Jack Ziegler, One of The New Yorker’s Greatest Cartoonists, Has Died

Posted on 29th March 2017 in News

 

 

Jack Ziegler, one of The New Yorker’s greatest cartoonists, passed away this morning in Kansas City. Last October I interviewed Jack — we had such a good time and there was so much to cover that it spread into two parts. Jack selected the above photo to run with one part of the interview — a fitting photo to run today.   I believe that it’s best to let that interview serve, for today, as my appreciation for the friend I loved and respected.

The Jack Ziegler Interview, Pt.1

The Jack Ziegler Interview, Pt. 2

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s Ink Spill’s “New Yorker Cartoonists A-Z” entry for Jack:

Jack Ziegler Born, Brooklyn, NY July 13, 1942. Died, Kansas City, March 29, 2017.  NYer work: 1974 – . Key collections: all of Ziegler’s collections are must-haves. Here’re some favorites: Hamburger Madness (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1978), Filthy Little Things ( Doubleday/Dolphin, 1981) and The Essential Jack Ziegler, Complied and Edited by Lee Lorenz ( Workman, 2000)

Peter Steiner Pencilled; Jeremy Nguyen Profiled

Posted on 29th March 2017 in News

Peter Steiner, who brought us this classic New Yorker cartoon, tells us about his tools of the trade on Jane Mattimoe’s latest Case For Pencils. Read it here!

Link to Peter Steiner’s website.

 

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Jeremy Nguyen, whose first cartoon appeared in The New Yorker this past February, is the subject of this brief profile in Bedford + Bowery.

Link to Jeremy Nguyen’s website.

Interview of Interest: John Cuneo

Posted on 28th March 2017 in News

New Yorker cover artist, John Cuneo, whose new book Not Waving But Drawing has just been published, is the subject of Gil Roth’s latest Virtual Memories podcast. Hear it here!

R.C. Harvey’s Trip Down Mankoff Lane

Posted on 27th March 2017 in News

From The Comics Journal, March 27, 2017, “A Look Back at 20 Years of Mankoff’s New Yorker” — R.C. Harvey takes a look at Bob Mankoff’s not-quite 20 year term (August of 1997 – April of 2017) as The New Yorker‘s cartoon editor in this longish piece that covers much ground found in Mankoff’s memoir, How About Never — Is Never Good For You: My Life in Cartoons (Henry Holt, 2014), as well as the very current events surrounding Mr. Mankoff’s imminent departure.

There are a few things in Mr. Harvey’s piece I’m going to quibble with. I’ve reproduced them here, bolded and italicized.

New Yorker cartoons are topical (and always have been) but not as front-page topical as newspaper editorial cartoons. For decades, thanks to the magazine’s founder’s Puritan bent, sex was taboo as a subject for cartoons.

New Yorker cartoons can be topical, but they are not always topical, and they have not always been topical, nor are they all topical now.  For instance,  these two drawings, perhaps two of the most famous in the magazine’s canon: James Thurber’s so-called Seal in the Bedroom, and Charles Addams famous skier who has somehow managed to ski through a pine tree.  If there’s something topical about them, I don’t see it.

As for sex as a taboo, well what are we talking about here exactly?  Barbara Shermund’s and Peter Arno’s work mined the subject of sex in the New Yorker for decades on end.  Mr. Arno, of course, made quite a nice career out of providing the New Yorker‘s readership with sex-based drawings.

By the time Lorenz was cartoon editor, cartoonists were expected to both write and draw their cartoons. (In fact, to reveal an undisguised bias of mine, true cartooning, blending words and picture, can most happily take place in a cartoonist’s mind, not a writer’s. Which may account for the typically inert comedy that prevailed at The New Yorker for so many of its first decades. And, even—inevitably—into current decades.)

Not really sure where  “by the time Lorenz was cartoon editor, cartoonists were expected to both write and draw their cartoons” comes from. It is simply not the case.  As one who was brought into The New Yorker by Mr. Lorenz, the subject of what was expected never came up. The word “expect” just isn’t part of the New Yorker cartoonist/editor language. Forty years later, I can say that the subject never came up with Mr. Lorenz, or his successor.

As for “…the typically inert comedy that prevailed at The New Yorker for so many of its first decades” Mr. Harvey has a right to his opinion, of course, but “inert” is not a word I’d apply to the earliest New Yorker cartoons. In fact, if you look through the magazine’s first three decades  what you will see is plenty of cartoon movement across the page and within the cartoons themselves. Take a look at the work of Reginald Marsh, or Thurber, or Barlow, or Hoff or Johan Bull (I could go on listing names, but you get the point).   Mr. Bull was a frequent contributor in the magazine’s earliest days –his lovely drawings  were barely kept within the borders of the page. And Mr. Marsh’s drawings were electric.  There was a graphic  playfulness to much of the work then; it subsided, appropriately enough, with the advent of the second world war.  If you want to go looking for inert drawings, you’ll find them easily enough and in every issue, but I would say they did not prevail — they were a bit of balance, some down-time Harold Ross so wisely provided his readers.

