Donnelly Draws Dems in Philly; E. Simms Campbell Spotlighted

Posted on 28th July 2016 in News

 

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As mentioned earlier this week on the Spill, Liza Donnelly is spending this convention week embedded with CBS News in Philadelphia, drawing on-set, and in and around the convention hall. You can see some of her work here

and a short video here.  Also follow Ms. Donnelly on Twitter @lizadonnelly for her latest drawings. The New Yorker will present a slideshow of Ms.Donnelly’s graphic impressions later this week on their website.

Below: Ms. Donnelly, second from left, with the CBS This Morning news team, Norah O’ Donnell, Charlie Rose and Gayle King,  in Philadelphia, July 28 2016.

L at DNC w: CBS This Morning News team July 28 2016

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From 1,001 Chicago Afternoons, July 27, 2016, “Cuties and The Englewood Cartoonist” this short piece on E. Simms Campbell.  Here’s  Mr. Cambell’s entry on Ink Spill’s A-Z:

E. Simms Campbell  (photo above)  Born, 1906. Died, 1971.  NYer work: 1932 -1942. Key  collections: Cuties in Arms (1943) – the earliest published collection of cartoons by an African-American cartoonist; More Cuties in Arms (also 1943); and Chorus of Cuties (1953)

For more information, go here to Chris Wheeler’s fabulous website to see Mr. Campbell’s cartoon collections.

 

Fifty Years Ago this week in The New Yorker…the Cartoons & Cartoonists

Posted on 26th July 2016 in News

From time-to-time Ink Spill looks way way back at The New Yorker’s cartoon universe. Today, we’ll drop in on the issue dated fifty years ago, July 30, 1966 and take a brief look around at the cartoons and cartoonists within. In 1966, William Shawn was in his 14th year as editor of The New Yorker; the Art Editor, James Geraghty, was in his 27th year (back then the Art Editor was responsible for all aspects of the magazine’s art: the spot drawings, the covers and the cartoons).

 

Reilly 1st cover 

 

 

The cover — a beauty — was by Donald Reilly. It was the first of Mr. Reilly’s sixteen covers for the magazine (his last, Feb 10, 1992). Though sixteen covers is impressive, even more impressive are the thousand-plus cartoons he contributed during his time at the magazine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s his Ink Spill “A-Z” entry:

DR A-Z


 

The Table of Contents back then looked like this (readers were left on their own to identify the cartoonists and the contributors to the Talk of The Town):

TOC Aug 1, '66

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cartoonists in the issue: Whitney Darrow, Jr., William Steig, Saul Steinberg, Joseph Mirachi, James Stevenson, Donald Reilly, Charles Saxon, Frank Modell, Alan Dunn, Robert Day, Warren Miller, Stan Hunt, and Mischa Richter

 

A deep, albeit all-male, bench of talent.  This New Yorker Cartoonists Hall of Fame line-up doesn’t even include a number of the other regular contributors of the time including Peter Arno, Charles Addams, Syd Hoff, Dana Fradon, Al Ross, Barney Tobey, Robert Weber, Edward Koren, Lee Lorenz, and many more (the work of the great George Price, that master of the quirky split-line is represented in a ¾ page drawing for Iberia Airlines).

 

The newest addition to The New Yorker’s stable in this issue was Warren Miller, whose first cartoon appeared in the magazine in 1959. The most senior cartoonist was the aforementioned Mr. Dunn. His work first appeared in The New Yorker in 1926.

 

Of particular note is the six page spread “Come to Britain” by Charles Saxon. We don’t see spreads like this in the magazine anymore – at least on the somewhat regular basis they once appeared. Generally speaking – or even specifically speaking — cartoon spreads are history (A Roz Chast spread in 2014 comes to mind, but it was a bird of a different feather as it was an excerpt from her forthcoming book and not a spread created for the magazine).

