“…Vaguely Somewhere in Ross’s Mind…”

Here’s an interesting little booklet from the Spill’s archives (little as in 5″ x 8″  and just 97 pages), but there’s so much within.  The chapter “The New Yorker Cartoon and Modern Graphic Humor” by M. Thomas Inge is especially of interest, for obvious reasons. Mr. Inge provides a survey of the magazine’s art from inception through to the beginnings of the Lee Lorenz era  (although that era is mentioned only briefly at the end).  I’ve re-read this chapter from time-to-time, and each time some quote stands out a little bit more than on previous run-throughs.  In this morning’s reading was this one, which sounds as though it could’ve been written by James Thurber:

“It was under Ross’s eccentric but superb editorship from the beginning until his death in 1951 that the New Yorker cartoon was formulated and achieved its definitive and influential form. As was true with the entire premise for the magazine, what was wanted was vaguely somewhere in Ross’s mind.”

And this:

“…the truth is that The New Yorker has served primarily as a vehicle for major comic talents to develop their individual styles and distinctive visions.”

Well said, Mr. Inge.  If the New Yorker hadn’t provided its artists a home to develop their styles we would have missed out on a truckload of incredible comic worlds (“visions”) through the decades (Jack Ziegler’s world over these past 43 years comes to mind as do so many other worlds provided by Mr. Ziegler’s cartoon colleagues). 

Here’s the table of contents from the booklet.  If you can get hold of a copy you won’t be disappointed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How A Cartoonist Falls In Love With Cartoons; A Thurber Home For Sale

From The Daily Beast, May 20, 2017, “This Is How A Cartoonist Falls In Love With Cartoons” — a piece by Anthony Haden-Guest (with Charles Addams content), His exhibit, The Further Chronicles of Now is at Anderson Contemporary, 180 Maiden Lane, NYC, until June 9th. .

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From Connecticut’s News-Times , April 7, 2017, “James Thurber Slept Here” — this piece about a Thurber home for sale.

— my thanks to the New Yorker writer, Bill Franzen for passing along this piece.

81 Years Ago in The New Yorker

Just for the heck of it, I’ve taken a bound volume of The New Yorker off the shelf, and opened it up to the issue dated May 23, 1936. The cover is  by Perry Barlow. The cover’s colors are supplied by Mr. Barlow’s wife, Dorothy Hope, as Mr. Barlow was partly color-blind.  The festive cover moment doesn’t hint at all of what’s going on in the world (specifically Nazi Germany); you need only wait til you get to Notes and Comment in The Talk of The Town for that:

“…Truth stays up all night, and that something keeps flickering in the world while Ministers of Propaganda snooze.”

Continuing on into the body of the magazine, and focusing on the cartoons (I apologize for not showing all the cartoons — I don’t want to tax the patience of the New Yorker‘s rights & permissions person), we come to a Richard Decker that swallows up the page graphically, and opposite it a very Charles Addams-like  Richard Taylor cartoon (shown here). 

An un-pc  Robert Day jungle cartoon follows, and following that a beautiful (of course!) Peter Arno drawing of a cafe scene with a young pretty woman shouting into an old gent’s hearing aid, “I say I hate the city, Mr. Gromer! I love everything in the fields! Everything that’s growing! Everything that’s wild!”

Next up is a rarity (shown below): one of only three cartoons  — and the last of the three –the artist Adolf Dehn contributed to the magazine. Here’s his A-Z entry:

Adolf Dehn  Born, Minnesota, Nov. 22, 1895; died, New York City, May 19. 1968. Primarily a lithographer, Dehn’s work is said to be collected by 20 museums, including The Smithsonian and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY. NYer work: three drawings, Sept. 6. 1930; June 15, 1935; May 23, 1936. A bio from the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art: www.sama-art.org/info/publications/catalog/dehn_cat/dehn_text.html

This is followed by a full page Carl Rose drawing titled: Strange Events Of An Election Year.  A few pages later is a large drawing by Alan Dunn (one of the most published New Yorker cartoonists of all-time, right up there with Lee Lorenz and William Steig). Next are drawings by Richard Decker and Mr. Barlow (the same fellow responsible for the cover). The following page is a very very funny Mary Petty drawing (shown):

One page later: a beautiful James Thurber  drawing, with tennis as the topic. Next up, a drawing by Ned Hilton (someone whose work doesn’t get much attention these days, although Mike Lynch did post a Hilton drawing the other day and mentioned Mr. Hilton’s interesting signature).

 

A number of pages later we come to a quarter-page Helen Hokinson drawing of a woman trying on a new hat. The saleswoman is saying: “You mustn’t think of it in New York, Mrs. Brewster. Think of it in Lenox.”

 

And last:  Alain, with  a caption-less drawing (shown):

Not a bad collection of artists and art in one issue: Barlow, Hokinson, Thurber, Arno, Alain, Robert Day, Ned Hilton, Richard Decker, Alan Dunn, Mary Petty, and a bonus  —  the rare Adolf Dehn drawing. Two full pages, and several more nearly full. 

The spot drawings are pretty great too, including this one:

 

 

Latest New Yorker Cartoons Rated; More Von Riegen, and Some Corey Ford

 

 

 

It’s good to see those anonymous critics, Max and Simon, are staying the course and digging into the cartoons appearing in each and every new issue of The New Yorker. This week they look at (and rate) cartoons featuring, among other things, a snail, a yodeler, a proud woodsman, subway rats, and some gangsters wearing matching pants and shirts. 

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And swinging back over to Attempted Bloggery, the William Von Riegen material keeps on-comin. I like that this book jacket cover featuring Mr. Von Riegen’s art was featured.  One of the book’s co-authors is Corey Ford, who will be no stranger to New Yorker history buffs (he gave name to Eustace Tilley).  Here’s the very rare book containing the Making of a Magazine pieces Mr. Ford contributed to the New Yorker in its infancy (this is a screen grab — the book is, alas, not in the Spill’s library, although a promotional booklet of the material, donated by a generous collector, is).  

You can read Mr. Ford’s pieces here

Bob Eckstein Named Writer’s Digest Columnist; The Tilley Watch: A Steed Full Page; Emma Allen Plays Ball

 

 

Writer’s Digest has announced that Bob Eckstein, whose latest book (shown to the left) has received great notices, will become their recurring columnist beginning this summer. Read all about it here.

Visit Mr. Eckstein’s website here (where you’ll find links to his New Yorker work, and work elsewhere)

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In the latest episode of The Cartoon Lounge, The New Yorker‘s cartoon editor, Emma Allen plays ball with Colin Stokes, the associate cartoon editor.  And they also take a look at Ed Steed’s full page (yes, a full page!) drawing appearing in the magazine’s latest issue. Nice glimpse of the Thurber wall drawing around the 2:05 mark.

also of note: Kim Warp is now doing the Daily Cartoon.  

Audio: Gil Roth Interviews R.O. Blechman; Mike Lynch Looks Back at Esquire’s Cartoons; A Playboy Cartoon

Gil Roth continues his remarkable  string of cartoonist/illustrator interviews — this week he speaks  with the great R. O. Blechman. One of my all-time favorite Blechman New Yorker covers (and one of my favorite all-time New Yorker covers, period) is shown to the left. (photo credit: Gil Roth)

Listen to the podcast here. 

Link here to Mr. Blechman’s website

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With Esquire suddenly in the cartoon conversation, Mike Lynch takes a look at some of the work and cartoonists that appeared there in days of yore.  Read it here. 

 

 

 

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And speaking of magazines that once ran cartoons, Playboy seemingly has recently returned to the fold. Tom Toro posted this cartoon on Instagram, writing,  “My cartoon in the current issue of @playboy”:

 

 

Paul Karasik Delivers Commencement Speech at the Center For Cartoon Studies; CBS This Morning Podcast: Liza Donnelly Talks About Live-Drawing at The White House; Attempted Bloggery Spotlights An Obscure New Yorker Cartoonist

From Vermont’s Valley News, May 13, 2017, “‘It’s OK to Flounder’: Paul Karasik Advises CCS Grads” — this piece on Mr. Karasik’s commencement speech delivered to the Center for Cartoon Studies  11th graduating class.

Link here to Paul Karasik’s New Yorker work.

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Here’s a CBS News podcast, “Drawing At The White House”  featuring Liza Donnelly talking about her recent experience live drawing at The White House for CBS This Morning. (Ms. Donnelly is the CBS News Resident Cartoonist).

Link here to Ms. Donnelly’s website (where you’ll find links to her New Yorker work).

left: Ms. Donnelly on the White House lawn

 

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Attempted Bloggery has thrown its spotlight on a somewhat obscure (very obscure?) New Yorker cartoonist, William Von Riegen. Read the AB  post here. 

left: a Von Riegen New Yorker drawing in the issue of November 12, 1938. 

“A Very Complicated Thing”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 At the recent event covered here on the Spill (“Wall-To-Wall Cartoonists at David Remnick’s Hello Goodbye Party”) Mr. Remnick said of the New Yorker‘s former cartoon editor, Mr. Mankoff:

“I want to tell you that Bob’s effort to bring not only the work of cartoonists and artists who’ve been around for quite awhile forward, and to put them in their best light, but also to bring new artists into the picture, which is a very complicated thing, has been an enormous boon to the New Yorker…”

 Mr. Remnick’s focus on  the magazine’s cartoonists was notable and welcome.  It struck me while reading the recent news pieces about Mr. Mankoff’s departure as The New Yorker‘s cartoon editor  that all of them focused primarily, and nearly exclusively on Mr. Mankoff himself and his work as a cartoonist, with nary an exploration of exactly what happened with and to the magazine’s cartoonists and cartoon department during the past 20 years during his watch. Of course it makes perfect sense to focus on him — after all, he was the cartoon editor, and his departure was news,  but surely the greater part of his legacy are all those cartoonists that swelled the magazine’s stable these past twenty years.  I’m slightly puzzled as to why several of these news pieces showed us, almost in the form of a greatest hits or a summing up of his career, a good number of Mr. Mankoff’s own cartoons — he’s not retiring as a cartoonist, and in fact has said he will continue to submit work.  My puzzlement is over the absence of discussion of the 128 new cartoonists he brought in to the magazine (Mr. Mankoff mentioned, but only in in passing, 17 of his discoveries in one piece. That only leaves 111 more to talk about).

R.C. Harvey did a long piece that appeared in late March on The Comics Journal site looking at Mr. Mankoff’s editorship.  Selfishly, perhaps, I’m hoping there will be more such pieces looking at how the New Yorker‘s cartoons changed, for better or worse, during these past 20 years; how Mr. Mankoff shaped those changes; and how those changes affected the culture of the New Yorker cartoon department and the cartoonists themselves.  In other words, a critical examination of the Mankoff years. “A very complicated thing” is a thing worth exploring.