Ann McCarthy, New Yorker Cartoonist and Cover Artist, Has Died

Posted on 26th March 2017 in News

 

Ann McCarthy, who contributed twenty-two cartoons and six covers to The New Yorker between May 1988 through December 1992, has died, according to her daughter.

Liza Donnelly, In her book, Funny Ladies, a history of the New Yorker‘s female cartoonists,  had this, in part, to say about Ms. McCarthy:

Ann McCarthy grew up in New York City. She says she drew as soon as she could sit at a table., and in school she got excused from naptime to go draw. McCarthy says she didn’t aspire to draw cartoons similar to what she saw in The New Yorker, but she knew she wanted to be as funny. 

She began her career as an illustrator, and at the suggestion of her book editor, she called The New Yorker to set up an appointment [with the magazine’s Art Editor, Lee Lorenz]. He was familiar with her work and told her to ‘bring everything down.’ She sold her first cover on that visit and began selling her drawings.

Ms. Donnelly quotes Lee Lorenz as saying of McCarthy’s work: “The ridiculousness of her work is that someone would spend so much time drawing a joke.”

According to the March 26th notice in The New York Times, Ms. McCarthy taught at Parsons School of Design, and attended The Art Students League of New York; her work outside the New Yorker “ranged from record jacket designs for United Artists and Polydor, to illustrations for publications including The New York Times, Time Magazine, and Institutional Investor. She did book covers for the late author Frederic Morton…as well as for Alicia Miller’s first novel, Home Bodies.”

 

 

 Ink Spill’s “New Yorker Cartoonists A-Z” entry for Ms. McCarthy:

Ann McCarthy Weisman,  (photo courtesy of Katie Weisman) Born, New York,  January 9, 1939.  Died, March 15, 2017.  New Yorker work: May 30, 1988 – December 1992.  Ms. McCarthy contributed six covers and 22 drawings to the magazine. Her Ink Spill appreciation here

 

 

 

 

New York Times Raves About Arno’s “The New Yorkers”

Posted on 25th March 2017 in News

“So this is what Manhattan looked like in the tipsy yesterday of Prohibition”

— Ben Brantley, The New York Times

The New Yorkers was a hit when it opened in  December of 1930 (done in by the Depression, it closed after 168 performances) and here it is back in 2017, albeit in altered form, heralded one more time. Too bad it won’t be around long.

Inspired ever-so-slightly by an idea Peter Arno shopped around in early 1930 as Manhattan Parade, The New Yorkers showed up at The Broadway Theatre with music by rising star, Cole Porter.

Arno supplied the graphics for the sheet music and the program (shown above), and was the driving force behind the scenery (uncredited as he wasn’t a union member). What we should hold onto really is that, according to Robert Baral’s Revue: A Nostalgic Reprise of The Great Broadway Period, Arno inspired “the mood of the show”  much as he inhabited, distilled and reflected the times he caroused around in during the late 1920s and beyond.

Here’s a link to Mr. Brantley’s review of Encores! Production of The New Yorkers

(and thanks to the New York Times for a shout-out — in the form of a link — to my newyorker.com piece on Arno, “The Peter Arno Cartoons That Helped Rescue The New Yorker”)

Fave Photo of the Day: Blitt, Telnaes, Galindo, Taylor and Donnelly; Rating New Yorker Cartoons: Cartoon Companion Looks at a Giant Snowman, Escaping Clowns and More

Posted on 24th March 2017 in News

Here’s a photo from last night’s event “Cartooning the New Reality” at The Museum of The City of New York.  From left to right: Barry Blitt, Ann Telnaes, Felipe Galindo, Whit Taylor, and moderator, Liza Donnelly

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The Cartoon Companion duo hand out some tough and  tender love as they assess the cartoons in this week’s New Yorker.  The issue includes, among others, a pizza dough tossing bat, some hammered soup, and a couple of dead fish. Read it here.

“The Place Was Especially A Mess After The Weekly Art Meetings”

Posted on 23rd March 2017 in News

 

 

… “The artists, who waited for the verdicts, scrambled for desk space where they could retouch their cartoons and spots according to what Wylie, or Katharine Angell, told them what Ross wanted.”*

 

— So said New Yorker editor and writer Rogers Whitaker to Thurber biographer, Harrison Kinney. He was describing a wonderfully fun and exciting time and place: The New Yorker in its infancy, ninety some years ago.

