Looking Twice at a Charles Saxon New Yorker Holiday Cover

Posted on 20th December 2014 in News





















Ink Spill’s good friend over at Attempted Bloggery has an interesting post examining  a preliminary cover sketch by Charles Saxon and comparing it to the published cover.  Look for yourself.


Below: Ink Spill’s  New Yorker Cartoonists A-Z entry for Mr. Saxon:

Charles Saxon  (self portrait above from Best Cartoons of the Year 1947)  Born in Brooklyn, Nov 13, 1920, died in Stamford, Conn., Dec 6, 1988. NYer work: 1943 – 1991 (2 drawings published posthumously). Key collection: One Man’s Fancy ( Dodd, Mead, 1977).

Newseum Remembers Charles Barsotti

Posted on 19th December 2014 in News





Screen shot 2014-05-05 at 6_46_39 PM








From  Newseum.org, December 19, 2014, “Remembering the Journalists We Lost” — among those remembered is the great New Yorker cartoonist, Charles Barsotti.

Visit Mr. Barsotti’s website here.

Harold Ross’s Caption Contest

Posted on 18th December 2014 in News

Judge cover 7:19:24



Less than a year before Harold Ross published the very first issue of his brainchild, The New Yorker, he briefly edited a well-established humor magazine, Judge.  I recently bought a copy of the Ross period Judge to see what I could see (it’s the issue of July 19, 1924).

it was odd, but of course not unexpected,  to see in tiny type across the bottom of the inside cover,  “Harold W. Ross, Vice-Pres.” Unexpected was the cartoon caption contest that filled the rest of the page,  “Judge’s Fifty-Fifty Contest No. 59.”

Judge contest










The “fifty-fifty” refers to the cartoon’s caption having two parts, with two individuals speaking. The first part of the caption is given — it’s up to the reader to provide the second part.  New Yorker cartoon aficionados might recall that two part captions (sometimes referred to as “he-she”) were the go-to single panel cartoon format in the major humor publications of the day. That isn’t to say they were the only format.  Captionless cartoons appeared as did New Yorker style single captions. As Judge’s caption contest reflects the format of its day, using the he-she caption,  the current New Yorker caption contest reflects its time, asking of the readership to supply a single caption, with no lead in line.

Flipping further through this issue of Judge I came upon a good number of future New Yorker cartoonists: Milt Gross, Gardner Rea, Paul Reilly, Frank Hanley, Tousey,  Walter J. Enright, Crawford Young, John Held, Jr., and Alfred Leete.  Mr Leete and Mr. Rea would appear in the inaugural issue of the New Yorker in February of 1925. Paul Reilly would contribute twice to the New Yorker in 1925. Tousey just once in November of 1926. Mr. Enright just once in 1927. Mr. Gross just once in 1929. Mr. Hanley contributed six cartoons in the New Yorker’s first year, but none thereafter. Only Mr. Rea would go on to have a long career at The New Yorker (his last contribution appeared in 1965). Below is his “he-she” drawing from this issue of Judge (actually, it’s really she-he as the “Grim Lady” speaks first).

Gardner Rea 1924_Judge







It’s entirely clear, after looking through Judge a time or three that Ross sponged-up the best of the publication (as he did with other humor magazines, including Punch and Life) imagining what kind of magazine he wanted, and what kind he didn’t want.

Video: Lee Lorenz, Arnie Levin, Victoria Roberts and Sam Gross at SVA; Another Fave Photo

Posted on 17th December 2014 in News



From left to right: Richard Gehr (author of I Only Read It For the Cartoons), Lee Lorenz, Sam Gross, Arnie Levin, and Victoria Roberts at The School of Visual Arts on December 11th.  If you didn’t make it to the event last week, you are now able to watch most of it here .


Felipe Galindo posted the below photo taken at The New Yorker’s holiday party. It’s posted here with his permission.

New Yorker Holiday Party 2014 E













Left to right: David Borchart, Felipe Galindo, Charlie Hankin, Farley Katz, Liana Finck, Corey Pandolph, Chris Weyant, Ben Schwartz, Joe Dator (waving), and Drew Dernavich (bent over in the foreground).

Fave New Yorker Cartoonists Photos of the Day

Posted on 16th December 2014 in News

Holiday 12:15:14














Two photos, taken December 15, 2014 in lower Manhattan.

Above, left to right: Felipe Galindo (Feggo), P.C. Vey, David Borchart, Sam Gross, Colin Stokes (writer & assistant to the New Yorker’s cartoon editor), Liza Donnelly and Joe Dator (who is currently the magazine’s Daily Cartoonist).

