The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists convenes at Hofstra University in the earliest days of November for several days of panel discussions and interviews. Edward Sorel will be interviewed by Signe Wilkinson; on another day, Liza Donnelly will moderate a discussion with New Yorker cartoonists Christopher Weyant and Kim Warp. There will also be a panel discussion with MAD magazine cartoonists (but I’m not sure yet who they are).
The Monday Tilley Watch is a meandering take on the cartoons in the current issue of The New Yorker.
Are these the dog days of summer? According to Wikipedia, Sweden’s dog days are bracketed by the dates July 22nd through August 23rd. That seems reasonable for the United States as well. My mental inventory of New Yorker covers from this time of year include a whole lot of beach scenes and summer in the city scenes, as well as covers depicting shore towns. This week’s New Yorker cover (a double issue, dated August 7 & 14) by Bob Staake (the artist responsible for this iconic cover) takes us underground in NYC. The magazine has the NYC subway system on its mind — just last week we saw a David Sipress NYC subway cartoon, and in this very issue is a full page Sketchbook, “Subway Substitutes.” Mr. Staake’s red hot cover brought to mind another red hot cover of just a few years back, at this exact same time of year (the aforementioned dog days): Mark Ulriksen’s cover of August 3, 2015.
The opposite of a red hot dog days of summer cover is (to my mind) this deeply moving New Yorker cover by Mary Petty, published 72 years ago this week in the summer of the last year of WWII, approximately midway between the close of the European theater and the close of the Pacific theater. A quiet, peaceful moment on a beach with a woman and her dog, while war continues to rage in the Pacific.
I note as I turn to The Talk of The Town that my campaign to reinstate Rea Irvin’s classic Talk masthead is not going well. The new one installed in May is still there. The Irvin masthead ran, barely untouched, for 91 years. This campaign, despite its odds of success, will press on.
Joe Dator, who has been contributing to The New Yorker since August of 2006, leads things off with a zebra cartoon. I took a quick look back at some zebra New Yorker cartoons and found each and every one appealing. This one by J.B. “Bud” Handelsman, caught my eye (published in November of 1992).
Next is a theater marquee drawing by Charlie Hankin (his first New Yorker appearance was in August of 2013). Beautifully placed on the page. I’ve noticed (and noted) that many of the cartoons in the past few issues have been given more breathing space on the page. This is a very good thing. Half a dozen pages later we come to a William Haefeli drawing (his last name rhymes with “safely”). Last week I mentioned how super-detailed his original work is. Get out your magnifying glass. (Mr. Haefeli’s first New Yorker drawing appeared in 1998).
A couple of pages later is a Frank Cotham drawing (first New Yorker drawing, 1993). As with Mr. Haefeli, Mr. Cotham’s style is instantly recognizable. I’d add that his subject matter is also instantly recognizable, with cave people, heathens, and the like playing a big part in his world. Part 1 of a fun interview with Mr. Cotham ran on Cartoon Companion just a few weeks ago — check it out. A Liana Finck drawing follows Mr. Cotham. Ms. Finck’s first New Yorker cartoon appeared in February of 2013. Ms. Finck shows us a cast cartoon — like zebra cartoons, something we don’t see a whole lot of in the New Yorker. When I think of them, I’m happily reminded of this fabulous Chon Day cartoon from September of 1948:
A couple of pages later is a dog and businessman cartoon by Chris Weyant (first New Yorker cartoon, 1998). Ink Spillers may remember that it was just a few days ago we learned Mr. Weyant now has a weekly op-ed cartoon in The Boston Globe.
On the very next page, a touch of color in an Ed Steed cartoon (first New Yorker cartoon, 2013). An artist paints a nude. I know, I know — you see a nude woman in a New Yorker cartoon you think Peter Arno. I’d argue that Sam Cobean was the New Yorker’s king of nude cartoons. Take a look at the cover of his 1950 collection of cartoons.
In Mr. Steed’s drawing he incorporates 3-D (thus the color) — a rarity in the New Yorker. 3-D was used to great effect in this classic by Bob Eckstein from 2012. It remains one of my favorite New Yorker drawings of modern times.
Two pages later we run into a P.C. Vey drawing (first New Yorker appearance, 1993). For me, this is the Vey-ist of the Veys. The Spill doesn’t rate cartoons (that’s what they do over on the Cartoon Companion site), but if it did, this drawing would have all sorts of happy adjectives heaped upon it.