 

What’s changed since then?  Well, the cartoonists no longer wait in the office to hear the verdict for that week’s submissions (email now alerts them to a sale, and more often, rejection). However, many cartoonists still head to the New Yorker every week to sit across from the cartoon editor. It’s a chance to connect with the editor, to get feedback, to discuss that week’s submissions.  It’s also a chance to socialize with colleagues.  Cartoonists, as has been said many times, are mostly solitary creatures, whiling away at their drawing boards or tablets without the company of other humans.

 

Using the clues of the personalities Mr. Whitaker mentioned we know that the artists (cartoonists for the most part with some cover artists tossed in) began showing up at the New Yorker from the very first days of the magazine. What we don’t know is exactly when the cartoonists began showing up to see the Art Editor — a ritual that began sometime during James Geraghty’s tenure as the magazine’s first Art Editor.

 

Rea Irvin, the New Yorker‘s Art Supervisor did not meet the artists flooding into the office. So who actually saw the artists coming in? It was, in the very beginning, Ross’s secretary, Helen Mears, who was soon fired and replaced by a young man named Philip Wylie. He was the unofficially titled artists “hand-holder” — the link between the editorial staff and the cartoonists.   Most importantly to The New Yorker‘s history, and to its success, Wylie is the person who, while looking through twenty-one year old Peter Arno’s portfolio one day in 1925  happened to spot a drawing Arno hadn’t intended to show: a sketch  of “two old bats about to charge obliviously into a trap — made by the rise of a sidewalk elevator. It [the drawing] greatly amused me.”   The  “two old bats” came to be called The Whoops Sisters, and also came to be credited as very likely rescuing The New Yorker from an early demise.  This moment was one of the so-called “happy accidents” that saved the New Yorker and propelled it forward. And it could have only happened because Arno came into the office and sat down with Wylie.

 

We know that upon James Geraghty’s appointment as Art Editor in 1939 he began working closely with the magazine’s staff cartoonists on Look Day (Tuesdays back then, and for many years after. Wednesdays now).  What has always endeared me to the editor/artist dance at the magazine is that editorial prompts are not directives — they are suggestions.  This practice continued on during Lee Lorenz’s twenty-four years as art editor after he succeeded Geraghty, and it continues right up to today.

 

Mr. Lorenz ran a very tight ship in those twenty-four years; artists had to be invited in to the office on Look Day.  Even some long-time contributors did not receive the coveted invitation.  They had to drop off their work at the receptionist’s glassed-in cubicle at the end of the hallway near the elevators. To be invited back was well-earned. And what you found once you were buzzed through the hallway door and then walked down the dog-legged hallway to the Art Department was a small cream-colored waiting room filled with cartoonists whose names would most likely be as familiar as the names of your family members. Their work, of course, would be familiar as well. The days of artists messing up the office were in the rear view mirror.  Some of the cartoonists actually had “studios” in the building (Charles Addams, Frank Modell, James Stevenson, Edward Koren among them).  Mr. Lorenz had an editorial light touch when working with artists — a shade lighter than Geraghty’s, or so I’ve been told; like Geraghty, Lorenz’s advice was succinct, and spot-on.

 

When Bob Mankoff succeeded Mr. Lorenz, he instituted what he called an “open door” policy,  saying, “I’ll see anyone.”  And in they came. To be sure, it created a different climate in what is called the cartoonists lounge.  Lots of new faces, many unpublished in The New Yorker, or anywhere, mingled with veteran contributors such as Sam Gross, George Booth, and Mort Gerberg. The scene wasn’t messy, as in the old days, but it was lively (they’ve had to be “hushed” on more than one occasion.  Dana Fradon, recalling the pre-Mankoff days, told Ink Spill: “Once, when someone down the hall voiced an official complaint about ‘noise’ coming from the cartoonists waiting room, Ed Fisher and I went out into the hall and sang, in close harmony, ‘The Beer-Barrel Polka’. “Roll out the barrel…”).

 

It was recently announced that a New Yorker editor, Emma Allen would replace Mr. Mankoff in May. A Cartoon Department email soon followed announcing that Mr. Mankoff would not see cartoonists on Look Day in these last weeks of his editorship.  How eerily quiet it will be around the cartoon lounge on Wednesday mornings!  I imagine that come May, the non-existent doors to the cartoon department will swing open again (there are waist-high partitions everywhere now, and just a few doors) and the cartoonists will flood in, as lively and boisterous as they’ve been for over ninety years.

 

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*A Who’s Who of those mentioned above

Emma Allen:  Ms. Allen has worked as an editor of Talk of The Town, a writer, and editor of Daily Shouts, and as of May this year, The New Yorker‘s Cartoon Editor.

Ed Fisher: Mr. Fisher’s first cartoon appeared in The New Yorker October 27, 1951; he went on to contribute over 700 cartoons. He died in 2013.

