A Shout-Out to George Price

PRICEGEORGE7

 

From an interesting blog, The Antic Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent., November 25, 2014, this piece on the late George Price’s 55 year anniversary collection, The World of George Price (Beaufort, 1988).

Mr. Price’s New Yorker career lasted from 1932 through 1991, with nearly 1300 drawings published (and one beautiful cover). He was born in Coytesville, NJ, June 9, 1901 and died January 12, 1995, in Engelwood, NJ.

 

For more on Price, here’s a link to The New Yorker’s Cartoon Bank, where you can see some of his work.

And to see a list of Price’s cartoon collections, please visit Ink Spill’s New Yorker Cartoonists Library (scroll down to see his work)

 

 

 

From the Ink Spill Archives: A Wartime New Yorker Pamphlet

ex. 1345

 

 

 

Back in late May I posted interesting cover art from Rea Irvin.  Today, another item from the bundle of donated materials, Excerpts From The New Yorker. As explained inside the front cover:

ex 2347

 

This 27 page pamphlet contains drawings by Alain (on the cover as well as inside), Peter Arno, Robert Day, George Price, Richard Decker, Charles Addams, Roberta MacDonald, Gluyas Williams, Frank Beaven, Alan Dunn, and Barbara Shermund.

As a bonus, this particular copy features an “R” in bold red on the cover.  Art approved for publication by Harold Ross (The New Yorker‘s founder, and editor from 1925 through 1951) would bear his initial.

P.C. Vey Talks about Walking a Cat on a Leash, The Spatial Dynamics of Cubicles, Meeting Ziegler, Stevens and Mankoff, and a Bunch of Other Stuff

 

 

 

tumblr_mkya2xxvAQ1qav5oho1_500

 

 

 

 

 

The world of P.C. Vey (the “C” is for Christopher) was introduced to The New Yorker’s readership November 22, 1993 with the publication of the drawing below: 

 

 Vey

 

 

 

 The drawing set the stage for what was to come.  Vey people, either male or female seem flounder-ish.His people are Manet-like crepes floating over a backdrop.His washes are as flawless as his captions. He uses language as a banana peel. For example: a Vey drawing hanging in this house shows a couple of businessmen leaving a restaurant, going over their check; one man says to the other:

“You’re right — they did charge you for the Heimlich maneuver.”

heimlich

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I first met Peter in the small coffee shop on the ground floor of the building at 25 West 43rd Street that housed The New Yorker. At the time he resembled a version of a young Roy Orbison – dressed all in black, with jet black hair.  He brought an edge to the tweedy crowd that gathered upstairs on the 20th floor in the magazine’s Art Department. 

 Peter’s work has become a steady presence at the magazine in the 20 years he’s been contributing. He kindly agreed to add his voice to this continuing Ink Spill series. 

Michael Maslin: Peter, let’s go back to 1993 for a moment—hope you don’t mind.  I remember speaking with you when your first drawing appeared in the magazine and you told me that the one that appeared was not actually the first one you sold.  What was that all about?  And did that first sold drawing eventually appear?

Peter Vey: I think I might have been referring to ideas The New Yorker bought from me for Charles Addams. That was in the early 80s.  The Yugoslavia cartoon to the best of my memory, was the first drawing they bought and published.

MM: So you’re a member of the Charles Addams Gagman Club, which includes Jack Ziegler, Leo Cullum, Mick Stevens, Peter Steiner, Frank Modell, myself, and a number of others.  Which ideas of yours did he do?

PV: One had the title HOT TUB SABBATH with three witches in the cauldron having a time of it. The only other one I remember was a business man with a briefcase standing in front of an opening elevator opening onto another elevator opening onto another elevator etc.

MM: Some cartoonists work changes over time, but your drawings –– as long as I’ve seen your work, it’s always looked as it does now — I can’t remember an early Vey period.  What did your drawings look like when you were say, 15?

PV: When I was a teenager my drawings were much more complicated, even ornate.  I filled up as much space as possible with as many lines as I had the energy and stamina to draw.  Which was quite a bit.  An infatuation with the black and white work of Virgil Finlay, Aubrey Beardsley and Peter Max had a lot to do with it.

 2da1bdbfdcdc7b5d8a4015d30669ddb5

MM: I admit not knowing Virgil Finlay’s name/work, so I looked him up  Where were you seeing his work when you were a teenager?

