The First New Yorker Cartoon Issue…and the Last

From 1997 through 2012, the New Yorker published a “Cartoon Issue”; that there was a special issue wasn’t news — the magazine had started publishing them in its new era of ownership under Conde Nast (purists might argue that the issue of August 31, 1946 was the magazine’s first special issue. Beyond the Goings On About Town section, the entire issue was devoted to John Hersey’s Hiroshima. There were no cartoons, and no illustrations — just spot drawings).  The first Cartoon Issue came in the year of more change: the cartoon editorship passed from Lee Lorenz, who had held that position for 24 years, to one of the magazine’s cartoonists, Bob Mankoff, who had been contributing to the magazine for 20. [The Spill will take a look at the How and Why of that change in editorship in a future post].

The very first Cartoon Issue, dated December 15, 1997 was a celebratory explosion of the magazine’s signature art.  From the fold-out cover collage to the wonderful Jack Ziegler cartoon, “No comment” appearing where the “Comment” section would normally appear, it set the bar very high.  Also in this issue, the three section (originally planned as two section)  fold-out photograph of cartoonists taken by the acclaimed Arnold Newman, the mini bios of each cartoonist in the issue, Roger Angell’s Onward and Upward With the Arts piece (“Congratulations! It’s a baby”), Roz Chast’s graphic ode to Charles Addams, a double page photograph of George Price, a special feature by Richard Cline, Lee Lorenz’s “Cover Stories” …and more. 

In that first issue, the cartoons nearly took over the magazine. The majority of the pieces on the Table of Contents were cartoon-themed; 51 cartoonists were given brief bios.  In  the last Cartoon Issue,  28 cartoonists contributed and the issue’s special cartoon features were bundled together in the middle of the book, from page 60 to 76, with a smattering of single panel cartoons (16 cartoons to be exact) 5 multi-page spreads and 2 full page spreads, one of which, Joe Dator’s, “How We Do It: A Week In the Life of a New Yorker Cartoonist” is a classic piece of work.   As I wrote in 2012 when the issue appeared, “this Cartoon Issue veers from its predecessors in that its cover, cartoons and cartoon spreads are predominantly politically themed.”  

 Although all of the Cartoon Issues had elements that were exciting and fun — for instance, the Charles Barsotti cover on the second Cartoon Issue in 1998, and covers by New Yorker cartoonists such as George Booth, Ms. Chast, Harry Bliss, Edward Koren, Bruce Eric Kaplan, etc. —  that first Cartoon Issue, with its electric zeitgeist, remained the one to beat.  By October of 2011, when I mentioned to Jack Ziegler that the latest Cartoon Issue was probably due any week, he responded to me (via email) that it was “the moment we all dread.” By that time, the so-called “bookazine” Cartoons of The Year had already appeared and would shortly supplant the Cartoon Issue. On June 13, 2013, the magazine’s cartoonists received an email from the cartoon editor saying: “there definitely is not going to be a cartoon issue this year.” And that, as they say, was that.

(Below: the last Cartoon Issue, cover by Roz Chast)








A Visit to “Jim’s Bench”; Cartoon Companion Rates The Latest New Yorker Cartoons; Tilley Watch Online; Live New Yorker Cartoons Part VI on Late Night with Seth Meyers

A Visit to “Jim’s Bench”

The filmmaker Sally Williams recently asked me if I’d like to meet with her at “Jim’s bench” on Central Park West and 77th Street, right across the street from the Museum of Natural History. I couldn’t possibly resist the invitation. Ms. Williams has been working on a documentary about James Stevenson for quite some time now; we’ve had numerous conversations over the years about Mr. Stevenson and, of course, The New Yorker. 

 Mr. Stevenson is on a long list of New Yorker cartoonists who have lived and worked in New York City (some still do) and whose work reflected their city. I think also of Steinberg and Alan Dunn as cases in point.

Sitting on this bench near where Mr. Stevenson lived I couldn’t help but imagine him experiencing the traffic, the sounds, sights, types of individuals bicycling by, walking by, running by; the dogs and dog-walkers, the flurry of activity at the museum. I could see it all in Stevenson’s style: gracefully casual, with spark. Ms. Williams confirmed that Mr. Stevenson was, like so many cartoonists, a watcher (I once likened cartoonists to sponges. Consciously or subconsciously, we take everything in).  

If you find yourself near the Museum of Natural History, you might want to take a seat on Jim’s bench and spend a few moments watching Manhattan go by, Stevenson-style. 

  The bench is the one closest to the Humboldt StatueIt bears a small plaque:

 (I’ve written about Mr. Stevenson here on the Spill a number of times.  Here’s one piece which might be of interest). 


Cartoon Companion Rates the Latest New Yorker Cartoons

Messrs. Max and Simon are back with thoughts & ratings on work by Frank Cotham, Carolita Johnson, Drew Dernavich, Avi Steinberg, Emily Flake, Roz Chast, Olivia de Recat, Mike Twohy, Bob Eckstein, Edward Koren, and Darrin Bell.  Read it here!


Daily Cartoons this week by: Paul Noth, Mary Lawton, Kim Warp, David Sipress, and Lars Kenseth (4/5ths of the drawings were Trumpian).

