Mankoff grew up in Queens, New York, and attended Music and Art High School (graduating in 1962) and Syracuse University (graduating in 1966).
Mankoff submitted more than 500 cartoons to The New Yorker for over two years before he had his first one published in 1977. One of his cartoons (captioned "No, Thursday's out. How about never—is never good for you?") is The New Yorker's most widely reprinted cartoon.
In 1992, Mankoff founded the online Cartoon Bank, a licensing platform for New Yorker cartoons and art, with more than 85,000 cartoons available for sale. Mankoff was hired as New Yorker cartoon editor in 1997; he credits his administration of the Cartoon Bank as being an important reason for why he was chosen to replace Lorenz. Tina Brown, The New Yorker's editor at the time, said of Mankoff, "Bob is not only a brilliant cartoonist himself, he's also an impassioned promoter, defender and curator of the art of cartooning. ... He's put himself out to nurture cartoonists."
Mankoff has stated that his all-time favorite New Yorker cartoonist is Jack Ziegler. He has also cited Shel Silverstein as an artist he would have liked as a contributing cartoonist. Under Mankoff, the magazine has brought in a new generation of cartoonists (including a number of female contributors); notable names include Pat Byrnes, J. C. Duffy, P. C. Vey, Farley Katz, Emily Flake, and Julia Suits. Mankoff usually contributes a short article to each issue of The New Yorker, describing some aspect of the cartooning process or the methods used to select cartoons for the magazine.
Under Mankoff's stewardship, in April 2005 the magazine began using the last page of each issue for the subsequently very popular "The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest" (prior that date, the Caption Contest had appeared as a back-page feature in the magazine's annual "Cartoon Issue"). (Mankoff himself contributes cartoons to Moment magazine's own monthly cartoon caption contest.
As a lecturer on the appreciation of humor, Mankoff is represented by the Leigh Bureau.
Mankoff is mentioned in MC Paul Barman's song "Cock Mobster" on the 2002 album Paullelujah!
Read more about this topic: Robert Mankoff
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