Today the pen was passed and Vermont officially appointed the great Edward Koren as the state’s newest Cartoonist Laureate taking over the reigns from Burlington’s James Kochalka.
Governor Peter Shumlin, back from some Obama facetime in Washington DC, welcomed the Brookfield, VT firefighter and longtime New Yorker contributor to Montpelier and offered his congratulations.
After a Senate meet-and-greet, Ed appeared before the Vt. legislature where the Cartoonist Laureate resolution was read on the State House floor. Once official, Ed’s laureate powers kicked in and he transformed into one of his cartoon creations. Ed and I then climbed aboard his giant crow quill pen that flew us through the cold Vermont sky, over the White River, and to The Center for Cartoon Studies for a public lecture and reception.
But before Ed could bewitch us with tales of his long and hairied storied career, proper tributes had to be made! Ed’s fellow New Yorker cartoonists hold him in high esteem!
“I’ve known Ed for many years. He’s a genuinely good egg, and a terrific, funny cartoonist. But what makes his work so special is not just his sense of humor, but that he has created a parallel universe peopled– if that is the right word– by endearingly strange characters which we enter every time we see one of his cartoons.” —Roz Chast
Harry Bliss sent along this audio tribute:
And from New Yorker editor David Remnick:
“The great imaginative artists, comic or seriocomic (what other kinds are there?), are great at least in part because they create a world: Baldwin’s Harlem, Faulkner’s hamlet, Chekhov’s dachas. Ed Koren not only created a world—the Koren worlds are both urban and Vermontian, but all Koren—he also created creatures, part human, part fantastical, to represent and give voice to all of our anxieties, joys, and craziness. Long live Ed Koren, his world and his creatures!”
Ed, it was great spending the day with you! You’re the best!