PV: I saw his illustrations in science fiction and fantasy magazines [a Finlay illustration to the left]. I used to read a lot of them when I was a teenager. In fact, I read a lot of science fiction up until a few years ago. I especially like Philip K. Dick, Arthur C. Clarke, J. G. Ballard and Robert Sheckley. Incidentally some of those magazines had cartoons. I remember one of them had a full page Gahan Wilson cartoon every month.

MM:Many cartoonists construct captions that are inherently amusing, some bounce the caption off the drawing, or use the drawing itself as the caption – in your case I often feel ambushed – in the best sense – by your captions. Do you know you’re ambushing us when you write these captions?

PV: I kind of think of it as stopping the thought process or creating a mind freeze by taking an inexplicable or unexpected or unanticipatedturn in a direction that nobody, including myself, was prepared to go.

MM: How did you end up at The New Yorker?  –and please don’t say you went up 6th avenue and made a right on 43rd Street.  What led up to your first sale?

PV: Actually I went up 5th Avenue and made a left.  I started submitting in 1978. I didn’t sell the first drawing till ’93, between ‘93 and ‘97 three or four more. It wasn’t until Bob [Mankoff, the magazine’s current  cartoon editor] became cartoon editor that I started selling regularly. In those days I did a lot cartoons and illustrations for many magazines and newspapers including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. The first gag I ever sold was to Saturday Review in 1979. While waiting for the elevator at the Saturday Review offices I met Bob [Mankoff], Jack [Ziegler] and Mick [Stevens] and they invited me to the Wednesday cartoon lunch. The rest is history.

MM:  Not long ago, you told me that the cartoon collection, The World of George Price was meaningful to you. Price I can see some of Price’s geometry in  your style, but not in an obvious way [to the left: an example of Price’s work].  Meaning that your lines aren’t Sempe-like, but more straight-edged.  Am I totally off on this?

PV: No, you’re not off.  I use the lines to divide the space. I enjoy a pleasing arrangement of space, a balance. Not particularly well balanced but balance that’s interesting, the line just happens, depending on the age and or deterioration of the pen nib.

MM: For many years, up until very recently, I was unable to sell a bar drawing to the magazine. It wasn’t a goal or anything, but it did seem kind’ve odd I couldn’t break through. Is there a cartoon staple that’s so far eluded an OK for you?    

PV: The desert island cartoon. I did hundreds of them, whole batches of them and not one was bought. A lot of those were eventually sold to other markets but most were never seen again.

MM: Is there a typical day of work for you?  Do you tend to follow a –  I hate using this word – routine?

PV: After getting up and making coffee I walk four feet to the computer to check the emails.  When I’m sure I don’t have any I walk a different four feet to the work table where I drink more coffee.  I put a lot of graphite on a lot of paper getting no place. So I get more coffee.

After a while I have a bunch of half done drawings of people in various situations so I start having conversations with them or they have conversations with each other, I’m never sure which. Sometimes I’ll start adding objects or people that don’t seem to belong like a caveman or a toaster. When somebody says something funny I think I have a gag.

MM: When I see you at events, we often end up talking about music rather than cartoons.  Does music play a part in your work day?

PV: I use music as background noise to distract myself so all those “great ideas” can sneak past the forebrain. I start off with Mozart and end up with Sun Ra and Bill Dixon.

MM: Without counting them, I feel as if a good number of your drawings concern business people.  If we were allowed to see your weekly batches, would the batches contain a large percentage of business drawings, or are what we’re seeing in the magazine just happenstance due to editing? (i.e., they just happen to buy a lot of business cartoons when the batches actually contain a wide variety of subjects).

contact_moving

PV: I do do a lot of business cartoons. I enjoy the spatial dynamics of cubicles and hallways. No really, most of the cartoons I do aren’t really about business. They just happen to be people in an office situationalthough, I suppose, some of them are about business but only because when I start to draw some guy, a lot of times I put a tie on him which suggests to me that he’s probably in an office setting. So I draw an office around him along with other people in work attire. Then the conversation tends to be about the office stuff, which, if things go according to plan, is funny.

MM: You seem such a creature of New York City.  Whether that’s true or not, do you feel as if the city has crept into your cartoon being? 

PV: Oddly enough we did move to Brimfield, Massachusetts more or less for about a year. We lived in the middle of the woods and I took the cat out for walks on a leash. (The life expectancy for an outdoor cat who came from an apartment in the city was about three and a half minutes.) I did a fair number of leash jokes sometimes with trees in the background but the leashes were always attached to dogs and the trees were in a small plot of land surrounded by concrete. So to answer your question, I don’t know.