Dan Fradon:  Mr. Fradon, whose first cartoon appeared in The New Yorker, May 1, 1948,  is the doyen of the magazine’s artists. He has published well over a thousand cartoons in the magazine.

James Geraghty: a former gag-writer, hired in 1939, he became the magazine’s first Art Editor.  Before Geraghty, there was no one single person at the magazine dedicated to overseeing all the art (Harold Ross was the overseer of everything in his magazine).  Ross’s successor, William Shawn said of Geraghty: “Along with Harold Ross…he set set the magazine’s comic art on its course and he helped determine the direction in which the comic art would go and is still going.”  Mr. Geraghty was the art editor from 1939 through 1973. He died in 1983.

Rea Irvin: Mr. Irvin is a huge part of the New Yorker’s DNA as he’s responsible for the New Yorker‘s first cover (featuring the fellow referred to as Eustace Tilley); Mr. Irvin adapted the typeface that we now call the Irvin typeface; he contributed a record number of New Yorker covers, and last but not least, he helped “educate” Harold Ross, art-wise. He died in 1972.

Harrison Kinney: A reporter for The New Yorker from 1949-1954; his massive biography of James Thurber: His Life & Times was published in 1995.

Lee Lorenz: Geraghty’s successor as Art Editor (and later, under Tina Brown’s editorship, as Cartoon Editor).   He began as editor in 1973, handing over the reigns to Bob Mankoff in 1997. Mr. Lorenz is also one of, if not the most prolific New Yorker cartoonists. He is also the author of numerous books about New Yorker cartoonists, including the must-read history, The Art of The New Yorker:1925- 1995.

Bob Mankoff: Mr. Mankoff, also a cartoonist for the magazine, has been its cartoon editor for over nineteen years.  His memoir, How About Never — Is Never Good For You?: My Life In Cartoons was published in 2014.

Helen Mears: Harold Ross’s first secretary and the first person delegated to be a go-between the editorial department and the artists. She was fired by Philip Wylie on orders from Harold Ross. Mr. Wylie then assumed Ms. Mears duties.

Harold Ross: The founder and first editor of The New Yorker. There are three biographies of Mr. Ross. Thomas Kunkel’s biography Genius in Disguise is essential reading. Mr. Ross died in 1951.

William Shawn: Appointed in January of 1952 as Harold Ross’s successor. He remained editor until 1987. He died in 1992.

Rogers E. M. Whitaker: hired in 1926 he headed the checking department and later the make-up department.  Mr. Whitaker went on to become an editor and contributor to the New Yorker, working under various names:  “E.M. Frimbo”  (“The World’s Greatest Railroad Buff”) for pieces chronicling his journeys on the nations railways; “J.W.L.” for his pieces about Ivy League football; “The Old Curmudgeon” when he wrote for The Talk of The Town.   Mr. Whitaker died in 1981.

Katharine White: Hired in August of 1925, Ms. White (then Angell) was the magazine’s first Fiction Editor.  According to the New York Times: she…”exerted a profoundly creative influence on contemporary American literature…having transformed The New Yorker from a humor magazine into the purveyor of much of the best writing in the country.” Before James Geraghty consolidated the Art Department, the art was under the umbrella of the Fiction Department.  Lee Lorenz has written of her that “she was a powerful voice in the selection of the magazine’s art.” She died in 1977.  Linda Davis’s biography, Onward & Upward: A Biography of Katharine S. White is essential reading.

Philip Wylie: “The New Yorker‘s first bona fide applicant” was the magazine’s second artist hand holder.  He attended hundreds of the magazine’s first art meetings.  His short stint at The New Yorker was followed by a long and successful career as a writer including the best-selling Generation of Vipers.  He died in 1971

 

 

Reminder: Barry Blitt, Felipe Galindo, Liza Donnelly, Whit Taylor, Ann Telnaes at The Museum of the City of New York Tonight!

Posted on 22nd March 2017 in News

 

A reminder of tonight’s event  at The Museum of The City of New York:

Barry Blitt, Felipe Galindo, Whit Taylor, Ann Telnaes are on a panel moderated by Liza Donnelly.

The subject is:  Cartooning the New Reality.

From the Museum’s website:

Barry Blitt, cover artist and illustrator for The New Yorker
Felipe Galindo, cartoonist for The New Yorker
Whit Taylor, cartoonist for The Nib, Fusion, PEN Illustrated, and others
Ann Telnaes, Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist for The Washington Post
Liza Donnelly (moderator), cartoonist for The New Yorker, resident cartoonist for CBS News, and author of 16 books

This program is co-presented by PEN America.

All the info here. The Museum has provided a discount code DRAW which allows people to buy $10 tickets (regularly $20). Go to this link and you’ll receive a discount on the entrance fee: http://bit.ly/2kUYX7Q

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.”