Police-related cartoons have long been a New Yorker staple. The very first one, by Gardner Rea, appeared in the very first issue, and the magazine’s second cover, by Al Frueh, featured two policemen riding on a tiny car. Read more
Cartoon gods Edward Sorel & Jules Feiffer will be in conversation on October 20th at the Parkway Central Library in Philadelphia. Mark your calendar! Details here.
And here’s what Publisher’s Weekly had to say:
The illustrated adventure series features Happy Junior, a bearded 10-year-old who wants to be normal but can’t, thanks to his family, including his father, a brilliant inventor whose screwball products are trumpeted in TV infomercials, his five unusual sisters, and his despotic grandmother who has relegated the whole family to a basement corner of her grand estate. The first book in the series, How to Sell Your Family to the Aliens, will be published in winter 2018…
…And from out of left field, this real estate listing for a Greenwich Village townhouse (34 Perry Street) that includes a mention of Al Frueh, who had the first cartoon in the very first issue of The New Yorker.
*New Yorker Minutiae Recollection Award of the year goes to Stephen Nadler, who runs the wonderfully entertaining and informative Attempted Bloggery. Stephen wrote to me after reading this post and pointed out that this very same studio was mentioned in that very same inaugural issue under the heading In Our Midst. And here it is:
From the realtor’s listing:”The fourth floor is exceptional. In 1924, it was transformed into a loft and artist studio by renowned New Yorker cartoonist Mr. Al Frueh with a raised roof and extraordinary large windows and north facing skylight across the entire frontage.”
This wonderful book arrived in today’s mail. I was very lucky to find it for the price of a couple of slices of pizza (with toppings). According to an online bookseller’s listing there were 40 copies produced. It’s a small book, 8 1/2″ high, 6″ wide. I’d only seen one before, years ago in a museum case. If I’ve had a Holy Grail of New Yorker books, I suppose this would be it (until something else comes along I’ve never seen before).
The title page includes this note:
“..limited edition for the enjoyment of a few appreciative friends”
Inside are a number of pieces, including Dorothy Parker’s “Dialogue At Three in The Morning” as well as Corey Ford’s “Anniversary of a Great Magazine: Looking Back Over the Vast History of The New Yorker with Mr. Eustace Tilley” (we have Mr. Ford to thank for the name “Eustace Tilley”). There are drawings by Helen Hokinson, John Held, jr., Peter Arno (his Whoops Sisters), a full page by Gluyas Williams, and a full page by Rea Irvin as well as an Al Frueh caricature of Al Smith, a McNerney drawing, and so much more. The cover is, of course, by Rea Irvin
From The Comics Journal, June 12, 2013, “The Beastly Beatitudes of Edward Koren” — this latest entry by Richard Gehr in his series, “Know Your New Yorker Cartoonist”
From Forbes.com, June 12, 2013, “Women and the Art of Controversy” — Liza Donnelly reviews Victor Navasky’s new book.
From limaohio.com, September 12, 2012, “Just Al: Frueh made it big but stayed humble”
Almost everyone’s familiar with The New Yorker’s first cover, Rea Irvin’s dandy with the top hat, later dubbed Eustace Tilley. But how many of us know who did the second cover? Here’s a capsule bio of the great Al Frueh, who not only was a cartoonist and cover artist, but an illustrator who carved out a spectacular niche for himself doing the caricatures that accompanied the New Yorker’s Theater reviews.
In honor of the very first issue of The New Yorker, dated February 21, 1925, I’m re-posting a photo I took for “Tilley Over Time“ a piece I contributed to newyorker.com back in February 21, 2008.
The cartoonists appearing in that first issue were Alfred Frueh, Gardner Rea, Oscar Howard, Wallace Morgan, Ethel Plummer and, on page 14, an unknown cartoonist, whose drawing is titled Flor de Pince Nez. (you can find some brief biographical material on all of these cartoonists here). Below is the work of the unidentified cartoonist. If anyone can ID the artist, please contact me.
The news that Al Ross passed away last week got me to thinking about his start at The New Yorker, way way back in the issue of November 27, 1937, when he was twenty-five years old. This morning I went to our cabinet full of bound New Yorkers, brought out the volume from late 1937 and began paging through the particular issue that contains Al’s inaugural drawing. It’s a wonderful snapshot of that time with an outstanding roster of cartoonists.
The issue begins with a Helen Hokinson cover, one of those pieces capturing a moment. Beautiful. The first cartoon is by Charles Addams, done in his earlier style before his drawings became more defined. Next up is a Richard Decker drawing printed in step-ladder fashion – sitting atop two columns of type. On the opposite page, a Richard Taylor, also step-ladderish. Taylor had such an unusual style – it reminds me of P.C. Vey’s in a way. Turning the page we come to a beautiful full page by William Galbraith. On the opposite page a great spot drawing by Suzanne Suba – a Macy’s parade moment.
Next page, a Mary Petty that nearly eats up the whole page. Opposite that is a short piece by E.B.White titled “Small Thanks to You “(sorry, couldn’t avoid mentioning that). Several pages later a Syd Hoff spread along the top third of the page. Up next is one of the masters of the full page, Gluyas Williams. A few pages later the two Prices face each other: George and Garrett.
I have to take a break here just for a moment and comment on the way the make-up department handled the cartoons. With the exception of the full page cartoons, every single cartoon was awarded a unique space, meaning the shape of the cartoon is different for each cartoon. Even the cartoons that are rectangular are never the same size (the Hoff stretched out three columns wide, the Garrett Price two and a half columns wide).
Turning the page, a Robert Day cartoon (another rectangle, but nearly square). Two pages later, not a cartoon, but an Al Frueh drawing illustrating a current Broadway show. Frueh does a terrific take on Orson Welles. Would love to see a collection of his theater pieces in a book (there is a very nice catalog of his work, but so far, not a collection).
Two pages later we find Al Ross’s first New Yorker cartoon (caption: “Listen, Chief…”). Those familiar with Al’s later work would be hard pressed to recognize this cartoon as one of his. It’s done in a somewhat early Addams-ish style. Across the gutter from the cartoon the name “Robert Benchley” appears at the end of his theater review. Heady company!
A number of pages go by before we reach a fairly large and very funny Barbara Shermund cartoon. Leafing through more pages, through the New Yorker’s holiday wrap up of children’s toys and books, we come upon a brief review of Dr. Seuss’s And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street: “Slight but humorous. Spirited comic-strip pictures and a rhymed text show the power of exaggeration…”
And finally, a Perry Barlow cartoon to end the issue. It’s a children’s book themed drawing running on the book review page. If I’m not mistaken this is an unusual pairing. I’ve been under the impression for most of my life that the editors avoided tying the cartoons to the surrounding story.
Before we close the magazine, a treat near the end: a full page ad for The 1937 New Yorker Album, published by Random House. A banner running across the page declares: “Just Published – bigger and funnier than ever.” Contributors include all the aforementioned in this post ( except Al, whose work would begin showing up in later Albums) plus, among others, Peter Arno, James Thurber, Rea Irvin, Gardner Rea, Otto Soglow, Alan Dunn, Barney Tobey, Alajalov, Chon Day, Carl Rose, Whitney Darrow, Jr., and William Steig. Wow.
For more on Al Ross, head on over to newyorker.com, where the magazine’s cartoon editor, Bob Mankoff, has posted this piece (it includes a good scan of Al’s first cartoon).
And for even more: Mike Lynch has posted a number of Al’s drawings on his site. (You’ll need to scroll down a ways, past all the NCS business)