Pretty in Pink: The New Yorker’s 25th Anniversary Album; More Spills: Moore Tweets Out a Ziegler… More Soglow

Judging by what I’ve noticed over many years of visiting used book stores, The New Yorker 25th Anniversary Album must have been the most popular in the series of their cartoon anthologies. This is the one you’re likely to find if you find any at all. Bonus: it’s easily found online for just a few bucks. The Album sports a series of firsts on the cover: the first time a monochrome Eustace Tilley appeared on an Album (the next time he would appear this close to so much solid color was on the magazine’s 60th Anniversary issue.  Then editor, Tina Brown presented Eustace surrounded by, um, gold). 

The 25th Album was the first to reproduce a number of full cartoons on the cover (minus the captions, which due to the size of each cartoon shown, would’ve been virtually impossible to read without a magnifying glass. The exception is John Held, Jr.’s work where the text is within the piece).  And it was the first to be divided into sections: The Late Twenties, The Early Thirties, The Late Thirties, The Early Forties, and The Late Forties.

All the big names are here, of course, and so are some of the most memorable cartoons in the magazine’s history, including Thurber’s Seal in the Bedroom, Addams’ skier, and Arno’s “Well, back to the old drawing board.”  This is the Album for anyone who has heard about the New Yorker‘s Golden Age, and wants to know what all the fuss was about.

The design of the book is excellent, with paper of good quality, allowing for Gluyas Williams’ masterpieces, run full page, to glow.  Arno’s brushstrokes look as if he just swept them across the page fifteen minutes ago. On the pages where a number of cartoons appear, the layout is handled with great care, never too busy; each page was obviously fussed over by someone (or someones) who knew what they were doing. Just look at the graphic balancing act directly below:

The contributors are a Who’s Who of the magazine’s pantheon of great artists, including the founders, and the ones who showed up while Harold Ross was still messing around with the ingredients.  Steig’s Small Fry are here, as is Soglow’s Little King.  Helen Hokinson’s Club Ladies are generously presented, as are spreads by Rea Irvin, and and and…gee willikers, so much more (to see more scroll down to the back cover’s list of artists).  This is one of the very best Albums of cartoons the magazine ever produced (as another 67 years have passed since its publication it shares the top shelf with a few others). 

The flap text (above) reminds us that the cartoons are a record of the times. I’ll go along with that. As the magazine moves closer to its 100th year it’s essential for the cartoons to change with the times and reflect the times. I expect that the Introduction to The New Yorker’s 100th Anniversary Album will express something close to that sentiment, if not exactly that.

If you’ve read Genius In Disguise, Thomas Kunkel’s great biography of Harold Ross, you might remember that book’s prologue has a wonderful section devoted to the party at the Ritz-Carleton celebrating the New Yorker‘s 25th Anniversary. It was a party, wrote Kunkel, “celebrating accomplishment, about creating something of enduring importance.”  

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Michael Moore Tweeted out a drawing this morning by the late Jack Ziegler that’s right on the money (so to speak):

— My thanks to Bruce Eric Kaplan for bringing this to the Spill’s attention.

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…A lot More Soglow

Attempted Bloggery has posted a cart full of rare Otto Soglow drawings (some of them are what used to be referred to as “naughty” — nowadays we’d call them not-PC. ) 

 

 

Rea Irvin’s Talk of The Town Town Masthead: “A Mere Reassuring Blur”

I’m devoting today’s Spill to Rea Irvin’s long-running Talk of The Town masthead —  the one that appeared for 92 years, before being replaced this past May by a redrawn effort.   Tune out if you wish — at least I’m not talking about the two dots that sometime appear below certain cartoons.

I happened upon this passage about the Irvin masthead  (shown above) in Brendan Gill’s must-read memoir, Here At The New Yorker.  I haven’t read a better description. We pick up just after Gill has discussed Eustace Tilley:

“The drawing at the head of “Talk’ is in some ways ways more mysterious even than the cover and deserves examination.  The dandy is shown at the left-hand side of the drawing; he is in profile, wearing a high stock, with a monocle on on a ribbon screwed into his left eye. He is engaged in writing a missive of some length with a grotesquely exaggerated quill pen.  On the right-hand side of the drawing, full-face to the viewer, perches a plump black owl, roguishly winking.  Between the dandy and the owl rise some peculiar skyscrapers, topped by cupolas unlike any any to be seen in New York.  Rays of sunlight, or perhaps moonlight (for the owl’s unwinking eye is wide-open), stream from behind the skyscrapers.  Dandy, owl, and sky-scrapers are drawn along a single notched, curving line, under and over which float a number of wheels with sawtoothed  rims. What is this incoherent jumble? Nobody alive any longer remembers, and it doesn’t matter. There the heading is, and every week we see it and yet take care not to see it.; it is a mere reassuring blur at the top of the page as we settle down to our reading of Notes and Comment. As such, it remains a continuing witness to the almost total confusion  of purpose manifested in those early days by Ross…”

The new masthead — and I have to stress it is new — appears below.

