New Yorker Cartoonist Drew Signature Creatures 1K Times

Edward Koren's work lampooned without offending, critic says
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 17, 2023 7:03 PM CDT
Edward Koren Drew 1K New Yorker Cartoons
Cartoonist Edward Koren, discusses his new book at Capitol Grounds in Montpelier, Vt., in 2018.   (AP Photo/Lisa Rathke)

Edward Koren, a longtime cartoonist for the New Yorker magazine known for his hairy, huminoid creatures, has died. He was 87. Koren died of lung cancer on Friday in Brookfield, Vermont, said his wife, Curtis Koren. He created more than 1,000 cartoons of the long-snouted creatures for the New Yorker, the AP reports, including covers, since the 1960s. He also wrote and illustrated books and served as Vermont's second cartoonist laureate for three years. Koren said he never ran out of material, often writing down what he heard people say as fodder for his art.

"What captures my attention is all the human theater around me. I can never quite believe my luck in stumbling upon riveting mini-dramas taking place within earshot (and eyeshot), a comedy of manners that seems inexhaustible," he wrote about his exhibition at Columbia University in 2010. Koren, who was born in New York City, moved full time to Vermont more than 30 years ago to the tiny village of Brookfield, where he served as a volunteer firefighter. His most recent book, Koren in the Wild, published in 2018, features cartoons spanning about 40 years, poking fun at country and city dwellers.

"I love how he skates right on the edge. He shows us how ridiculous and how precious we can all be without at all offending anybody," Karen Mittelman, then executive director of the Vermont Arts Council, said at the time. Koren told the AP that he was fond of a quotation by Lily Tomlin that basically says no matter how cynical you get, it's impossible to keep up. "And I can’t keep up," he said in 2018. "There's always something where your jaw drops."

(More obituary stories.)

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