 

What to make of The New Yorker’s cartoon culture fifty years ago: the magazine was seven to eight years away from the end of Geraghty’s long run as art editor (Lee Lorenz was his successor). Although the Geraghty era is sometimes referred to as the Golden Age of New Yorker cartooning – it’s tough to argue it wasn’t –I believe the Golden Age extended beyond Geraghty and into Lorenz’s years as well. Geraghty presided over an amazing collection of cartoon worlds: a mix of veterans, and stellar new additions like Edward Koren, who began contributing in 1962, Henry Martin who began in 1964, and William Hamilton, whose first drawing was published in 1965.

 

When I think of this era of the magazine I’m reminded of something William Shawn wrote for Brendan Gill’s Here at The New Yorker. In the piece, which was headed “Shawn on Ross” [Harold Ross, the magazine’s founder and first editor]:

 

“It was certainly not the least of Ross’s talents that he was able to see talent in writers and artists before it was plainly visible to everyone. Also, he understood that talent developed more slowly in some than others, and he was willing to wait. He gradually learned that the primary function of the magazine’s editor, including him, was to create a structure and an atmosphere – a little world apart from the world – within the writers and artists could fulfill themselves.”

 

Creating that “structure and atmosphere” was, I believe, the secret sauce of The New Yorker. It gave us, the readers, the opportunity to enjoy the worlds these artists found their way into.    

 

The New Yorker 1955- 1965 Album is an excellent cartoon collection gathering work by all these artists (it’s available for a song on ABEbooks.com).

 NYer Album 55-65back cover Album

 

 

 

A Comics Journal Interview with Glen Baxter

Posted on 24th July 2016 in News

Baxter_cover_updated_lettering_1024x1024From The Comics Journal, July 22, 2016, “I Never Thought of Myself as a Cartoonist: A Glen Baxter Interview” — Emily Flake talks to Mr. Baxter on the occasion of the release of his new book, Almost Completely Baxter: New and Selected Blurtings (New York Review Comics).

Mr. Baxter’s work first appeared in The New Yorker  May 8th 1989

Mashable: “The New Yorker’s Snapchat is Mesmerizing”; Eisner Award Winners

Posted on 23rd July 2016 in News

NYer SnapHere’s a fun read for a hot Saturday: a look at how The New Yorker uses Snapchat.  The magazine’s Art Editor, Francoise Mouly is featured along with the Cartoon editor’s assistant, Colin Stokes.

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Here’s a list of the Eisner Award winners announced at Comic-Con.  Of note are several New Yorker contributors, including Adrian Tomine (for Best Short Story — “Killing and Dying”)  and Peter Kuper, whose Ruins won in the category of Best Graphic Album — New.  Congrats to all!

Ruins

Liza Donnelly to Live Tweet Draw Dems Convention on CBS This Morning

Posted on 22nd July 2016 in News

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Liza Donnelly will be at the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia appearing on CBS This Morning live Tweet-drawing from Monday through the convention’s finale on Thursday.  You can find her on camera on CBS,  and on Twitter @lizadonnelly

Ms. Donnelly will also be Tweet-drawing for her home away from home,  The New Yorker.

Link to Ms. Donnelly’s website  here.

Website of Interest: A Cartoon & Comics Podcast Archive; Alex Gregory Nominated for an Emmy

Posted on 21st July 2016 in News

VMThe New Yorker cartoonist (and snowman expert), Bob Eckstein recently told me about a blog, Virtual Memories loaded with interviews of cartoonists (as well as non-cartoonists). The section, “Comics & Cartooning” lists  such interviewees as New Yorker contributors  Sam Gross, Ben Katchor, Ivan Brunetti, M.K. Brown, Roz Chast, Peter Kuper and Jules Feiffer.  Here’s a link.  Enjoy!

 

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Of Note: New Yorker cartoonist Alex Gregory has been nominated (along with Peter Huyck) for an Emmy in the category of Best Writing For a Comedy Series.  Mr. Gregory writes for “Veep” …Congrats Alex!

