The Monday Tilley Watch: The New Yorker Issue of September 18, 2017

The Monday Tilley Watch is a meandering take on the cartoons in the current issue of The New Yorker.

 Visitors to the Spill (and social media) have already had the weekend to digest the cover of the latest issue — it features the looming top-noggin of North Korea’s leader. The cover artist, Eric Drooker told Michael Cavna in a Washington Post piece: “I came up with the concept for next week’s New Yorker cover when I realized how little I know about Kim Jong Un. He’s an enigma. Who knows what goes on under the hood?…All we can see is the tip of the iceberg — an incomplete picture.” Fair enough.

Before getting to the cartoons this week, and instead of zipping through the GOAT (Goings On About town ) section, I’d like to mention a couple of non-cartoon graphics that made me pause, for better or worse:  a painting on page 6 by the artist Brian Calvin and a (colorized?) photograph on page 12. I won’t say which made me pause for the better or which  made me pause for the worse; the Monday Tilley Watch is not my soap box — it’s the curb I sit on while watching a parade go by.  

Now on to the cartoons. It doesn’t take long to reach David Borchart’s C.S. Lewis flavored drawing (If I’m wrong about this, someone please speak up). (Above: an illustration from the The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe)

Mr. Borchart, who has been contributing to the magazine since September of 2007, uses one of the most reliable tools in the cartoonist’s kit: a mash-up of fantasy and the all too real. As with every new cartoon I come across I automatically recall some previous cartoon with a similar stand-out characteristic — in this case the unicorn. I cannot see a drawing of a unicorn and not picture this classic Charles Addams drawing. It appeared in The New Yorker, March 10, 1956.

Four pages later is a subway drawing by  J.A.K. (Jason Adam Katzenstein — his first New Yorker cartoon appeared in November of 2014. It’s not my imagination, the magazine has run a goodly number of New York City subway drawings in the past few months (I’m not going to go back and count them. Trust me). It has dawned on me this very second that I could probably summon up a Charles Addams classic drawing somehow related to every cartoon in this issue.  In this case, Addams had a number of subway classics (here’s one). But enough of that game. 

Seven pages later is a Joe Dator bar scene. Mr. Dator’s first New Yorker appearance was in August of 2006. It’s always a gift when the cartoon gods hand a cartoonist a one-word switcheroo to make for a successful caption: in this case using “stopping” instead of “starting.” Fun sidebar: Mr. Dator has a podcast,  Songs You’re Sick Of.

A Roz Chast three panel drawing is next (her first cartoon appeared in 1978).  I like that Ms. Chast has ventured out of what we’ve (perhaps?) come to think of as a Chastian living room setting. We get to see a kitchen and foyer.  I’d love even more of a tour around her cartoon environment.  For instance: let’s see the basement…or the attic  (It’s possible we’ve already seen these spaces… Ms. Chast has published well over a thousand cartoons in the magazine).

Ten pages later, after a long piece about North Korea, is a Stephen King-ish  Will McPhail drawing. I have great sympathy for Mr. McPhail’s cartoon pinata in this cartoon. I’m resisting the  temptation here to recall one of many many Charles Addams’ drawings featuring mischievous children (or a mischievous child). I think I can safely say that none of Mr. Addams’ cartoon children ever threatened to harm a cartoon pinata.  (Mr. McPhail’s first New Yorker cartoon: December of 2014).

On the very next page is a thief-in-a-in-home drawing by newcomer Maddie Dai. As mentioned earlier in this post and previous posts, I try hard to keep subjectivity in check  in the Monday Tilley Watch, but this drawing gets a check plus. Can’t wait to see what the Cartoon Companion boys say about it later this week (their stock-in-trade is cartoon dissection and evaluation).  Ms. Dai’s first New Yorker appearance was this past June.

Three pages later is a BEK (Bruce Eric Kaplan) drawing.  Signature style, signature caption. Mr. Kaplan’s first drawing appeared in 1991.  Six pages later, an Emily Flake drawing, sort of in the area of Mr. Borchart’s: a mash-up of contemporary technology (texting) and slowing-moving-out-the-door lingo: actually hanging up a phone (and slowly-moving-out-the-door actual activity of hanging up a phone).  Ms. Flake’s first drawing appeared in September of 2008. Five pages later, a drawing by Barbara Smaller.  Like Mr. Kaplan: signature style, signature caption. Here Ms. Smaller avoids  the cartoonist’s go-to shrink’s divan for the patient and opts for a sofa.

 

Three pages later is the last drawing in the issue (not counting the Caption Contest drawings), and it’s by the ever reliable Paul Noth (in earlier years such cartoonists as James Stevenson, Frank Modell, and Donald Reilly were among the magazine’s sturdy cartoon oaks (seemingly) effortlessly providing us with good work week after week after week (after year after year after year).  Mr. Noth began at the New Yorker thirteen years ago.

