A Roomful of Cartoonists

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As anyone could guess, a home inhabited by two cartoonists is bound to have a lot of cartoons around. Not just our own, but cartoons from our New Yorker family; cartoonists we’ve only known by their work, cartoonists we’ve just met, and cartoonists we’ve known for a very long time.  With the exception of our own work, our walls are covered with framed drawings by all the above, from an unpublished drawing by the relatively new New Yorker contributor, Charlie Hankin (a drawing of a clam on a lawn next to a sign that reads “Beware of Clam”  —  it cracks me up every time I look at it) to Alice Harvey‘s first captioned New Yorker drawing, published in October of 1925.

 

 

 

 

In the photo at the top of this post, from top left, clock-wise, is a New Yorker drawing by Robert Weber, a Gardner Rea drawing, one by Jack Ziegler, and an oddity: a group drawing by Mick Stevens, Mr. Ziegler, Roz Chast and Liza Donnelly.

The Ziegler solo drawing, The Jungle Never Sleeps, hangs closest to my work room doorway; it appeared in The New Yorker as a half-page, July 28, 1980.  It’s just one drawing in a career populated with many many funny and beautiful drawings, but, jeez, what a drawing.  Needless to say, the idea is gold, and funny as hell. Jack went perfectly heavy on the speech balloons. The single line of smoke drifting  up from the campfire changes from a black line to negative space and back to a black line as it moves through the silhouetted jungle to the grey sky.  You can tell he was totally involved in working that out. The fellow who’s come out of the beautifully drawn tent is perfection.  As Jack said to me in an interview last Fall: “…it’s always nice when cartoonists know how to draw so that they can give us something pleasant and fun to look at.”  Well said, well done.

   

CBS Sunday Morning to Run a Jack Ziegler Piece; New York Times Ziegler Obit Posted; One of The New Yorker’s Greatest Cartoonists, Jack Ziegler,Has Died; New Yorker Cartoonists Pay Tribute

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CBS Sunday Morning will air a piece on Jack Ziegler tomorrow between 9 and 10.

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The New York Times obit for Jack is online (it includes a slideshow of 14 cartoons).  Read it here.

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Jack Ziegler, one of The New Yorker’s greatest cartoonists, passed away this morning in Kansas City. Last October I interviewed Jack — we had such a good time and there was so much to cover that it spread into two parts. Jack selected the above photo to run with one part of the interview — a fitting photo to run today.   I believe that it’s best to let that interview serve, for today, as my appreciation for the friend I loved and respected.

The Jack Ziegler Interview, Pt.1

The Jack Ziegler Interview, Pt. 2

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s Ink Spill’s “New Yorker Cartoonists A-Z” entry for Jack:

Jack Ziegler Born, Brooklyn, NY July 13, 1942. Died, Kansas City, March 29, 2017.  NYer work: 1974 – . Key collections: all of Ziegler’s collections are must-haves. Here’re some favorites: Hamburger Madness (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1978), Filthy Little Things ( Doubleday/Dolphin, 1981) and The Essential Jack Ziegler, Complied and Edited by Lee Lorenz ( Workman, 2000)

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Tributes From Jack’s Colleagues Are Coming In: 

Peter Steiner:

It’s hard for me to imagine that my friend and colleague Jack Ziegler is no more. He was a really lovely man. He and I did not see each other that often, but when we did, it was a pure joy for me. I said colleague because we were both cartoonists. But Jack was in a league of his own. His funniness was funnier by far than most other funniness. His superb drawing skills came from a place only he could inhabit. And there was a decency and humanity in his cartoons that made them irresistible. I already miss him badly.

Roxie Munro:

So so sad. Jack had a unique cartoon style, and was a really sweet guy. I remember when I had just started coming into the New Yorker on Tuesdays…one day, nervously sitting in the little “waiting room” outside Lee’s office, a tall bearded guy (Jack) asked me what I was doing there. Full of fear and trembling, I told him I was bringing in a cover idea. “Well,” he said, “Someone has to do it. Might as well be you.” It was perfect – gave great context, relaxed me, and I’ve never forgotten his insightful, and kind, comment.