 

 

 

 

Haefeli Pencilled

Posted on 20th July 2016 in News

tumblr_inline_oakp7xDuNT1sj0qh6_500William Haefeli is the latest New Yorker cartoonist to share his tools of the trade on Jane Mattimoe’s wonderful blog, A Case For Pencils. See the post here.

Further reading: from Duke University’s Duke Magazine, July-August 2002, “The Art of the Cartoon” featuring a Haefeli cover and profile.

Fave Photo of the Day: Kuper, Feiffer, and Spiegelman

Posted on 18th July 2016 in News

Kuper Feiffer and Spiegelman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a great photo of three New Yorker contributors known widely for their work outside of the New Yorker.  From left to right: Peter Kuper, Jules Feiffer, and Art Spiegelman. All three were at the Queens Museum taking a look at “Bearing Witness”, an exhibit of William Gropper‘s work Mr. Gropper was a New Yorker cartoonist also known for his work outside of the magazine. (photo courtesy of Mr. Kuper)

Link here to Peter Kuper’s website (if you go to the “What’s New” pencil on his site you’ll see his New Yorker work)

Jules Feiffer’s Wiki page

Art Spiegelman’s Wiki page

 

Ink Spill’s entry on its A-Z for Mr. Gropper:

William Gropper   (Self portrait, above from The Business of Cartooning, 1939)  Born, December 3, 1897, NYC. Died, January 6, 1977, Manhasset, NY. 1 drawing, April 11, 1942. Quote:”I owe a great deal to the east side of New York. I was hit on the head with a rock in a gangfight…that’s how I became an artist.” [Quote from catalogue, Meet the Artist, 1943]. For a brief bio of Gropper “the workingman’s protector” visit: http://specialcollections.wichita.edu/

New Yorker Cartoonists Remember Michael Crawford

Posted on 15th July 2016 in News

This has been an unusually tough year within this peculiar family — this family of New Yorker cartoonists. Within seven months our ranks have been thinned by four:  Frank Modell, William Hamilton, Anatol Kovarsky and now, this past week, Michael Crawford. Michael is remembered below by some of his  cartoonist colleagues. My thanks to all for their contributions.

Note: Link here to Mr. Crawford’s New York Times obit...and here for The New Yorker‘s

 

Drew Dernavich:

crawford card

I made this for Crawford hoping to give it to him this week, but it was not meant to be. It was the only thing I could think of to do. I tried to capture his somewhat bonkers art aesthetic, which I liked a lot, and I thought it might bring a smile to his face.

Take some pitches” is a piece of baseball chatter (which is somewhat amusing in the context of recreational softball, which made it funny, and of course he knew that) which Michael frequently repeated during the New Yorker softball games, which was one place where he really enjoyed himself.

 

Joe Dator:

Mr. Crawford had an absurd space-cadet sense of humor that I always admired. One of his cartoons I’ll never forget was a man walking down the street wearing a  t-shirt that said “Not A Fan Of My Ex Wife’s New Boyfriend”. It’s a simple enough joke but when you look under the hood there’s a lot going on. His logic trail must have been “t-shirts … people wear t-shirts to show what they are a fan of … other people use the passive aggressive term ‘not a fan’ … a person could wear a ‘not a fan’ t-shirt”.

