The New Yorker is as famous for its cartoons as it is for inexplicably giving Andy Borowitz a platform to write his terribly lazy attempts at jokes. They’re usually wry and offer up commentary on the state of the modern world, a one-panel parable about the things that distract us or the ways we act. It’s also fair to say New Yorker cartoons appeal to a slightly older, more buttoned-down demographic: the people who need a chuckle in between reading about ethnic strife in Turkey.
Emmet Truxes grew up a fan of those New Yorker cartoons, reading them along with Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side. A few years ago while living in Brooklyn, he got the inspiration to make his own versions — except instead of the board rooms and family meals often parodied in the New Yorker panels, it was bars and cramped apartments; instead of business suits and bickering spouses it was dudes with beards and people with their faces glued to smartphones. It found an audience: less than a year after starting his @BrooklynCartoons account, he has 22,000 followers.
“It’s specifically focused on our generation in terms of our content, the settings and people and characters involved,” Truxes, 32, told Brokelyn. And every generation deserves some good parody.
[UPDATE July 20: Brooklyn Cartoons is now becoming a book: Truxes landed a deal with Abrams Books earlier in July. Truxes told us the book will have a lot of new content, with a Fall 2017 publication date.] His account now is a millennial compendium to the New Yorker cartoons, which Truxes says usually feel a bit more Upper East Side brownstone than East Williamsburg loft.
“Sometimes with New Yorker cartoonists it’s very clear they’re not our generation,” he said. “When someone makes something about our generation, sometimes it feels a little heavy handed or too obvious, or it would’ve been memed already months ago.”
Across 180 posts so far, Truxes has gathered thousands of likes for some of his most popular cartoons, including this one:
“Unit to base. No reinforcements needed. Cancel EMS. It’s just a group of Caucasian females watching [The Bachelor]. Allegedly one of the callers was looking at some creepy messages from a male on ‘Tinder.’ Caller states that she is simply literally dying and not actually dying. Sobriety test indicates that these females are all intoxicated from wine. 10-4, leaving this location to respond to call for a fire mixtape. Suspected arson.” — RIP @trevso_electric your captions were always 🔥🔥🔥 (#trevsotuesday #trevtuesday)
A photo posted by brooklyncartoons (@brooklyncartoons) on
Some of them are Brooklyn specific (such as this one about the L train closure, or this riff on the Mast Brothersghazi scandal). But most of them just capture the essence of generational “Brooklyn-ness” that pervades everything from friendships to latte orderers across the country. It’s more about millennial life at the intersection of apps, dating and perpetually being annoyed by our culture while realizing you can’t quite turn away.
He has a few favorite topics: One is our obsession with our phones. And no, he’s not passing judgement: He is using an Instagram account, after all.
“The stuff about the ubiquity of mobile devices, it’s just the way that life is now,” he said. “I’m sometimes on my phone constantly and way more than I should be.”
The other frequently visited topic is the search for “authenticity” that leads people to grow out woodsman beards or treat the word “artisanal” with golden revery.
“When a certain group of people claims they’re somehow living more authentically than someone else, I find that unbelievably humorous and easy to make fun of,” he said.
Truxes actually lives in L.A. now — he and his wife moved there from Williamsburg two years ago for jobs — though he had previously lived in the borough since 2006. The Connecticut native is planning to move back here soon.
The account is his main outlet for cartooning, and Truxes, who works in architectural visualization, is considering doing a book some day. His cartoons have shades of Portlandia: laughing with the culture, not at it.
“I’m not exactly trying to be cruel or mean in any of these,” he said. “I like to think of it as very playful and I’m not looking down at anybody really.”
Check out the rest of the collection on the @BrooklynCartoons Instagram.
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