Mort Gerberg:

Jack Ziegler’s death this morning was a heavy body blow.  Not only because Jack was one of the great modern-day cartoonists, but because, in this contemporary world of truly bad people, Jack was one of the truly good ones. Jack and I were friends —mostly by long-distance —- but the quality of the contacts we did have were what counted for me — and I relished sharing common interests and values with him that were of the world outside the single panel.  Jack was an old-fashioned, generous, straight-ahead, sensitive good guy — with no bullshit or artifice about him, all seasoned with a warm, wicked sense of humor; his attitude to life was direct and refreshing, and I admired it

His cartoons had their own zany, surreal vocabulary, delivered in his unique voice. I thought he was enormously talented and one of the most exciting “new” cartoonists to appear in the ’70s. His drawings and compositions were as clean and precise as his studio space and he worked hard on them. I met him when he was making his first appearance with a cartoon batch at The Saturday Review, to see Norman Cousins. We liked each other right from “oh, are you cartoonist too?” He told me he had written a novel and was working on other writing but was going to try cartooning; he later told me that he was very surprised that he liked cartooning more than writing. Lucky for the world; Jack left a large, deep footprint.

Tom Toro:

Jack Ziegler and I lived near one another for the last few years – a forty-five minute drive apart, which counts as close neighbors in the Midwest.  I visited Jack as often as I could and we became casual friends.  By the gentle, humble way he carried himself you’d never guess that he was a rare genius.  His influence on cartoonists cannot be overestimated, nor can his generosity as a companion and mentor.  Jack gave me an original drawing as a gift after we’d first met – a cartoon of two prisoners.  One is holding a book and weeping uncontrollably while his cellmate says, “Hey, it’s ‘Crime and Punishment.’  You had to know the second half was going to suck.'”  Jack’s joke seems sadly appropriate today.  The second half of whatever comes next, minus Ziegler, is going to suck.  Rest in peace, sir.
One afternoon Jack took me to a used bookstore in downtown Lawrence, The Dusty Bookshelf.  We naturally gravitated toward the Comics & Cartoons section, a dimly lit nook at the far back, where down on the bottom shelf the spine of a George Booth anthology peeked out at us.  A prize find.  But it was wedged in tight.  Together we attempted to pry it from the stack but it wouldn’t budge, and at some point during the comical struggle Jack looked over at me and said, “This is pretty much our relationship to George.”  How apt, how funny and humble – in other words, a patented Ziegler observation.  Even as a living legend himself, he didn’t hesitate to join a fellow fanboy on all fours to dig out a secondhand edition of wonderful cartoons.  And maybe it was Jack’s curiosity, openness and utter lack of pretense that in turn raised him to true greatness.

 

 

 

The New Yorker is beginning to post tributes from Jack’s colleagues. Click on the following…

Swann’s Ad with Addams “Z” Subway Car; Cartoon Companion Rates the Latest New Yorker Cartoons; Book of Interest: Shannon Wheeler’s “Sh*t My President Says: The Illustrated Tweets of Donald J. Trump”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Was pleased and surprised to come across this full page Swann ad in today’s New York Times (the special “F” section devoted to Museums).  The Addams drawing, included in an upcoming auction, originally appeared in The New Yorker October 1, 1979. That issue, to me, is memorable. For starters the cover, by R.O. Blechman,  is one of my all-time favorite New Yorker covers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The roster of cartoonists in the issue included some heavy hitters from the magazine’s golden age, including George Price (whose drawing in the issue is three-quarters of a page), William Steig, Addams of course, and James Stevenson (represented by a full page drawing).  Also in the issue are some of James Geraghty’s best additions from his later years manning the art editor’s desk: Lee Lorenz, Warren Miller, Edward Koren, Robert Weber, and J.B. Handelsman.  And there are a number of the new kids brought in by Geraghty’s successor, Lee Lorenz: Arnie Levin, Jack Ziegler, Bob Mankoff, Roz Chast and yours truly (another reason the issue was memorable for me: it contained my first sequential drawing).

Looking through the issue at the cartoons one can’t help but notice how the  cartoons sit in a wide variety of space. Price’s three-quarters page, Stevenson’s beautiful full page, my own multi-panel spread bleeding onto a second page, Ziegler’s drawing (the first of two Zieglers in the issue) in an upright rectangle surrounded on three sides by text; Mankoff’s drawing and Arnie Levin’s as well as Addams’s allowed to spread across the width of the page. Weber’s gorgeous drawing run large, and  set so perfectly on the page. What’s even more remarkable about this issue is that it wasn’t unusual — this is what was normal in that time.

 

Here’s what the Addams drawing looked like in that issue:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The only blog offering a critical take on each week’s New Yorker cartoons returns with a look at  cavemen pondering their wardrobe, a drafty Hades, a King’s best friend, King Kong’s mom & pop, and 8 more.   Read it here.

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Coming from Top Shelf Productions this summer, Shannon Wheeler’s Sh*t My President Says: The Illustrated Tweets of Donald J. Trump.

