Russell Maloney on New Yorker Cartoons: “In The New Yorker the Pictures Do Not Illustrate the Jokes; They ARE the Jokes”

Posted on 20th March 2017 in News

 

Here’s Russell Maloney’s Introduction to a 1945 special publication, The New Yorker Cartoons with The Talk of The Town  / Special Edition for the Armed Forces.* If you’re wondering who Russell Maloney is or was, and why he would be writing an Introduction to an anthology of New Yorker cartoons, here’s a link to an Ink Spill piece that connects the dots.

Interesting that even in 1945, twenty years after The New Yorker began publishing, the magazine was still explaining how its cartoons differed from the old “he/she cartoons” popular in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.  Even more interesting (and illuminating!) is Maloney’s precision take on the gamut of New Yorker cartoons appearing in the magazine’s first twenty years, from the timely (“they were funny once… but they wouldn’t be now”) to the evergreens (“aimed above rather than below the neck”). After all these years that mix (to use a Tina Brown-ism) remains the same right up to the latest issue of The New Yorker which includes a cartoon about binge-watching, as well as a cartoon depicting a pole vaulting knight.

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*According to a label glued on to the last page, the original edition of this anthology was “produced under wartime conditions at the request of the Army, Navy and Marine Corps and delivered gratis to our Armed Forces overseas.”  This particular edition is in hardcover, “made available in The United States and to civilians for the first time.”

 

 

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