See you next Monday.

 

 

 

 

George Booth At The Society of Illustrators; Columbia University Panel with Emily Flake, Tom Toro, Robert Sikoryak, and Emma Allen

 

“Mister Hiucappi believes animals should be kept out-of-doors all year round.”

A Must:  “An Evening With George Booth” at The Society of Illustrators, November 8th.

All the info here.

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

George Booth (photo above taken in NYC 2016, courtesy of Liza Donnelly) Born June 28, 1926, Cainesville, MO. NYer work: 1969 – . Key collections: Think Good Thoughts About A Pussycat (Dodd, Mead, 1975), Rehearsal’s Off! (Dodd, Mead, 1976), Omnibooth: The Best of George Booth ( Congdon & Weed, 1984), The Essential George Booth, Compiled and Edited by Lee Lorenz ( Workman, 1998).

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Columbia University Panel with Emily Flake, Tom Toro, Robert Sikoryak, and Emma Allen

This should be fun.

From the announcement: In this new Gilded Age of Trump, cartoonists Tom Toro, R. Sikoryak, and Emily Flake join New Yorker cartoon editor Emma Allen for a discussion of contemporary cartoon satire.

All the info here.

 

The Monday Tilley Watch (Part 1)

Double issues (as we’ve just experienced) have a way of creating the impression it’s been ages since the last new issue. So, yay, finally: the late August New Yorker (dated, for the record:  August 21, 2017). There are a lot of cartoons in this issue, so the Monday Tilley Watch will be broken up into two parts. I’ll post the second half in a few days…possibly tomorrow (a Tuesday Tilley Watch?)

The cover, by Adrian Tomine, is certainly summery (and a sort of summary of some summers). 

Skipping through the front of the magazine (this is, after all, a look at the drawings in the issue) I pause to note that Rea Irvin’s classic Talk of the Town masthead is still on holiday (wishful thinking that it might’ve returned!).  Now on to the cartoons:

The first, Mr. Tator Tot, is descended from the world of Mr. Potato Head and is pure Danny Shanahan.  I can see these being sold in nice little packages wherever toys are sold (with a warning that they should be kept out of the hands of small children).  As a side note, when Mr. Shanahan was discussing this drawing with me not long ago we went off into a brief recounting of the various potato-related drawings we’d both done.  Someone should do a New Yorker book of potato cartoons.  The next drawing (I’ll shorthand it as “hip disease”)  is by Jason Adam Katzenstein, who is closing in on his third anniversary of appearing in The New Yorker. I’m a big fan of doctor office drawings. The eye chart in this one really caught my…eye (sorry). I’d say someone should do a book of New Yorker doctor cartoons, but it’s been done, and done well. 

A few pages later we come to a summertime baseball in the park drawing by yours truly. For those who keep track of things, this is my second major appliance-related drawing in the magazine (there was at least one cartoon of mine featuring a small appliance (a blender) back in the 1980s).  Seven pages later we come to a Tom Toro desert island drawing (Mr. Toro was profiled here on the Spill not long ago, talking about his new book Tiny Hands, among other things). The desert island fellow, judging by his look, has somehow managed to survive on the island for a very long time. Good for you, island guy. I’m a little worried about the cruise ship being so close to shore, but then remind myself that this is a cartoon. (fyi: Mr. Toro’s been contributing to The New Yorker since 2010).  Next up is a drawing by newish-comer, Kate Curtis (she’s been contributing to the magazine for about a year-and-a-half).  I love set piece cartoons (folks sitting at a dining room table or a kitchen table, people in bed or sitting on living room sofas, etc.). Challenging, and so much fun when they work out well, as this one has. Several pages later is another newcomer, Maddie Dai (Her first New Yorker cartoon appeared this past June).  A hopscotch drawing! We don’t see many of those.  This one has a Charles Addams-ish flavor to it.  And speaking of Mr. Addams, who did a number of wonderful gingerbread house drawings in his time, our next drawing, by Liana Finck, is of a house made of kale.  Worth noting here: as has been the case for at least the past five issues of the magazine, the placement and sizing of most drawings has been splendid. (Ms. Finck’s first cartoon appeared in The New Yorker, February 2013). The next drawing, by Sara Lautman (first cartoon in The New Yorker: March, 2016) is a blast of color…and madras (!) — making for an exciting visual. A few pages later, and again, well-placed and sized, is an Ed Steed cartoon. Love the child-like house on the horizon. Mr. Steed’s first appearance in the magazine: March 2013. There’s a Sketchbook by Will McPhail a few pages following Mr. Steed’s drawing.  The use of the Sketchbook — and I could be very wrong — goes back to the Tina Brown era. Next up is a drawing by Emily Flake (like Mr. Toro, she was the subject of a piece on The Spill not long ago). Ms. Flake has been contributing to the magazine since September of 2008. This is a set piece drawing, with a lot of emotion.

