The Monday Tilley Watch: The New Yorker (Double) Issue of December 18th & 25th, 2017

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

By now, observant social media types (and/or Spill visitors) have had four days to digest the latest issue’s cover.  Our current President as Scrooge, and in the background, one of his former associates singing, like a canary(?). As this is a double issue we’ll have to wait til Christmas morning for a new issue. Bah! Humbug!

True story:  Yesterday late afternoon I was in our local grocery store — the sole customer in the yogurt, cheese, butter section of a very long aisle.  I was looking to buy cheese sticks (some people call it string cheese). As I haven’t shopped for cheese sticks in a very long time, I needed to pause in front of what seemed like too many choices. Looking back on it now, I suppose I was momentarily in my own cheese stick bubble, unaware of anything or anyone else.

I’d finally given up trying to make the “right” choice and was leaning in to grab a package of sticks off the wall display when suddenly a black shape appeared directly in front of my face, blocking my vision. I grasped, rather quickly, that the black shape was the sleeve of a winter coat.  The rest of the coat belonged to a fellow customer who, unbeknownst to me, had been in the aisle waiting patiently for me to choose a cheese. Her patience having run out, she made a move deep into my “personal space” throwing her arm across my face to grab her cheese sticks of choice.  Startled by the sudden turn out the lights moment, I drew back, and turned to see a smiling face. I smiled too, then I laughed. Then she laughed too.

In many ways this is the experience I hope for when I take a first look at the cartoons in every new issue of the New Yorker. The very best moments are those that take me completely by surprise, then make me laugh. Peter Arno likened the surprise moment to a “one-two” punch: looking at the drawing, then reading the caption. When the two work perfectly together: Pow!   Sometimes it’s much much less than a pow — it’s an “ow” (sorry!). Usually though, cartoons (the drawing itself, or the caption) work somewhere between the extremes of “pow” and “ow.”

This week’s issue contains several fun moments (and a few ‘Pows”). I’m going to cite those particular drawings in an informal list, rather than mentioning each and every drawing in the issue.

  The first drawing in the issue, placed at the close of the Table of Contents just below the list of Artists (placing cartoons there is a Tina Brown era confection) is by Edward Koren. Mr. Koren’s expertise is on full display here. Part of enjoying a drawing, at least for me, is the feeling that the cartoonist was enjoying him or herself while drawing.  This is a beautiful drawing — an excellent way to lead off the issue.

David Sipress‘s drawing, on page 49, has a terrific caption right out of the Charles Saxon, George Booth mold.  Mr. Sipress has delivered a poetic and funny twist for a moment many have experienced.  

P.C. Vey‘s drawing on page 62. Not too many dry cleaner drawings in the New Yorker‘s 92 years. This is quite simply a funny drawing. The word “slob” in the caption delivers the “pow!”

Kim Warp‘s prison escape drawing (p. 67) is fun. I love the effort put into this drawing.  A funny moment:  the caption was at first not in sight (i.e., cut off) when I saw this drawing on my tablet.   I thought the drawing worked captionless (the idea that one of the escaping convicts is videoing his co-escapee being caught coming out of the hole in the ground).

Maggie Larson‘s captionless drawing on page 78. A situation plenty of folks can relate to.  Visually (graphically) it reminded me of this great Otto Soglow drawing from the issue of May 7, 1932:

Joe Dator‘s drawing on page 80.  The caped eye-patched fellow speaking is so interesting, as is the scenario Mr. Dator has drawn. I like being sucked in to a cartoonist’s world.

William Haefeli‘s lovely Christmas morning drawing (p.87). Another drawing, like Mr. Sipress’s that many can relate to. 

Liana Fincks drawing (p. 88).  This one needed to be seen on my laptop as the words were tough to see on the tablet. But worth switching devices for. A fun drawing. 

Thomas Cheney‘s drawing (p. 96).  An evergreen drawing.  If I was handing out ribbons like they do over on the Cartoon Companion, I’d be handing out a ribbon: the caption provided a “pow!”

