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#14: Mort Gerberg
Someone You Not Only Might Like, But Might Actually Love: One of the most prolific, versatile cartoonists of all time.
On Monday night I got to schlep to the Village to kvetch about the state of cartooning with my favorite alter kaker, Mort Gerberg. (He’d be verklempt that I used those terms correctly.)
Mort has been teaching me how to talk like a real New Yorker for most of my time here. He grew up in Brooklyn playing punchball and lived in New York for over 90 years. Here he is at dinner, speaking in wonder at his impression of modern Brooklyn:
“They’re all so young! They’re walkin’ around wearing diapers!”
I couldn’t have wished for a better role model for a cartoonist, New Yorker, or friend. He is a staunch advocate for cartoonists, for the art of cartooning, and even in his 90’s is still working, innovating, and learning about how to share his work with the world. Oh, and he’s still funny.
“I’m sorry, I can’t be at your book launch, I've got the shpilkes!”
I asked him to present the categories for Best Gag Cartoonist and Best Book Illustrator last week at the Reubens, because he’s both one of the most prolific New Yorker cartoonists, and happens to have contributed to, written, edited, or illustrated nearly 50 books in his career.
Any time a cartoonist asks for a book to help them with gag cartooning, the first words out of my mouth are Mort Gerberg. His book, “Cartooning: The Art and the Business” (Or as it’s called in the super-old version on my desk, “The Arbor House Book of Cartooning”) is referred to by many in the cartooning biz as the gag cartoonist’s “Bible.” It was blurbed by Charles Schulz (but what would he know about cartooning?!)
He’s one of my favourite people in the world.
I shlepped to his apartment on the Upper West Side to interview him a couple of years ago when he was inducted into the National Cartoonists Society Hall of Fame. You can watch it here: