A Day In the Life of…Liana Finck; The Latest New Yorker Cartoons Rated by Cartoon Companion; Video: Celebs Captioning Cartoons

A Day In The Life of…Liana Finck

From Medium, March 22, 2018, “The Daily Rituals of a New Yorker Cartoonist (Freelance Edition)” — this piece by Liana Finck.


The Latest New Yorker Cartoons Rated by Cartoon Companion

The CC boys, Max and Simon, are back with their rated impressions of the cartoons appearing in the latest issue of The New Yorker. See it here!


Video: Celebs Captioning Cartoons

newyorker.com has begun a series of short videos showing celebs writing captions for cartoons.  See Bill Hader’s here (the others turn up as well).

What I’d like to see: Video of a bunch of New Yorker cartoonists writing captions for other New Yorker cartoonists’ cartoons.




Harold Ross: Six Getty Images; And Even More E. Simms Campbell on Attempted Bloggery

Harold Ross: Some Getty Images

The above is obviously not an image from the Getty images photo archives — those cost to license. Above is Rea Irvin‘s cover for a parody issue of the New Yorker celebrating Harold Ross‘s 34th birthday, with Mr. Irvin substituting Mr. Ross for Eustace Tilley. To see a small array of photos of Mr. Ross, link here to the Getty site. I find it amusing that the half-dozen Ross’s photos are surrounded by other photos (a sea shell, commuters, exotic locations).


Even More E. Simms Campbell from Attempted Bloggery

Over on Attempted Bloggery  the tribute to the work of E. Simms Campbell continues.  See it here!

Robert Grossman’s Second New Yorker Cartoon & More; Sh!tshow with Flake, Chast

Tributes and obits for Robert Grossman, who passed away last week, are now appearing online. I’ve gathered a few here while also showing you Mr. Grossman’s second New Yorker drawing, published December 14, 1963. It’s interesting (to me) that when Mr. Grossman’s association with the New Yorker is mentioned, it is as an assistant to James Geraghty, then the magazine’s art editor; it’s worth noting too that Mr. Grossman was a published New Yorker cartoonist at the age of 22 (his first drawing appeared in the issue of January 13, 1962). Unless I’m mistaken the precedent for this evolution within the Art Department began with Frank Modell, who worked at first as Mr. Geraghty’s assistant before his own cartoons began appearing in the New Yorker

Here’s Mr. Grossman’s second cartoon as published in the magazine (it sits on the same page as an S.J. Perelman piece):

Link to The Washington Post obit here.

Link to Rolling Stone‘s piece on Mr. Grossman here.

Link to Steven Heller’s essay on Mr. Grossman on Design Observer here.


Sh!tshow with Flake, Chast

Here’s the poster with all the info:


Museum of Comic & Cartoon Art Fest 2018: Liniers! Chast! Karasik! & More!; New York Times Robert Grossman Obit; Tilley Trivia

If it’s Spring, it’s time for the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art’s annual fest, otherwise known as MoCCa Fest (it’s produced by The Society of Illustrators).

The two day event begins April 6th. Scheduled events include Roz Chast being interviewed by the Virtual Memories host, Gil Roth, a conversation with Liniers (and an exhibition of his work), and a Nancy panel discussion with Paul Karasik and friends.  Link here to all the info


New York Times Robert Grossman Obit

Here’s the Times obit of Mr. Grossman written by Neil Genzlinger — it’s in today’s paper.  Glad to see Mr. Genzlinger mentioned Mr. Grossman’s stint at the New Yorker as well as including The Yew Norker.


Back in 2013 the Spill posted a map of Manhattan (“The New Yorker’s New York”) showing where various New Yorker  folk once lived. Here’s another address I’ll eventually add to the map:  75 1/2 Bedford Street, otherwise known as  the narrowest house in New York City. It was once the home of William Steig. 

— My thanks to Gretchen Maslin for the info. 


The Monday Tilley Watch: The New Yorker Issue of March 26, 2018

The cat, or, uh, cover’s been outta the bag for several days now, so we can move right on to the cartoons in the issue. (I’ll mention Rea Irvin‘s missing masthead later on in this post).

Roz Chast has the first drawing (p.19). The setting of several folks lined up on a sofa hard up against a wall seems to belong to her.  It’s her signature, as much as George Booth’s guy-in-the bathtub scenario is his. 

Six pages later a Zach Kanin cozy-under-a-blanket-by-a-fire drawing (coincidentally, the action in the drawing is set on a sofa). The cartoon is anchored by the use of the word “breasts” in the caption.  A quick online search shows a modest number of New Yorker breast-related cartoons, with very few actually mentioning breasts in the caption. One that came readily to mind is this classic courtesy of Jack Ziegler from November of 1997.  

  Nine pages later, a fun Seth Fleishman drawing (captionless, of course. His specialty).  Succinct clean lines and ideas. The same could be said for the very next cartoonist: William Haefeli. Unlike Mr. Fleishman, he works with a caption. This particular drawing is textbook Haefeli. Even the inconsequential fruit in the bowl (in the foreground) is rendered as if it is essential to our grasp of the entire piece.

On the very next page is a grand drawing from Charlie Hankin, well-placed on the page. A crime scene by P.C. Vey is on the opposite page. I love how he’s drawn the victim. This compact set of drawings is one of my favorites in quite awhile (the set consisting of Fleishman, Haefeli, Hankin, and Vey).

