The Monday Tilley Watch, The New Yorker Issue Of October 1, 2018

The Cover:  What a beauty by Marcellus Hall!  Read about it here. I was really surprised when the cover popped up on my screen this morning — was fully expecting a political cover.

The Illustrations: The New Yorker has certainly become a — if not the — mainstream magazine showcase for illustration. It’s become a blend of the best of Vanity Fair, The Atlantic, and Gourmet  (remember Gourmet? What a good looking magazine that was). The 20 illustrations in the issue, including 5 1/2 full pages, far surpass the number and space afforded the 16 cartoons. 

The Cartoons: A newbie this week: Pat Achilles. Ms. Achilles is the 6th new cartoonist introduced this year and the 18th new cartoonist to be introduced since Emma Allen was appointed cartoon editor in May of 2017.

Rea Irvin: In 1924, when the New Yorker was still in the development phase, Harold Ross, the magazine’s founder and first editor, hired Mr. Irvin as art supervisor.  We can be thankful to Mr. Irvin for a quartet of fundamental graphic elements that scream New Yorker :

1. Eustace Tilley, the magazine’s mascot.

2. The so-called Irvin Typeface (adapted, with permission from Allen Lewis).

3. The quality of the art itself, including covers, cartoons and spot drawings.

4. The Talk Of The Town masthead (shown below). 

Those four pillars of the magazine remained intact until last year when Mr. Irvin’s Talk masthead was replaced by a redraw.  Read about it here.

— See you next week.

 

 

Mr. Bliss Goes To Washington; Cartoon Companion Rates Latest New Yorker Cartoons; Celebrity Cartoon Captioning Continues; Chatfield & Dooley’s Latest Podcast; Happy 75th, Mr. Crumb

Mr. Bliss Goes To Washington

Harry Bliss will take part in a presentation as well as sign books at this years Library of Congress National Book Festival. Details here.

Mr. Bliss has been contributing covers and cartoons to The New Yorker since 1998.

Visit Mr. Bliss’s website here.

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Cartoon Companion Rates Latest New Yorker Cartoons

If it’s Thursday it’s Cartoon Companion day. The CC‘s “Max” and “Simon” (they’ve chosen not to use their real names) take a look at the very latest cartoons in print. Read it here. 

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Celebrity Cartoon Captioning Continues

From Viewing NYC, August 30, 2018, “Watch Comedian Nick Kroll Caption New Yorker Cartoons On The Spot”

— the newyorker.com series carries on with this enjoyable episode. Good job, Mr. Kroll.

For the record: the drawings shown are (in order of appearance) by: Liam Walsh (chainsaws), Tom Cheney (large poultry), Corey Pandolph (subway cars at bar), Liam Walsh (alley stick ’em up), Will McPhail (ice fishing), Kaamran Hafeez (cowboys), Frank Cotham (invisible man on sofa), Tom Cheney (monster sofa), and David Borchart (beavers).  Perhaps the captioning celebs could identify the artists in coming episodes?

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Chatfield & Dooley’s Latest “Is There Something In This?” Podcast

Listen in as Mr. Chatfield, a New Yorker newbie (his first cartoon appeared in the July 10th, 2017 issue), and Mr. Dooley, according to the official description, “ruminate on New Yorker cartoon ideas over a couple of beers…” Link here.

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Happy 75th, Mr. Crumb

It’s Robert Crumb’s 75th birthday. Mr. Crumb has been contributing on and off to the New Yorker since 1994. His “Elvis Tilley” cover (above) for the magazine published during the Tina Brown years broke the 68 year string of Rea Irvin Eustace Tilley cover anniversary appearances.

 

The Making Of A Magazine: A Potted History

Mention The New Yorker and it’s highly likely the image, or one of the first images, that pops into one’s mind is of Rea Irvin’s Eustace Tilley, the magazine’s mascot.  He appeared on the inaugural issue of the magazine dated February 21, 1925, and on every anniversary issue until Tina Brown broke the streak in 1994 by publishing R. Crumb’s Elvis Tilley. 

Those fond of New Yorker history may know that the magazine was nearly killed after just four months of publication; barely anyone was reading it, and what advertising there was was drying up.  The magazine’s founder and editor, Harold Ross, seeing a need to fill space on the inside cover, summoned one of his writers, Corey Ford, to discuss the problem.  Ford described the moment in his memoir, The Time Of Laughter:

In his impulsive way, he called me into his office and began jangling coins and pacing the floor.  Could I do a series of promotion ads to fill the goddamn inside cover? Rea Irvin thought I might burlesque those house organ brochures about publishing a magazine.  Have the first one by tomorrow? Done and done. God bless you.

The result was a twenty part series called The Making of a Magazine.  The first one ran in the August 8 issue:

You’ll notice the illustration, by Johan Bull, shows a little top hatted fellow, who is identified as “Our Mr. Tilley.” We have to wait until the second in a series (the issue of August 15th) to learn his full name: “… Mr. Eustace Tilley.” Tilley was to be the readers tour guide through Ford’s twenty installments, pointing out the various departments needed to turn out The New Yorker.

