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 and scroll down past the Daily Cartoon, Caption Contest to Cartoons from the Issue.

–See you next Monday







Fave Photo of the Day: Edward Sorel & Company; Karen Green Pencilled; A Cartoon Companion Two-fer: Mick Stevens Interviewed (Pt.1) & The Latest New Yorker Cartoons Dissected; Tilley Watch Online

Fave Photo of the Day: Edward Sorel & Company

Edward Sorel had a few friends over for lunch yesterday; a splendid time was had by all.

Front row, l-r: Danny Shanahan, Edward Sorel.  Back row, l-r: Michael Maslin, a wooden St. Peter,  James McMullan, and John Cuneo

(photo courtesy of Danny Shanahan who used the time-delay function on his phone)


Columbia’s Comics & Cartoons Curator, Karen Green Pencilled

Jane Mattimoe’s wonderful blog, A Case For Pencils features Karen Green, who is the Comics & Cartoon Curator at Columbia University.  A good read!


Cartoon Companion Two-fer: Mick Stevens Interview (Pt.1) and the Latest New Yorker Cartoons Dissected

The Cartoon Companion‘s Max & Simon are back with a close look at the cartoons in the New Yorker’s latest issue as well as part one of an interview with veteran New Yorker cartoonist, Mick Stevens.  Read the Stevens interview here And read the CC’s take on the current issue here.


…a Halloween video from the Cartoon Department…Daily Shouts from Ward Sutton, and Will McPhail (who seems to be in a Rear Window-esque mood lately — a recent piece for Esquire also featured a city building with individuals in various windows), and Daily Cartoons by, among others, Peter Kuper, and Kim Warp.  See it all here.  

Podcast of Interest: Liza Donnelly with Susan Orlean & Sarah Thyre; Update: MAD Panelists at “Satire and the City” Cartoon Festival; Latest New Yorker Cartoons Rated; New Animated Addams Family Planned; The Tilley Watch Online

Podcast of Interest: Liza Donnelly with Susan Orlean and Sarah Thyre

Liza Donnelly visits writer, Susan Orlean and actress, Sarah ThyreHear it here.


Update: MAD Panelists at “Satire and the City” Cartoon Festival

As promised in yesterday’s post about the upcoming Association of American Editorial Cartoonists “Satire and the City” Cartoon Festival, here are the MAD magazine panelists scheduled to appear:

John Ficarra, Senior VP & Executive Editor, a MAD staffer since 1980, co-editor (with Nick Meglin) 1985-2004, editor-in-chief 2004-present

Joe Raiola and Charlie Kadau, Senior Editors, MAD staffers since 1985

Al Jaffee, MAD contributor since 1955, creator of the Fold-In and Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions, Guiness World Record holder, “Longest Career as a Comic Artist”

Moderator, Sam Viviano, VP—Art & Design, MAD contributor since 1981, art director 1999-present.


Latest New Yorker Cartoons Rated

 Cartoon Companion’s Max and Simon had their work cut for them this week with nearly two dozen cartoons to inspect and examine. Among the dissected: a literary plumbing problem, Tinder behavior, Nambia located, and a Frankensteinian moment.   Read it all here.


New Animated Addams Family Planned

According to this report the creepy and kooky and altogether ooky “Addams Family” will return to delight us.


The Tilley Watch Online
I was at a table of New Yorker cartoonists some months back when the conversation turned to the future of the print magazine.  Someone asked me what I thought and I (jokingly) said, “Two years left at most”  — it was a rock in a pond moment; my table mates eyes grew wide, their bodies shifted anxiously.  I don’t really think print is close to dead, and I don’t really believe the print version of The New Yorker will cease in two years, but I do believe that online is where the action increasingly is.  With that said, it only makes sense that the Spill pays closer attention to the New Yorker‘s online non-print features that involve — or sometimes involve — its cartoonists: The Cartoon Lounge, The Daily Cartoon, Daily Shouts and other features (video, podcasts, etc.).  Not all of these features will be noted daily.  Fickleness rules here.
And so off we go …
Video segments of last weekend’s New Yorker Festival have been posted on  Of interest: the magazine’s cartoon editor, Emma Allen spoke with Kumail Nanjiani
And here’s a clip of Andy Borowitz doing some stand-up (Mr. Borowitz isn’t a cartoonist, but his work seems, at times, ever-so-close to captionville — that’s a compliment).  
Daily Shouts: Recent posts include Farley Katz on pumpkins and Lars Kenseth on Roomba Error Codes. See the pieces here
Daily Cartoon: Recent posts include the aforementioned Mr. Kenseth, Mick Stevens and Peter Kuper.  See a slide show of over a dozen recent Daily Cartoons here.