And the contributing New Yorker cartoonists on Daily Shouts:  P.C. Vey, Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell, Liana Finck, Emily Flake, and JAK (with Hartley Lin).  


Live New Yorker Cartoons Part VI on Late Night with Seth Meyers

The New Yorker‘s editor, David Remnick returns to Late Night with Seth Meyers in the best segment yet. Cartoons by Carolita Johnson, Charlie Hankin, Will McPhail, Maddie Dai, and Ellis Rosen brought to life.   See them here!



Lots More E. Simms Campbell on Attempted Bloggery; New Yorker State of Mind on the New Yorker’s 1929 Anniversary Issue

Lots More E. Simms Campbell on Attempted Bloggery

Stephen Nadler’s Attempted Bloggery continues its E. Simms Campbell fest with a lot more drawings. Go see!


New Yorker State of Mind on the New Yorker’s 1929 Anniversary Issue

Another Ink Spill favorite blog, A New Yorker State of Mind: Reading Every Issue of The New Yorker looks at the magazine’s fourth anniversary issue. Much fun!



Spiegelman on Maus & Post-Maus; Cartoonists & Cookbooks

From, March 7, 2018, “Pulitzer Prize Winning Author Art Spiegelman Discusses Politics and Identity”Maus and more from the celebrated cartoonist who began contributing to The New Yorker in 1992.


Cartoonists & Cookbooks

The Cartoonist Cookbook popped up on an online search yesterday.  Published in 1966 by Hobbs, Dorman & Co., it includes 45 favorite recipes by strip cartoonists. I was only able to find a partial list of contributors.*  Here’s a short post about the book.


I’m certain that that’s a Virgil Partch drawing in the first column, five squares down on the front cover. Here’s his Spill A-Z entry:

Virgil Partch ( VIP) (pictured above) Born, St. Paul Island, Alaska, 1917; died in a car crash on Interstate 5, north of Los Angeles. California, August 1984. NYer work: six drawings, beginning in November 21, 1942. His last appeared May 3, 1976.

Also showing up online was this Charles Addams cookbook that I somehow missed over the past few years (Simon & Schuster, 2005):

The only thing close to either of these in the Spill‘s library is the below desserts cookbook featuring a Peter Arno cover (but, alas, no recipes by Arno, who liked to cook).


*Thanks to the cartoonist, Eli Stein, we now have the entire list of contributors to the Cartoonist Cook Book.  My thanks to Mr. Stein for forwarding. 


Advertising Work by New Yorker Cartoonists, Pt. 32: George Price

It’s more than fair to say no one drew like George Price. His work looks like a cartoon schematic.  And then there are those somewhat mysterious split lines. Looking at one of his original drawings up real close you can see that the splits were created by his drawing over and over (and over) his original pen stroke. He’d build up the line, and sometimes be off enough to create a parallel line. A fascinating style.

 Surprising (to me anyway) that it’s taken til Part 32 of this series to get to Mr. Price as he is a New Yorker cartoon god. He contributed to the magazine for 62 years, becoming one of only 23 members of the K Club (his work was published over a thousand times in The New Yorker). The database shows the exact number to be 1, 279 (including his one cover, above right).   

Here are just some of many ads by Mr. Price, all courtesy (as usual in this series) of SPX’s Warren Bernard.  All Mr. Bernard’s work — the researching, scanning, organizing, sharing — is greatly appreciated.

Below: two Durkee’s ads: on the left from 1955, and the other 1957. Scotch Tape, 1947; Peterman Ant Killer, 1946; American Express, 1954; Del Monte, 1969


Here’s Mr. Price’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:

George Price Born in Coytesville, New Jersey, June 9, 1901. Died January 12, 1995, Engelwood, New Jersey. New Yorker work: 1929 – 1991.  To see Mr. Price’s cartoon collections visit the Spill‘s Cartoonists Library.





The Herblock Award Goes to Ward Sutton; Podcast of Interest: Joe Dator on “The Shining”; Liza Donnelly’s Live-Drawings From The Oscars

Ward Sutton Awarded the Herblock Prize

Ward Sutton, who began contributing to The New Yorker in 2007, has been awarded the Herblock Prize.  According to a press release:

The Herblock Prize is awarded annually by The Herb Block Foundation for “distinguished examples of editorial cartooning that exemplify the courageous independent standard set by Herblock.”

For more on Herblock, link here.

To read more about the Herblock Foundation, go here.

To visit Ward Sutton’s website go here.

(above far right: an example of Herblock’s classic take on Richard Nixon)


Joe Dator on The Shining

From The Shining 2:37 Podcast, March 5, 2018, “Episode 20: Hullo Danny with The New Yorker Cartoonist Joe Dator”

Mr. Dator, who began contributing to The New Yorker in 2006, discusses the twins (shown above) among other things, Shining-ish.

Link here to Mr. Dator’s website.


Liza Donnelly’s 2018 Oscar Drawings

Liza Donnelly, seen in the screen grab above live-drawing from the Red Carpet, has gathered her work from Oscar week on Medium.  This is Ms. Donnelly’s third year live-drawing from the Academy Awards.  See it all here.

Visit Ms. Donnelly’s website here.