MM: What’s it like walking a cat on a leash?

PV: At first it was scary. He really didn’t like it. But then after a while he seemed to get used to it or maybe he was ignoring it, becoming very interested in chewing on plants and rubbing against the earth. One day he was so happy to be out there he plopped himself down on the dirt and gravel of the driveway and rolled around basking in the sun. Suddenly the harness gave way but he didn’t even notice. I was terrified he’d see his chance and run away into the mouth of a coyote or a fisher cat. But he stayed right there while I fastened the strap again. I was always concerned that one of the neighbors might see me and use it as a constant source of amusement.

 Vey:Cats

MM: I wonder: Do you imagine you’d be the same cartoonist if you lived in, oh, I don’t know… Indiana?

PV: Most of the cartoons I do aren’t necessarily about New York but they do take place in New York. If I draw a living room the building outside the window could be the building outside the window of my living room. But then the building across the street was torn down a few years ago and the building that replaced it looks nothing like a building I’d like to draw, so I don’t.

Books by Peter Vey include Cats Are People Too, How to  Be Your Cat’s Best Friend, If Cats Could Talk, and Bad Business: A Rescue Package for the Recession-Weary

His work has appeared in numerous cartoon anthologies and in publications including Barron’sThe Harvard Business Review, National Lampoon, PlayboyThe Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times

To see P.C. Vey’s New Yorker work  click here.

To visit P.C. Vey’s website, click here.

 

Cartoon Bibles, Pt.2

Wall Cartoon bks 2

 

 

 

 

Welcome to Part 2 of Cartoon Bibles. Part one appears at The New Yorker’s website, NewYorker.com. Click here to go there.

Cartoon Bks :close-up 1

 

When I asked my colleagues to name their Cartoon Bible they  generously and enthusiastically replied. There were so many responses they all couldn’t fit on the magazine’s blog.  So, as a bonus, you can read the bulk of them here.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 Bruce Eric Kaplan (BEK)

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with all the New Yorker cartoon collections in my local library.  I took out all of them over and over again.   The one that meant the most to me and still does is “My Crowd” by Charles Addams.

My Crowd

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jack Ziegler

I don’t know that I have a cartoon bible, but seeing “Turk,” a B. Kliban spread that appeared in the old National Lampoon really turned me on.  It subsequently appeared in his collection Whack Your Porcupine, from 1977. 

Kliban

Mysterious, funny, & mysteriously funny.  Also R. Crumb’s Head Comix, from 1968.  That one opened the door to all sorts of possibilities.  But the most important thing about both these guys is that they made me laugh out loud.

 

 

 

 

 

Felipe Galindo (Feggo)

Andre Francois’ books “The Tattooed Sailor” and “Half-Naked Knight”: they’re my Old and New Testament.

Francoise

He worked captionless and exploiting the human drama with gusto! I later learned he was from Rumania, as Steinberg, and his real name was Andre Farkas!  He was a regular New Yorker contributor, mostly with his covers. A great artist in many ways as he did paintings and sculptures as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Farley Katz

One of my favorites is “Amphigorey” by Edward Gorey. It’s dark and weird and taught me at a young age to never talk to strangers.

Amphigorey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Liza Donnelly

The book that changed my life was James Thurber’s The Thurber Carnival.

Thurber  Home sick from school one day at age 7, my mother handed me the book and some paper and a pencil. I began tracing, and soon thereafter developed my own style and never looked back.  There are many cartoonists that influenced me along the way, however: Crockett Johnson, Charles Schulz, Dr. Seuss, Saul Steinberg, William Steig,  Sempe.  But another cartoon book does stand out in my mind.  Not long after I sold my first cartoon to The New Yorker,  I discovered Jack Ziegler’s Hamburger Madness.  I knew Jack by then, and was fascinated by his work.  I would study Hamburger Madness over and over –it showed me what a cartoon could be.  It showed me the old rules were not necessarily necessary. Jack’s cartoons opened my eyes to a different approach to humor, he showed me the wonderful world of whacky.

 

 

 

 

Kim Warp

I would have to go with a cartoon collection from around the 40’s, Colliers Collects Its Wits, which I discovered on my parent’s bookshelf when I was just old enough to read.

Colliers

It was filled with work by ‘New Yorker’ cartoonists and my first introduction to artists like Charles Addams and Whitney Darrow,  Jr..  Love at first sight. The book also included a section of bios and self-caricatures by the cartoonists, including some women. I had somehow had gotten the impression from 1960s TV that women could only be mothers, nurses, secretaries or teachers, so I kind of loved that too.  A few years ago this book walked away at a school talk I was giving, I can only hope it’s inspiring a new cartoonist. These days I’m always looking for books that talk about cartooning in a way I hadn’t thought about, the last one that blew my mind was Aesthetics by Ivan Brunetti. In terms of having a ‘Bible’ I try to read all points of view on cartooning and on religion for that matter.  As an aside, my husband just pointed out a cobweb in my studio window so guess I’m still carrying a little Charles Addams with me.

 

 

David Borchart

I started thinking of myself as a cartoonist pretty early on — maybe second grade or so. That, combined with my family’s penchant for garage sales, meant that by age twelve I had a lot of yellowing old cartoon collections up in my room. “The Half-Naked Knight” (Andre Francois) and “Ho Ho Hoffnung” (Gerard Hoffnung) were near the top of the stack, but the one I kept going back to (and still do) was “This Petty Pace” by Mary Petty (intro by James Thurber).

Petty Place.

The drawings fascinated me — I didn’t realize until much later how funny the cartoons were. I promised the book (first edition, some foxing on the edges) that if I started selling to the New Yorker I would take it in to look around, and two years ago I did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carolita Johnson

I can’t think of any other bible for me than Little Nemo’s Adventures in Slumberland, though they are completely unrelated to The New Yorker or my style.

Nemo

I suppose I am more interested in seeing stuff that I can’t do, that I could never do, that I’m incapable of because of temperament, time, and artistic ability (I’m terrible at perspective! I can marvel at McCay’s perspective all day long, and have). Also, his subject matter is inspiring: socially conscious, ironic, fantastic, surreal. One of my favorite “episodes” is the one where everyone has to pay for the use of words, and only the rich can express themselves. And I do have the entire New Yorker cartoon library at the magazine to peruse when the librarians are in a good mood and are happy to let me browse. In those cases, Helen Hokinson is a favorite because she’s so subtle.

 

 

 

 

 

Bob Eckstein

Gahan Wilson’s I Paint What I See is my Bible.

gahan-wilson-i-paint-what-i-see-cover-745x1024

It was my first introduction to gag cartoons and created some of the best memories of my life–of my younger brother and I laughing together until we cry or have something shoot out of our noses. We were around twelve but the book still makes me laugh today. (I think I’ll bring it out for Christmas when I visit his family.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.S. Mueller

Predictably, I have a number of New Yorker cartoon collections on hand at all times, whether I’m hard at it here in my studio or off duty and hang gliding with wolves.  The cornerstone, of course, is that monster collection that Bob Mankoff put together in 2004.

NYer Complete

I think of material from the Ross years as The Old Testament, populated by the likes of Sts. Peter (Arno), James (Thurber), George (Price), etc. I should stop here before the analogy cops impound my hang glider.

I take some small comfort upon encountering the occasional artist of yore who drew as badly as I draw today, and I marvel at the once-common practice of assigning written gags to artists, or that whole business of cartoonists, nameless here, who purchased ideas from writers or other cartoonists. But I also take far greater comfort in the discovery and rediscovery of, say, a perfect timeless silent by Chon Day, Otto Soglow, or the current reigning master John O’Brien. In my case a cartoonist’s Bible has less to do with any single influence and more to do with the possibility of a brand new hang glider.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Robert Leighton

I had three books of the Cartoon Bible. My Matthew, Mark and Luke were the paperback reprints of the first Mad comics: The Mad Reader, Mad Strikes Back and, in particular, Inside Mad.

INSIDE_MAD_35_CENT

The first of these had “Starchie,” which to me, at about age ten, might as well have been pornography–my eyes couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Mad Strikes Back had the parody of my favorite comic strip, “Pogo,” and Inside Mad had that great “Mickey Rodent.”  Each of these comic strip parodies were dead-on copies of the original, while at the same time filled with all that Bill Elder and Wally Wood “chicken fat” in the background.

 

 

 

With these perfect models as inspiration, I grew up trying to ape every cartoonist I admired. (It took a long time before I knew that there were different brushes and pens behind these various styles.) I can’t put a number on how many times I’ve read through these books, but they are still as funny and subversive as they were, what, sixty years ago?

