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

 

 

 

New Yorker Cartoonists & Tomato Juice

Posted on 15th May 2016 in News

mad1941

 

 

  Attempted Bloggery takes a look at a series of ads for Libby’s Tomato Juice, with art by Peter Arno, Otto Soglow, Syd Hoff, William Steig and James Thurber.

Go see!

Drew Dernavich’s First Children’s Book

Posted on 14th July 2015 in News

DD3

With the publication this coming February of It’s Not Easy Being Number 3, Drew Dernavich continues the long tradition of New Yorker cartoonists venturing into the children’s book world (the list includes, among many others,  Rea Irvin, Lee Lorenz, James Stevenson, Robert Kraus, James Thurber, William Steig, Frank Modell, Ed Arno, Edward Koren, Henry Martin, Syd Hoff, Dana Fradon, Jack Ziegler, Liza Donnelly, Danny Shanahan, Harry Bliss, and Roz Chast).

[It’s Not Easy Being Number 3, Henry Holt/Christy Ottaviano, February 2016]

More info:

Mr. Dernavich’s website

New Yorker Cartoonist Joe Dator Tells Us About “The Cartoons on Peggy Olson’s Wall”

Posted on 15th May 2015 in News

 

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On this momentous Mad Men weekend, it gives me great pleasure to post an Ink Spill exclusive from my New Yorker colleague, Joe Dator.  I can’t think of a better cartoon-related way to salute this classic series. My thanks to Joe for bringing this terrific piece to the Spill. [click on the cartoons to enlarge them ]

  And now, without further ado…

 

 

 

 

“The Cartoons on Peggy Olson’s Wall”

 

Is there a clever nickname for Mad Men fans? “Maddies” doesn’t seem right, and “Mennies” is even worse (How about “Trekkies”? The Star Trek people aren’t using it anymore. I say we make them an offer). Whatever the word for it is, I am one. I’m completely enthralled by the writing, the acting and the incredible attention to period detail. For me, these characters seem absolutely real, and I’ve met some future older version of just about all of them.

 

One of those is copy chief Peggy Olson, played by Elisabeth Moss. In the fifth season episode “Dark Shadows”, which takes place in 1966, Peggy opens a pitch meeting for a soft drink with “Everyone loves the cartoons in The New Yorker, and I thought we could do that kind with the guy crawling across the Sahara dying of thirst”. Her idea doesn’t fit the campaign, but it fits her character. Peggy’s come a long way (vintage advertising reference!) since starting at Sterling Cooper, working her way up to copywriter when few women were anything other than secretaries. She’s an upward striver who would have reveled in her new found metropolitan lifestyle (although as a young professional she might not have been the ideal demographic for The New Yorker at that time- its ads from those days seemed to mostly target the kind of people who buy furs and travel to India for the food).

 

Three fictional years later, Peggy has a bit more office real estate and she decorates it partly with cartoons. In the seventh season episodes “Severance” and “New Business” there are four New Yorker cartoons visible on the wall (I couldn’t identify the other four- it’s likely they were culled from one of the other magazines that ran cartoons back then, of which there were still many).

 

peggyscartoons1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

True to the production’s meticulous attention to detail, all of them were published prior to those episodes April 1970 setting. Let’s take a closer look.

 

peggyscartoons2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First up is this William Steig cartoon from March 22nd, 1969. It’s funny, but why would Peggy want to clip it out and save it? I think it would have struck a nerve with any woman of that era. Despite revisionist nostalgia for the 60s as a time for acceptance of curvier figures, the reality is that weight-loss, or “reducing” products were sold exclusively and aggressively to women back then. Peggy wrote copy for a few of those, like “Patio”, a kind of proto Diet Pepsi, and “The Electrosizer”, a baffling vibrating harness contraption (which proved to have benefits for women that were very far away from weight loss).

 

Steig3_22_1969

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, I think this cartoon may have resonated with Peggy for a different reason. Is that hen just stout or is she pregnant? Peggy spent the better part of Season 1 carrying Pete Campbell’s baby, unaware or more likely in willful denial of her condition and her growing shape. Her boss Don Draper chillingly says to her, after she’s given the child up for adoption, that “This never happened.” Don is a shape-shifter, and this cartoon may be a reminder to Peggy of how much she is like her mentor after all.