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Notes:

  • Sadly, Rea Irvin’s Talk of the Town masthead (below) has yet to return.  Fingers crossed that someday it does.

  • A follow-up to one of last week’s newbie cartoonists, Mary Lawton. Ms. Lawton has informed the Spill that she submitted to the magazine for 30 years before seeing her first drawing published in its print edition. I believe that that is the longest effort on record (submitting before publication, not just submitting).
  • In this week’s issue, another newbie: Pia Guerra. If you’re keeping track, that makes 11 new cartoonists in Emma Allen’s first 8 months as cartoon editor.

— see you here Christmas day (or possibly, Boxing Day), for the issue of January 1, 2018. 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Monday Tilley Watch: The New Yorker Issue of December 11, 2017; Event of Note: “How To Read Nancy” Authors at The Society of Illustrators; A “More Spills” Correction Re: Jack Ziegler

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

Up above, in red, I use the word “meandering”; after this morning’s look- through of the new issue  I double-checked my usage.  “Aimless” is a good part of the definition (as I sensed when I first used the word “meandering” to describe the Tilley Watch) — as in “aimlessly moving through” something or someplace.  Aimlessly wandering through is exactly what the Monday Tilley Watch is all about.  It’s not a critique of the cartoons (or drawings as traditionalists refer to them), although there’s sometimes a critical ‘tude lurking within the paragraphs.

I wander through each issue as I might wander through a bakery or book store, appreciating this or that and ignoring that or this.  You never know as you pass by books or baked goods what might attract you — plenty of it is just a blur.   And so it was with this new issue. This is a different Monday Tilley Watch because I’m not going to go drawing by drawing, I’m only going to mention a few things I saw that attracted me.  Just like at a bakery, these are the things I might think about for a  while once I’ve walked out of the store. For instance, I’m still thinking about these cookies I saw yesterday in our local supermarket’s bakery:

And now on to the issue: first, the “spot drawings”;  I’ve not mentioned spots much, if at all.  They tell a story (a modern thing: they didn’t through most of the magazine’s history) but admittedly I don’t follow the stories they tell.  I look at them as I page through the magazine and if they’re pleasing I note that they are. I find this issue’s spot drawings exceptionally pleasing (again, I didn’t follow the story being told).  But story or no story, they’re lovely. The spot artist is Clo’e Floirat

Also of note are Tom Bachtell‘s Talk of the Town drawings.  I’ve mentioned him before, and with good reason.  His work is a welcome modern tradition.

Among this weeks cartoonists is Jon Adams who(m?) I owe an apology to.  I noted last week that he was making his debut (with the Michelin Man drawing).  Wrong. He made his debut this Fall in the October 2nd issue of The New Yorker.  In the Spill‘s ongoing count of Emma Allen’s newbies (Ms. Allen is the magazine’s cartoon editor) Mr. Adams is one of 8 cartoonists introduced in 8 months.  Slightly keeping ahead of the average of one newbie a month, there are two debuts in this issue:  Mary Lawton and Maggie Mull, who are  Ms. Allen’s 9th and 10th new cartoonists. (sorry, I cannot find a website for either cartoonist. Please let me know if either or both have one).  If 10 sounds like a lot of new creative blood we should remember that her predecessor introduced approximately 130 cartoonists. 

Here for the record are this week’s cartoonists:

Ps:  what I wish I did see as I looked through the issue is Rea Irvin’s classic masthead for The Talk of The Town (shown below). Alas, it’s been shuffled off to Buffalo, or wherever classic mastheads are shuffled off to. 

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Event of Note: How To Read Nancy Authors at The Society of Illustrators

Paul Karasik & Mark Newgarden join Columbia’s Karen Green at The Society.  Details here!

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A More Spills Correction

My colleague,  Joe Dator has Tweeted a correction to the  Jack Ziegler drawing mentioned here yesterday.

Here’s Mr. Dator’s Tweet: