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.”

 

An Arnie Levin Interview; Never Judge A Cartoon Collection By Its Cover

An Arnie Levin Interview

In this latest installment of Gil Roth’s remarkable string of interviews with cartoonists and illustrators, he speaks with the great Arnie Levin, whose drawings and covers are in league with some of the best the New Yorker has published.   Below: a classic Levin drawing from the issue of October 5, 1998.

 

Hear the interview here.

Photo: Gil Roth and Arnie Levin

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Never Judge A Cartoon Collection By Its Cover

This book is probably the most tattered in the Spill‘s cartoon library, but it is also one of the most treasured. While browsing the humor sections of used bookstores I’ve a habit of looking at every cartoon collection on the shelf (or shelves), no matter the condition, and no matter whether or not I already have a copy at home — you never know what might be inside.  In this case, the surprise was an original signed drawing by James Stevenson.  The collection, Sorry, Lady — This Beach Is Private! was published by Macmillan in 1963. 

 

50 Years Ago in The New Yorker

Every so often I like to take a look at a random issue of The New Yorker from well before my time there, or well before my time, period. This issue, of April 29, 1967 is solidly in the former category. The New Yorker was not yet on my mind —  I was in fact, just about to begin transitioning out of comic books, and into underground comics. My last (non-underground) comic book bought at the time of its release was this one, Superman and The Flash, December 1970 (yes, I still have it — I don’t throw much away).

 

 

Flipping through this Spring-time issue of The New Yorker, the first thing I noticed, besides the lovely Abe Birnbaum cover, was the  very simple Table of Contents, when the magazine seemed intent on just offering up a few clues as to what was inside. No listing of artists or writers, just column headings such as “The Air” and “Current Cinema”  — we’ve come a very long way since then.

Of the seventeen cartoonists represented in this issue, not one was a woman. This was a time when only one veteran female cartoonist was still on the scene, the great Mary Petty.  But her run at the magazine had ended a year before in the issue of March 19, 1966 (she died in 1976). The next female cartoonist to show up was Nurit Karlin, and she wouldn’t begin publishing until 1974. 

These are the seventeen  cartoonists in this issue: Charles Saxon, Warren Miller, Lee Lorenz, William Hamilton, James Mulligan, Dana Fradon, William O’Brien, Edward Koren, Ton Smits, James Stevenson, Robert Kraus, Donald Reilly, J. B. “Bud” Handelsman, Carl Rose, Barney Tobey, Robert Weber, and William Steig. Many of these names will ring a bell with New Yorker cartoon aficionados, and some names will ring a very large bell.  Edward Koren and Lee Lorenz are still contributing to the magazine.  Dana Fradon and Warren Miller are still hail and hearty.  James Stevenson, Robert Weber, and William Hamilton  were among the recently departed slew of New Yorker cartoonists this past year. 

For me, the most surprising cartoonist to see  in the issue was Carl Rose (“surprising” because I unfairly tend to place his work more in the 1920s – 1940s). Mr. Rose contributed his very first cartoon to The New Yorker in the Halloween issue of 1925, when the magazine was about nine months old; his last cartoon appeared in the summer of 1971. (Below: Mr. Rose’s April ’67 drawing)

Though he had  a great run in the New Yorker,  he only published one collection, One Dozen Roses — but what a collection.

 And here, for a little more on One Dozen Roses and other noteworthy New Yorker cartoon moments in Mr. Rose’s career, I’m going to lift some of the info from his entry on the Spill‘s  “New Yorker Cartoonist A-Z” section: 

this collection contains essays by Rose on cartoon themes. Especially of interest is his essay concerning Harold Ross, “An Artist’s Best Friend is His Editor”. Carl Rose will forever be linked to E.B. White for the December 8, 1928 New Yorker cartoon of the mother saying to her child, “It’s broccoli, dear.” and the child responding, “I say it’s spinach, and I say the hell with it.” The drawing was by Rose, the caption was adapted by White from Rose’s original idea (for a slighty expanded explanation go here). Rose also had a Thurber connection. In 1932, Rose submitted a drawing captioned, “Touche!” of two fencers, one of whom has just cut off the head of the other. Harold Ross ( according to Thurber in The Years With Ross) thinking the Rose version “too bloody” suggested Thurber do the drawing because “Thurber’s people have no blood. You can put their heads back on and they’re as good as new.” The drawing appeared December 3, 1932.