Next up is a drawing by a relative newbie, Kendra Allenby (her first New Yorker appearance was in August of last year). Ms. Allenby, who is a storyboard artist, opts for the storyboard-like look, i.e., a boxed drawing, employed with regularity by Harry Bliss, among others. Four pages later is a veteran newbie, Will McPhail (first New Yorker drawing, 2014). Heads on pikes…a rarity in the magazine (there are at least two in Charles Addams’s New Yorker oeuvre: one in the issue of January 4, 1941. Another, “Excuse me, Walter, that’s my cue” contains a head on a pike, but it’s incidental. There’s also, “Ready, dear?” on page 40 of Monster Rally — but it’s not a New Yorker drawing).
Next is a Roz Chast drawing (Ms. Chast’s first New Yorker appearance, 1978). Love the flow of words (alas, no Ziegler-esque pop-up toaster). A Tom Chitty drawing follows Ms. Chast’s (Mr. Chitty’s first New Yorker drawing, 2014). On tomorrow’s Spill we’ll visit a cartoonist whose style is as out there as Mr. Chitty’s — maybe even more out there. An Ellis Rosen musical courtroom drawing follows (Mr. Rosen’s first New Yorker drawing, December of 2016). Newyorker.com readers will remember that Mr. Ellis just appeared on a “Cartoon Lounge” video with Emma Allen (the magazine’s cartoon editor) and Colin Stokes (the associate cartoon editor). See it here if you missed it. Three pages later is a Maddie Dai cartoon employing a fairy tale setting. Mix in a little modern technology and bingo! (Ms. Dai’s first New Yorker appearance, June 5, 2017). I am reminded of an out of office discussion I had with former cartoon editor, Bob Mankoff, back in 2008, in which he declared,”No more fairy tale drawings!” Well that didn’t happen. A Barbara Smaller sidewalk conversation cartoon is next (Ms. Smaller’s first New Yorker appearance, 1996). Someone should really do a Sidewalks of New York cartoon collection.
As mentioned here last week, I avoid looking at the cartoonists listed on the Table of Contents for the express purpose of being surprised while looking through every new issue. This week, that resulted in a wonderful moment toward the end of the issue with the appearance of a drawing by one of our cartoon gods, George Booth. A classic Booth scene, with more cats than you can shake a fur ball at, this drawing is a real treat. Mr. Booth was the subject of a Fave Photo of the Day here on the Spill last week. In the photo he is shown working at his desk. According to a highly reliable source (his daughter), he works every day, perhaps that’s one of the secret ingredients for an artist who has been contributing to The New Yorker for nearly half a century. This coming Fall we can all look forward to a Booth exhibit at The Society of Illustrators (October 24 through December 23, 2017).
And lastly in the issue (not counting the Cartoon Caption Contest — I’ve decided, for now, to opt out of covering it) is a David Sipress words of wisdom drawing, cleverly distilling a page out of Pete Frames Rock Trees. Mr. Sipress’s first New Yorker drawing appeared in the summer of 1998). It’s nice to see Blind Faith mentioned in a New Yorker cartoon.
Interview of Interest: Bob Eckstein
Christopher Weyant Now Weekly in The Boston Globe
Advertising Work by New Yorker Cartoonists, Part 6: Whitney Darrow, Jr.
Judging by Warren Bernard’s collection of advertising work by New Yorker artists, Whitney Darrow was enormously popular on Madison Avenue. Mr. Darrow was one of the magazine’s anchor cartoonists, his work appearing over 1400 times in forty-nine years. I’ve always loved Mr. Darrow’s energetic style — his lines often seem to be in motion.
The dates for the ads: Simoniz, 1959; Consolidated Enamel Printing Papers, 1957; Chase & Sanborn, 1956; Ford, 1953
Here’s Mr. Darrow’s entry on the Spill’s A-Z:
Whitney Darrow, Jr. (photo above) Born August 22, 1909, Princeton, NJ. Died August, 1999, Burlington, Vermont. New Yorker work: 1933 -1982. Quote (Darrow writing of himself in the third person): …in 1931 he moved to New York City, undecided between law school and doing cartoons as a profession. The fact that the [New Yorker’s] magazine offices were only a few blocks away decided him…” (Quote from catalogue, Meet the Artist, 1943)
The Monday Tilley Watch is a meandering take on the cartoons in the current issue of The New Yorker.