Below: Liza Donnelly, Liana Finck, and Barbara Smaller


D, F, & Smaller 12:15:14







(photos courtesy of Liza Donnelly)

Harold Ross & “Specific People” New Yorker Covers

Posted on 14th December 2014 in News


Irvin Nov '41






















I was leafing through Thomas Kunkel’s book, Letters From the Editor (the Editor: The New Yorker’s founder and first editor, Harold Ross) when I came upon the one letter in the book to Rea Irvin (Irvin was The New Yorker’s art consultant from the magazine’s inception through 1952).  Written in May of 1942, Ross’s letter concerned a recently purchased cover of Irvin’s. It reads, in part:



I put through the Halloween cover with Hitler, although it violates my solemn stand about no more specific people on covers.




Ross’s mentioning “no more specific people on covers” meant that there had to have been previous New Yorker covers with specific people, or at least one cover with a specific person. Curious, I took The Complete Book of Covers from The New Yorker off the shelf and began looking at the magazine’s covers, beginning with the very first New Yorker cover –- you know the one: Irvin’s very own top-hatted dandy commonly referred to as Eustace Tilley. Paging through the book I didn’t find a “specific person” cover until I arrived at the issue of November 22, 1941. A child at the door of a wealthy home is sporting a Hitler mask. The artist: Rea Irvin.


The next issue with a specific person is the cover Ross referred to in the May ’42 letter to Irvin. It’s a Halloween themed cover (the issue is dated October 31, 1942) and again Hitler is the specific person -– this time he’s a witch.


Irvin: OCt 31 '42






















Paging through the years and all those magnificent covers, it wasn’t until July 15, 1944 that another cover with a specific person (in this case it’s persons) presented itself. The subject matter: D-Day. Besides President Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, General Eisenhower and Field Marshal Montgomery, there again was Hitler. The artist: Rea Irvin.



Irvin's DDay Cover






















And that was the end of the string of specific people on New Yorker covers in Ross’s lifetime (he died December 6, 1951), unless you count Santa Claus, Abe Lincoln, and busts of philosophers.


Reading Ross’s letter was also a reminder of how The New Yorker has completely turned around, specific-people–on-the-cover-wise from those long ago days. A look back at just the past three years turns up close to 25 specific people covers. The specific people represented include the Pope, President Obama (numerous covers), New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Nelson Mandela, Derek Jeter, President Putin, Anthony Wiener, Mitt Romney…well, you get the idea.

Favorite Photo of the Day

Posted on 12th December 2014 in News





Richard Gehr (pictured on the extreme left), author of the recently published book of New Yorker cartoonist interviews, I Only Read It For the Cartoons, hosted a panel discussion last night at the School of Visual Arts. Panelists (left to right): Sam Gross (filling in for Edward Koren, snowed-in up in Vermont), Victoria Roberts, Lee Lorenz, and Arnie Levin (also filling in). (photo for Ink Spill courtesy of Bob Eckstein).








Princetonians Submit Captions

Posted on 11th December 2014 in News












From News At Princeton, December 11, 2104, “Face time: Students learn about the art of caricature in freshman seminar”

– students submit captions to The New Yorker’s caption contest as part of the seminar, “Funny Pictures: Caricature and Modernity”


[This is probably a good time & place to note that back in May of 1931, Princeton’s Seniors voted Peter Arno their favorite artist. Titian came in second]


Addams Family’s Pugsley Dies at 59

Posted on 9th December 2014 in News

imagesKen Weatherwax, the actor who played Pugsley in the televised version of The Addams Family has died at age 59. Link here to the BBC’s obit.

For a refresher course in the Pugsley cartoon character, I turned to the Linda Davis biography of Addams, A Cartoonists Life, which documents the development of the Addams Family characters as well as the television series.  Davis writes that Addams thought of his cartoon character Pugsley as “an angry little W.C. Fields” and that he named the boy “Pugsley” after a stream in the Bronx. And finally, Addams “wanted to call the boy Pubert, but a guy who was making dolls of the characters (as tie-ins for the upcoming television series) thought that sounded dirty.”

Davis wrote of Weatherwax that he “made an appealing and slightly creepy Pugsley.” Anyone watching the show would agree that those Addamsonian cartoon qualities made him exactly right for the part.




Dator Does the Daily

Posted on 8th December 2014 in News

cartoonselfshotJoe Dator has begun his run as The New Yorker’s Daily Cartoonist.

Visit his website here.

See his New Yorker work here on the magazine’s Cartoon Bank website.