 

 

Michael Shaw

My cartoon bible is one I reach for in the darker moments when the muses have departed to party with Zach Kanin in the city. Turning to “Amphigory” by Edward Gorey never fails to re-ignite my spleen.

Amphigorey

How can you not be inspired by lines that read like scripture….”E is for Earnest who choked on a peach. F is for Fanny sucked dry by a leech.” Amen!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peter Steiner

I guess my cartoon Bible would have to be Steig’s The Lonely Ones. 

Steig lonely ones

It was published in 1942 and somehow found it’s way into our home.  I came upon it when I was six or seven and was immediately taken by it.  Many of the images are still burned into my brain.  It was, I’m guessing, my first introduction to cartoons that were more than jokes.  I started making cartoons not long after that.

Thomas Cheney

My Cartoon Bible was actually a carefully selected stack of New Yorkers, National Lampoons, and MAD magazines that ended up being about 3 feet high. 

NY-albums

They were issues which I felt showed some of the best work by the best cartoonists currently in the business, and I regularly consulted it to keep myself apprised as to where cartooning was going, or, where it could potentially go.  I reluctantly disposed of it before moving to Hawaii in order to conserve space in our shipping container.  Big mistake.  There were many gems in there that I will never see again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ben Schwartz

I feel like this is cheating for some reason, but mine would be the Complete Cartoons of The New Yorker. 

NYer Complete

I received it as a holiday present several years back, and it’s become a true gift that keeps on giving–I discover new gems each time I flip through it.  When I first decided to submit to the magazine, I tried to use this collection not just as a bible, but as a textbook, too.  I thought maybe I could reverse-engineer the secret formula to successful New Yorker cartoons if I studied them hard enough.  No such luck, but I did inadvertently uncover the secret formula for Coca-cola and the recipe for the Colonel’s chicken in the process, so it wasn’t a total loss.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Klossner

As a teenager, I was given two cartoon collections – “Cartoons Even We Wouldn’t Dare Print” from the National Lampoon (edited by Sam Gross) and “Now Look What You’ve Done” by Lee Lorenz.

Cartoons We Dare

Lorenz(Interestingly, these were given at the same time by different people. Kind of like the cartoon angel and cartoon devil perched on my shoulder.) While I wouldn’t exactly give these Bible status, as my list of influential cartoon publications is disgustingly long, these were my first exposure to single panel gags, and the wide range of possibilities the medium could cover.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ward Sutton

I’m not sure I’d classify this as my “Cartoon Bible,” but I think it gets to the idea that you are talking about.

Being the native Minnesotan that I am, I drew much inspiration as a kid from a local, Minneapolis cartoonist: Richard Guindon.

Guin

He created regular, usually single panel cartoons for the Minneapolis Tribune (which later became the Minneapolis Star-Tribune). His cartoons were very insightful towards the mannerisms and quirks of Minnesotans, and his drawing had a unique style that captivated me. I still go back to those cartoons and read them and get so much out of them.

As far as I know, he never had any cartoons appear in the New Yorker, but his use of the cartoon format to comment on Minnesota life is parallel to the way cartoonists comment on New York in the New Yorker.

There are three Guindon books that I know of and own, and I cherish them. Part of the appeal for me is that they reflect so much of the Minnesota experience from the 1970s and early 80s. The early years seem most about deconstructing the experience of living in the Twin Cities as a young adult. By his later Minnesota years, Guindon verged into weirder territory, almost “Far Side” in a way. I loved it all.

Suddenly sometime in the early 80s, Guindon left Minnesota and moved to Detroit. If memory serves, the Star-Tribune kept running his cartoons for awhile, but it wasn’t the same anymore. He wasn’t Minnesota’s cartoonist anymore and his work didn’t reflect our world.

I lost track of him after that. I met a guy who said he’d known Guindon (or his father had known him) and I always meant to try to track him down, but have not done so. Maybe this blog exercise will inspire me now …

 

 

Marisa Marchetto

When I was eight years old my parents took my brother and I on a family vacation that wasn’t the usual Port-O-Call Hotel in Ocean City NJ. (I’m from said state.) We went to Bermuda, to the Lantana Resort. It was pink and green and beautiful, but our room was really tiny and my mother asked the owner of the resort for something bigger for her, my dad, brother and I. The resort owner said there was nothing else available except a pink elephant of a house on the fringe of the resort. So, we took it. Me, armed with my sketchpad filled with my drawings of women wearing wonderful shoes I’ve drawn since I was three (my mother was the shoe designer Delman, I was inspired by her) surveyed the house. On its walls were these wonderful drawings with captions below them! It was my eureka moment: I could give voice to the women I was drawing.