It takes a very supple mind to make those kinds of mental leaps, but that’s pretty much the meaning of creativity. I always think about that cartoon and Michael’s inspiring mental acrobatics.
On a more personal note, it meant a great deal to me that I once surprised him with an off-the-cuff joke. He asked me if a marker I was using was indelible, and I said “I’ve never known it to del” and he looked at me the way you’d look at a cat that suddenly opened a can of food by itself. It has always made me feel good to remember the moment when I must have gotten within hailing distance of his unique wavelength.
Jack Ziegler:
 When visiting at Casa Crawford in Newtown, MA, sometime in the early eighties, my kids would disappear downstairs with his kids into the basement where Michael kept all sorts of found objects in boxes: old castoff bits of wood, metal, office supplies, packaging, nuts and bolts, etc.  It was a workshop dedicated to fun creativity.  I still have the piece that my daughter Jessica created down there, a combined facial portrait of my then wife & me glued down on a slab of wood, she sporting hair curlers made of wine corks and me with a beard of paper clips, both of us with a cigarette butt drooping from our single mouth.  It hangs in my living room and you can’t miss it as you come through the front door.  I always remember that visit each time I walk past it.  Now it’s a treasured Michael Memento.
Ziegler Maslin Crawford Anne[photo: In Boston, 1993 for the opening of Lines of the Times: 50 Years of Great American Cartoons at the Art Institute of Boston. Left to right: Jack Ziegler, Michael Maslin, Michael Crawford, and Anne Hall (now Anne Hall Elser), Lee Lorenz’s long-time Art Assistant  at The New Yorker. Ms. Elser’s wonderful photographs of New Yorker cartoonists, including one of Mr. Crawford in a rowboat,  can be found here].
Liza Donnelly:
I’ve  always thought that The New Yorker is a place for cartoonists who are artists.  That sounds snooty, but it’s not meant to be. People for whom drawing is their medium, but who also love to make people laugh. People who sometimes have ideas that are not just about the laugh and want to express them in a drawing.   This was the work of Michael Crawford. He made us laugh in his cartoons, but they were also little paintings that we just enjoyed looking at. He also created paintings and they were the flip of his drawings. Sometimes his paintings made us laugh.   I loved Crawford’s work, and his embodiment of all this as a person. He was a unique mixture of funny and serious, here and there, present and not present.  He was always kind and generous to me when I saw him, smiling and laughing as if to say, “isn’t this life just nuts?”  He will be sorely missed in the world, but his work remains and it will continue to make us very happy.
Robert Leighton:
The thing that stood out to me about Crawford’s cartoons was the way he depicted married life. There were no thrown toasters in his cartoons. The couples always seemed to be pre- or post-coital. (Often with equipment.) They seemed playful, happy and fulfilled. I’d like to think that this reflected the satisfaction he found in his own life.
Corey Pandolph:

I’ll never forget Michael’s advice and support when I sold my first cartoon to the New Yorker. We were walking to our regular bar after softball and he explained his view of the never-ending grind that is New Yorker cartooning, and how he had batches of cartoons all ready to go in PDF form, in case he needed to send something in last minute. I remember thinking that’s a smart idea and then I remember thinking how surreal it was that I just played softball with Michael Crawford and now he’s giving me cartoon advice at Broadway and 103rd Street.

I’ll never forget the button down shirt and red jeans he wore while diving head first into home plate.

I’ll never forget his birthday party at Fanelli’s and getting tipsy with Drew Dernavich.

I’ll never forget his little red digital camera and how quickly he could get a hipshot of a play, the bench or the team on the sly.

I’ll never forget his paintings he would post on social media. The US maps were my favorite.

I’ll never forget the white shirt he wore one of the last games of the season – It was clearly homemade with a sharpie and read simply “take some pitches”. No one really noticed it, but I did and I can still hear him yelling it to me nearly every time I was at the plate.

I’ll never forget to take some pitches.

