My (Favorite) Funny Valentine New Yorker Cover

On this day, besides thinking of the song, “My Funny Valentine”(the Elvis Costello version), I always think of this great Charles Addams New Yorker cover that appeared February 16, 1981 — it was also used as the cover for his 1981 collection, Creature Comforts. It just might be my all-time favorite Addams cover (magazine & book).

And please forgive this personal bit of New Yorker trivia here, but I believe I only had one Valentine’s Day cartoon published in all these years, published in the 91st anniversary issue, February 22, 2016:

 

 

50 Years Ago This Week: Peter Arno’s Last New Yorker Cartoon

Every so often the Spill likes to take a look at the last cartoon published by one of the magazine’s artists. This week it’s a drawing by Peter Arno — the cartoonist the New Yorker‘s Roger Angell called “the magazine’s first genius.”  I won’t go on and on here about why Arno is one of the magazine’s greatest — some say the greatest of the magazine’s artists, but if you want more on the subject there is a biography of him floating around (forgive me for lifting the bolded passage below from the aforementioned biography). 

(Above: Arno’s drawing as it appeared in the issue)

Sometime in the fall of 1967, Arno finished working on a full-page drawing of Pan blowing on his pipes as he frolicked through a glade.  In the forefront of the picture is a young, well-endowed woman, who says to him, “Oh, grow up!”  Brendan Gill [in his wonderful book, Here At The New Yorker] described the drawing this way:

“…in content and composition it was a characteristic piece of work…the drawing is a matter of some forty or fifty bold strokes of black against white, bound together by a gray wash; it has been built up as solidly as a fortress, though built in fun, and its dominant note is one of youthful zest.  Nobody could ever tell that it was the work of an aging man, let alone a dying one.”

“Oh, grow up!” wasn’t the last Arno published by the New Yorker.  His last cover appeared the following June, and the magazine has, from time-to-time brought out one of his older covers or drawings. But it was certainly the last published in his lifetime. The drawing appeared in the anniversary issue, dated February 24th, 1968. It would’ve been out on the newsstands a week earlier, the week of February 18.  Arno died on February 22. 

If you have access to the New Yorker‘s digital edition or happen to have a print copy, it’s certainly worth a visit to this issue — it’s a gem.  Rea Irvin’s Eustace Tilley is, of course, on the cover (and Mr. Irvin’s classic masthead for the Talk of The Town is in its place). The issue’s cartoons are by some of the greatest names on the magazine’s roster of artists (the magazine had a history of making sure the anniversary issue was loaded up with a good number of its big guns. In my Arno research I came across a note to Arno from the New Yorker‘s founder and first editor, Harold Ross expressing concern he (Ross) did not have a Arno drawing available for the upcoming anniversary issue). 

In this issue you’ll find terrific cartoons by Robert Weber, Alan Dunn, George Price, James Stevenson, William Steig, Steinberg, Richard Decker, Warren Miller, Frank Modell, Syd Hoff, Charles Addams, Whitney Darrow, Jr., Lee Lorenz, Mischa Richter, and Barney Tobey. (At this particular time the magazine’s stable of cartoonists was all male. Mary Petty’s piece appeared in 1966, and Nurit Karlin’s work did not begin appearing until 1974).

Next week, the Spill will return with its usual Monday Tilley Watch.   

 

“A Source of Very Special Delight” — The New Yorker Album of Sports & Games; An Ink Spill Super Bowl Tradition

Just in time for two giant sports happenings: the Super Bowl, and the Winter Olympics: The New Yorker Album of Sports & Games.  At the bottom of today’s post an Ink Spill Super Bowl Sunday tradition with a football-related drawing of mine from some time back. 

It only took sixteen years following the first themed New Yorker album of drawings  (that would be The War Album, published in 1942) for a second to appear.  Deftly designed by Carmine Peppe (spelled “Carmin” in this album for some reason), who William Shawn described as “the one make-up editor in the world who could provide [Harold Ross] with the chaste and lovely pages that would properly set off whatever we published.” I love how Mr. Peppe placed Rea Irvin‘s Tilley all over the place, on the front and on the back cover. He knew an icon when he saw one.