“Marisa, this was James Thurber’s house. These are his cartoons.”

I studied every framed cartoon, looking at the walls as if I was in the hallowed halls of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

That night, I fell asleep at 4 in the morning reading everything James Thurber: The New Yorker, his books, The White Deer, and the one book I fell in love with that would become my cartoon bible: THURBER CARNIVAL.

Thurber

I woke a couple hours later, at six in the morning with the sensation of things crawling all over me. My bed was infested with red ants. It was then that I was bitten by the cartoonist bug. And I’ve loved James Thurber ever since.

This story is 100% true.

 

 

Ken Krimstein

Well, there are bibles and there are bibles. I have a bunch, and I tend to prescribe them to myself when I’m feeling stuck, or blah, or just want to be amused in a certain way. “Oh, I need a dose of Kliban’s “Two Guys Fooling Around With The Moon,” today,” or, “Look at the crap you’re drawing, take two Sempe’s and call me in the morning!”

But to find the real, true scripture, I have to ask myself, what tome invokes such awe, such power, I can only unveil, reveal its majesty in LIMITED doses? Which scripture so overwhelms that it fairly glows, kind of like that thing at the end of the Steven Spielberg movie with Harrison Ford and the Nazis? And then, the answer becomes clear.

tumblr_lgqfrhwbns1qhnnhro1_400

“Monster Rally,” by Charles Addams, Simon and Schuster, 1950. This wrapped copy is so sacred I dare only open it once, at the most twice, a year. But why? Here are three reasons. 1) It’s the book that got me into wanting to be a cartoonist, and not just the MAD magazine kind. My pal Scott Daube’s dad had it on his shelf — I don’t remember any other books from any adults book shelves — and every time I went to Scott’s to play, I shot straight to book and pored over its drawings, page by page. Slowly. Only after an hour or so of this could we play with Matchbox cars. 2) Just looking at it now, I can see why it appealed — it’s a kid’s book about adults. Or is it an adult’s book about kids? Everybody was just doing such horrible things to each other, in beautiful black and white paintings! So knowing, so grim, so funny. 3) I still can’t flip through it all in one sitting. It is just too awesome, in the true, non-slacker usage of the word. It invokes awe, and then some. Or, put another way, each page, each drawing, each gag is like getting hit upside the head — but in the most delightful, albeit humbling fashion. By the time I hit the cartoon of the husband being berated by his harridan wife for even botching his own suicide, (“For heaven’s sake, can’t you do anything right?,” page 36) I am out of breath, panting, begging surrender. If I can power on, I often find it impossible to carry on past page 48, the forlorn editor of Boy’s Life preparing to off himself with a slingshot. (Understand, I was an avid reader of Boy’s Life at the time I saw this, and next to seeing R. Crumb Comix on the bus to camp, this was as close to making sense of Boy Scouts as I could ever hope for.) So I still cherish this tome. Thanks for giving me this opportunity to bring it down from its altar — well, up from its bookshelf, and wash myself in its twisted, healing waters.

Andy Friedman

For me it’s William Steig’s “The Lonely Ones.”

Steig lonely ones 

As a visual artist, cartoonist, and musician, the book gave me the idea that a song could be a drawing.  I like to think of William Steig with his ink pen and poetic reflections about life as that of a country blues singer with a shaky voice and an acoustic guitar.  In each drawing, Steig expresses a universal truth.  He embraces the art of subtlety to get his message across, and he does so with simple, direct, and honest strokes.  It takes the combination of the drawings, which play the part of the guitar, coupled with the captions, which represent the lyrics, to make it happen.  Neither the pictures or the captions could stand alone.  They could, but they wouldn’t mean the same thing as they do when they work together, and wouldn’t be the visual song that they become when they do.  It is that aspect of these particular drawings that I have found to be the most inspiring, and which have led me to create visual art, cartoons, and music that attempts to do the same thing, which is why I consider it a Bible.  As a side note, and apropos to portraying Steig as a genuine country blueser, it is interesting to consider the fact that he sold his first cartoon to the magazine in 1930, about six years before Robert Johnson, “The King of The Delta Blues Singers,” made his first recordings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Corey Pandolph

Anything by Elmore Leonard.

elmore

Yes, I know he’s not a cartoonist. No, I’m not drunk.  I love character development through dialogue. When I was drawing daily cartoon strips, I was always trying to pepper in subtle jokes based on the idea of the reader already knowing the characters so well.  Elmore Leonard was the king of conjuring the most comfortable and familiar characters from thin air. Better than The Bible, even.

