J. B. Handelsman studied at the Art Students League and New York University. In 1963, Handelsman moved to England, where he began drawing for Punch. For eleven years, he wrote and illustrated a weekly feature called “Freaky Fables” for the magazine. He returned to the United States in 1982. He illustrated many books including Families and How to Survive Them (1983) and Life and How to Survive it (1994), both by John Cleese and Robin Skynner, and The Mid-Atlantic Companion (1986), by David Frost and Michael Shea, along with a number of children’s books.
From 1961 to 2006, Handelsman had nearly a thousand cartoons and five covers published in The New Yorker. His work also appeared regularly in Playboy and extensively in the British humorous magazine Punch along where he also published a number of short stories.
“He wasn’t a polemicist, but his work was concerned with politics and history and the range of our folly, from mere foibles to gross inhumanity. … He saw not just the passing parade—though he did keep a sharp eye on that, believing, as he did, that cartooning was a form of journalism—but the deep, timeless politics that color, if not define, human relations (think bosses and secretaries, generals and underlings, senators and constituents, wives and husbands, judges and defendants).”
— Nancy Franklin, The New Yorker, 2007
New Yorker cartoon original drawings available: