The first hardcover edition of The Complete Cartoons of The New Yorker was published in 2004 and included two CD-ROMs with digital images of the cartoons. The new paperback edition published earlier this fall is updated and expanded with more cartoons, and this time all of the images are crammed onto a single DVD-ROM.
Frequently topical and timely, the cartoons have set The New Yorker apart from other weekly culture magazines. One can easily spend a half an hour or more flipping through the pages of each issue to see the cartoons. With 400,000 copies of the first edition sold, there is no doubt that there are plenty of New Yorker cartoon readers willing to fork over the cash to own a new compendium of them.
The cartoons are grouped together by decade and provide an insight into the culture of each time period. Each decade grouping is given an introduction by one of the prominent culture commentators from that time. Only about 2,083 of the cartoons are included in this 10×11.5×1.5 inch paperback, but all 70,363 images are on the DVD-ROM.
As the editor’s note comments, one could consider the DVD-ROM to be the director’s cut. The cartoons selected for the book are not necessarily the best ones, but they were chosen as the cartoons most representative of the times. The book includes an index of artists that can aid in finding a particular cartoon, but the real search aid is the companion DVD-ROM. The cartoons are grouped by topic, in addition to being indexed by date and artist.
Now that they have published an edition with eight complete decades of cartoons (1925-2006), one has to wonder if the publishers will wait another decade for the next edition, or if they will provide “upgrades” each year? In any case, this edition is well worth the price tag for any dedicated reader of The New Yorker who has not already purchased the 2004 edition. In fact, I plan to give a copy to my father, whose subscription to the magazine in the early 90s provided me with hours of entertainment.