The Monday Tilley Watch: The New Yorker Issue of November 27, 2017

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

I’ve spent a little time this morning looking through New Yorker Thanksgiving covers over the years. My all-time favorite — it’s the only cover I ever detached from the magazine (for shame!) so I could hang it on the wall — was Steinberg’s from 1976 (the same year he produced the now iconic so-called view from New York cover). His Thanksgiving cover, to my way of thinking, was and is the New Yorker cover at its best (not including Rea Irvin’s very first cover) — and I believe it was Steinberg at his best.  Disagree with me if you’d like, but you’ll never change my mind.

There have been many other great New Yorker  Thanksgiving covers, so very many.  I saw some beauties this morning  by George Booth, one by Anatol Kovarsky, Arnie Levin, Peter Arno, Frank Modell(!), James Stevenson, CEM (Charles E. Martin), William Steig…and on and on.  Gems all. Someone should do a book of them.

This Monday Tilley Watch will be a little different than the ones that have come before. For most, this is a busy week, with a lot of rushing around.  I actually saw people rushing around while I was in a grocery store yesterday.  In that spirit (of rushing) I’m going to mention just five drawings in this new issue (there are 19, with a full page “Comic Strip” by Edward Steed making the total 20). For more on the others I suggest visiting the Cartoon Companion at week’s end [to those who have asked if the Spill is affiliated with the Companion, the answer is nay.  We’re in touch, but their numbered opinions are strictly their own]

And now on to the five:  the first is BEK’s (Bruce Eric Kaplan) drawing (it’s on page 39).  Wonderful caption, perfectly capturing the mood (for many) of the times.  Four pages later, on page 42, a terrific commuter drawing by David Sipress.  Mr. Sipress delivers a drawing that lives up to Peter Arno’s high-bar one-two punch test.  On the opposite page another winner by Liana Finck. She has a knack for taking us away in fairy tale situations. Moving on to page 76, a cartoon by the ever-reliable Paul Noth.  I love that Mr. Noth has put so much into his Thanksgiving football drawing.  Opposite the Noth cartoon, a feast for the eyes: an Edward Koren drawing. Mr. Koren is our longest active contributing artist, having first published in the New Yorker in 1962. 

The “mix” of these drawings is what has always been one of my favorite parts of that first look through every issue of the magazine. Great writing, combined with interesting, oft-times exceptional drawing.

Final notes: Regular Monday Tilley Watch readers perhaps have grown weary of my unrelenting campaign to bring back the Rea Irvin Talk of The Town masthead to the magazine.  Sorry to disappoint, but here it is again:

 To me, removing Mr. Irvin’s creation from the magazine is akin to removing the top of the Chrysler building and replacing it with the top of Philadelphia’s One Liberty Place :

Further note:  debut appearances in this week’s issue by Emma Hunsinger and Sofia Warren, bring the number of new cartoonists introduced under Emma Allen’s cartoon editorship to seven — an average of one new cartoonist a month (Ms. Allen began editing the cartoons this past May).  

 

The Monday Tilley Watch: The New Yorker Issue of October 23, 2017

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

This week’s cover (by R. Kikuo Johnson, who we learn from the Contributors page teaches cartooning at the Rhode Island School of Design) is of robots on their way to wherever robots go to. One has an on-the-go cup of coffee(?) while another carries an old-fashioned lunch box.  When I was a little kid, I was slightly fascinated by the lunchbox a neighbor (his name was Joe) carried to and from his factory job everyday. I sometimes wondered what was in his lunchbox and whether he had the same lunch everyday. Anyway, back to the cover. I thought seeing all the technology, it was going to be a Technology Issue, but no… it’s the Money Issue. The semi-Tilley on the Table of Contents alerts us to the theme:

Anyone who reads Ink Spill can probably guess that Tilley tampering (see yesterday’s Spill) will be duly noted here. Other examples :

Now on to the issue’s cartoons, and it doesn’t take long at all to find one. A nicely placed Tom Cheney drawing appears on page 4 directly following the end of the magazine’s Table of Contents.  I like that the magazine does this every so often and not all the time.  It’s a fun surprise.  Mr. Cheney takes one of the cartoonist’s most reliable  characters, death, to an artist’s studio. Artists studios, and artists, were very popular in years past, especially in the James Geraghty era (the New Yorker’s art editor from 1939 through 1973). Many of the best were gathered in The New Yorker Album of Art & Artists (New York Graphic Society, 1970).