 

As I wrote on the Spill back in May when this new masthead was installed (the redesign first appeared in the issue of May 22, 2017),  Mr. Irvin’s charmingly imperfect scroll-like line has met a white-out brush.  His owl has been re-drawn, his buildings re-drawn too (with the inclusion of One World Trade Center in this new assortment).  Tilley himself has changed just a bit.  The designery horizontal line running over the drawing (added in the issue of February 21, 2000) remains.

Let’s compare and contrast the Irvin masthead with this new one, which we’ll call the Niemann version (after Christoph Niemann, who was hired to redraw the masthead), incorporating some of what Mr. Gill spoke of.  The 92 year old masthead segments below will always appear on the left (you’ll be able to tell the difference because of the slight amber color of the older version); the Niemann redrawn masthead segments are to the right. 

Brendan Gill: “The dandy is shown at the left hand side…he is engaged at writing a missive of some length”

The dandy remains in Niemann’s version, although he’s lost many of the character lines in his hair, on his jacket and even his face. The white dots on his lapel have disappeared. His body has narrowed as well.  Tilley’s new face is smoother — not yet approaching the cartoony Tilley look the magazine has incorporated on its various online features, as seen here:

 

Brendan Gill: The “plump owl”:

The Irvin owl as been replaced by a slimmed down version and losing some of the woodcut-esque lines around its face. It somewhat resembles a rubber stamp.

Brendan Gill: The “peculiar skyscrapers topped by cupolas unlike any to be seen in New York”:

The new skyscrapers (seen on the right) are no longer peculiar; they are now a generic skyline, identifiable as Manhattan’s only by the addition of the World Trade Center, which, if we’re going to get technical (and I wish we wouldn’t) would rise far above its neighboring buildings. The cupolas are gone, as is the spacing of the buildings. The new buildings are huddled together. The building to the far left in the new version looks somewhat like Pisa’s Leaning Tower, except it’s not leaning. Irvin’s buildings had breathing space — something city dwellers cherish.

 

Brendan Gill: “Rays of sunlight, or perhaps moonlight…stream from behind the skyscrapers”

 In the 92 year old version, each of Irvin’s rays can be seen as an actual drawn line, with imperfections, even a blob or two of ink just above the owl. In the new version (on the right) the beautiful symmetry of the streaming lines has been off-set by the disappearance of a line shown behind the owl’s head. The hand-drawn quality of the lines has disappeared, replaced by perfect spear-like lines, each one just like the other.

 

Brendan Gill: The “single notched curvy line”:

The curvy line has completely lost its notches. The bare line in the new version seems drawn by a chiseled felt tip marker. Its end on the right  just tapers off. Irvin’s 92 year old version ends with a mysterious irregular line, that runs thin to thick, ending with what looks like the bumper at the end of a subway line. It’s quite beautiful in its own peculiar way.

Brendan Gill: “…a number of wheels with sawtoothed rims”

The wheels remain, yet they have been re-drawn. (Irvin’s on the left, Niemann’s on the right). Note how Irvin’s scroll has lost its flair as well as a couple of tiny scratchy lines just to the left of Tilley’s elbow.

The cleaned up wheels, shown in the screen grab below right are puzzling.  In the Irvin drawing on the left, we see what look like the artist’s expressions of the moment — stray pen marks around the small circle floating off to the right.  I’m a fan of imperfection.

 

And there we have it. Irvin’s “reassuring blur” has been transformed into something far less blurry, featuring crisp lines, a defined skyline with at least one identifiable building in it, and an 86ing of character lines.  Rea Irvin created a masthead drawing with charm, mystery, and grace.  It’s a pity that it no longer “remains a continuing witness to the almost total confusion of purpose manifested in those early days by Ross…”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Books of Interest: The New Yorker Bon Appetit!, Thurber’s Favole Per Il Nostro Tempo, Steinberg’s Passaporto and The New Yorker Book of Katzen Cartoons

I occasionally travel the world without leaving my desk.  In this case a search of New Yorker cartoons on France’s Amazon site turned up this curiosity. Lookin’ sharp, Eustace!

There are plenty of variations on standard New Yorker cartoon collections (many with different covers designs). I wondered what a Thurber  title would look like in Italian and found  Thurber’s Fables For Our Time.

Sometimes, it’s just the translated title that catches my eye, such as the German cover for The New Yorker Book of Cat Cartoons. (hey, who doesn’t like katzen?).