Peter Steiner:
When Michael Crawford died, we lost an interesting and gifted artist. He did paintings and cartoons, and his works in both genres were substantial and of a piece. You could recognize his distinctive style in both kinds of work.
 On the occasion of the deaths of Frank Modell and Anatol Kovarsky, Bob Mankoff, the New Yorker cartoon editor wrote Ars longa, vita brevis. For cartoonists, especially long-lived ones like Frank Modell, who died two weeks ago, at the age of ninety-eight, or Anatol Kovarsky, who passed away last week, at ninety-seven, it’s often the other way around. That just comes with the territory. The job of the cartoonist is to connect with your time, for a time, not for all time.”
I think Mankoff is wrong about this.  Cartoons are more than current jokes with a picture attached, or at least they should be.  And while it is true that many, even most, gags grow stale with the times, the best ones don’t.  And when the drawing is interesting and masterful, it lives on and on even as the joke grows stale, just as any interesting painting or drawing or etching does, even though its topic may no longer be “relevant.”  It’s true that very few cartoons rise to that level, but I think good cartoonists aspire to that with each cartoon they make.  That aspiration was true of Crawford’s work whether he was painting or writing/drawing a cartoon.  And sometimes he hit the mark.
Mick Stevens:
I love Michael’s work. He was among the first NYer cartoonists I met when I moved to New York City. I remember him taking a photo of a few of us, all but one relative newcomers to the NYer then, in the anteroom just outside Lee Lorenz’s office. If I recall correctly after all this time, he set up the camera to shoot on a delay, giving him time to join us in the picture. The result is a photo of Jack Ziegler, Sam Gross, myself, Bob Mankoff, (long before Bob became the cartoon editor of the magazine), and Roz Chast. Michael is seen behind us, his smiling face just visible and slightly ghost-like. It seems to me he was always a little shy, always a bit on the periphery, and I only got a few chances to hang out with him over the years, but it was always a quality experience when I did. Michael lived in his own world more than some of us do, I think, and would drop into our worlds only for brief visits. In my experience, he never stuck around long enough.
Mick Steven's Crawford group photo
Tom Toro:
I have a pet theory that if all of the captions from Michael Crawford’s cartoons were put together it would create the great post-modern American novel.  He was certainly one of the cleverest humor writers to ever grace The New Yorker’s pages – sharp, off-beat, always surprising – and yet what was it that he wrote, exactly?  Not gags per se.  Not zingers.  His wit didn’t lean on outlandishness, his jokes weren’t quirky just because.  What he produced were pure Crawfordisms.  They come across as wiser than typical cartoon punchlines, somehow hinting at deeper experiences best left unspoken, like comments that tipsy adults let slip when they think the kids are asleep.  A Crawford one-liner leaves us giddy and curious.  My reaction to his work typically swings during the span of a moment from “I don’t get it” to “It gets me better than I get myself.”  As with the passing of any true original, Crawford cannot be replaced.  Let’s not even try.
Mort Gerberg:

While Michael Crawford was well-known as a wonderful cartoonist by a vast number of people, I’d guess that relatively few thought of him as a “sports guy” who was a terrific softball player.

But that’s the first association I have when I think about Michael, since he and I, beyond being cartooning colleagues, were, more importantly, teammates for over 20 years on the usually- hapless New Yorker softball team. So, in a season of about 10 games, we might have played ball together 200 times.

It’s said that shared adversity often brings people close together, and so, because the New Yorker softball team lost far more often than it won, Michael and I bonded and fretted more about our softball game than striving for OKs [an “OK” is the New Yorker‘s terminology for a bought cartoon] .

The team has been an odd assemblage that shows up in Central Park every Tuesday at 7pm in the summer months.  It’s been made up of two distinct groups: the first, very large, composed of maybe two-dozen Twenty-Something writers, fact-checkers, etc., full of enthusiasm and team spirit, many of whom, however, possessing little knowledge of the rules of the game or an ability to run, throw or hit a ball with a bat; and the second group, much smaller, comprising “the old guys,” meaning anybody over 30, who knew the game and could play it pretty well.

Michael was in the second group, along with myself, occasionally other “oldies” like Mark Singer and Rick Hertzberg and some other editors, and I guess I could safely say that until the last four or so years, Michael was an anchor of the team.

For one thing, he was a regular.  He hated missing a game and he was  missed when he did.  A passionate, baseball fan, he knew everything about the game, so he was a valuable tactician, as well as a sure-handed fielder and a dependable, long-ball hitter who would deliver a big hit to drive in a run in clutch situations.

