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 newyorker.com
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