The Monday Tilley Watch: The New Yorker Issue of January 22, 2018

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

 I enjoy the little drama of seeing the new New Yorker cover pop up on the screen early Monday morning when I go to the digital issue; sometimes there is no Monday morning  drama because the cover has been released (online) days earlier. The magazine occasionally does this with of-the-moment covers. That’s the case this week — Anthony Russo‘s “In the Hole” appeared online days ago (I continue to wonder why New Yorker covers need titles, a practice that began with Tina Brown’s second issue, October 12, 1992). The last untitled New Yorker cover, issue of October 5, 1992  was Edward Sorel‘s punk in a hansom cab — the first Tina Brown era cover:

The very next issue, October 12, 1992:

This latest issue’s cartoons start off well with Bruce Kaplan‘s Alice in Wonderland drawing. It’s graphically more complex than his usual style. The caption is excellent. Way to go.

Next up, four pages later, is a Farley Katz concert drawing. I enjoyed hovering over this drawing, looking at the details, especially the drums and drummer. Just three pages later, a couple of texting turtles via Liana Finck. For some reason — I don’t believe I’ve ever thought or said this before about any cartoon (other than one of my own) — I really wanted this drawing to be ever-so-slightly colored-in. Perhaps the largeness of the landscape surrounding the turtles reminded me of how Guy Billout handles his pages.  

Six pages later, a fun Drew Dernavich drawing of a situation almost every driver has encountered: the hunt for a space. Coupled with a long-time favorite cartoonist scenario (the person crawling along the desert) and bingo!  My only wish here would have been for the cartoon to have more breathing room around it.  On the very next page, another drawing that would’ve benefited from a little bit more space on the page (hey what can I say, in the balancing act between text and cartoons, I always notice when there’s an imbalance). In Maddie Dai‘s cartoon we return to the Sistine Chapel (where Julia Suits was not too long ago). Reminder: if you haven’t seen the Michelangelo exhibit at the Met, better hurry.

Five pages later, a splendid Edward Koren drawing. And…it’s placed beautifully on the page.  You can’t ask or more, folks.

On the very next page, a history lesson from Sara Lautman:  how did the Great Lakes come to be called the Great Lakes.  Interesting drawing —  I like the scenario Ms. Lautman’s given us. 

Three pages later, a cold & flu season contribution from P.C. Vey.  The little drawing within the drawing is very funny. The aforementioned Julia Suits has the next drawing (on the very next page after Mr. Vey’s). The drawing makes use of the “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” armature. The setting is very George Boothian.  

On the opposite page a William Haefeli drawing drawing upon the Bob Newhart showism: “Don’t go to bed mad.” Words of wisdom then and now. On the next page, a Teresa Burns Parkhurst captionless drawing (and the second cold & flu drawing in the issue).  Elevator bank drawings are not seen all that often anymore. I like that the drawing was allowed to spread across three columns, allowing us to mosey on over to the pay-off.

Five pages later, Shannon Wheeler brings a very in-the-news item on home.  This could easily have been one of those drawings that are sometimes placed below the table of contents.  Good stuff. 

Six pages later, an Ed Steed scenario ( a category within itself). Dead (?) fish, in a cage, not a tank. The use of color offsets the mystery…just a little.

Eight pages later, courtesy of Mick Stevens, an advice-seeking court jester. Don’t know if this drawing has anything to do with current domestic politics (in particular, a current politician) but it feels like it does.  On the opposite page, a Mary Lawton “meet the…” scenario. “Meet the…” drawings seem to be making a comeback. This particular one seems true-to-life (with the exception of the two hours displayed on the sign.  I’ve a feeling you could meet those people during all business hours). 

Five pages later, the last drawing of the issue (not counting the caption contest cartoons).  Tom Toro‘s penchant for detail is put to great use. Funny drawing. I wish it wasn’t slammed up against an ad though. I don’t believe the balancing act mentioned earlier (with text and cartoons) should ever include advertisements and cartoons. Cartoons hugging editorial text: yea. Cartoons hugging ads: nay.  Just sayin’. 

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Update: Rea Irvin’s classic Talk of The Town masthead still missing. This is what it looks like:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tilley Watch Online; Photos from the Kovarsky Opening; “Not OK” Cartoonists in Westchester

Among the magazine’s Daily cartoons this week:  Kim Warp’s weary winter weather drawing; Brendan Loper’s tweeter-in-chief cartoon;  Lars Kenseth’s  take on this week’s  unusual White House media moment, and Peter Kuper’s Trumpian map of the world.   