There’ve been several other art-themed collections since (shown above: The New Yorker Book of Art Cartoons (Bloomberg, 2005), and The Museum of Modern Art Book of Cartoons (Museum of Modern Art, 2008 — a custom production), but the 1970 collection  is the mother ship, containing some of the most famous art cartoons in the magazine’s canon. 

Moving through the front of the magazine, I really like the beautiful photograph of a cow (in an ad for Louis Roederer) on page 15. What can I say? I love cows (to look at, admire, and occasionally pat on the head).

David Borchart has the second drawing of the issue. Age, of course, comes up most every time (heck, every time) there are Galapagos tortoises involved. Charles Addams (and there it is: an Addams reference and it’s only the second drawing of the issue) did several (I can remember three) — here’s one. Mr. Borchart delivers a caption that many can relate to, and just as many have probably heard said, or said.  As usual with his work, it’s beautifully drawn. The elder tortoises look kind’ve happy.

I don’t usually comment on the illustrations but I do really like the cup of coffee by Golden Cosmos on page 40. Six pages later we have an Amy Hwang  Jack and the Beanstalk drawing.  A more complicated drawing than we’re used to seeing from Ms. Hwang. I like the beanbag chairs — I picture them in color for some reason: left to right:  baby blue, brown, and rust colored.  Two pages later another keeper from BEK (Bruce Eric Kaplan). I’m reminded here of the late James Stevenson’s barely disguised textbook political satire.

On the very next page is a Mike Twohy cornucopia drawing. Cornucopia drawings aren’t as plentiful (haha?) as artist drawings once were, but they showed up from time-to-time, sometimes on the cover. Here’s a beauty by Arnie Levin from 1978 (and how convenient it is that it’s a baseball themed cover in this heavy-duty baseball time of year).

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Mr. Twohy’s cartoon, referring to a certain mega-online shopping site, is concerned with way more than baseballs. Eight pages later is a darkish Ed Steed drawing. His fishnet roller coaster recalls Lou Myers’s style (a snippet from a 1969 Myers United Airlines ad below left. On the right, a portion of Mr. Steed’s drawing). 

Three pages later a dog walk in the park drawing from the long-time Wildwood, New Jersey lifeguard (retd), John O’Brien. As mentioned in the last Monday Tilley Watch, Mr. O’Brien excels at captionless drawings (to my mind the hardest to do; Charles Addams told Dick Cavett captionless drawings were his personal favorites). Mr. O’Brien’s drawing is placed perfectly on the page.

Four pages later, newbie Maddie Dai returns with, yes, an Addamsy situation. If it seems like there are a lot of references to Mr. Addams in these posts it might be because his work — well over a thousand cartoons published in The New Yorker — touched on so many situations favored-by-cartoonists, especially, of course in his case, dark side situations. Of the notes I received from former New Yorker Art editor, Lee Lorenz during my years of his tenure (he was editor from 1973 – 1997;  I began receiving notes from him in 1977) at least three-quarters of them said, “Sorry — Addams already did this.” 

Three pages following Ms. Dai’s drawing is a Julia Suits be careful what you say out thereit just might get you in trouble drawing. On the very next page is an oddity that’s now appeared for the second issue in a row (wait, does that mean it’s not an oddity anymore): a collaborative drawing by Kaamran Hafeez and Al Batt. Mr. Hafeez is responsible for the drawing itself. The setting is that old New Yorker cartoon chestnut: a  business meeting.

