The Monday Tilley Watch: The New Yorker Issue of December 4, 2017

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

Back in February of 1996, the New Yorker celebrated its 71st anniversary with a “Special Women’s Issue.” Of the 23 cartoonists in the issue, 20 were men. The three women cartoonists were Victoria Roberts, Roz Chast, and Liza Donnelly. The cover, a take-off on Eustace Tilley, dubbed “Eustacia Tilley” was handled by a man, R.O. Blechman.

Now, just 21 years later, we have what I believe to be a first: this is the first issue of the New Yorker where the number of women artists outnumber the men (if anyone can provide an earlier issue where this was the case, please let me know). Of the 14 cartoonists contributing to this latest issue, 8 are women. The cover is by a woman as well. 

Before heading on to the cartoons and cartoonists, I note this modern Tilley take (below left)  on page 4, below the list of Contributors:

Poor Eustace!  He’s lost most of his facial features, and he seems to have gained a large strand of red licorice around his shoulders. Just as a reminder, I’ve placed Rea Irvin’s original Eustace alongside, lest we forget.

Now on to the business at hand (at eye?). The first cartoon is the not-too-often-seen -anymore people-in-line drawing.  Memorable people-in-line moments that come to mind: the line waiting for soup in Seinfeld’s  “Soup Nazi” episode, and this classic  Woody Allen scene. Mr. Vey’s caption has a faint Horton Hatches The Egg-ness about it. The drawing itself features an abundance of stanchions that immediately reminded me of this wonderful captionless cartoon by Bill Woodman that appeared in The New Yorker, May 8, 1978:  

Five pages later is Sofia Warren’s second-ever New Yorker drawing (her first appeared last week). Sometimes New Yorker drawings drive me to the closest dictionary (via a search box) to clarify some word or phrase I’ve felt I generally understood (but didn’t really). There are two drawings in this issue that caused me to seek further definition.  The use of “vortex”  in Ms. Warren’s drawing was the first. Webster‘s defines it as “something resembling a whirlpool”  — Aha! That’s in the ballpark of what I thought it meant. Ms. Warren, confronted the challenge of drawing a stand-alone whirlpool by giving  us an energetic mass somewhat resembling birds nest pasta. Works for me (both the vortex and the pasta).


Three pages later a father/son factory “Someday this will be all yours” drawing. Updated, I suppose, with a reference to offshore shell companies.  In tried and true trope fashion, Mr. Noth has shown us framed images of the company’s previous generations of owners. Next up, a mash-up drawing by newbie, Jon Adams. Here we have the Michelin Man (in a sash). I had to look that up as well. I didn’t picture him in a sash — apparently, he doesn’t always wear one. The rubbery fellow is mixed up with the famous Michelin Guide. Also apparently, the Michelin Man is a Michelin Guide food critic who has been escorted out of a restaurant by a chef. The restaurant apparently (yes, the third “apparently”) does not allow customers to wear sashes.  An awful lot of apparentlys here. 

Three pages later another newbie, but not as new as the previous newbie.  In this Teresa Burns Parkhurst drawing both of the folks seem to be speaking (both have open mouths). I suppose it doesn’t really matter who’s doing the talking.  The caption works either way.  I was surprised that this drawing and the last were so close together as they are graphically similar.

In another three pages we come to the always welcome art of Joe Dator.  I can’t quite explain how (or why?), but I feel Mr. Dator brings a Mad Magazine/National Lampoon-quality to the New Yorker.  And that, of course, is a very very good thing. 

Four pages later is a Roz Chast drawing — it’s the second drawing of the issue that took me to the search box for a clear definition.  I’ve heard “life hacks” for awhile now, but never took the half-second to look it up. Well, okay…got it now.

Four pages later a Tom Chitty police line-up drawing. Mr. Chitty went at this head-on which almost (almost) makes the fellows in the line-up look like they in a painting or photo on the wall. Maybe they are, but I don’t think so. I wondered why it was possibly a #7 missing from the line-up and not #6.  Anyway, funny idea. On the opposite page is a Liana Finck drawing — the style recognizable from across the room. Nice grizzly bear.