Expecting something political on the July 31st cover it was a surprise when Javier Mariscal‘s water’s edge pastoral popped up on my screen (I’m looking at the digital version of the magazine; I’ll look at the print version when it arrives. Two different experiences). My first thought: if James Stevenson had worked in stained glass, this might be the result. Here’s an example of what I was thinking (a Stevenson cover from October 1975, and Mr. Mariscal’s on the new issue):
A note before heading into the issue: I have a habit of not looking at the cartoonists listed on the Table of Contents — I look at everything else on the TOC, but want to be completely surprised by the cartoons as I page through. I see on the TOC that Bruce McCall has a Shouts & Murmurs piece — things are already interesting. On my way to “The Talk of The Town” I stopped to examine the illustration on page 8 by Henning Wagenbreth. Glad I stopped — enjoyable illustration, and, bonus: the name Henning Wagenbreth is now a new favorite name.
Moving on: a quick look at the Talk masthead — it’s still the revamped version brought in a few months back. I ask the power(s) that be to reconsider and bring back Coke Classic (i.e., Rea Irvin’s masterpiece masthead — shown directly below — that led off Talk from January 30, 1926 through May 15, 2017).
It should be noted (and maybe I did note it once on this site): Tom Bachtell is the contemporary artist behind the drawing appearing on the opening Talk page and many of the others sprinkled through the rest of Talk, but the small spots that look like this:
are by the late great Otto Soglow (fondly remembered by many for his creation, “The Little King”). Mr. Soglow supplied the Talk spot drawings in earlier times (pre-Lee Lorenz years as Art Editor). We are lucky his work is still appearing here some forty-two years after his death.
And now, finally to the cartoons: the first is by Sara Lautman, whose first New Yorker drawing appeared in March of last year. If the search function on the digital edition is correct, this is her 6th New Yorker appearance. A few pages later is a David Sipress drawing. Mr. Sipress’s active line is immediately recognizable, as is the New York City subway setting (the subway has been in the news quite a lot, with the Mayor of NYC taking a well -publicized ride just yesterday). Next is a drawing by Paul Karasik (whose new book, How to Read Nancy was mentioned here last time, so I’m mentioning it again). In Mr. Karasik’s drawing, Grant Wood’s American Gothic farmer returns to the New Yorker. During Charles Addams’ long run at The New Yorker he had a lot of fun with Mr. Wood’s pitchfork-wielding farmer, as well as at least one of the other folks at the bar in Mr. Karasik’s drawing.
But I, uh, digress…so back to the issue at hand. Opposite Mr. Karasik’s barflies is a timely drawing by Liza Donnelly featuring colluding ice cubes. As with Roz Chast’s drawing from the last issue, I like the way this drawing has been placed on the page. Today’s New York Times carries the headline “‘I Did Not Collude,’ Kushner Plans to Tell Senate Investigators” — hmmm.
Several pages later we come to another well-placed/sized drawing — this one’s by Harry Bliss. As noted on yesterday’s Spill, it’s “Shark Week” on The Discovery Channel. It’s also summertime. Mr. Bliss manages to celebrate both, as well as tipping his hat to lifeguards (a New Yorker colleague, John O’Brien, was a longtime lifeguard in Wildwood, New Jersey. I believe he’s the only New Yorker artist with those intersecting credentials). Next is a kangaroo cartoon (also well placed & sized) by Liana Finck (who was mentioned on the Spill yesterday for several reasons…both good). Here we have a drawing that, stylistically (and maybe even thematically) brings to mind a cross between Ed Arno and Arnie Levin, with even a dash of Bill Woodman tossed in to the mix. In the end, of course, it’s pure Finck.
A Seth Fleishman Newton’s Cradle cocktail drawing follows Ms. Finck’s. Mr. Fleishman, like the aforementioned Ms. Lautman, started at The New Yorker in the early months of last year — his generous use of black against white made (and make) his work easy to pick out in the crowd. A Roz Chast six-parter follows (Ms. Chast’s first New Yorker appearance was in 1978). I failed to mention last week that Ms. Chast has a new book coming out this Fall: Going Into Town: A Love Letter To New York.