 

 

Michael Crawford

‘All in Line’ was my book of genesis.

Steinberg : All in Line

My dad brought it home one day when I was 7 or 8 and it started me drawing immediately. William Steig’s ‘Male/Female’ became my new testament from the getgo. sly, loose, elegant, erotic, funny.

 

 

Liam Walsh

I probably resort to The Cartoons of Cobean most frequently.

Cartoons of Cobean

I’m a big fan of captionless gags, of which Cobean was a master. A lot of his gags are not so much laugh-out-loud (to me) as they are witty or clever and his sense of humor has a swagger and wink to it that charms me. His style of drawing looks effortless, breezy, as though he’d just skidded his Jag to a halt in front of the house, jogged up the stairs, and dashed off his batch with a cocktail by his side. The foreword is by Charles Addams and it’s edited by Saul Steinberg; heady company!

 

 

Roz Chast

Monster Rally, a collection of cartoons by Charles Addams would be my Cartoon Bible.

Addams : monster rally

When I was a kid, my parents and I spent almost every summer in Ithaca, New York. During the day, my parents often went to lectures or concerts at Cornell University, some boring thing that was of no interest to me. Instead of dragging me along anyway, they would park me in the browsing library in the Cornell student center. This library had an entire section devoted to cartoon collections. It was there that I discovered all of Charles Addams’ books, but Monster Rally was my favorite. I looked at it obsessively every time I was there. So horribly dark, and so horribly funny.

 

 

 

 

P.C. Vey

The World of George Price: A 55-Year Retrospective.

  Price

  I always loved this book when I was starting out. The characters looked like members of my family.

 

The New Yorker, Baseball & the Mob: Catching Up with Michael Crawford

Crawford:jstdivorced

 

 

Michael Crawford has two cartoons in The New Yorker’s last issue of the year, but the one above really caught my eye. As I was lingering over and appreciating the drawing, I realized it was high time to check in with Michael and find out what he’s been up to, and if there was anything he’d care to say about that wonderful drawing, and maybe talk a little baseball.

 Michael Maslin: Michael, besides it being just a darn good drawing, your just divorced cartoon has an abundant amount of life and play to it.  It almost looks like it’s animated.  Did it begin less animated?  What was going through your mind when you drew it?

Michael Crawford: Thanks for the compliment, Michael. I was thinking of a weekend I spent riding a bike with a friend in San Francisco at the turn of the century.

MM: I’ve spoken with a number of people, cartoonists and non-cartoonists, who wonder about your marker style. Where did that come from? And why markers — why not wash or pencil?

MC: An architect friend of mine gave me a box one birthday. Perfect on copy paper.  Wash works better on heavyweight papers which I don’t use for cartoons.  I did No.8 pencil sketches for The New Yorker for awhile. I liked it. Kinda smeary. Might go back to it.

MM: You’ve been contributing to The New Yorker since June of 1984 – so you’re heading into your 30th year.  What was your journey to the magazine?

MC: Sold the first one in ’81 – Shawn [New Yorker Editor, William Shawn] didn’t get around to running it til ’83.  The “journey” involved a lot of baseball, writing English papers for cash for people in college, intermittent dating, valet parking and running errands for a big deal D.C. pollster, an ill-advised “teaching” stint at a derelict Vermont “academy” for Led Zeppelin zealots, A beautiful family with a wife and 2 kids at various encampments in and around Boston and a lot of illustration work for The Washington Post and a ton of Boston area publications.  It was fun.

 Eventually, started peppering The New Yorker with gags around 1975 and Whoosh! Before you knew it, it was 1981 and I had my first New Yorker check (for a grand 400 clams I think it was). Shawn ran a total of 6 between ’83 and the year he departed. Once Bob Gottlieb [Robert Gottlieb was William Shawn’s successor as editor] took over, the buy rate increased.

MM:  Shawn was tough on you.

MC: Shawn had his reasons for glacial, as we all know.  Tina  [Robert Gottlieb’s successor as New Yorker editor]was relentlessly cordial, encouraging and welcoming of spread ideas.