Twenty-one pages later (!) is a Liza Donnelly drawing of an off the grid little piggy. I can’t tell if he’s happy to be off the grid or not.  Has he made the right decision for him or herself?  Only the little piggy knows. Opposite Ms. Donnelly’s drawing is a Frank Cotham drawing that caused me to, as Bob Dylan once said (in the song “Belle Isle”), “stay for awhile.” I couldn’t decide who was “clinging to territory”— the dog or the guy. I still can’t decide.

Four pages later a drawing by another newbie, Maggie Larson (but this isn’t her first New Yorker drawing). Ms. Larson’s style here reminds me of someone we don’t hear about much anymore: Charles Sauers. Both Ms. Larson and Mr. Sauers work employs a particular perspective as well as simple line drawing.   Here’s a Sauers drawing from the August 20, 1984 New Yorker:

And the last drawing of the issue (not counting the work on the Caption Contest page) is by Kate Curtis. A really well drawn piece, solidly in the Charles Addams school of everything.

So that’s that for this week…other than mentioning my campaign to reinstate Rea Irvin’s Talk of the Town masthead.  Here’s Mr. Irvin’s original.  Perhaps someday it will get back to where it once belonged. 









A Spill Favorite Leftovers Cartoon…and a Bonus; A Trio of Non-New Yorker Cartoon Books of Interest; The Tilley Watch Online: Loper, Larson, Rosen, Flake, Gerberg, Warp, and Finck; John Lennon’s (New Yorker) Diaries

A Spill Favorite Leftovers Cartoon…and a Bonus

Yesterday I posted an evergreen Thanksgiving drawing by Bob Eckstein.  Today, an evergreen for the day after.  This Liza Donnelly drawing appeared in The New Yorker, November 26, 2007.

Ms. Donnelly has also provided the Spill with an unpublished cartoon that I particularly like.



A Trio of non-New Yorker Related Books of Interest

Here are three titles I came across while scouring upcoming releases.  As far as I know none include a New Yorker contributor (but, hey, ya nevah know). 

Thomas Nast: The Father of Modern Political Cartoons. What better artist to explore right now than Mr. Nast. This book by Fiona Deans Halloran is due February 1, 2018.  Published by The University of North Carolina Press.  A reprint — it was originally published in 2013.

Screwball: The Cartoonists Who Made the Funnies Funny.  Authored by Paul C. Tumey, this looks to be a good addition to any comics library.  Due in September 2018.  Published by the Library of American Comics.

French Cartoon Art in the 1960s and 1970s. By Wendy Michallat. I plead guilty to knowing very little about modern-ish French cartoons/cartoonists. This title looks like a good place to start an education. Published by Leuven University Press.  Due: March 15, 2018



…as you’d expect from this holiday week, a number of Thanksgiving-related works. Some chatty turkeys by Brendan Loper; a forgetful pie-maker by Liana Finck; a long line of pre-Thanksgiving Day shoppers & their thoughts by Maggie Larson; an Ellis Rosen pugilist T-Day; and politics, of course, courtesy of Mort Gerberg, and Kim Warp;  yesterday, Emily Flake advised how to keep the peace on the big day.  


John Lennon’s (New Yorker) Diaries

Reading the November 21st New York Times piece “Man Arrested in Berlin Over John Lennon’s Stolen Diaries” I couldn’t help but notice the accompanying photograph shows that Mr. Lennon used two New Yorker Diaries to record his thoughts.  One from 1975, and the other, sadly, from 1980. Also of interest: on the 1975 diary, Eustace Tilley was covered-over with a photo of Mr. Lennon (the photo appeared on his Walls & Bridges album).

Just Opened! Library of Congress Exhibit “Drawn to Purpose: American Women Illustrators and Cartoonists; Advertising Work by New Yorker Cartoonists, Pt. 24: Otto Soglow’s Pudding Drawings; More Spills: Weyant and Twohy

Library of Congress Exhibit: Drawn to Purpose: American Women Illustrators and Cartoonists

From the LOC’s press release:

Original works by women cartoonists and illustrators are featured in a new exhibition opening at the Library of Congress on Nov. 18. Spanning the late 1800s to the present, “Drawn to Purpose: American Women Illustrators and Cartoonists” brings to light remarkable but little-known contributions made by North American women to these art forms.

Among the artists represented are New Yorker contributors Roberta MacDonald, Helen Hokinson, Liza Donnelly, Peggy Bacon, Roz Chast, and Anita Kunz.

Details here.