Over on Daily Shouts, these were the contributing New Yorker cartoonists: Ellis Rosen and Liana Finck

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Photos From the Kovarsky Opening at The Society of Illustrators

A packed house last night at the Society of Illustrators Opening Reception for Kovarsky’s World: Covers and Cartoons From the New Yorker. Here’s an array of photos (all by Liza Donnelly, with one exception: the photo of Liza Donnelly and her husband– that’s courtesy of Gina Kovarsky)

Above: a wall of Kovarskys.

Below: Anatol Kovarsky’s daughter, Gina, and Mr. Kovarsky’s wife, Lucille Patton; Ellen Lind and John Lind.  Gina Kovarsky and John Lind co-curated the exhibit.

Below: New Yorker cartoonists Sam Gross and Felipe Galindo

Below: New Yorker cartoonists Liza Donnelly and Michael Maslin

Below: Sam Gross and New Yorker cartoonist Bob Eckstein

Below: Writer/illustrator Mo Willems, Columbia University’s Curator for Comics and Cartoons, Karen Green, and John Lind

 

A closing thought on the exhibit, which runs til March 3 of this year:

This is a terrific show.  The energy bouncing off Mr. Kovarsky’s work on the walls is inspiring.   After looking at all of the covers and drawings I went back and spent more time looking at Mr. Kovarsky’s very first cartoon for the New Yorker.  It was published in the issue of March 1, 1947; here’s how it appeared:

I’ve always had a special affection for first New Yorker drawings.  It is, as they say, a moment.  Every cartoonist remembers the details surrounding their first published drawing. The unspoken mini-drama surrounding the first is that no one knows, of course, whether there’ll be a second (see the Spill‘s One Clubbers on the A-Z).  In Mr. Kovarsky’s case there was a second, and then there were hundreds more — close to 300 in fact. If that wasn’t something impressive in itself, he also contributed 40 covers.  And all this work was done in the relatively short time span of twenty-two years (according to Gina Kovarsky: “In the 1970s, Kovarsky shifted his main focus from cartooning to fine art…”).  It will not come as a surprise to anyone seeing this exhibit how Kovarsky accomplished so much in a mere two decades. It is as if he never set his pen or his brush down for a moment. Kovarsky’s world seemed to be abuzz 24/7. How lucky for us all.   

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“Not OK” Cartoonists in Westchester

From Westchester Magazine, January 12, 2018, “You Can Meet New Yorker Cartoonists…”

 Here’s a capsule description from the article:

“Not OK” — Great Cartoons That Weren’t Good Enough is a collection of works by previous New Yorker-published cartoonists that fit exactly that bill. Curated by artist and Brooklynite David Ostow, this series has come to Westchester for a month-long showing following the completion of its original gallery run in Bushwick.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Monday Tilley Watch: The New Yorker Issue of November 20, 2017

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

Wow, three weeks in row without a political cover. This latest cover, of two children chalking out a hopscotch pattern on the ground, has a title, as have all covers since Tina Brown instituted the practice. I’ve always wondered why it’s necessary to title a cover.  Shouldn’t the piece tell you everything you need to know all by its lonesome? A graphic island unto itself? In this case, the title is “Coding 101”; many folks (or at least I) never would’ve caught the reference to coding on the hopscotch pattern.  Honestly, all I saw was kids doing a kid-like thing.  I initially thought: how wonderfully simple (too simple it turns out).  Never having played hopscotch, you could’ve fooled me — and it did — that this cover had an underlying meaning. For the record, I do have one connection to the game: I did a hopscotch drawing back in 1989. No coding appears in the drawing.

After a quick trip through Goings On About Town (or GOAT) we arrive at the Christoph Neimann Talk of the Town Masthead. Notice how I’m no longer referring to it as the Rea Irvin Talk of The Town Masthead. Mr. Irvin created the masthead and it stayed in place, with a few tweaks along the way (made by Mr. Irvin) for 92 years,  This past Spring Mr. Niemann was commissioned to redraw the masthead. Absolutely no knock against his work, but the original really never should’ve been replaced.

Here’s Mr. Irvin’s classic:

Now on to the cartoons and cartoonists.  The first cartoon in the issue is by J.A.K. (Jason Adam Katzenstein). The drawing depends on understanding the caption’s reference to the Large Hadron Collider.  I remember when the collider was all over the news years ago (2008 specifically).  Seeing it referred to here in this drawing I immediately thought there was some collider news event I’d recently missed. A quick search didn’t turn up anything exciting in the news (exciting, that is, to this non-scientific mind). What I did see on Wikipedia is how darn huge the collider is (they don’t call it “large”  fer nuthin’).