Three pages later, a drawing by Farley Katz, a cartoonist who always shakes things up somehow.  I like the complexity of the drawing – the stethoscope connecting both doctors with the patient —  but I’m unsure who the “we” is in this case. Even on a very large screen it appears both women’s mouths are open, suggesting that they are both speaking.  Someone write in please and clarify.

Three more pages and we find Batman, beginning his memoir, recalling his childhood.  Nice drawing by Zach Kanin. I like how he’s shown us the Wayne family portrait over the mantel.  When I see a New Yorker Batman cartoon I immediately recall this 1989 classic by Danny Shanahan:

Three pages following Mr. Kanin’s Batman is the the second sidewalk Liana Finck drawing in two issues.  The beginning of a sidewalk series perhaps?  I like the little birds on the sidewalk. 

Alice Cheng, another newbie (her first New Yorker cartoon appeared in February of this year) is next with a salmon swimming upstream drawing. I love that this is here as it gives me an opportunity to recall the great 1998 Bill Woodman bears and salmon cartoon shown below.  Look at this drawing! Lovely, funny. This is what the late very great Jack Ziegler had to say about Mr. Woodman: “Bill Woodman is a great cartoonist and one of the funniest “draw-ers” of all time, right up there with George Booth.” 

 

Three pages later, a drawing of mine. I believe it’s the first time that I’ve had Uncle Sam in a New Yorker drawing.  Four pages later is a not-quite-so-empty nest drawing by another newbie, Teresa Burns Parkhurst, who made her debut this month (not counting her caption contest appearance in September). I like the framed items on the wall, including the coffee mug, or mugs(?). On the very next page is what at first appears to be a doorman at an exclusive club situation.  But as it’s a Peter Vey drawing, it’s not, of course — it’s a writer needs to escape drawing. Nice stanchions!

The next to last drawing in the issue belongs to Avi Steinberg. A man at a diner counter encounters a teeny coffee cup.  As in an earlier drawing not long ago — not by Mr. Steinberg (I don’t think), I wonder about the level of the counter top in relation to the customer.  It’s either a very low counter, or a very tall customer. One wonders too if the customer is just walking by the counter and has remarked on the little cup of coffee.  There’s no indication of seating, so he isn’t about to sit; there are, however, items on the counter indicating customers might sit.  As I’ve said before, I like imagining a backstory. Good caption.

The final drawing in the issue (not counting the caption contest drawings) is by Carolita Johnson. A fortune teller!  As with Mr. Steinberg’s drawing, there’s some kind of perspective thing going on (with the door and the room) that caught my eye. You’ll see.

 — Back next Monday

 

 

 

Avi Steinberg

Carolita Johnson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

The Monday Tilley Watch

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

 

 

Expecting something political on the July 31st cover it was a surprise when Javier Mariscal‘s water’s edge pastoral popped up on my screen (I’m looking at the digital version of the magazine; I’ll look at the print version when it arrives. Two different experiences). My first thought: if James Stevenson had worked in stained glass, this might be the result. Here’s an example of what I was thinking (a Stevenson cover from October 1975, and Mr. Mariscal’s on the new issue):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A note before heading into the issue: I have a habit of not looking at the cartoonists listed on the Table of Contents — I look at everything else on the TOC, but want to be completely surprised by the cartoons as I page through. I see on the TOC that Bruce McCall has a Shouts & Murmurs piece — things are already interesting.  On my way to “The Talk of The Town”  I stopped to examine the illustration on page 8 by Henning Wagenbreth. Glad I stopped — enjoyable illustration, and, bonus: the name Henning Wagenbreth is now a new favorite name.

Moving on: a quick look at the Talk masthead —  it’s still the revamped version brought in a few months back. I ask the power(s) that be to reconsider and bring back Coke Classic (i.e., Rea Irvin’s masterpiece masthead  — shown directly below — that led off Talk from January 30, 1926 through May 15, 2017). 