Above: March 1920 Vanity Fair cover by Anne Harriet Fish.


Advertising Work by New Yorker Cartoonists, Pt. 24: Otto Soglow’s Pudding Drawings.

Here are three Royal Pudding ads by the great Otto Soglow.  All feature his iconic “Little King”;  for those wanting more Soglow I suggest finding a copy of the fab Cartoon Monarch: Otto Soglow & The Little King,  edited by Dean Mullaney (IDW, 2012). I’ve shown the cover below the ads.

All these pudding ads ran in 1955.  As has been the case with a very large percentage of the Spill’New Yorker ads series, my thanks go to Warren Bernard for his generosity.


Two books of note.  One out in January and one not out for awhile. Both for kids.

Christopher Weyant has illustrated Laura Gehl’s My Pillow Keeps Moving (Viking Books for Young Readers).  Due in mid January 2018.

Mike Twohy‘s Stop! Go! Yes, No!: A Story of Opposites (Balzer & Bray) due in August of 2018.   Cover art not yet available




New American Bystander Cover Revealed; Advertising Work by New Yorker Cartoonists, Pt. 23: Anatol Kovarsky; More Spills: A Blitt Book Party

New American Bystander Cover Revealed

Michael Gerber, publisher of The American Bystander has released the cover for issue #6.  Needless to say the art is by Arnold Roth (needless to say because he’s signed the art and  it could only be the work of Mr. Roth.  No one else draws like that).

If you love New Yorker cartoons, you’ll love the Bystander.

Go here to read more, to contribute to the Kickstarter campaign, to order a copy, and/or better yet, subscribe.


Advertising Work by New Yorker Cartoonists, Pt. 23: Anatol Kovarsky

Continuing on in this series now with the first of a number of ads sent to the Spill by Anatol Kovarsky’s daughter, Gina. You’ll be seeing Mr. Kovarsky’s wonderful art pop up on the Spill throughout the holiday season as we head toward the opening of an exhibit of his work at the Society of Illustrators in January. Here are three undated ads for an underwear company.


The New Yorker‘s editor, David Remnick hosted a book party  for Barry Blitt last night celebrating the release of Mr. Blitt’s Blitt (Riverhead, 2017).  Among those seen in the crowd: illustrators Steve Brodner, Joe Ciardiello, John Cuneo, Gayle Kabaker, Istvan Banyai and the New Yorker‘s art editor, Francoise Mouly;  cartoonists Liza Donnelly, Art Spiegelman, Maggie Larson, Peter Kuper, Jeremy Nguyen, and the New Yorker‘s cartoon editor, Emma Allen  and the New Yorker’s assistant cartoon editor, Colin Stokes.

Below: Blitt by Blitt



Liza Donnelly Draws International Center for Journalists Awards…then Breaks (Her Drawing) Arm.

From the International Center for Journalism, “New Yorker Cartoonist Liza Donnelly Draws Awards Dinner Highlights” — a slideshow of Ms. Donnelly’s work from last Thursday night’s awards. 

The next morning, after a run on the Mall in Washington, Ms. Donnelly fell and broke her drawing arm. She posted this on social media:

Two days later she posted this first attempt at drawing with her left hand:

Ink Spill wishes Ms. Donnelly a speedy recovery!


Q&A of Interest: The New Yorker’s Cartoon Editor, Emma Allen; Fave Photos of the Day: Edward Sorel at The Society of Illustrators; Thurber Obits and More Soglow From Attempted Bloggery; PR: Chast

Q&A of Interest: The New Yorker’s Cartoon Editor, Emma Allen

From Yale Alumni Magazine, Nov/Dec 2017, “She Got Her Start By Giving Bad Advice” — a fun Q&A with Emma Allen, the New Yorker‘s cartoon editor.


Fave Photos of the Day: Edward Sorel

Here’s Edward Sorel lecturing yesterday at The Society of Illustrators for an Association of American Editorial Cartoonists event.  (photos courtesy of Liza Donnelly)


Thurber Obits and More Soglow From Attempted Bloggery

Attempted Bloggery has posted yet another obscure Otto Soglow piece as well as a trio of Thurber obits from November of 1961 (one of them includes the above 1943 photo, by Helen Taylor). See it all here.


…from 99U“Roz Chast: From Free Fall to Full Time Cartoonist”