Robert Grossman, Illustrator, Cartoonist Extraordinaire: 1940-2018; The Tilley Watch Online

Robert Grossman, Illustrator, Cartoonist Extraordinaire, 1940 – 2018

  Robert Grossman a multi-talented artist with an instantly recognizable style, has passed away. Mr. Grossman enjoyed a spectacular career as an illustrator and cartoonist with his work appearing on the cover of numerous major publications. For far more information please go to Drew Friedman’s 2013 piece about Mr. Grossman’s career. 

In the early 1960s Mr. Grossman worked briefly as an assistant to the New Yorker‘s Art Editor, James Geraghty. He contributed two cartoons in the Geraghty years: January 13, 1962 (seen above) and December 14, 1963. His work returned to the magazine in the Tina Brown years in the form of six comic strips; his last contribution ran under David Remnick’s editorship.

( Mr. Grossman’s Yale Record parody cover of the New Yorker appears at the top of this piece)


Trumpian cartoons were in the majority again this week in the Daily Cartoon slot:  a reflection on teachers & guns-in-the-classroom by Avi Steinberg, Stormy weather by Kim Warp, March Madness by Lars Kenseth, a tribute to Stephen Hawking by David Sipress (that was a ‘bonus” Daily), Trump & school walkouts was a team effort by Jason Chatfield and Scott Dooley.  The week ended with Ellis Rosen‘s nod to the nationwide closing of the Toys r Us chain. 

Contributing cartoonists appearing on Daily Shouts: Emma Hunsinger, Will McPhail, and Ben Schwartz.

All the work (and more) can be seen here.

A Visit to “Jim’s Bench”; Cartoon Companion Rates The Latest New Yorker Cartoons; Tilley Watch Online; Live New Yorker Cartoons Part VI on Late Night with Seth Meyers

A Visit to “Jim’s Bench”

The filmmaker Sally Williams recently asked me if I’d like to meet with her at “Jim’s bench” on Central Park West and 77th Street, right across the street from the Museum of Natural History. I couldn’t possibly resist the invitation. Ms. Williams has been working on a documentary about James Stevenson for quite some time now; we’ve had numerous conversations over the years about Mr. Stevenson and, of course, The New Yorker. 

 Mr. Stevenson is on a long list of New Yorker cartoonists who have lived and worked in New York City (some still do) and whose work reflected their city. I think also of Steinberg and Alan Dunn as cases in point.

Sitting on this bench near where Mr. Stevenson lived I couldn’t help but imagine him experiencing the traffic, the sounds, sights, types of individuals bicycling by, walking by, running by; the dogs and dog-walkers, the flurry of activity at the museum. I could see it all in Stevenson’s style: gracefully casual, with spark. Ms. Williams confirmed that Mr. Stevenson was, like so many cartoonists, a watcher (I once likened cartoonists to sponges. Consciously or subconsciously, we take everything in).  

If you find yourself near the Museum of Natural History, you might want to take a seat on Jim’s bench and spend a few moments watching Manhattan go by, Stevenson-style. 

  The bench is the one closest to the Humboldt StatueIt bears a small plaque:

 (I’ve written about Mr. Stevenson here on the Spill a number of times.  Here’s one piece which might be of interest). 


Cartoon Companion Rates the Latest New Yorker Cartoons

Messrs. Max and Simon are back with thoughts & ratings on work by Frank Cotham, Carolita Johnson, Drew Dernavich, Avi Steinberg, Emily Flake, Roz Chast, Olivia de Recat, Mike Twohy, Bob Eckstein, Edward Koren, and Darrin Bell.  Read it here!


Daily Cartoons this week by: Paul Noth, Mary Lawton, Kim Warp, David Sipress, and Lars Kenseth (4/5ths of the drawings were Trumpian).

And the contributing New Yorker cartoonists on Daily Shouts:  P.C. Vey, Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell, Liana Finck, Emily Flake, and JAK (with Hartley Lin).  


Live New Yorker Cartoons Part VI on Late Night with Seth Meyers

The New Yorker‘s editor, David Remnick returns to Late Night with Seth Meyers in the best segment yet. Cartoons by Carolita Johnson, Charlie Hankin, Will McPhail, Maddie Dai, and Ellis Rosen brought to life.   See them here!



American Bystander #7 On Its Way!; More Spills…Ken Krimstein’s New Book; New Yorker Encyclopedia of Cartoons Cover (Cont’d)

Hungry for comic humor?  American Bystander, now up to its 7th number, will do it for you. 