The Monday Tilley Watch: The New Yorker Issue of October 16, 2017

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

Wowzers! 23 cartoons in this issue, and it’s not even a double issue.

The cover was mentioned here last week.  If you want to read what David Plunkert, the cover artist had to say about his design, go here

Without pausing at the renovated Rea Irvin Talk of The Town masthead (yes, that’s still an “issue” here at the Spill) we move onto the very first cartoon — it appears on page 22.  Bruce Kaplan’s been on a roll these past many weeks, with two covers and weekly appearances.  This makes sense to me, and reminds me of the system once in place at the magazine that kept us in touch with a number of artists over time. In this case, Mr. Kaplan gives us a Kaplanesque restaurant scene with a Kaplanesque caption.  Nice.

Nine pages later, following David Remnick’s “Postscript” about the late Si Newhouse,  we come to a well-placed Mick Stevens caveman drawing. I wonder sometimes if we will ever reach the end of the road, cave people drawings-wise.  Hope not. Imagine how much material has come from so little: cave people, their caves and rocks.  Someone should really do a book of these drawings.  Five pages later we come to a Sara Lautman art museum cartoon.  From a distance (that is, viewing it on a tablet) its use of blocks of black ink resembles an Ariel Molvig drawing. As I’ve mentioned a few times on the Monday Tilley Watch, certain brand new drawings immediately summon up drawings out of the magazine’s deep catalog. I cannot see an art museum cartoon these days without recalling this (captionless) Helen Hokinson classic from the issue of February 6, 1926.


Three pages later a gingerbread man-inspired drawing by the one-and-only Danny Shanahan. I’m assuming the carrot cake man’s hair(?) is made of frosting. The world could use more talking cake drawings right about now; Mr. Shanahan is the cartoonist for the job.

Five pages later P.C Vey dips into the literary world as well as the world of apartment plumbing.  Men-in-bathtub drawings always make me think of George Booth’s recurring guy in a claw foot tub (usually viewed from an adjoining room).  Here, Mr. Vey takes us right into the bathroom. I particularly enjoyed the recessed soap tray.  

On the very next page is a Liana Finck drawing.  I needed to reach out to a family member in her mid 20s for help on this one, and here is what she emailed me, cautioning she is not an expert on the subject, having never used the app:

I believe it’s a Tinder thing. I think if you like someone, you swipe right. Then if you match (if they swiped right on you too) you can talk to the person. Some people swipe right for everyone just to increase their chances. I think that’s what she’s commenting on: people frantically, desperately looking for love on their phones to the point that they’re numb to Cupid’s arrows.

Three pages later is a drawing by newbie, Maddie Dai.  This is graphically ala Roz Chast, utilizing a magazine cover as a humor conveyance vehicle. There’s some pointed messaging going on in this cartoon.

On the very next page a drawing by Kate Curtis,  a not-so-newbie relative to Ms. Dai.  There’s some helpful color in this cartoon (pinkish chewing gum).  I’ve spent most of my time on this one trying to understand if the gum was pre-chewed. It looks pre-chewed. I hope it’s not though.

Five pages later, A Will McPhail drawing.  Somewhat atypical for this cartoonist (at least  of his work I’ve seen in the magazine), the drawing is not a close-up of an individual or individuals.  Even enlarging the drawing on my laptop, the mouth of the woman speaking seems a black-hole void. Is that intentional, or smudged ink, or or or…?  Bonus(?) element: a guy with a man-bun.

Three pages later a Zach Kanin drawing.  Having just yesterday driven past and heard some part of a marching band competition in a nearby metropolis, I’m delighted to see this drawing. Kanin cartoon children are always a treat.  On the very next page, a Trevor Spaulding drawing concerning 401(K)s. Interesting drawing style, sort of a mash up of Kim Warp,  Marcellus Hall and Herge (the fellow responsible for Tintin).

Four pages later, Roz Chast gives us a Trumpian geography lesson. This would’ve made for a good New Yorker cover back in late September when the president came up with the nonexistent country, Nambia.

A Tom Toro Frankenstein-related kitty drawing is next. As with all of Mr. Toro’s drawings, we get more than our money’s worth in the detail department.  Two Frankenstein-ish drawings in two weeks (Liana Finck’s drawing of last week had some  Frankensteinian elements) — we must be getting close to Halloween. Two pages later, a drawing I momentarily mistook (again, while looking at the small screen of my handheld tablet) for a Charles Addams drawing.  But it’s an illustration by Bill Bragg, not an Addams cartoon. It would’ve been quite a shock had it been a full page cartoon. As mentioned here from time-to-time, full page single panel cartoons are rarities in The New Yorker. 

