The Monday Tilley Watch, The New Yorker Issue Of September 17, 2018

The cover

If you haven’t already seen the school busses on the road, or the signs posted everywhere advising that school is back in session, Chris Ware’s cover is yet another reminder that it’s back to school time.

The cartoons

Here, for the record, are the contributing cartoonists in the issue:

A quick survey of each drawing: Ms. Suits gives us a cactus drawing (are cactus the new crash test dummies — this being the second cactus drawing out of the past three issues); Mr. Dernavich provides us with an end of summer roller coaster drawing with some unintentional(?) graphic trickery concerning the track itself; Ms. McNair’s couple have neighborly dinner date issues; Farley Katz takes us to a sturdy cartoon scenario of parent reading to a child at bedtime; William Haefeli up next with his trademark drawing style and an excellent caption; an Edward Koren drawing — allowed a wonderful space on the page. Very nice all around!; Ben Schwartz plays with Rodin’s The Thinker; Ed Steed plays around with a clown and a banana peel (and it’s in color); Zach Kanin visits a game of spin the bottle (a scenario we rarely see); Frank Cotham allows us a peek into a room full of sweaty frock-coated gentlemen; Sara Lautman takes us up up and away to the sky god’s territory; Joe Dator’s drawing of a symphony hall is splendid; Kim Warp’s trash-in-the-sea drawing arrives with trash-in-the sea much in the news.  And finally, a nod to the advent of Fall baseball with a meeting at the pitcher’s mound courtesy of Tom Toro.

The issue arrives sans Rea Irvin’s classic masthead. Here it is:

I can’t let mid-September slip by without mentioning the issue of September 11, 1925 (cover by the aforementioned Mr. Irvin).  

New Yorker history buffs will recall that the magazine was nearly put to rest in the Spring of its first year of publication. If not for an overheard remark, the New Yorker would’ve been a magazine that lasted less than half a year. Instead of killing the magazine, it was decided to coast through the summer,  putting renewed energy into the issue of September 12th. You can read about the specifics on content here courtesy of A New Yorker State of Mind.

 

 

The Monday Tilley Watch, the New Yorker Issue of September 10, 2018; Cartoon Happenings At The New Yorker Festival

 “The Style Issue”  with a Kadir Nelson cover — the second Nelson cover in three weeks. It’s titled “Savoring Summer” (and again, I question why the New Yorker‘s covers need to be titled. Shouldn’t covers speak for themselves, so to speak? This cover certainly does). 

The cartoons:

Thinking there’d be a bevy of cartoonists in this mid-September issue (last week’s issue had fourteen), it was a surprise finding nine single panel cartoons this week (there’s a multi-panel “Sketchbook” by Roz Chast).  

Lately the Monday Tilley Watch has moved away from looking at every cartoon in each issue, but that doesn’t mean each and every cartoon in each and every issue doesn’t receive my undivided attention. Often I look at a cartoon like I eat popcorn.  But sometimes I linger on a particular drawing, savoring the art, or the caption (if there is a caption); in the best of times, I linger because I’m happy to be looking at something that works, that really works.  Other times I linger out of puzzlement — wondering what I’ve missed about the drawing — how, to my eyes, it went awry (or how my cultural antenna have failed me). It is far more exciting to come across a drawing that soars than one that fails.  Take for instance Joe Dator’s three part Beauty and the Beast cartoon in this new issue. I believe the drawing hits the high bar.  It’s drawn well (it reminds me of Lee Lorenz’s confident energetic art), and it measures up to Peter Arno’s characterization of a good cartoon, landing a one-two punch. A Spill round of applause is in order.

Some impressions from the issue:  Frank Cotham’s cartoon — it leads off the issue, sitting in a good-sized space following the Table Of Contents.  I mentioned Mr. Lorenz’s confident drawing; in Mr. Cotham’s quarter century of contributing to the New Yorker, he’s shown no fear in taking on the big picture, and handling it well. Alex Gregory’s line (his drawing is on p.93) is always a welcome sight.  Ed Steed’s bee-hive wielding doctor drawing (p.55) seems like a follow-up to Zach Kanin’s memorable “I can feel the baby kicking” cartoon from 2008.