Mr. Katzenstein’s drawing — how he drew the collider — made me think of a great Jack Ziegler drawing involving something we tend to think of as small (plumbing pipes).  Unlike Mr. Katzenstein’s collider, Mr. Ziegler went to town in the juxtaposition department, making the small humongous; Mr. Katzenstein made the humongous small-er.  I’m  showing Mr. Ziegler’s here as it appeared on the page in the issue of March 3, 1980. It’s a thing of beauty. While working I often keep in mind this quote from Mr. Ziegler: “…it’s always nice when cartoonists know how to draw so that they can give us something pleasant and fun to look at.”

Six pages later, a Hitchcockian-flavored drawing from Julia Suits. Who can forget this Tippi Hedren moment from Hitchcock’s The Birds? Ms. Suits cartoon adds poppy seeds, and voila!

On the facing page is a Frank Cotham cave man drawing. Similar to his drawing last week in mashing very old (last week medieval and contemporary times) with now.  Here it’s mashing very very very old with now. The cartoon is placed/spaced well on the page.

Ten pages later a drawing by newbie Alice Cheng (her first appearance was this past February), who has employed a semi-forgotten go-to situation: house mice.  This is a Charles Addams moment (bringing in a crime scene with police and the media). Nicely done.  Four pages later a cowboy campfire drawing by Zach Kanin.  I’ll take a cowboy and campfire drawing any day of the week — love them.  Here, Mr. Kanin seems to channel the wonderful wackiness of  the aforementioned Mr. Ziegler. 

And speaking of semi-little-used go-to situations, the very next drawing (by Amy Kurzweil) gives us signs in a store front window. Store front windows with signs once appeared regularly in The New Yorker (I did my share as did many colleagues).

On the very next page is a well placed Roz Chast drawing.  Anxiety in an airplane.  You can just imagine, but you don’t have to, of course. Ten pages later an Ed Steed strip-like drawing along the bottom of the page.  Larkness visible.

Seven pages later, a Charlie Hankin drawing based on the  famous story of Icarus. It never seems to turn out well for poor Icarus. I like Mr. Hankin’s take on the the myth.

Three pages later is the New Yorker (print) debut for Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell; a more than meets the eye drawing.  Good wording. Another three pages brings us to a drawing by William Haefeli. It can be said of a number of New Yorker cartoonists that their work is instantly recognizable (think BEK).  Mr. Haefeli’s work is solidly in that category. The caption for this drawing is priceless. The drawing, as was Ms. Cambell’s, is well placed on the page.

Nine pages later is a Tom Chitty drawing of robots (they appear to be sitting at the same coffee shop table as J.A.K. s collider couple, although the seats are different).  The little flower at the heart of this drawing reminds me (exactly in its look) of a battery-powered plastic flower in a plastic pot my mother gave to me. When you turn it on the flower rotates and “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” starts playing. Would these robots have a real flower or a mechanical flower?

The last drawing in the issue is by Sara Lautman.  Oddly/coincidentally, the drawing incorporates a round-top table (just like Mr. Chitty’s drawing and Mr. Katzenstein’s). But the focus here is on the genie that’s appeared, and his up-dated wisdom (do genies dispense wisdom? Sure, why not). He appears to be drawn in the Disney Robin Williams genie mold more than the Barbara Eden look (below: Disney’s genie on the left, Lautman’s in the center, Barbara Eden’s genie, far right ):

 

— See you next Monday.

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

The Monday Tilley Watch: The New Yorker Issue of November 6, 2017

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

 I think it’s safe to say we have in our hands this week the New Yorker’s official Fall issue what with John Cuneo‘s beautiful giant leaf descending cover. 

For a change, I looked through this week’s issue (the digital issue, of course) on my laptop instead of on my tablet. It’s helpful seeing everything in an immediately readable format instead of having to zoom in, but it also removes a layer of mystery I’ve come to enjoy: seeing the cartoons small, and trying to figure out (sometimes) who did them and guessing what the caption might be. Back to the tablet next week.

Skipping through the front of the magazine, I did pause to admire the illustration on page six by Roman Muradov. It sort of has a Arthur Getz and Eugene Mihaesco mash-up feel — a 1960-ish vibe.  Nice.