Speaking of rarities, the very next cartoon is a duo effort: Emily Flake and Rob Kutner. Here’s a Spill post from 2013 about collaborating cartoonists. This cartoon, based on one of the classic scenes in the film, Casablanca, was also the subject of a Bob Eckstein cartoon not too long ago (November 30, 2015, to be precise):

Perhaps Casablanca airport farewell scenes will take the place of desert island cartoons.  Nah…

Two pages following the collaborative effort is a drawing by Frank Cotham. A sparser look than usual for Mr. Cotham, but the subject matter is as Cothamy as you can get.  As much as I love his horses I think I love the little hut in the background even more.

Two pages later, a cartoonist making his debut in The New Yorker (if I’m wrong about this, someone please advise).  Joseph Dottino delivers a prayer at bedtime cartoon;  a seldom seen scene (seldom anymore that is.  They were once nearly as plentiful as talking parrot drawings).   Again, my thoughts go to several from the archives, but I’ll mention just one, by one of the masters, Dana Fradon (from the issue of September 23, 2002).


Opposite Mr. Dottino’s drawing is a beautifully placed John O’Brien cartoon. Mr. O’Brien is the magazine’s contemporary master of caption-less drawings.  This time round though,  he provides a caption (in a speech balloon).  As I’ve said in almost every one of these Monday posts, I try to stay away from heaping praise on any one drawing, but I can’t resist applauding this particular drawing (there are a few others in this issue as well, but once I begin applauding this one and that one, or holding my applause for that one or this one, I’m well into Cartoon Companion territory).

Following Mr. O’Brien’s drawing is another reliable cartoonist scenario: human evolution. This one’s from J.A.K. (Jason Adam Katzenstein). I’m a big fan of evolution drawings having returned to the standard human evolution graphic (seen below) a number of times.

Five pages later, yet another brand new cartoonist (again, if I’m wrong, someone please let me know).  Sophia Wiedeman debuts with a drawing of a person experiencing a mole or crumb moment.   Five pages later, Robert Leighton has us in space. The floating woman astronaut is close to Thurber-like. Thurber-like is always a very good thing. Three pages later, is a William Haefeli  drawing, the polar opposite of Thurber’s minimalism.  Mr. Haefeli’s caption reminds me of Kevin Bacon’s line in the Chisholm Trail scene in Diner: “You ever get the feeling there’s something going on we don’t know about.”

Three pages later work by yet another newbie.  Teresa Burns Parkhurst brings us a touch of Fall with a farm stand-like setting featuring apples.  A nicely placed drawing. 

And lastly in the issue (not counting the contest drawings on the last page) is a Harry Bliss drawing incorporating Sherlock Holmes, Watson, and a missing, or misplaced  illegal substance.

–See you next week










The Nib Looks at New Yorker Cartoons in 2040; Of Interest: Cartoon Companion’s Frank Cotham Interview, Part 2

The Nib Looks at New Yorker cartoons  in 2040




Here’s an amusing piece from The Nib, August 8, 2017,  “New Yorker 2040” — too bad the author didn’t try imagining various cartoonists styles 23 years from now instead of just using one vaguely  1950s – early 1960s similar style…or is that what’s in store?  Bonus: the zillionth take-off on Steinberg’s iconic New Yorker cover. ________________________________________________________________________________

Cartoon Companion’s Frank Cotham Interview, Part 2

Cartoon Companion has posted the second half of its interview with veteran New Yorker cartoonist, Frank Cotham (shown to the left wearing the pointed party hat; this is a cropped screen grab from the Arnold Newman group photo that appeared in the very first Cartoon Issue of The New Yorker, Dec. 15, 1997). To the left of him is Dean Vietor, to the right of Mr. Cotham is Mick Stevens in his customary top hat. That’s Lee Lorenz, lower left, joyously tossing confetti in the air, and Mike Twohy, lower right, tentatively tossing confetti).

Read Part 2 of the CC’s Cotham interview here.

Mick Stevens’ Batch of the Month Club is Back; Attempted Bloggery’s “Name That Cartoonist”




Mick Stevens — one of the best there is in the New Yorker ‘s stable — has revved-up his Batch Club again. Check it out here.


Attempted Bloggery caught my attention with this Name That Cartoonist challenge.

Below is a snippet of the unsigned drawing  by the mystery cartoonist in question.  To see the whole cartoon, go here.