Cross Overs: Cartoonists on the Cover

It’s a rare breed now, but once upon a time New Yorker cartoonists who contributed covers to the magazine were the norm.  Rea Irvin, who everyone associates with the magazine’s mascot, Eustace Tilley, was the first cross-over New Yorker cover artist/cartoonist. Inotherwords, he did both covers and cartoons.  Al Frueh was the first to accomplish both: his was the magazine’s second cover and his cartoons appeared twice in the first issue.  ( Rea Irvin’s first cartoon didn’t appear until the issue of June 6th, 1925).  An even rarer subset of contributors includes the handful who’ve contributed covers, cartoons and written pieces ( Peter Arno, James Thurber, James Stevenson, Lou Myers, Lee Lorenz, Bob Mankoff and Roz Chast come readily to mind).

Up until 1992, when Tina Brown became editor the greater per centage of the year’s covers were executed by cartoonists. When Ms. Brown divided the Art Editor’s position in two, with a Cartoon Editor responsible for cartoons and an Art Editor  responsible for covers, the majority of covers began to be executed by illustrators,  graphic artists and in some cases, fine artists, such as Red Grooms, and more recently, Wayne Thiebaud.

Here’s a list of cartoonists who’ve contributed to both the outside and inside of the magazine (contemporary cartoonists who’ve continued to cross-over in  the most recent years are high-lighted in blue):

Charles Addams

Peter Arno

Niculae Asciu

Perry Barlow

Charles Barsotti

Ralph Barton

Ludwig Bemelmans

Abe Birnbaum

R.O. Blechman

Harry Bliss

George Booth

CEM (Charles E. Martin)

Roz Chast

Whitney Darrow, Jr.

Robert Day

James Daugherty (aka Jimmy-the-Ink)

Abner Dean

Richard Decker

Leonard Dove

Alan Dunn

Joseph Farris

Douglas Florian

Al Frueh

Arthur Getz

Alice Harvey

Helen Hokinson

Stan Hunt

Rea Irvin

Bruce Eric Kaplan

Edward Koren

Anatole Kovarsky

Robert Kraus

Arnie Levin

Lee Lorenz

Kenneth Mahood

Robert Mankoff

Reginald Marsh

Warren Miller

Frank Modell

Lou Myers

John O’Brien

Mary Petty

Garrett Price

George Price

Gardner Rea

Donald Reilly

Mischa Richter

Victoria Roberts

Carl Rose

Charles Saxon

Ronald Searle

J.J. Sempe

Danny Shanahan

Barbara Shermund

Stephanie Skalisky

Edward Sorel

William Steig

Saul Steinberg

James Stevenson

Anthony Taber

Richard Taylor

JamesThurber

Barney Tobey

Dean Vietor

Robert Weber

Gahan Wilson

Jack Ziegler

Jimmie-the-Ink

Recently while browsing through the Index of The Complete Book of Covers From The New Yorker 1925 -1989 my eye caught the following listing:

Jimmie-the-Ink; see Daugherty, James

As far as I know, James Daugherty is only one of two cartoonists whose cartoons have been published in The New Yorker using a “handle.” ( the other is the Illustrator and musician, Andy Friedman whose cartoons appear under the name Larry Hat). Cartoonists who worked under a pseudonym, such as Daniel Brustlein, whose cartoons were signed “Alain,”  are another story.

Daugherty, who died on February 21, 1974  (The New Yorker’s 50th anniversary) contributed nineteen cartoons to the magazine and two covers.  His New Yorker work was overshadowed by the fine art he produced for much of his life as well as his work in the Children’s Book field ( Daugherty received a Newberry in 1940 ). An online search produced this wonderful paper by Rebecca E. Lawton on Daugherty’s life and work.

Where to see his New Yorker work:

Besides the aforementioned Complete Covers of The New Yorker* you can see Daugherty’s two covers on The New Yorker’s Cartoon Bank site . Unfortunately none of his cartoons appear there. You can see all of his work (covers and cartoons) on Disc #8  of The Complete New Yorker, and see his cartoons on the discs that accompany The Complete Cartoons of The New Yorker.

* The Complete Book of Covers From The New Yorker (Knopf, 1989) is out of print but available, for a somewhat hefty price from private dealers listed on the usual online sources, such as ABEBooks.com. and Amazon.com.

“What’s So Funny About Red?” Color Cartoons in The New Yorker


I’m  betting that a good number of The New Yorker’s readers (you know, those folks who go to the cartoons before looking at anything else in the magazine) have noticed something colorful going on with the cartoons.

Four out of the first five issues of the new year have  a color cartoon (the cartoons in the issue of January 24th are black & white, while the issue of January 31 has two color cartoons).

Any article that mentions color cartoons and The New Yorker in the same breath would be ridiculously remiss without including the famous line attributed to the magazine’s founder, Harold Ross.  When asked why The New Yorker didn’t run color cartoons, Ross was reported to have said, “What’s so funny about red?”  The magazine itself used this Rossism as a heading back in its 2007 Cartoon Issue when it ran five cartoons “testing the possibilities” of using red in cartoons.  And more recently, in October of 2010, The New Yorker’s current Cartoon Editor, Bob Mankoff,  taking part in a live online chat on the magazine’s website had this exchange with a questioner:

Q:  Do your artists feel limited by black and white?

A: I don’t think so. Everyone once in a while a cartoon demands color for the joke to be understood or better understood but for the most part color is a distraction. Harold Ross, the first editor of The New Yorker when asked why the cartoons didn’t use color answered ” What’s so funny about red?”


Color New Yorker cartoons were once such a rarity that The New York Times, in an article dated February 15, 1989, noted  William Steig’s four-page color contribution in the magazine’s 64th Anniversary issue.  Robert Gottlieb, the magazine’s editor at the time, told the Times,  ”Cartoons and maps are not suddenly going to be in Day-Glo.” Wouldn’t that have been something?   The Times noted that the last known use of color cartoons was in 1926, when it ran a two-page spread by Rea Irvin.  [Rea Irvin’s two page color spread,  The Maharajah of Puttyput Receives a Christmas Necktie From the Queen, actually ran in the issue of December 12, 1925]

The first use of color single panel cartoons  in The New Yorker occurred during the tenure of Gottlieb’s successor, Tina Brown.  In the March 21, 1994 special issue, The New Yorker Goes to the Movies, three color cartoons appeared, one each by Peter Steiner, Liza Donnelly, and J.B. Handelsman.