The Caption Contest:

Cartoon caption contest drawings aren’t mentioned here much, but I did note that Mick Stevens’ drawing this week echoes one of mine (captioned as you see) published in The New Yorker, August 23, 1982.

Finally, let us not forget Rea Irvin’s missing classic Talk Of The Town masthead. I sometimes picture it propped up in a closest someplace in the magazine’s offices, waiting to be rediscovered and returned to its proper place. Until that time, if it ever comes, here it is:

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Cartoon Happenings at The New Yorker Festival

Held October 5, 6, and 7th. So far, here’s what’s up at the festival, cartoon-wise:

Saturday, the 6th: Sh!t Show: A Parenting Comedy Revue (with, among others, Emily Flake, and Roz Chast).

Sunday, the 7th: Cartoons & Coffee (with Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell and Farley Katz)

Here’s the homepage for the Festival

 

 

 

The Monday Tilley Watch, The New Yorker Issue of September 3, 2018

Again with an early release cover! Link here to see what the cover artist, Barry Blitt, had to say about his latest effort (shown above, right). 

The cartoons:

Fourteen cartoons in this first issue of September: seven by women, seven by men. No more mentions here of gender balance/imbalance unless/until there’s an all female cartoonists issue (or an all male issue returns).

It’s becoming a Spill habit to single out one or two or three cartoons per issue that especially grab my attention.  This issue it’s two cartoons.  Paul Noth’s tranquil fishing scenario (p.24) is lovely.  A perfectly written caption. One teeny tiny graphic quibble: the fishing lines are identically parallel, creating what looks to be two sides of a box (the kind of box that some cartoons sit within).  Anywho, a wonderful drawing, deserving of a round of applause.

The other cartoon of note (found on page 19): Carolita Johnson gives us a motorcyclist speaking to his passenger. Ms. Johnson’s caption reads:

As a long-time happily married motorcycling cartoonist, I suppose this is a golden opportunity to chime in about marriage and motorcycles; I’ll just stick with motorcycles.

Here’s a motorcycle drawing of mine that appeared in the New Yorker, May 27, 1985:

Motorcycles have been around in New Yorker cartoons for a long long time; the motorcyclists were often motorcycle cops. I’m not going deep into the history here, but just mention a few cartoonists who’ve given us some great drawings. Motorcycles and/or motorcyclists as the subject are numerous; even more plentiful are motorcycles/motorcyclists as part of the scenery. A Peter Arno cartoon in the issue of December 7th 1929  (“We want to report a stolen car”) that made waves for its sexual innuendo featured a beautifully drawn Indian motorcycle. Among colleagues past and present who’ve depicted motorcycles and/or motorcyclists : Roberta MacDonald, Garrett Price, Anthony Taber, Kim Warp, Carl Rose, Edward Koren, Farley Katz, Joe Dator, Leo Cullum, Trevor Hoey, Maddie Dai, Michael Crawford, Lee Lorenz, Jack Ziegler, Arnie Levin, and yours truly.  Of these cartoonists, two that I know of (other than myself) have ridden motorcycles: Mr. Crawford and Mr. Levin.  Mr. Ziegler had plenty of fun depicting motorcycle gang members “colors” ( patches on jackets that identify a motorcyclist’s club association). Here’s an evergreen of his from February 27, 1989:

— See you next week

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Monday Tilley Watch, The New Yorker Issue of August 27th, 2018

  Kadir Nelson‘s cover (a tribute to Aretha Franklin) was posted last week.  Not mentioned here at the time (but noted on the New Yorker‘s Table of Contents): the image was inspired by Charles W. White’s Folksinger. 

The new issue’s “Fall Preview” accounts for the abundance of arts ads and illustrations. 