It should be noted (and maybe I did note it once on this site): Tom Bachtell is the contemporary artist behind the drawing appearing on the opening Talk page and many of the others sprinkled through the rest of Talk, but the small spots that look like this:

are by the late great Otto Soglow (fondly remembered by many for his creation,  “The Little King”). Mr. Soglow supplied the Talk spot drawings in earlier times (pre-Lee Lorenz years as Art Editor).   We are lucky his work is still appearing here some forty-two years after his death.

And now, finally to the cartoons: the first is by Sara Lautman, whose first New Yorker drawing appeared in March of last year. If the search function on the digital edition is correct, this is her 6th New Yorker appearance. A few pages later is a David Sipress drawing.  Mr. Sipress’s active line is immediately recognizable, as is the New York City subway setting (the subway has been in the news quite a lot, with the Mayor of NYC taking a well -publicized ride just yesterday). Next is a drawing by Paul Karasik (whose new book, How to Read Nancy was mentioned here last time, so I’m mentioning it again). In Mr. Karasik’s drawing, Grant Wood’s American Gothic farmer returns to the New Yorker.  During Charles Addams’ long run at The New Yorker he had a lot of fun with Mr. Wood’s pitchfork-wielding farmer, as well as at least one of the other folks at the bar in Mr. Karasik’s drawing.

Here’s Addams working with the American Gothic duo– this from The Charles Addams’ Mother Goose.

And here’s a link to another.

And here’s Addams with a roomful of recognizable subjects, including Mona Lisa

But I, uh, digress…so back to the issue at hand. Opposite Mr. Karasik’s barflies is a timely drawing by Liza Donnelly featuring colluding ice cubes. As with Roz Chast’s drawing from the last issue, I like the way this drawing has been placed on the page.  Today’s New York Times carries the headline “‘I Did Not Collude,’ Kushner Plans to Tell Senate Investigators” — hmmm

Several pages later we come to another well-placed/sized drawing — this one’s by Harry Bliss. As noted on yesterday’s Spill, it’s “Shark Week” on The Discovery Channel. It’s also summertime. Mr. Bliss manages to celebrate both, as well as tipping his hat to lifeguards (a New Yorker colleague, John O’Brien, was a longtime lifeguard in Wildwood, New Jersey. I believe he’s the only New Yorker artist with those intersecting credentials). Next is a kangaroo cartoon (also well placed & sized) by Liana Finck (who was mentioned on the Spill yesterday for several reasons…both good). Here we have a drawing that, stylistically (and maybe even thematically) brings to mind a cross between Ed Arno and Arnie Levin, with even a dash of Bill Woodman tossed in to the mix.  In the end, of course, it’s pure Finck.

A Seth Fleishman Newton’s Cradle cocktail drawing follows Ms. Finck’s. Mr. Fleishman, like the aforementioned Ms. Lautman, started at The New Yorker in the early months of last year —  his generous use of black against white made (and make) his work easy to pick out in the crowd. A Roz Chast six-parter follows (Ms. Chast’s first New Yorker appearance was in 1978). I failed to mention last week that Ms. Chast has a new book coming out this Fall: Going Into Town: A Love Letter To New York.

A Paul Noth prison drawing is next (Mr. Noth’s first New Yorker appearance was in 2004)  — Mr. Noth has a book coming out as well — it’s not due until next year, but I’ll mention it here anyway.  Someone should do a collection of New Yorker prison cartoons. Three pages following Mr. Noth’s drawing is the very recognizable work of Drew Dernavich.  If you want to know a little more about how he works, visit Jane Mattimoe’s Case For Pencils post here.  Three more pages brings you to one of the newest kids on the block (first New Yorker appearance: November 14, 2016): Lars Kenseth. In this drawing, Mr. Kenseth meets King Arthur, sort of. For some reason I wanted the caption to have the word “sticky” in it, but “licked” comes close enough.

