Bob Mankoff is the cartoon editor, or as they probably call it, “Editor of Idea Drawings” of the New Yorker magazine. His TED talk while being about the humour of the New Yorker, is more widely about what makes us laugh, and sometimes cringe at a cartoon, and more importantly, why. Indirectly he also touches on how the New Yorker has managed to increase circulation and profits in an environment where every other magazine I can think of is going to the wall in the face of digital competition.
The old adage, a picture tells a thousand words is right only when the picture captures in some way the essence of a subject, has a context that resonates, but also challenges us to see things differently, and often confronts beliefs in some way.
I am a strategy and marketing consultant, a wonderful part of my intellectual diet is the few cartoons, or” idea drawings” that I see regularly.
Tom Fishburne is a weekly treat, poking fun at marketing , marketers, and the silly things they do, always constructively, thoughtfully, and with a laugh.
Hugh Macleod’s Gapingvoid cartoons are a staple of my daily diet, just an idea about life, expressed in a business card sized drawing that is often profound.
Then there is XKCD, which comes with the warning “This comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)”. Often I do not get the humor, I am not a nerd, but when I do, it tickles something deep.
Then there is David Rowe, the cartoonist for the Financial Review in Australia, and his often disturbing take on politics, its characters and their foibles is a delight to an old cynic like me.
If being creative is seeing things from a different perspective, and being able to simplify the complex, then cartoonists are the Alpha of the creative species.