On and off the field, he served as a coach and leader to those (and there were many) who were coming out to play for the first time.  As soon as he arrived at the field, he’d start warmups, play catch, or start batting practice.  And when the game started, he’d  stay involved in it, even when we’d find ourselves on the short end of a 19-2 score after only two innings.

But Michael made it fun.  When our less-proficient teammates would make errors in the field or strike out at the plate, Michael would still shout encouragement, cheering us all on.  Sure, he wanted to win the game, but, he would remind me, when I got upset over all the messing up, it still was just a game.

Because often 25 people came out to play 10 positions, the coach would rotate players from inning to inning so everyone got a chance to play, but Michael was always the reliable, sure-handed first baseman. Until recently, when I’ve been pitching,  I usually played second base, which meant that sometimes, after I fielded a ground ball, my throw to first might have been off line, but Michael would  grab it for the out.  If a batter hit a spinning pop fly between first and second base, I’d usually defer to Michael’s shout, “I got it!” because I felt that he would be less likely to muff the catch. And if Michael remembered an opposing batter’s previous hit, he might position our players to afford us a better defense.

Michael’s softball presence even extended outside himself.  I remember that after he’d been playing for a few years, Michael’s grown son and daughter showed up at the games — not just to watch Dad but to play themselves.  Not surprisingly, both were solid, in the field and at bat.  It was also not a surprise, after some more years, that Carolita [Johnson] also came to play.  Of course, being the free spirit she is, she participated in her own way, showing up on occasions after a photo shoot, wearing heels, and going out to play right field barefoot …very well.

It occurs to me now, that when Michael was at the softball game, he was totally in the moment, which, when I think about it, did not always seem the case.  Off the field he seemed different.  When I’d see him at normal social situations, like cartoonist gatherings, or on look days at the magazine, Michael might be operating on his own private wave length, there but, you know, not there.  But on the ball field, Michael was always present with everyone else around him.  Talking it up at first base, digging in at the plate, shouting encouragement to runners or batters if he was coaching at first or third.  And, if he wasn’t “playing” in those roles, he would be roaming around the field taking photographs.  Photos of the action.  Photos of us playing.  Photos of us  just hanging out.  Baseball photos, probably thousands of them, many of which probably wound up in his paintings and cartoons.  A seamless blending of two of Michael’s greatest passions — baseball and art.

So, a salute to a teammate, and a remembrance of a Most Valuable Player.

opening day 2014[Mr. Crawford, far left, with members of The New Yorker‘s softball team, celebrating an opening day victory]

New Yorker Cartoonist Michael Crawford: An Ink Spill Appreciation

Posted on 13th July 2016 in News

MC

 

Michael Crawford,  who began publishing his drawings in The New Yorker in 1984, passed away this past Tuesday afternoon.

The first time I laid eyes on him, thirty-two years ago, I was sitting in a street level apartment next to Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Lady Studios in Greenwich Village. The apartment belonged to another New Yorker cartoonist, Richard Cline. I was waiting for Cline to finish up a phone call so we could cab uptown to the Pierre Hotel on 5th Avenue for the magazine’s annual anniversary party. Crawford suddenly came in through Klein’s Seinfeldian unlocked apartment door. More specifically, Crawford sidled in like a sand crab – looking as if he wasn’t sure he really wanted to be there or was supposed to be there. This kind of entrance became, for me, his trademark over the years: looking like he was ready to leave as soon as he entered a room.

 

In those early days of his run at The New Yorker he was struggling to catch William Shawn’s discerning eye. Crawford got his work into the magazine, but rather than getting in and advancing, he plateaued. As he told me in an interview in 2013:

 

“Shawn ran a total of 6 between ’83 and the year he departed [1987]. Once Bob Gottlieb [Robert Gottlieb was William Shawn’s successor as editor] took over, the buy rate increased.” [Shawn actually only ran a total of four in those years].