  Here are just some of the contributors in this issue : Charles Barsotti, R.O. Blechman (who’s provided the cover for #7), Harry Bliss, George Booth, M.K. Brown, Roz Chast, Tom Chitty, Randall Enos, Drew Friedman, Rick Geary, Sam Gross, Tom Hachtman, John Jonik, Lars Kenseth, Stephen Kroninger, Peter Kuper, Sara Lautman, Stan Mack, Brian McConnachie, P.S. Mueller, Mimi Pond, Mike Sacks, Maria Scrivan, Rich Sparks, Ed Subitzky, Shannon Wheeler, P.C.Vey, and Jack Ziegler.

Think they don’t make magazines like this anymore?…well actually, they do.  

  Go here to find out how you can get hold of American Bystander  #7.



Krimstein’s New Book…Here’s New Yorker cartoonist Ken Krimstein holding a galley of his forthcoming graphic biography, The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt: A Tyranny of Truth.  Photos by Alex Sinclair. The book is due this September, published by Bloomsbury. Mr. Krimstein’s previous book was Kvetch As Kvetch Can. More info here on the publisher’s website.

Link here to see Mr. Krimstein’s work.


The New Yorker Encyclopedia of Cartoons Cover (Cont’d)…

I’m fascinated by the “journey” sometimes taken by a new book’s cover as it is listed online (my fascination probably began with the posting of a dummy cover for my Peter Arno book). 

The upcoming heavyweight New Yorker Encyclopedia of Cartoons cover went from its initial listing (“No Image Available”) to a dummy cover (in black) to the finished cover (in red), then back to its dummy cover, and now (at least on Amazon) back to “No Image Available”… like so:






The Monday Tilley Watch: The New Yorker Issue of February 26, 2018

Always glad to return to weekly issues of the magazine after doubles. This new issue sports a cover that seems like the sum of the equation: Olympics + North Korea =.

  Here’s what cover artist Mark Ulriksen had to say about it on

The Olympics + North Korea equation continues with the very first spot drawing appearing on the opening page of The Talk of The Town. And, as long as we’re mentioning that page,  let’s get this out of the way: Rea Irvin’s classic Talk masthead is still a-missin’.  Here’s what it looks like:

Could be wrong, but it seems like there are slightly more Otto Soglow spot drawings scattered throughout Talk than usual (along with Tom Bachtell’s always top-notch drawings). 

Doesn’t take long to get to the first cartoon of the issue (it’s on page 18). P.C. Vey delivers a very P.C. Vey-like piece of work (that’s always a good thing).  Love the little fish Mr. Vey has drawn, but wish it was still swimmin’. Five pages later Lars Kenseth takes us to the land of the pitchman. Funny drawing. Love how Mr. Kenseth uses the language. I did something in that vein a long time back — in the New Yorker, April 6, 1981, to be exact.  I remember it being a ton-o-fun playing with the structure of the television pitch. 

On the very next page one of my favorite subjects: the old west (or possibly it’s a cowboy and his horse in the contemporary west).  Zach Kanin’s coffee-drinking horse is well drawn.  I wish the cowboy’s face was easier to see on the digital edition — this is where print (might) come in handy. 

Nine pages later, a well-placed-on-the-page Frank Cotham cartoon. Cartoonists usually love to show gangsters about to toss a guy off a pier.  Mr. Cotham gives us a prequel. Nice.

Four pages later Roz Chast with an at-home Olympics moment.  A very Chastian drawing any which way you look at it. Another four pages brings us to the second-ever New Yorker drawing (unless I’m mistaken) by Olivia de Recat.  Similar to her first in that it’s mostly text. This one is approximately 97% text (handwritten text).  Her first was perhaps 91% text.  Though we don’t see them as much as we used to, the aforementioned Ms. Chast has done a number of text-driven (to use a Tina Brown era term) drawings over the years. Without doing research (unforgivable, I know!) I’m going out on a limb by suggesting Ms. Chast may have pioneered this particular form of New Yorker cartoon. If anyone wants to shoot that down, please contact me.

Five pages later, Maddie Dai weighs in on a fellow’s mid-life crisis times two.  His motorcycle (which lacks a gas tank — maybe it’s one of those new electric bikes) has at least one (unintentional?) funny feature: the bike’s training wheels are attached to the hub of the rear wheel.  If this cartoon bike was a real bike the training wheels would spin around with the tire, complicating things even further for the crisis guy.  No matter — it’s a nice drawing. 

On the very next page, a debut New Yorker cartoon by Navied Mahdavian*, that answers the oft-asked question, “What did we do before the internet?” Funny drawing.