 

Fradon2_22_69

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the time this Dana Fradon cartoon was published, on February 22nd, 1969, the Cold War was still in full swing, and the Paris Peace Talks were entering their second year. It’s safe to say the public was losing some confidence in its leaders’ and diplomats’ ability to talk through their problems. But I’d like to think Peggy taped this one up because it reminded her of all the time she spent in places where “the ladies have to sit and listen to the men talk”. She’s heard a lot of important men saying a lot of important things, and she knows better than anyone else how much of it is just pure gobbledegook.

 

Miller2_15_69

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Warren Miller cartoon, from February 15th, 1969, in which animals have occupied a zoo administrator’s office, is clearly a reference to student protests at universities in 1968 and 69. It’s a snapshot of the power struggle that was going on between the establishment and the counter culture at that time. Peggy’s a part of that menagerie that has wrestled control of the institution away from the stuffy pipe-smokers that run it, although I imagine she feels more like the zoo director- in constant danger of being pushed out of her hard-won position by the animals of the firm. That lion looks a lot like Don, the giraffe like the statuesque Joan and the ostrich could easily be mistaken for Roger Sterling (I don’t see a duck in there, but if there was one I guess it would be… Duck?).

 

Fradon3_22_69

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Dana Fradon cartoon, from March 22nd 1969. On numerous occasions throughout the series Peggy expressed a desire to go to Paris but couldn’t get there. Another time she accepted a job at a rival firm that she thought would take her to new places (Paris included) and within months was back working for Don due to an impromptu merger. That could be what she sees in this cartoon, or maybe, as we saw from her measured response to the complete dissolution of the firm in Season 7, she just has the right attitude about her climb up the corporate ladder- she takes it all in stride because she knows all roads really lead to nowhere, anyway.

 

I imagine Peggy Olson today, still healthy in her mid-70s, owner of numerous cats in a cavernous rent-controlled apartment on Columbus Avenue. She’s still witty and caustic, yet still sweet and filled with wonder. She still subscribes to The New Yorker, but I don’t think she’s one of those people who only reads it for the cartoons. She likes the ads, too.

(Thanks to Leigh Montville for help with research)

 

Credits, in order of appearance:

Cartoon by William Steig / The New Yorker Collection / www.cartoonbank.com

Cartoon by Dana Fradon / The New Yorker Collection / www.cartoonbank.com

Cartoon by Warren Miller / The New Yorker Collection / www.cartoonbank.com

Cartoon by Dana Fradon / The New Yorker Collection /www.cartoonbank.com

 

 

 

Ward Sutton Guest Edits Society of Publication Designers Blog; Steig Album Cover Art at RISD Exhibit

Posted on 13th March 2015 in News

WardWard Sutton’s been guest editing SPD’s blog all week, conducting short interviews with some familiar names.  Go see!

Link to Mr. Sutton’s website.

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Steig lps 1Steig lps 2

 

Back in February, Ink Spill noted an exhibit of illustrated album covers at the Rhode Island School of Design. Paul Karasik(who teaches at RISD) sent in these photos of the William Steig covers on display.

Fave Photo of the Day: Ware & Eckstein; RISD exhibits Album Covers

Posted on 8th February 2015 in News

Ware & BobFrom Bob Eckstein’s Facebook post, this photo   of he and Chris Ware at the Chicago Cultural Center’s film premiere of Hairy Who.

(photo by Meg Handler Photography)

 

 

 

 

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Sorel lp coverFrom The Providence Journal, February 8, 2015, “RISD exhibit: Album covers were just another canvas for artists” — this story about a current exhibition of album cover art.  The exhibit includes work by William Steig, Arnold Roth,and  Edward Sorel.

( left: A Sorel album cover)

 

 

Regan Arts to Publish Maslin Peter Arno Biography, Mad At Something

Posted on 9th January 2015 in News

 

arno

I’m pleased to announce that  Mad At Something, my biography of the late and very great New Yorker cartoonist, Peter Arno will be published by Regan Arts.

 

Arno is one of the pillars of The New Yorkers earliest days, a group that includes Harold Ross, E.B. White, Katharine White, and James Thurber.  Ross, the magazine’s founder and first editor called Arno “our pathfinder artist”  and “the greatest artist in the world.”  It is indeed the case that Arno’s work for the magazine raised the graphic bar so high that “New Yorker cartoon” became synonymous with excellence in the field.

 
The idea for an Arno biography began back in 1999 in true cartoonist fashion: as an A-Ha! moment as I was driving in the vicinity of Arno’s home just outside of Manhattan; I realized that he had never been the subject of a biography.  Since that moment I’ve spent the past fifteen years researching and writing about his life.