Two pages on we find a drawing by cat and elephant-lover, Danny Shanahan, who’s been contributing to The New Yorker for 30 years.  No one draws  elephants like Mr. Shanahan (he’s even had a New Yorker elephant cover).   

Another new kid, Ellis Rosen is up next (first New Yorker appearance: December 12, 2016). I like birds-in-flight cartoons. Carl Rose, Lee Lorenz, and a number of other colleagues have offered them up to us over the years.

On the opposite page from Mr. Ellis’s drawing is a drawing executed in the instantly recognizable  style of William Haefeli (first New Yorker appearance: 1998). The Spill’s archive is lucky enough to have one of Mr. Haefeli’s original New Yorker drawings.  Visitors who are shown the piece are usually surprised by its size (it’s quite small) and its complexity (his originals look even more complex in person than on the printed page or screen).

A few pages later, we have what looks like a Smith Bros. cough drop board meeting —  a bunch of bearded men courtesy of Carolita Johnson (first New Yorker appearance: 2003), followed by a cat and dog living room situation by Christopher Weyant (first New Yorker appearance: 1998; Mr. Weyant is the  illustrator of a recent childrens book, I Am (Not) Scared by Anna Kang).  I love the way Mr. Weyant draws cats (he joins the Well-drawn Cat Club; I won’t list all the members for fear of possibly leaving someone out).  Tom Toro’s next (first New Yorker appearance: 2010) with a rarity: a lethal-signage cartoon. Kudos to the author of Tiny Hands. 

Mr. Toro’s drawing is followed by a Liam Walsh cartoon featuring a smallish fish with a big appetite (Mr. Walsh’s first New Yorker appearance: 2011). I already mentioned Bill Woodman above, but I’ll mention him again. I see fishing cartoons and I think Woodman. For some examples check out his book, Fish and Moose News (published in 1980). 

 

Lastly, the newest of the newbies, Maggie Larson, whose first New Yorker drawing appeared in last week’s issue.  I can’t recall how many massage-related cartoons have been in The New Yorker. At least one, now (someone with a better database than mine please let me know of others).

 

And that’s that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

50 Years Ago This Week…In The New Yorker

A Summer of Love issue of The New Yorker begins with Peter Arno’s 98th cover for the magazine (out of 101). Arno’s color palette in his last years had turned (mostly) brighter, his composition (mostly) a little more casual. This cover is an excellent example.

Within the magazine we find an array of graphically balanced cartoons appearing on the pages in a variety of sizes: a half-page Warren Miller drawing; a wonderful Steig drawing of a King –the drawing sits at the bottom of the page, surrounded on three sides by text; a perfectly-sized classic beauty from Ronald Searle (shown below); a  Modell drawing, done in his trademark casual style, sits across from a (typically) densely drawn Alan Dunn cartoon;  an easy on the eyes Stevenson drawing of two witches settling in to watch Julia Child is placed across from a Steinberg drawing of the eye of providence (that pyramid with the eye that’s on the backside of the U.S. dollar bill).  Unlike Stevenson’s drawing, which you pause to look at, enjoy and then move on, you feel as if you should pull up a chair and get out a magnifying glass for the Steinberg illustration. It’s time to inspect.

A few pages later on in the issue I was surprised to come across a 5 part Stan Hunt drawing. Did he do a lot of these? I don’t remember seeing one before (it’s a question to be answered another time).  The Hunt is followed by a nearly full-page  Everett Opie cartoon and then a masterful Saxon drawing (also almost a full page).

The last drawing of the issue is by the wonderful Henry Martin. Like Steig’s King drawing, it appears at the bottom of the page surrounded on three sides by text. There’s plenty of white space around the business man noticing a sign in a window, “Data Processed While U Wait” — the man’s right leg and his briefcase are allowed to drift off towards the edge of the page itself — a cartoonist’s work beautifully handled by the New Yorker‘s long-time layout person, Carmine Peppe, who, according to Brendan Gill, “would properly set off whatever we published.”