A Paul Noth prison drawing is next (Mr. Noth’s first New Yorker appearance was in 2004) — Mr. Noth has a book coming out as well — it’s not due until next year, but I’ll mention it here anyway. Someone should do a collection of New Yorker prison cartoons. Three pages following Mr. Noth’s drawing is the very recognizable work of Drew Dernavich. If you want to know a little more about how he works, visit Jane Mattimoe’s Case For Pencils post here. Three more pages brings you to one of the newest kids on the block (first New Yorker appearance: November 14, 2016): Lars Kenseth. In this drawing, Mr. Kenseth meets King Arthur, sort of. For some reason I wanted the caption to have the word “sticky” in it, but “licked” comes close enough.
Two pages on we find a drawing by cat and elephant-lover, Danny Shanahan, who’s been contributing to The New Yorker for 30 years. No one draws elephants like Mr. Shanahan (he’s even had a New Yorker elephant cover).
Another new kid, Ellis Rosen is up next (first New Yorker appearance: December 12, 2016). I like birds-in-flight cartoons. Carl Rose, Lee Lorenz, and a number of other colleagues have offered them up to us over the years.
On the opposite page from Mr. Ellis’s drawing is a drawing executed in the instantly recognizable style of William Haefeli (first New Yorker appearance: 1998). The Spill’s archive is lucky enough to have one of Mr. Haefeli’s original New Yorker drawings. Visitors who are shown the piece are usually surprised by its size (it’s quite small) and its complexity (his originals look even more complex in person than on the printed page or screen).
A few pages later, we have what looks like a Smith Bros. cough drop board meeting — a bunch of bearded men courtesy of Carolita Johnson (first New Yorker appearance: 2003), followed by a cat and dog living room situation by Christopher Weyant (first New Yorker appearance: 1998; Mr. Weyant is the illustrator of a recent childrens book, I Am (Not) Scared by Anna Kang). I love the way Mr. Weyant draws cats (he joins the Well-drawn Cat Club; I won’t list all the members for fear of possibly leaving someone out). Tom Toro’s next (first New Yorker appearance: 2010) with a rarity: a lethal-signage cartoon. Kudos to the author of Tiny Hands.
Mr. Toro’s drawing is followed by a Liam Walsh cartoon featuring a smallish fish with a big appetite (Mr. Walsh’s first New Yorker appearance: 2011). I already mentioned Bill Woodman above, but I’ll mention him again. I see fishing cartoons and I think Woodman. For some examples check out his book, Fish and Moose News (published in 1980).
Lastly, the newest of the newbies, Maggie Larson, whose first New Yorker drawing appeared in last week’s issue. I can’t recall how many massage-related cartoons have been in The New Yorker. At least one, now (someone with a better database than mine please let me know of others).
And that’s that.
Once or twice a year New Yorker cartoonists gather to do something other than show their work. Yesterday was one of those days — the annual holiday party (which includes all of the editorial staff, not just the artists). In years past the party has been mostly out-of house; this year it was in-house. Too-many-to-count boxes of pizza were spread out on long tables. Bottles of wine and large bottles (jugs?) of beer were here and there on other tables in a hallway and adjoining conference room. The place was packed. The magazine’s editor, David Remnick was spotted wending his way through the throng, slice of pizza in hand.
A small framed copy of the cover of the magazine’s first issue hung in one of the hallways as well as a number of blow-ups of New Yorker covers. A good number of cartoons lined the walls (some framed, some greatly enlarged). Was happy to see that Peter Arno’s “Well, back to the old drawing board!” continues to reside among the framed pieces. I paused to spend some time with the wonderful Thurber drawings, lovingly installed in these new digs.
Among the cartoonists present were Sam Gross, Joe Dator, Christopher Weyant, Robert Leighton, Liza Donnelly, Emily Flake, Edward Steed, Corey Pandolf, Bob Eckstein, Amy Hwang, Harry Bliss, Jason Adam Katzenstein, John O’Brien, Felipe Galindo (aka feggo), Drew Dernavich, Ben Schwartz, David Borchart, Mort Gerberg, and David Sipress.
A splendid time was had by all!
Here’s a look at Garden State born New Yorker contributors (including its current editor) as well as New Yorker contributors (all cartoonists) not Jersey born, but currently living there. Also included: New Yorker contributors who, though not native-born, grew up there and/or lived there for a good while. If anyone out there has others I’ve missed (and I’m sure I have) please contact me. (click on the map to enlarge).