The cartoons:

Now we’re talkin’: sixteen cartoons in this issue vs last week’s nine.  A number of the sixteen cartoons stand out for various reasons. Two of them (I won’t single them out) are beyond me. Not long ago I would’ve emailed Jack Ziegler to explain them to me. It was always comforting when Jack didn’t understand a drawing either. Often he’d respond with a variation of, “I don’t know what the hell it means.”

 Now for some others that stood out (these I understand): Seth Fleishman‘s mirror ball drawing cements his reputation as the New Yorker‘s mirror ball guy. Funny drawing. Also very funny: Joe Dator‘s “hunny” sniffing Pooh airport scenario. And then there’s David Borchart‘s sea-faring koala drawing. Oh my my my. I mentioned Jack Ziegler before. I think Jack would’ve loved these drawings — they’re wonderfully in his ballpark of way-out-there. A Spill round of applause.

A thought here about the placement of every cartoon in the issue: none seemed pressed for space, in need of breathing room. Victoria Roberts doctor’s office drawing (p.69) and Ellis Rosen‘s (p.42) are good examples. The reader can really enjoy the fine drawing going on in these pieces (and in others).

This issue includes the debut New Yorker cartoon by Caitlin Cass. Ms. Cass is the seventeenth new cartoonist brought in since cartoon editor, Emma Allen was appointed in the Spring of 2017. Ms. Cass’s style — mostly the way she handles faces — reminds me of a New Yorker cover artist from the Golden Age: Christina Malman.  Oddly enough, while looking through Ms. Malman’s twenty-four covers for the magazine I came across one (shown below) thematically linked to Ms. Cass’s drawing of children looking at art in a museum.

A final thought before Rea Irvin’s classic missing masthead shows up at the end of this post: I’m wondering if Emma Hunsinger‘s funny caption for her drawing on page 77 would’ve also worked if the word “aren’t” was “are”…and if that’s so — if it’s so how often it happens in cartoon captions that a word completely flipped can still work with the drawing. In this case, substituting “are” for “aren’t” would radically change the intent. Ms. Hunsinger’s use of the word “aren’t” suggests the parents are concerned their child’s behavior is unusual. By using “are” the parents would instead be hopeful that their child’s behavior might make for a viral video.

For the record, here is the list of cartoonists in this issue:

And now, as promised, the missing Irvin masthead.

 — See you next week

 

 

 

The Monday Tilley Watch: The New Yorker (Double) Issue of August 6 & 13, 2018

And now we’re into the second double issue of the summer. Sure does make the season seem to fly by. When the next new issue appears it will be mid-August, when kids begin gathering their back-to-school supplies.

 Having spent many summers at the (New) Jersey shore I found Tom Gauld’s somewhat cinematic cover an excellent piece of work.  And speaking of the Jersey shore, it was fun encountering John O’Brien‘s cartoon in the issue (although the subject matter has nothing to do with the beach scene). Mr. O’Brien was a decades-long life guard in Wildwood, New Jersey.

Fourteen cartoons in this double issue (none full page), and nineteen illustrations (four of them full page). Just sayin’.

Three cartoons caught my attention this week: 

Liana Finck’s Alice in Responsibilityland (great title). Much enjoyed roaming around Alice’s kitchen. 

Ed Steed’s drawing: a big-game hunter scenario. The first split-second impression — upon seeing the drawing on my tablet — was that the mounted objects on the wall were things that were placed so high and out of reach on grocery store shelves that they required one of those grabbing devices to get hold of them. Seeing the cartoon later on in the digital edition it’s clear the mounted objects are trash. 

Joe Dator’s chicken or egg drawing. What a treat.

For the record (your honor) here are the cartoonists in the issue:

You’ll note that Jason Chatfield shares credit with Scott Dooley.  Still somewhat a rarity to see a cartoon co-credited. Check out Messrs. Chatfield & Dooley’s podcast, Is There Something In This?   

Elsewhere in the issue, I note, as I have in every Monday Tilley Watch since May of 2017, that Rea Irvin’s classic Talk of The Town masthead is still absent.  If you want to read more, go here.

Here’s what we’re missing:

— til mid August