 
Mad At Something is not just an examination of Arno’s life and work, it is also an exploration of the birth and development of the New Yorker cartoon, as well as the magazine’s fabled art department, and its artists. One of the many wonderful things about being a New Yorker cartoonist is the opportunity it’s afforded me to meet other New Yorker cartoonists.  Since beginning the biography I’ve reached out to my colleagues asking them to share their thoughts on Arno’s work. The list includes Arno contemporaries such as William Steig, Syd Hoff, Robert Weber, Frank Modell, Eldon Dedini,  Ed Fisher, through post-Arno contributors such as Jack Ziegler, Roz Chast, Peter Steiner,  Bruce Eric Kaplan and Edward Sorel.  I am especially pleased that the book’s curtain closer is composed of their contributions.

Mad At Something will be published in 2016.

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Auction of Interest: Swann Offers Numerous New Yorker Cartoons; Covers Calendar Noted; Video: Mankoff on Science of Humor

Posted on 2nd January 2015 in News

SwannSwann’s upcoming auction on January 22nd is chock full of New Yorker cartoons, with work by a number of the magazine’s giants.

Cartoons on the block by Steinberg, Mischa Richter, Barbara Shermund, William Steig, Richard Taylor, Edward Sorel, Victoria Roberts, Charles Addams, Helen Hokinson, Rea Irvin, and Peter Arno.

Below: a beautiful early Steig included in the auction.

steig

Link here to see all the work and for all the auction info.

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Covers Cal

Ordinarily, New Yorker cartoon calendars, diaries, and the like aren’t listed here, but this sounds like it’s not your ordinary calendar, so I’m making an exception.

Here’s an excerpt from the publisher’s blurb for The New Yorker 365 Days of Covers Page-A-Day Gallery Calendar 2016:

“…this calendar features hundreds of the very best examples, all beautifully reproduced in full color. Here are iconic covers from Jean-Jacques Sempé, George Booth, Maira Kalman, Arthur Getz, Roz Chast, and the other illustrators whose work has helped shape The New Yorker’s inimitable style. Unprecedented quality with its exceptional art, coated paper, and exacting standards of color printing, this calendar is a gallery for your desk.”

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Bob

 

From Business Insider, December 31, 2014, this short video featuring The New Yorker’s Cartoon Editor, Bob Mankoff: “Scientists Discovered What Makes Something Funny”

 

Steig’s Crying Chickens

Posted on 26th September 2014 in News

ChickensOur friend over at Attempted Bloggery has a fun post about William Steig’s crying chickens (recently auctioned for a song…or a cluck?)

The New Yorker’s 89th Anniversary Issue

Posted on 10th February 2014 in News

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A very happy 89th  birthday to The New Yorker.   While there’s no classic Eustace Tilley cover this year (the last time we saw Tilley as Rea Irvin* intended was in 2011, we do have, according to the Art Editor, Francoise Mouly, “the first published Tilley painted on an iPhone”; inside the magazine, not including the drawings on the Caption Contest page, are sixteen cartoons by fifteen cartoonists (Joe Dator‘s work appears twice). Two of the drawings contain some color (a cartoon by Ben Schwartz & one by Edward Steed).  Color cartoons were once so unusual in the magazine that when they appeared in The New Yorker‘s 64th anniversary issue in 1989, N.R. Kleinfield wrote a piece about it for The New York Times (“Inside New Yorker, a Splash of Color”). The color appeared in a four page spread by William Steig.

 

 

*Below: Rea Irvin’s entry on Ink Spill‘s New Yorker Cartoonists A-Z:

Rea Irvin  (pictured above. Self portrait above from Meet the Artist) *Born, San Francisco, 1881; died in the Virgin Islands,1972. Irvin was the cover artist for the New Yorker’s first issue, February 21, 1925.  He was the magazine’s  first art editor, holding the position from 1925 until 1939 when James Geraghty assumed the title. Irvin became art director and remained in that position until William Shawn succeeded Harold Ross. Irvin’s last original work for the magazine was the magazine’s cover of July 12, 1958. The February 21, 1925 Eustace Tilley cover had been reproduced every year on the magazine’s anniversary until 1994, when R. Crumb’s Tilley-inspired cover appeared. Tilley has since reappeared, with other artists substituting from time-to-time.

Below: the first issue of The New Yorker, February 21, 1925.  Cover by Rea Irvin.

Irvin