A later edition (in Italian) of Steinberg’s Passport with an eye-catching cover: Passaporto.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book of Interest: Friedman’s Chosen People; A Searle Reject; A Tilley Paperweight

Book of Interest: Friedman’s Chosen People

Due in the Fall from Fantagraphics: a new collection from New Yorker cover artist, Drew Friedman.  From the publisher: Featuring over 100 of Drew Friedman’s hyper-realistic portraits of the greats, the near-greats, and the not-so-greats, created over the past decade. Artists, cartoonists, comedians, musicians, actors, politicians, the famous and the infamous, these chosen people are just that: People chosen to be rendered by the man Boing Boing calls “The greatest living portrait artist.” 

More book info here.      And here’s the link for Mr. Friedman’s website.

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A Rejected Searle Cover

Attempted Bloggery has a really nice post about this beautiful rejected New Yorker cover by Ronald Searle. To see the full cover and so much more, go here.

 

 

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A Tilley Paperweight

Finally, here’s one of my favorite objets d’Tilley: a paperweight sold some years back (still around on various online sites, including Etsy). For the completist, there’s another Tilley-related paperweight available: Eustacia Tilley, R. O. Blechman’s take on Rea Irvin’s creation for the New Yorker‘s inaugural issue. Eustacia was the cover for the magazine’s “Women’s Issue” way back in 1996.

 

A Small Treasure From the Jack Ziegler Memorial; Cartoon Companion’s Harry Bliss Interview, Pt.2; Looking For Eustace

A Small Treasure From The Jack Ziegler Memorial

Here are a few pages from the fine 10 page pamphlet that was available last Saturday at the memorial for Jack Ziegler. The pamphlet contains a  lovely unpublished cover (seen below) as well as a two-page  “killed” New Yorker spread (not shown) and a number of photographs of Mr. Ziegler, as well as a list of his collected work (shown below). 

 

 

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Cartoon Companion’s Harry Bliss Interview Pt. 2

If you enjoyed Part 1 of the Bliss interview, no doubt you’ll want to read Pt.2…  Read Mr. Bliss’s interview here.

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Looking For Eustace

Here’s something I’ve done maybe just once before: ask Ink Spill visitors if anyone out there has something I’ve looked for for years but have yet to find. This time it’s the miniature (about 3 1/2 inches high, I believe) Eustace Tilley pictured here.  There were 500 manufactured by Sebastian Miniatures back in 1949 (apparently there’s a newer version, from 1981, with a black base.  Only 6 of those were made).  For me, this 1949 Tilley has become the Holy Grail of New Yorker “stuff” (the little bit of information I found about it comes from a book, The Sebastian Miniature Collection by Dr. Glenn Johnson).

If anyone out there has one and would be willing to trade for a couple of my New Yorker original drawings, please contact me.

John Donohue on Drawing Disappearing Eateries; Julia Wertz is Pencilled; The Tilley Watch: The New New Yorker Masthead

From  newyorker.com, May 23, 2017, ““Drawing the Vanishing Restaurants of New York” — this post by John Donohue, who has been tirelessly attempting to draw all the restaurants in New York.

 

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Next up on Jane Mattimoe’s Case For Pencils blog is Julia Wertz, whose new book, Tenements, Towers & Trash: An Unconventional, Illustrated History of New York City will be out this coming October. 

A bunch of links to Ms. Wertz’s work, New Yorker and otherwise can be found on the Pencils post.

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…Stephen Nadler, who runs Attempted Bloggery, one of my fave New Yorker-related sites, notified me last night that someone had been busy monkeying around with Rea Irvin’s  iconic New Yorker masthead. Now’s a good time to take a look at how the masthead has changed (and when it changed) in the magazine’s 92 years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above is how it looked in the very first issue, February 21, 1925, with Of All Things beneath Rea Irvin’s design. The Talk of The Town was elsewhere in the issue, but would soon find a better fit…

 

 

 

 

 

…in the next issue, in fact: February 28, 1925 (above). The above masthead stuck around only half-a-year…

 

 

 

 

 

…until the issue of August 22 1925 (above), when it was obviously redrawn; the typeface changed too. 

 

 

 

 

 

In January 30, 1926 a cleaner, un-boxed masthead appeared, and again redrawn. This is the masthead most of us have known our entire lives.  It has stayed like this, unchanged, excepting the disappearance of the tiny little white dots on Eustace Tilley’s shoulder — they faded away somewhere in time.  A modern addition was a designery horizontal thin line above it in the anniversary issue of February 21, 2000. 

 

 

 

 

 

This brings us up to date. The above redesign first appeared in the issue of May 22, 2017.  Mr. Irvin’s charmingly imperfect scroll-like line has met a white-out brush.  His owl has been re-drawn, his buildings re-drawn too (with the inclusion of One World Trade Center in this new assortment).  Tilley himself has changed just a bit, from the neck up.  The designery horizontal line from 2000 remains (why toss out a perfectly good clean straight line?).  

A fond farewell to Mr. Irvin’s brilliant diamond.  Perhaps we’ll meet again?  

More Tilley: here’s a piece I wrote for newyorker.com back in 2008, “Tilley Over Time”