Part 2 of The Monday Tilley Watch coming later this week…

Flake’s “Mama Tried” on IFC’s 2018 Slate of Projects; Books of Interest: Seth, Ben Katchor; Advertising Work by New Yorker Cartoonists, Part 7: Charles Saxon

Flake’s “Mama Tried” on IFC ‘s 2018 Slate of Projects

From Deadline Hollywood, July 29, 2017, “IFC Sets 2018 Slate…” — in a list of projects following this sentence:

IFC has given episodic script orders to the following projects:

is:

Mama Tried
A show about the seamy underbelly of new motherhood, Mama Triedfollows the struggles (and occasional triumphs) of Liz Callahan who’s finding that she could care less about being a “super-mom”- she just wants to survive. Mama Tried weaves Emily Flake’s darkly funny animation to help bring to life all of motherhood’s graphic, and sometimes gruesome, realness. Written by Emily Wilson (Cougar Town, Superior Donuts) and animated by and based on the graphic novel by Emily Flake, executive produced by Jax Media (Full Frontal, Broad City, Search Party).

Ms. Flake was a recent subject of the Spill’s “Checking In With…” series.  Read it here.

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Books of Interest: Seth, Ben Katchor

Never too early to think about upcoming books.  Both of these are University Press of Mississippi titles. Forging the Past: Seth and the Art of Memory –  (the paperback edition; the hardcover was published in 2016) — this edition comes out in December. Seth has been a New Yorker contributor since 2002. 

Ben Katchor: Conversations due in February of 2018. Mr. Katchor began contributing to The New Yorker in 1994.

Link here to Seth’s Wikipedia entry.

Link here to Mr. Katchor’s website.

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Advertising Work by New Yorker Cartoonists, Part 7: Charles Saxon

A June 8, 1980 New York Times article, “The New Yorker’s Humor Merchants” lead off with this: Charles Saxon, a cartoonist for The New Yorker for the last 25 years, has a problem. So many companies have been buying his drawings for their ads that last year he was able to do only 15 cartoons for the magazine, half his usual total. “I was just swamped with ad assignments and my New Yorker work suffered,” he said.  “This year, I’m setting aside more time for the magazine which I consider my home home and where I can really express myself.”

It is true that, back then, ads using Saxon drawings seemed to be everywhere.  Here’s the very tip of the iceberg, courtesy of SPX’s Executive Director, Warren Bernard, who spent a  great deal of time and effort collecting ads featuring New Yorker cartoonists (and then allowed Ink Spill to reap the rewards).  Dates for ads: Polaroid, 1969; Chivas Regal,1981; Jacuzzi, 1979; IBM, 1963

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Charles Saxon (self portrait above left from Best Cartoons of the Year 1947) Born in Brooklyn, Nov 13, 1920, died in Stamford, Conn., Dec 6, 1988. New Yorker work: 1943 – 1991 (2 drawings published posthumously). Key collection: One Man’s Fancy ( Dodd, Mead, 1977).

Interview of Interest: Frank Cotham; Karasik Talks “Nancy”; Shannon Wheeler at SPX; The Tilley Watch: A Flake Follow-Up & Next Week’s New Yorker Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cartoon Companion has posted Part 1 of an interview with long-time New Yorker cartoonist, Frank CothamRead it here.  Above: one of Mr. Cotham’s porch drawings published in the New Yorker,.  April 1, 2013 (click on it to enlarge).

Note: For more Cotham, you might enjoy this Spill interview from 2013

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Karasik Talks “Nancy”

Paul Karasik and his co-author Mark Newgarden will be at The New York Comics & Picture-Story Symposium this Fall discussing their forthcoming How To Read Nancy.  Details here.

 

 

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Shannon Wheeler at SPX

Too Much Coffee Man himself, Shannon Wheeler will appear at the upcoming Small Press Expo this Fall. Details here.

 

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A Tilley Watch Follow-Up to “Checking In With: Emily Flake”

…For a Cartoon Lounge segment, released today featuring Emily Flake  at the New Yorker‘s offices with the magazine’s cartoon editor, Emma Allen, go here.

