The second Rejection Collection is very similar to the first in that it is a wonderfully funny collection of cartoons that didn’t make it into the New Yorker magazine for various (and obvious) reasons. There are a few returning artists, and a few new artists featured, and one is bound to like quite a few of them. This makes it, cartoon-wise, a wonderful look at what cartoonists and editors think shouldn’t be published, and it’s hilarious.
My problem with this second volume is in the more “book” part. There is a questionnaire filled out by each cartoonist, and unlike the first book, where such a paper was very open-ended and allowed for a lot of creativity, this one seems more locked down and contrived. This is ironically (I used the word correctly here, just watch) because it is trying to do the opposite. In trying to intentionally create an open-ended and interesting form, the result is a form that makes the authors’ humor seem forced. Only those who really break all of the form’s rules are very entertaining to read. Only a few are complete duds, and in general they are a bit of fun. They also tend to provide a less-insightful look at the cartoonist, in my opinion. I guess the form had to be different, because some of the artists return, but I do wish that it was more like the original.
That being said, there are certainly some funny and informative moments in the book, and the paper and humor are of a high-enough quality that I don’t feel ripped off. I’d say if you came for the cartoons, the book is great, but if you came to get a closer look at the minds of some of the New Yorker cartoonists, some heavier considerations might be weighed, and the first collection might be better. It’ll take longer to read than the first, and it’s certainly funny, but I just don’t think it’s quite as good.