Four pages later, veteran cartoonist, Mick Stevens gives us death having just died.  Looking at Mr. Stevens’ drawing I asked myself if this fell into the double negative column.  If death dies, isn’t death then alive? Way too much of a headache-inducing thought for this cartoonist (me, not Mr. Stevens).

Eight pages later Sara Lautman takes us to a contemporary bar moment. Found myself studying the shelves and bottles of booze in the background.  There’s a Robert Weber-ish looseness to that area.

Seven pages later a Bruce Eric Kaplan gem of a caption.  And on the very next page, the last drawing of the issue (not counting those on the Caption Contest page).  Liana Finck gives us a bird chase. Not sure what the surface is that they are on — is it pavement with a sidewalk in the rear?  It probably doesn’t matter.  The big bird — the one that’s chasing the little bird —  has an expression indicating confidence she/he will succeed, despite the lack of arms. 

*For those keeping track, Navied Mahdavian is the thirteenth new cartoonist introduced under the magazine’s current cartoon editor, Emma Allen, since she was appointed in May of 2017, and the second newbie introduced so far in 2018.

— See you next Monday



Tilley Watch Online; Blog of Interest: A New Yorker State of Mind; Even More Hoff on Attempted Bloggery; Cartoon Cliches (3 parts)

Not so unusual: mostly a Trump week on the Daily, which leads me to note this online query that popped up recently.

Four out of five of the week’s Daily cartoons feature Mr. Trump, while the fifth is inseparable from him. The Daily cartoonists this week: David Sipress, Brendan Loper, Lars Kenseth, Ellis Rosen, and Peter Kuper. All of these drawings can be found here

And over on the Daily Shouts, the contributing New Yorker cartoonists: Barbara SmallerSara Lautman, and Jason Adam Katzenstein (illustrated by Hope Larson).


Blog of Interest: A New Yorker State of Mind

This blog, with the subtitle of “Reading Every Issue of The New Yorker Magazine” is now up to January 19, 1929;  the focus of the post is prohibition. What fun! Read it here.

(above: a drawing from the issue by Constantin Alajalov, still spelling his name with “d” in 1929)


Even More Hoff on Attempted Bloggery

Stephen Nadler’s site continues its (Syd) Hoff Fest.  See it here!


Cartoon Cliches (3 parts)

Mike Lynch has been posting cartoons from Dick Buchanan’s incredible cartoon clip file. The subject  in recent days is cartoon cliches.  Examples include work by a number of cartoonists published in The New Yorker, including Joe Farris (above), Bud Handelsman, Al Kaufman, Vahan Shirvanian, John Norment, Lee Lorenz, and many more.  See all the parts here.

A Kenseth in The White House; Brief Interview of Interest: Ben Schwartz; PR: The New Yorker Encyclopedia of Cartoons Listed

A Kenseth in The White House

Lars Kenseth posted on social media that one of his New Yorker drawings (shown above. It was published January 30, 2017) found its way to the White House.

Here’s the link to the New York Times story. As Mr. Kenseth suggests in his Facebook post, to see the mention of his drawing scroll to the final paragraph.

Link here to Mr. Kenseth’s website.

For more, here’s a recent Spill piece on Mr. Kenseth’s drawings.


Brief Interview of Interest: Ben Schwartz

From Scarsdale 10583, January 30, 2018, “Balancing Act: A Doctor Who Creates Cartoons for The New Yorker”— this interview with Ben Schwartz.


…The listing shown below recently popped up online. The “Semi-Serious” in the title seems to be a bit a cross-promotion with a 2015 documentary starring the magazine’s former cartoon editor, Bob Mankoff.  Note that we are not shown the final cover (it says so right there: “Cover Not Final”), but it’s a start! Additional copy from the publisher appears below in green. Note to the publisher, Black Dog & Leventhal: you might want to correct the length of Mankoff’s tenure: it was close to twenty years, not thirty years.

Further copy from the publisher’s website:

The is the most ingenious collection of New Yorker cartoons published in book form, The New Yorker Encyclopedia of Cartoons is a prodigious, slip-cased, two-volume, 1,600-page A-to-Z curation of cartoons from the magazine from 1924 to the present. Mankoff–for thirty years the cartoon editor of the New Yorker–organizes nearly 3,000 cartoons into more than 250 categories of recurring New Yorker themes and visual tropes, including cartoons on banana peels, meeting St. Peter, being stranded on a desert island, snowmen, lion tamers, Adam and Eve, the Grim Reaper, and dogs, of course. The result is hilarious and Mankoff’s commentary throughout adds both depth and whimsy. The collection also includes a foreword by New Yorker editor David Remnick. This is stunning gift for the millions of New Yorker readers and anyone looking for some humor in the evolution of social commentary.