 

The New Yorker has rush released next week’s cover (by Barry Blitt):

 

 

 

 

 

 

Checking In: The Spill Talks Pies and Target Practice With Emily Flake

Checking In With Emily Flake

You never know what you’ll learn when you go (virtually) knocking on a cartoonist’s door. As part of the Spill’s “Checking In With…” series I asked my colleague, Emily Flake, whose ninth anniversary as a New Yorker cartoonist is in September, what she’s been up to lately, and she replied: 

“As always, plugging away at gag cartoons and longer stuff to pitch to The New Yorker. I have a bi-weekly slot with The Nib, so there’s that! I suspended operations on Lulu Eightball about a year ago – I was in the throes of a writing job that was fun and lucrative but took up a lot of time, and something had to give; I’d been doing Lulu since 2001 and figured it was time to step back. I’ve just learned that the paper where Lulu got its start, the Baltimore City Paper, is shutting down, so I’ve been in a bit of a funk over that.

In general I also do illustration work; writing this out reminds me that I’m overdue on some sketches for a project about the process of dying (a laff a minute!). I have a 4 year old, and those things are remarkably time-consuming. I also spend a lot of time falling down internet rabbit holes and mucking around in a swamp of self-doubt and loathing. I did however just get a sulus-vide device for my birthday, so there’s that! Also I make pies.”

Michael Maslin: I’m almost afraid to ask — but what’s a “sulus-vide device” (I could look it up but then I might end up falling into that very same internet rabbit hole).

Emily Flake: Whoa, sorry! I mis-typed “sous-vide” – it’s a thing that creates a hot water bath so you can cook things in it. It’s supposed to be amazing. I will keep you posted on the results as soon as I have any.

Left: A sous vide. Thanks to Emily, I just learned something.

MM:Your “process of dying” project sounds fascinating, especially as your book, Mama Tried  was about the beginning years of the life cycle.  Many cartoonists tend to visit and revisit death on a regular basis (in their work). Do you as well?

EF: Well, the dying project is something I’m doing for someone else – it’s not necessarily *my* thoughts on dying. I’ve done some “death personified” gags for the magazine, because who hasn’t; I think about death almost every day. Not in a particularly morbid way, just in terms of what the eventual end of a thing means for the thing itself. It all became unbearably precious to me once I had a kid (not that you have to have a kid to feel that life is precious, but for me it really raised the stakes). 
left: a drawing by Ms. Flake published in The New Yorker, November 1, 2011
 
MM:  Congrats on joining the Full Page club in the New Yorker  Was that your first?   Are you thinking “full page” when you submit? 
 
EF: Thanks! It was indeed my first full-page, and I liked that feeling. I’ve submitted full-pagers before; I like having a bit more room to explore a thing, and I’ve always enjoyed being able to riff on a joke – I’ve published a few 3 or 4 beat gags, which is my preferred method of joke-crafting.
 
MM: Are you going into the New Yorker’s offices on a regular basis?
 
EF: I am extraordinarily lazy and prefer not to leave a six-block radius if I can avoid it. For what do we have an internet if not to facilitate that kind of sloth? Emma’s [Emma Allen, the New Yorker‘s cartoon editor] not really doing the sit-down immediate review of batches and prefers to get them digitally, so that saves me wearing pants. 
 

MM: You mentioned you make pies. What kind of pies?

EF: You name it. I recently made a blueberry galette that was an absolute knockout. Now that it’s summer, peach pies, berry pies, etc; I also made a caramelized onion galette (the lazy man’s pie!) recently that turned out great. I made a pistachio cream pie a couple summers ago that I think I’ll revisit – cream/pudding pies are great for this kind of weather. I also recently came across a recipe for tahini brownies that I can’t wait to try – I used tahini in chocolate chip cookies recently and holy shit. I’m not much of an innovator in baking – I follow recipes – but I do love to do it.

MM: Pistachio cream! Wowzers. Do you happen to have a photo of a Flake pie?

EF: [I’m sending you photographs of] a bunch of baked goods and also a paper target, because as I was looking through my photos I remembered that I also like to go to the Westside  Range and shoot off a few rounds.

MM: What are you usually shooting at the range: pistols or rifles?

EF: I’ve only shot rifles at the range – you need a serious permit to shoot pistols in NYC (which I think is a good thing! I like to shoot, but I am all for gun control).

MM: Have you been shooting guns a long time, or is this something new?
 
EF: The first time I ever shot was at a friend’s home range upstate, and I shot pistols there; despite an almost incapacitating hangover, I found I had a knack for it (or possibly just beginner’s luck). Last year I went and took a class at the Westside Range, and then I joined as a member so I can shoot whenever I want. I am only slightly embarrassed to tell you that my interest in shooting was rekindled mainly by a mixture of the current ghostly political climate and, um, watching too much Walking Dead.

Below: An array of some of Ms. Flake’s pies. One of her paper targets, along with a slice of one of her pies, appears at the top of this post

 

 

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A Note to Ink Spill Visitors

Keen-eyed visitors may notice the first ever appearance of an advertisement on this site.  I’ve resisted advertising these past ten years, but have made an exception for The American Bystander as it’s such a welcome addition to the landscape.