Curiously, although there are plenty of cartoons about sports featured in both Summer & Winter Olympics,  there is not one cartoon specifically related  to the Olympics. No matter. No one can fault an album delivering large doses of work by, among many others, Mary Petty, Charles Addams, Thurber, Steinberg, Steig, Helen Hokinson, Anatol Kovarsky, Peter Arno, Barbara Shermund, George Price, and Charles Saxon.  Looking through you’ll see at least two themes rarely seen in the magazine these days: mountain climbing and moose hunting (although Charles Addams’ drawing of a moose driving a car down a mountain road with a hunter tied to the front fender could surely appear now).  There are an awful lot of drawings about mountain climbing — I guess everyone took a shot at those back then.

From the inside flap copy (there is no Introduction):

“Almost anyone who has ever been involved in sports and games, either as a participant or from the sidelines, will find this collection a source of very special delight”

For those wanting to add this album to their collection, it’s easy to find.  I just went over to AbeBooks.com and found a copy with its dust jacket for about four bucks. Deal!

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And here, continuing an Ink Spill  Super Bowl Sunday tradition, is a drawing of mine that appeared in the October 16, 2006 issue of The New Yorker.

 

 

A New Yorker State of Mind Enters 1929; Hoff Week Continues on Attempted Bloggery; More Spills with Charles Addams & Art Young

A New Yorker State of Mind Enters 1929

One of the Spill‘s favorite blogs has rounded the corner of 1928, and has entered 1929.  The issue above, with art by the incredible Rea Irvin, has always been a favorite.  Visit the blog here.

Here’s Rea Irvin’s entry on the Spill’s 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.

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Hoff Week Continues on Attempted Bloggery

And another fave blog, Attempted Bloggery continues its salute to Syd Hoff. Check it out here!

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Charles Addams is among the nominated for the Eisner Hall of Fame, 2018. Details here (with the complete list of nominees). 

…a short appreciation of Art Young here from the Washington Times-Reporter. 

 

Mommy Kisses Santa Claus: The 1942 New Yorker Album

On this foggy Christmas Eve, here’s the tenth New Yorker Album of drawings, titled The 1942 New Yorker Album , with a Perry Barlow New Yorker magazine cover from December 23, 1939 used as its cover (there’d be another Album in 1942: The New Yorker War Album —  we’ll get to that another Sunday).  Perry Barlow, the cover artist, was one of the most prolific of the magazine’s contributors, and possibly one of its most overlooked. The New Yorker published well over a thousand of his cartoons, and one hundred and thirty-four covers.  Lee Lorenz, said of Mr. Barlow: “his drawings were deceptively casual, brought a gentle urbanity to our pages and helped establish the tone of the fledgling magazine…He had a marvelous eye for the telling gesture, and, although he returned to certain favorite situations again and again, he never repeated a face.”   Mr. Lorenz also noted that Mr. Barlow was partly color-blind and depended on his wife to do the coloring for his covers.

The Album opens with a full page Arno (of course!) “What is the specialty here?” and closes with a full page Charles Addams, “Well, here’s where I say good night.” — both of a certain pre-war time, about to evaporate.  Arno’s drawing takes place in a table-cloth nightclub (think the “Thin Man” movies), with a line of scantily clad chorus girls dominating the page.  The gentlemen shown are wearing tuxes.  In the Addams drawing the gentleman’s wearing evening dress, including a top hat.

Between the Arno and the Addams are the by now (by now to constant New Yorker readers) a very familiar crew of cartoonists. The inside flap shown below doesn’t list every contributor, but you’re sure to see names that would be carved in the New Yorker Cartoonist Hall of Fame, if we had one.

There’s no introduction in the Album, just the goods.  Included are a number of hits on Nazis (Rea Irvin’s full page titled drawing:  A Nazi History of the World: The Non-Aryans Are Expelled From the Garden of Eden for example), and examples of cartoonists dealing with the war-time culture here at home (example: Peter Arno’s famous, “Well, back to the old drawing board” — also a full page). 

For a tenth Album of drawings you might think there was a lesser amount of energy coming off these cartoons.  Just the opposite. Pick up a copy of the 1942 Album and settle in with it — you’ll find yourself in a cartoon gold mine.