MM: You mentioned baseball before.  When your name comes up in conversation, the subject of baseball is never too far behind.

MC: Baseball was life for me, from the beginning. Never passionate about anything like that as a kid– just playing the game, everyday– catch, pepper, pickup games at the park, monkey in the middle in the street at dusk out in front of the house or wiffle ball in a parking lot, for awhile, bent, crumpled milk cartons serving as wiffle balls.  Eventually 3 years in little league, ‘bout the same in Babe Ruth, Made the varsity as a freshman 2d baseman in high school. 4 years against insanely good country boys’ pitching in towns like Altmar, Parish, Pulaski, N.Y.. Did I mention all-consuming!

 Whole slew of teammates, fellow players over time, coaches too who became friends.  And then poof!  My folks nixed my plans of going off to a southern school (Mississippi State, Arizona State, etc.) with great baseball programs.  But fortunately, soon enough, I was playing first base for The New Yorker small fry in Central Park in ’85 and have been there ever since. Fantasy League!

A ps:  two baseball-related stories:

Edited the first and wrote an intro to the latest edition The New Yorker Book of Baseball Cartoons. A thrill and an honor– a recap of my first exposure thru mom and dad to the game.

NYer BB Cartoons

The Olympian Roger Angell bought a version of my Bill Buckner’s 1986 World Series error painting at one of The New Yorker Gallery exhibits  curated by C.S. Ledbetter in the 1990s.

MM: There are a lot of different paths cartoonists take daily, before getting down to work. For instance, Frank Cotham told me he feeds his dog, reads the local paper, checks Facebook, then sits at his drawing table and stares out the window. What do you do before the magic begins?

MC: Just live.  I draw 24/7 wherever I am, just trying to look busy.  When I’m not painting, also, I keep notebooks which fill up with stray material from many sources which I play with near my deadline and try to write a dozen lines which might work with a dozen recent sketches for the batch.  Pretty arbitrary but amusing process fueled by caffeine and tobacco. Then I pdf to Mr. Mankoff while he’s driving to work in one of those big black cars they give to all the top comedy people.

MM; Some years back you had a gallery exhibit of paintings of mobsters [one of them: “St. Patrick’s Day” is below] .  Is that an ongoing subject?

MC: Yes.  Mafia ideas never die, so while I am consumed now with map, landscape, nude and Hopper parody paintings, I frequently go after some type of menace in a face or scene.

MM: Did you watch The Sopranos?

MC: Watched Sopranos when I could at buddies homes – didn’t have HBO. Loved watching the show with friends – except for the gruesome night Christopher sat on the dog.

84x48"

Started my Mob paintings before the series aired.  They sprang from a New Yorker assignment [via the magazine’s illustration editor] Chris Curry to sketch Vincent “the Chin” Gigante at the Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn.  A “sanity” hearing somebody was writing about.  Appalled at how shabbily dressed the Chin was. I envisioned a Mob world fastidious in its sartorial bearing – closer to Sicilian wedding day in the 20s and 30s than to everyday New Jersey leisure suits.

 MM: You’re one of the few New Yorker cartoonists living with another New Yorker cartoonist. Do you and Carolita [Johnson] ever collaborate?  Is there interaction between the two of you concerning your work? Do you look at each other’s batches, discuss work, make suggestions, take suggestions?

MC: We generally take the 5th on those questions.  Nuttin’ poisonal. Lurid details may surface in our joint, posthumous memoir.

MM: Who were the cartoonists who really shook you when you were an aspiring cartoonist? Any cartoon heroes (i.e., who inspired you?)

MC: I got a kick out of most cartoons I saw when I was young, indiscriminately.  There was no accounting for variations in “funny”. At some point certain artists became “idols” — as in: “I want to be him or her — they have a way with language and or a line I want but it’s been done — forget it” which is where the seed of your own resourcefulness is planted. Or not. Immediately appealing to me visually — cartoonists and painters — were Steinberg, Steig, George Price, Mary Petty, Peter Arno, Perry Barlow, Arthur Getz, and Edward Hopper (who has always been to me — while an astonishing painter — a sort of latent cartoonist who got on the A Train, not the D, and never got off. Thank God).


[Below: Hopper’s Woman in “Hotel Room” (1931) Gets an Upgrade No.1]

Hopper's Woman in 'Hotel Room'(1931) Gets an Upgrade No. 1 MG_1259.JPG22x30" copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link here to visit Michael Crawford’s website