Passing by the “redraw” of Rea Irvin‘s  iconic never-shoulda-been-replaced Talk of The Town masthead (above) we get to the first cartoon on page 22, a couple of beavers, courtesy of Kaamran Hafeez.  One of the beavers suffers from an age-old problem that was used to great effect on The Mary Tyler Moore Show when  newsman Ted Baxter read, on air: “I’ve just been handed a bulletin: ‘You have something on your front tooth!'” Curious about whether there was any significance to running a beaver drawing now, I consulted Wikipedia for a snap education. The entry included this:“Maintenance work on the dam and lodges is particularly heavy in autumn.”

Here’s a photo of a beaver, just because:

 Five pages later is a Zach Kanin drawing of a fitting room. I like the louvered fitting room doors, which could easily double for those steel roll-down gates you see on storefronts. Below left: Kanin louvered door.  Right: steel roll-down gate.

Eight pages later a Paul Noth mobster-tinged bar scene based on  “if a tree falls in the forest…” Nice expression on the woodsman’s face.  Good caption. Four pages later an Ed Steed drawing (i.e., dark). Shades of Charles Addams’ kids home from camp drawing

On the very next page, Julia Suits takes us out west to the reliable compound of cowboys at a campfire plus modern technology (I’ve done it myself a few times — it’s an irresistible scenario). Can’t see a cowboy campfire without thinking about Mel Brooks’ classic scene. Three pages later an interesting garage drawing by Ellis Rosen. One of our grandmasters, George Booth did a number of memorable garage drawings. Here’s one (published in the issue of December 28, 1998):

Mr. Booth has had a lot of company over the years. Mr. Ellis gives us a lovely drawing with an excellent caption. And, bonus: it sits well on the page. An Amy Kurzweil drawing is on the very next page.  A chess scenario, perfectly timed for Halloween. I like this drawing, but did find myself pondering why the chess pieces have arms. Are these actual chess pieces dressed up for Halloween, or are they people dressed up in chess pieces for Halloween who have decided to further Halloween-ize their chess costumes? So many questions…

Five pages later a Roz Chast triptych (her preferred construct in recent years). The third panel is a gem.

Six pages later, a Sara Lautman drawing leaning heavily on a pun. Five pages later, appearing just a day after International Cat Day, is an Amy Hwang cat drawing. If you want even more cartoon cat drawings, find these somewhere online or in your favorite used book store:

Five pages later, veteran Mick Stevens brings us back to much earlier times. I’m aware of the cartoon takes of Moses passing by a burning bush (hmmm, that was him, wasn’t it?) and him famously getting hold of the tablets containing the Ten Commandments. But the Biblical-era press conference is new to me.  I note that Moses looks weary.

Three pages later another cartoonist trope: the wedding scene. This one’s by Emily Flake. Understanding the definition of the word “algorithm” as used in the caption is key to understanding this drawing.  Someone should really do a book of New Yorker  dating/mating/algorithm related drawings (there was a dating cartoon in the magazine two weeks ago).

Four pages later, the last drawing in the issue (not counting the caption contest work): a banana peel domestic situation via J.A.K. (Jason Adam Katzenstein). The only thing as funny as someone slipping on a banana peel is someone getting slapped with a pie in the face. Danny Shanahan gave us both:

To see a slideshow of all the cartoons in this week’s issue, go here to the Cartoons page of newyorker.com and scroll down past the Daily Cartoon, Caption Contest to Cartoons from the Issue.

–See you next Monday

 

 

 

   

 

 

The Monday Tilley Watch: The New Yorker Issue of October 30, 2017

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

We are definitely in the Halloween mode in the new issue, and it all begins with Carter Goodrich’s cover; a scary clown looking remarkably similar to our current president peers out from the woods.  For some reason my thoughts drifted back to what I believe was the first appearance of the Donald on the cover way way back in 1992; the Robert Risko high-kickin’ chorus line cover was on the 13th issue of Ms. Brown’s tenure.

Skipping through GOAT (Goings On About Town), and, sigh, the redrawn Rea Irvin Talk of the Town masthead,  we come to page 18, and the first cartoon of the issue.  Zach Kanin is back with what at first might seem like a Halloween themed drawing, what with the full-face ski hats, but it’s not Halloween-related — it’s a pizza crime cartoon. Not the first pizza drawing in the magazine (for instance: who could forget Gahan Wilson’s 1997 classic), but possibly the first incorporating a stick-up using bank robbery terminology.  My one microscopic quibble with the drawing is not with the drawing at all, but the proximity of the Otto Soglow spot drawing just above it.  I’m firmly in the camp of letting the New Yorker‘s cartoons have plenty of breathing room. 

