetrator of this blog in which New Yorker cartoons are a frequent subject. Naturally, I decided to go with both.

This blog, it turns out, is not anywhere on Bob Mankoff's radar, at least not by name, and who could forget the name? So much for my status as a minor celebrity. The Moment Cartoon Caption Contest is, of course, his baby, although I would not expect any name recognition of the contest finalists. Whether my success as a finalist in four straight contests is a unique achievement I don't know. What I do know is that I am not a four time "winner" and may never win the contest at all. Nevertheless, that's what he inscribed; I have it in writing. It's actually nice to have the winning inscription, even if it is in error. Now Bob Mankoff has given me a brand new goal I can work towards: winning the Moment magazine Cartoon Caption Contest four times. Then his inscription will prove to have been prescient. I guess I'll keep you posted.

My copy of How About Never--Is Never Good for You?:  My Life in Cartoons (2014) is inscribed with a self portrait "For Stephen/The 4 time/Moment cartoon /caption contest/winner!/Bob Mankoff." If only it were true!

Signed copies of the memoir were still available at the 86th Street Barnes & Noble when I last checked. They do not contain the self-portrait.
Barnes & Noble still had a stack of autographed copies on a recent visit.
A bookstore copy of How About Never--Is Never Good for You?:  My Life in Cartoons (2014) with Bob Mankoff's signature.

May 4, 2014 Update:  Signed copies of this book are sold out at the 86th Street Barnes & Noble.

May 20, 2014 Update:  It's happened at last. I have won the Moment Cartoon Caption Contest for January/February 2014. Thus with one contest successfully under my belt, Bob Mankoff's book inscription has gone from being blatantly false to 25% correct. I suppose it's a good day for both of us.
Moment Cartoon Caption Contest Winning Caption for January/February 2014

May 9, 2015 Update:  Good news again. My caption been voted the winner of the January/February 2015 contest, which officially brings me halfway to my goal of winning four times. Maybe Bob Mankoff knew what he was doing when he made his little "mistake."

Moment Cartoon Caption Contest Winning Caption for January/February 2015

September 12, 2015 Update:  With my latest winning caption, the Mankoff Prophecy is 75% fulfilled.  But this may be Bob Mankoff's last cartoon as he apparently hands over the cartooning reigns to Benjamin Schwartz.
Moment Cartoon Caption Contest Winning Caption for May/June 2015

April 7, 2016 Update:  Two years after the book signing, the Mankoff Prophecy at last has been fulfilled. But the cartoonist is now Benjamin Schwartz. So does it still count?
Moment Cartoon Caption Contest Winning Caption for November/December 2015

Note:  You can read more about the New Yorker's cartoon editor Bob Mankoff here and, if you insist, here.

The history of my involvement in the Moment magazine Cartoon Caption Contest is in the archives here.

Posts in celebration of National Library Week may be found here.

Posts about Passover may be found here.


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