One last thing about Carl Rose: there aren’t a lot of photographs of him around but when Irving Penn (whose work is now being celebrated at New York’s  Metropolitan Museum), photographed a number of The New Yorker‘s artists in 1947 for a spread in Vogue, an unassuming looking Carl Rose was right up there on the top-most platform with Otto Soglow and Alajalov, seated just behind Charles Addams. Among the others in the photo: Steinberg, Steig, Helen Hokinson, George Price, Richard Taylor, Perry Barlow, Barney Tobey,  Barbara Shermund and Whitney Darrow, Jr. —  an array, if ever there was one, of New Yorker cartoonist royalty. 

Getting back to Mr. Rose’s colleagues work appearing in the April issue, the magazine was, in 1967, still laying-out the cartoons with the graphic gusto it always had: a beautiful full page by O’Brien , an equally beautiful half-page Warren Miller drawing;  other drawings were run in various shapes and sizes.  The subject matter seemed to be bridging the older New Yorker art with the new: businessmen and housewives appear, as do people dealing with obviously modern cultural keystones such as  long-haired men and  hip young woman;  personal computers courtesy of Donald Reilly and  politics via Lee Lorenz, whose drawing depicts Robert Kennedy photo bombing a couples vacation picture. Dana Fradon’s drawing, about recharging electric cars,  could’ve run in modern times.  Needless to say (so why am I saying it?) that the issue was a blast to look through.  The cartoonists were in top form, providing us with a lot, a whole lot, to look at. As Jack Ziegler told me in an interview last year:  “…it’s always nice when cartoonists know how to draw so that they can give us something pleasant and fun to look at.”

 

 

 

James Stevenson’s Life & Work Celebrated

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friends, relatives, and colleagues gathered yesterday morning at the Century Association in Manhattan to honor the late New Yorker Artist & Writer, James Stevenson. Among those from The New Yorker were Danny Shanahan, Arnie Levin, Anne Hall Elser, Roger Angell, Kennedy Fraser, Susan Morrison, Anthony Hiss, Mark SingerThe New Yorker’s “Jack-of-All-Trades” Stanley Ledbetter, the New Yorker‘s former Television Critic, Nancy Franklin and the magazine’s former Art Editor/Cartoon Editor, Lee Lorenz.

A blow-up of one of Mr. Stevenson’s color pieces hung behind a podium where guests made their way to recall movingly and often hilariously, Mr. Stevenson.

On our way out, we were offered a jar of  Creamy Skippy Peanut Butter (a Stevenson favorite), as well as the booklet of drawings shown above, and partially below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mr. Stevenson’s entry on Ink Spill’s New Yorker Cartoonists A-Z:

James Stevenson Born, NYC, 1929. Died, February 17, 2017, Cos Cob, Connecticut.  New Yorker work: March 10, 1956 -.   Stevenson interned as an office boy at The New Yorker in the mid 1940s when he began  supplying ideas for other NYer artists. Nine years later he was hired a full-time ideaman, given an office at the magazine and instructed not to tell anyone what he did. He eventually began publishing his own cartoons and covers as well as a ground-breaking Talk of the Town pieces (ground breaking in that the pieces were illustrated). His contributions to the magazine number over 2000.   Key collections: Sorry Lady — This Beach is Private! (MacMillan, 1963), Let’s Boogie (Dodd, Mead, 1978).  Stevenson has long been a children’s book author, with roughly one hundred titles to his credit.  He is a frequent contributor to the Op-Ed page of The New York Times, under the heading Lost and Found New York. Stevenson’s recent book, published in 2013, The Life, Loves and Laughs of Frank Modell, is essential.

A 2013 Ink Spill piece of interest: James Stevenson’s Secret Job