Five pages later, the second New Yorker drawing from Bishakh Som, who delivers the magazine’s weekly subway drawing. Subway drawings are now certifiably the new crash test dummy drawings.  [a second subway drawing, by this cartoonist, appears as this weeks Caption Contest challenge] 

Fifteen pages later (following a photo spread) is a colorful and intricate drawing by Peter Kuper. An excellent piece of work. Five pages later, Carolita Johnson takes us to a concert hall. I like that she’s brought us somewhere we typically don’t go much (anymore) in New Yorker cartoons. Ms. Johnson’s handled the scene well, with the audience, drawn in grey, driving our focus to the sniffling quartet. I am curious about the tiny dash and “c”  appearing next to her signature:

Three pages later a well-drawn Tom Cheney cartoon (is there any other kind?).  NYC apartment seekers who don’t have money to burn will find this drawing especially hilarious. On the very next page, Emily Flake brings us a demographic not often seen in the magazine: senior citizens. It appears the fellow’s had enough and is taking a walk.  He can’t be planning on being away very long: he has no coat or jacket, and just one piece of luggage not much bigger than a bowling ball bag.

The last drawing in the issue (not counting those on the Caption Contest page) is by Edward Koren, who will, this May, celebrate his 56th year of contributing his drawings to The New Yorker.  No one draws birds like Mr. Koren, and, need I say it (sure, why not) — no one draws like Mr. Koren.

 Link here to see all of the drawings referenced in this issue.

And don’t forget to check out The Cartoon Companion (they usually post at week’s end) for their rated take on all the issue’s cartoons.

— See you next week

ps: Couldn’t help but notice that Rea Irvin’s iconic Talk of the Town masthead is still a-missin’.  There’s a substitute in its place.  This is what the real deal looks like:




Many Moons Ago At The New Yorker

A departure this Sunday from previous Sundays in that the book above contains only New Yorker covers, and zero cartoons. However, of the thirty-six cover artists represented in the book, twenty-eight also contributed cartoons. This seemingly lop-sided representation of the magazine’s cartoonists doubling as cover artists was not at all out of the ordinary in the pre-Tina Brown days (Ms. Brown inverted the cartoonist/strictly-cover artist ratio, reducing the percentage of cartoonists on the cover to a minimum. Non-contributing cartoonists have been in a wide majority since).   

The book, published in 1984 by United Technologies Corporation, with the heavy lifting done by the National Academy of Design, is a must have for any library stocked with New Yorker collections. It’s a coffee table book that doesn’t need a coffee table (measuring 10″ x 13″, but just 160 pages).

The folks at the National Academy did a splendid job of designing the book, taking great care to present us with not only the covers as they appeared as New Yorker covers, but full page, sans New Yorker logo. The book is divided into the four seasons; the only non-seasonal cover is the magazine’s very first (by the incomparable Rea Irvin) beautifully reproduced on the page just before we enter Spring. 

The bonus material is right up front of the book.  Two introductory pieces: Brendan Gill’s “A morning light” and Charles Saxon‘s “A special moment, fleetingly observed.”

A declaration of interest from Mr. Gill:

“There is…no such thing as a New Yorker cover…If one can say there is no such thing as a New Yorker cover, one can at least say that there are three or four types of art work that appear with considerable frequency on the covers of The New Yorker: those that are purely decorative, those that are topical or seasonal, and those that contain a mild satiric swipe or possibly a small, covert joke.”

My my, how times have changed.  The are still “three or four types of art work” but covers that “contain a mildly satiric swipe” are now a thing of the past.

And from Charles Saxon, another that was then declarative:

“Artists are invited to submit their work. Nothing is assigned, nothing is directed. The work is welcomed or it is not.”



On a personal note, I was just into my seventh year as a New Yorker contributor when I received an invitation to attend the gallery exhibit of some of the covers in the book. Here’s a very short excerpt about my visit to the opening from my still in-the-works/ongoing New Yorker journal.  At the time I was living in upstate New York after having somewhat recently moved from Greenwich Village.

May 31, 1984

Perhaps missing some of Manhattan’s hubbub, I decided to attend the Seasons At the New Yorker opening at the National Academy of Design on 5th Avenue hard by Central Park — new-ish territory for me, other than my infrequent visits to the Metropolitan Museum. I was half-a-block from the party when I noticed the New Yorker writer Brendan Gill holding court out on the sidewalk. He was wearing a dark suit and looked to be holding a glass of champagne. 5th Avenue! Champagne! Brendan Gill! THE Brendan Gill — the man whose book, Here At the New Yorker helped drive me to this magazine. The idea of introducing myself to him that evening was out of the question: just to be here at this party was more than enough excitement.  

Surveying the crowd as I walked into the gallery I immediately felt out-of-place — I was dressed casually, in sneakers, jeans, a faded red shirt and a thrift shop seersucker jacket. Everyone else  was dressed, as my mother would say “to the hilt.”

After rounding the exhibition looking at the framed covers, I sat down for a moment on a circular stuffed sofa next to a very nice woman, somewhat older than me.  After some initial pleasantries, I discovered that she had been married to Robert Kraus, a former New Yorker cartoonist (and later owner and editor in chief of his own publishing house, Windmill Press, publishers of William Steig’s children’s books).

Eventually I made one more pass around the gallery space and found myself walking into the New Yorker’s art editor, Lee Lorenz and his (then) wife. I knew Lee wouldn’t know me by sight — we’d only met once before, but I thought it would be silly not to speak with my editor. As I suspected, Lee looked confused and slightly unhappy when I walked up to him, but was relieved and seemingly amused when I told him my name. Lee looked me over and said, “You look like an ice cream salesman.”  And perhaps following up on the theme, his wife said, “Oh, you’re the one who does all the ice cream cartoons.” My self-confidence at once damaged and lifted, I made small talk, then drifted back out to 5th avenue, and back upstate.

Below: From the Spill‘s files, the invitation (my friend, Jack Ziegler didn’t call me the “boy archivist” for nuthin).