More from Corey Ford:

The New Yorker‘s man-of-all-work, who personally supervised all these departments, was Mr. Eustace Tilley. (“Tilley” was the name of a maiden aunt, and I chose “Eustace” because it sounded euphonious.) In Johan Bull’s illustrations, he appeared as a silk-hat dude, with morning coat and striped trousers and a monocle, based on the figure in Rea Irvin’s anniversary cover. In time Irvin’s creation became known as Eustace Tilley…

The series ended in the issue of January 2, 1926.  The cover, by Rea Irvin, bore Tilley himself (a coincidence?) coming ala a cuckoo bird, through the clock’s double doors.

In that final installment, Ford ends with this reveal:

In the very same year, bound copies of The Making Of A Magazine appeared. The Spill archive is not fortunate enough to have one (shown at the top of this post is a charming small — 4″ x 6″ — promotional paper version gifted to the Spill ), so I’m showing a scan from AbeBooks, where a copy can be had, signed by Ford, for $1,000.00. 

Now if you don’t want to spring for that copy, or the few others listed at lesser prices ($750.00 – $375.00), you can, believe it or not,  buy a modern copy (shown below) on AbeBooks for $7.57. You’ll notice this issue is part of a series, “Forgotten Books” and the book is by “Author Unknown”  — hmmm, do we laugh or cry, or sniff, Tilley-like?  

Below: Johan Bull’s last Tilley in the last of the series:

 

 

The Wednesday Tilley Watch: A New Tilley Take-off

 

Add another take-off on Rea Irvin’s classic Eustace Tilley* to the selected collection shown above. This latest one (shown below) made its debut today on the letterhead of the just announced New Yorker Union. According to a New York magazine story:

“…union supporters will show up to work wearing buttons designed by an affiliated cartoonist, showing the magazine’s monocle-wearing mascot, Eustace Tilley, with his fist raised in solidarity. There have been deep dives into the archives to find classic cartoons that can be retrofitted with new captions about workers’ rights, ready to circulate on social media.”

Below left: The latest Tilley take-off; below right: the button

The above mentioned “deep dives into the archives to find classic cartoons that can be retrofitted” has so far resulted in the posting of two Charles Barsotti drawings, and a Liam Walsh drawing.

Here’s Charles Barsotti’s classic from the issue of November 21, 1994.

And here it is, below, with the retrofitted caption:

 

*for the record, your honor, here’s Rea Irvin’s original Eustace Tilley, as he appeared on the New Yorker‘s very first issue:

Their First Tilley Issues: Ross, Shawn, Gottlieb, Brown, and Remnick

With the New Yorker’s 93rd Anniversary issue soon on the horizon I thought it would be fun to take a look at first Tilley covers by Harold Ross, William Shawn, Robert Gottlieb, Tina Brown and David Remnick. I’ve thrown in tidbits of Tilley trivia — mostly non-Tilley trivia —  along the way.    

February 21, 1925: Harold Ross

A no-brainer.   It was the very first issue of the magazine. We could’ve ended up with curtains being parted on a big stage (you know, sort of an unveiling thing), but Ross wisely decided to go with Rea Irvin’s mysterious dandy for the cover of his debut issue. 

February 23, 1952: William Shawn

Although Harold Ross passed away in early December of 1951, his successor, William Shawn wasn’t appointed until late January of 1952.  One of Mr. Shawn’s first issues following that stamp of approval from the magazine’s publisher, Raoul Fleischmann, was the magazine’s twenty-seventh anniversary edition. 

February 20, 1989: Robert Gottlieb

Robert Gottlieb officially began his tenure as the magazine’s editor, February 16, 1987. As the latest issue of the magazine is dated a week past its actual pub date (the day it appears on newsstands), the anniversary issue of 1988 would seem to have been the last edited by Mr. Shawn.  Thus Mr. Gottlieb’s first anniversary issue was the following year, the issue of February 20, 1989 (if anyone out there has a different take, please advise). What made news was the return of cartoons in color. Specifically, the cartoons in a four page spread by William Steig, “Scenes From The Thousand And One Nights.” As noted in the New York Times piece I linked to above, there hadn’t been color cartoons since a Rea Irvin double page spread in 1926.

February 22, 1993: Tina Brown

Ms. Brown allowed classic Tilley on a cover just once in her tenure at the magazine. The issue of 1993 was the last in an unbroken line of Tilley anniversary issues.  Ms. Brown’s choice for 1994 made news — how could it not.  It was a not-so-sly-nod to Eustace, titled “Elvis Tilley” courtesy of Robert Crumb.  Following Elvis we saw a gold(!) Tilley for the magazine’s 70th birthday; “Eustacia Tilley” by R.O. Blechman in 1996; “Dick Tilley” by Art Spiegelman in 1997, and finally, a complete departure from Tilley, Michael Roberts’ “California Sighting” cover in 1998.

February 19 & 26, 2001: David Remnick

Although David Remnick’s first shot at an anniversary cover came in 1999, it wasn’t until 2001 that he returned Rea Irvin’s classic Tilley to the cover.  What a long strange trip it had been for Tilley since we last saw him in 1993. 

Mr. Remnick’s first two anniversary covers belonged to Edward Sorel in 1999 and a William Wegman dog in 2000.

Since the classic Tilley cover in 2001, Mr. Remnick has put classic Tilley on the following covers: 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007,2009, and 2011. 

For more on Eustace Tilley and the anniversary issues link here to “Tilley Over Time” a piece I wrote for newyorker.com in 2008, on the occasion of the magazine’s 83rd birthday.