 Roz Chast’s gingerbread man drawing, appearing five pages after Mr. Kanin’s, is an example of plenty of breathing room.  A Danny Shanahan carrot cake man two issues ago, and now a gingerbread man.  Somebody should really do a book of pastry people cartoons.

Nine pages following Ms. Chast’s couch-bound confection (with a Trump illustration appearing along the way) is an Amy Hwang drawing that, at first glance, appears to be Halloween-related. But, like Mr. Kanin’s, it’s not a Halloween drawing (although I’ve seen situations like this set up in front yards of homes at this time of year). A buff executioner stands beside a rope-less(?) guillotine. Five pages later is a Will McPhail drawing with its figures in silhouette (guillotine, silhouette…what an issue).  Lovely night sky, Mr. McPhail. On the very next page is another William’s drawing (William Haefeli).  I should mention that all of the drawings, from Ms. Chast’s on, have been beautifully placed on the page. Mr. Haefeli delivers a principal’s office cartoon drawn in his trademark style. This drawing might even have more going on than the usual Haefeli contribution. I found myself enlarging the cartoon on my computer screen to see what was on the cartoon computer screen and what was going on out in the cartoon hallway.

Three pages later is a Julia Suits drawing that causes us (or maybe just me) to imagine another cartoon within her cartoon.  A fellow at a very long bar is thinking about a woman who’s walked into his wet cement. That’s what I was imagining — the walking into the wet cement scene.

On the very next page is — yay! — a Halloween cartoon, courtesy of one of our modern anchor cartoonists, Joe Dator.  Mr. Dator’s “last-minute” parade drawing made me think about the now famous Greenwich Village mega-parade, wherein gazillions of costumed folks gather together.  Mr. Dator’s less populated parade is appealing. Four pages later, a drawing by one of the most recognizable stylists in recent times, Seth Fleishman. Looking slightly Spy vs Spy in this drawing (it’s the hat, I think, plus the mash-up of black & white figures) Mr. Fleishman dips into mobsterville  — the fish wrapped in newspaper). 

On the very next page is a Drew Panckeri drawing of a reclined and relaxed member of the armed forces on his bed speaking with what I imagine is a counterpart from an adversarial country. I find the fellow’s coat interesting — it looks a bit like an Eisenhower jacket, but it’s not quite short enough. Several objects in the room caused me to linger on this drawing for awhile: the lava lamp, the large model (?) of a rocket, and the framed piece which looks as if it might be based on James Montgomery Flagg’s 1917 “I Want You poster (itself based on New Yorker cartoonist Alfred Leete‘s earlier work, shown below far right). The fellow in Mr. Panckeri’s  frame is definitely pointing at the viewer, but his clothing looks more carny than country.  

 

Fourteen pages later (following a photo essay) is a Bruce Eric Kaplan drawing of a woman in bed. As usual with Mr. Kaplan, a winning caption. Opposite Mr. Kaplan’s drawing is a wonderful bookend to Mr. Dator’s parade drawing (it being the Halloween issue): witches standing at a boiling cauldron.  This is a lovely drawing, with an Edward Gorey-ish feel to it.

Ten pages later is the last drawing of the issue (not counting the caption contest work on the last page).  It’s a Paul Noth word play drawing.  I see people at a table with the mention of wine and I cannot not think of James Thurber’s 1937 oft-reprinted classic drawing.

I can’t leave this week’s issue without a Charles Addams shout-out. If you have a moment, seek out his covers and drawings.  With Addams it was Halloween all year long. 

Til next Monday… 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interview of Interest: Barry Blitt; Fave Photos of the Day: Gross, Eckstein, Booth, Byrnes, Nguyen, Cotham, and Le Lievre

From Politico, “‘Wry Titters’ in the Age of Trump” — an interview with Barry Blitt, who has an anthology of his work coming out next week.

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Fave Photos of the Day

New Yorker cartoonist, Julia Suits took these fine photos at 1 World Trade Center (home of the New Yorker) this past September. My thanks to Ms. Suits for allowing them to be posted here.

Above: standing left-right: Bob Eckstein, Sam Gross, Pat Byrnes, George Booth.  Seated: Frank Cotham.

Below: Sam Gross and George Booth 

Glen Le Lievre in silhouette

Sam Gross, Jeremy Nguyen, and Frank Cotham