 

Crawford's 1st June 25 1984

Early Crawford seemed to owe a bit to Jack Ziegler’s work. His very first drawing in The New Yorker, in the issue of June 25, 1984, [above] reserves a Ziegleresque word for the “pow” at the end. By his third drawing he was showing us, appropriately enough, a baseball. Baseball was one of Crawford’s greatest passions. Again, from my interview with him: “Baseball was life for me, from the beginning.” He soon became a fixture on The New Yorker’s baseball team.

As Gottlieb’s editorship gave way to Tina Brown’s, Crawford thrived. He told me: “Tina was relentlessly cordial, encouraging and welcoming of spread ideas.” He contributed color work (color was no stranger to him. Like many New Yorker artists he wore two hats: cartoonist and fine artist). His good friend Danny Shanahan said of him not long ago: “Michael’s not really a cartoonist – he’s an artist.”

 

Somewhere during his middle years at the magazine his family moved from the Boston area to a house at the end of a dirt road in a burg along the Hudson — a scenic town already lousy with New Yorker cartoonists (the aforementioned Danny Shanahan, Liza Donnelly & myself). In all the years he lived here this is how many times I spotted him walking around town: 0.

 

Some short scenes from my interactions with him over the years:

 

* I met him at a local bar & grill shortly after he moved here. He came up to where I was sitting, his eyes fixed on the television screen over the bar. “Are those the Bulls?” he said. “Oh,” I thought to myself, “he likes basketball – he’s a sports guy.” Another small window to the man.

 

*I was sitting in his house once staring at a painting he’d done of a rowboat. “What’re those,” I asked, pointing to the dark areas below the boat’s seats, “cast shadows?” “Yeah,” he replied, and laughed a quick laugh – as if it accidentally escaped.

 

Some years later his life changed again and, now single, he moved into Manhattan where he eventually met a model who soon became a fellow New Yorker cartoonist, and eventually, near the very last weeks of his life, his wife. They became the fourth New Yorker married cartoonist couple (in chronological order the four couples are: Mary Petty & Alan Dunn, Liza Donnelly & myself, Emily Richards & Marshall Hopkins, Carolita Johnson & Crawford).

 

I think of Crawford’s hundreds of contributions to the New Yorker: his odd energetically layered wash or marker drawings with au courant captions; his other art: the paintings of mobsters and the Kennedy assassination. I think of his sidling in and out of parties, chin up, checking out the scene (he rode a motor scooter for a while and would show up at events holding onto his helmet, ready to bolt, and jump back on his two-wheeler and vroom into the night). In any conversation his eyes never fixed on me for more than a half-second. They were wandering around, looking here there and everywhere; he wasn’t really here with me, he was somewhere way way over there. A social attention span like mercury, unless — so I’ve heard — he was painting.

 

All these quirky observations of Crawford — they’re like slides quickly fast forwarding on an old slide projector. Here’s one final slide: many years ago, not long after Crawford moved to this town, he wrote me and said he was gathering together, on tape, versions of the song “On Broadway” … could I think of any unusual recordings?… Well, yes, I told him, I could. So I sent him a copy of The Dave Clark Five’s rendition, which caused him to smile ever so slightly.

 

…They say that I won’t last too long
On Broadway
I’ll catch a Greyhound bus for home they all say

 

Aug 6 2012 MC

 

 

Link here for Ink Spill‘s 2013 interview with Michael Crawford

Link here to a New York Times article from 2009: “Where Punchlines Pay the Rent”

Link here to Mr. Crawford’s New Yorker Contributors Page from a few years back

NOTE: There are no collections of Michael Crawford’s New Yorker cartoons.  In 2003 he edited and wrote the Introduction to The New Yorker Book of Baseball Cartoons (originally published in 2003, it was reissued in 2012).  And of course his work can be found in all the New Yorker cartoon anthologies beginning with the The New Yorker Cartoon Album 1975 – 1985.

[The cartoon above appeared in The New Yorker August 6, 2012]

Correction: In the initial post, I misstated Mr. Crawford’s age at the time of his death. According to Mr.Crawford’s wife, he was 70 years old, not 75.