From the publisher:

Acclaimed cartoonist Shannon Wheeler (The New Yorker, God Is Disappointed in You, Too Much Coffee Man) transforms Donald Trump’s most revealing tweets into razor-sharp cartoons, offering a subversive and illuminating insight into the mind of the most divisive political figure of our time. Whether you love him or hate him, this take on Trump will help you come to grips with the man and his ideas thanks to Wheeler’s signature mix of slapstick and sophistication.

Details here.

Donnelly’s Oscar Drawings; Found: A 34 Year Old Jack Ziegler Greeting Card

A slide-show of Oscar drawings  by New Yorker cartoonist and CBS News resident cartoonist, Liza Donnelly. Ms. Donnelly was on the scene (see left)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Here’s a greeting card from 1983 I ran across today while sorting materials in the Ink Spill archives. Good stuff from the great Jack Ziegler! I’ll post some other materials re-discovered throughout the week.

Jack Ziegler Collection Goes to Ohio State’s Billy Ireland Library & Museum

jack-ziegler-1985-300x219Jack Ziegler has donated his work (including archival materials) to Ohio State’s Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum. From the OSU announcement:

This collection spans half a century of cartooning, from the sketchbooks of a budding artist and early days at The New Yorker to recent work. Ziegler says about his donation, “It was important to me to locate a place that would properly preserve all my original published cartoon art from The New Yorker magazine, et al., along with related miscellany, for future scholars and the general public or other interested parties to peruse.”

Go here to read the entire press release.

 

 

 

Peter Porges, New Yorker & MAD Graphic Raconteur, Has Died.

peter-porgesporges-1st-nyer-drawing-july-3-1965

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peter Porges, who began his New Yorker career in the summer of 1965 (his first drawing in the magazine appears above) died this week at age 89.  Mr. Porges was perhaps more widely known as a MAD artist (one of its famed Usual Gang of Idiots), but his New Yorker career spanned thirty-five years. Jack Ziegler, a New Yorker colleague, told Ink Spill today:

I used to love running into Peter Porges at the New Yorker on look days.  He never failed to make me laugh with that dead ringer Victor Borge Viennese (or wherever) voice of his.  I always thought those two might have been brothers separated somehow during the war.  He didn’t appear a lot in the magazine; he was mostly a Mad and a Playboy contributor, but I think he liked to show up mainly for the conversation with the rest of us and to just plain goof around, then go to lunch.  At some point we traded drawings.  My take-away was one of his large Playboy originals, but what I really cherish is a lithograph(? – possibly just a print) he gave me at a later date – I’m don’t remember the occasion – that depicts a spacious, obviously European restaurant full of top-hatted gentlemen seated before a bunch of glass bowls containing what appear to be two yellow balls in each.  The drawing is called “Poets in a Vienna Kaffeehause having eggs in a glass cup.”  I have no idea why this strikes me as so funny – it’s on the wall in front of me now – but it just indefinably is.

Born in Vienna, Austria on February 7, 1927, he emigrated to the United States, served in the military, then studied at what is now called The School of Visual Arts.  After his work appeared in Stars and Stripes, The American Legion Magazine,  and Successful Farming, he became a contract artist for The Saturday Evening Post in the late 1950s.  According to Bill Crouch in The World Encyclopedia of Cartoons, his work for MAD magazine  “began in this period, born out of a great motivational force, survival.”   Mr. Crouch noted that Mr. Porges considered himself “not only a cartoonist but a graphic raconteur.”

On a personal note: what I loved about Mr. Porges’s work was its MAD-like energy — it was imprinted with great joy, excitement and, of course, hilarity.

 

A 1991 MAD paperback by Mr. Porges.

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See some of his New Yorker work here

Link here for a brief biography on Mr. Porges

Mr. Porges’ Wikipedia page

Link here for a MAD Q & A with Mr. Porges

The Godfather of Contemporary New Yorker Cartoonists, Jack Ziegler, Exhibits Work in Kansas

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A rare treat! The work of the great New Yorker cartoonist, Jack Ziegler, will be exhibited at  Love Garden in Lawrence, Kansas, beginning November 25th. Info here.

 

jack-ziegler-1985-300x219 Mr. Ziegler was recently the subject of a two-part interview on Ink Spill.

Below, Ink Spill’s New Yorker Cartoonists A-Z entry for Mr. Ziegler: 

Born, Brooklyn, NY July 13, 1942. New Yorker work: 1974 — . Key collections: all of Ziegler’s collections are must-haves. Here’re some favorites: Hamburger Madness (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1978), Filthy Little Things (Doubleday/Dolphin, 1981) and The Essential Jack Ziegler, Complied and Edited by Lee Lorenz ( Workman, 2000)

 

Photo: courtesy of Liza Donnelly