Peter Steiner’s “Hopeless But Not Serious” Returns; TCJ posts Sendak Tributes; Liza Donnelly’s Mother’s Day Forbes column

Peter Steiner’s blog, Hopeless But Not Serious is back!   See it here.


Over at The Comics Journal the tributes to Maurice Sendak are pouring in.

Sendak, who passed away this past Tuesday at age 83, contributed one cover to The New Yorker, and in the same issue (September 27, 1993) contributed a two page spread, In The Dumps, co-written/drawn with Art Spiegelman. Mr. Sendak also contributed a Storyboard to the issue of January 18, 1993.


And…check out Liza Donnelly’s Forbes column on Mother’s Day, and while you’re there, scroll down for her take on the Time Magazine cover making news.

Mick Stevens’ Illustrated song; Peter Steiner’s blog Hopeless but not Serious; New Yorker’s Cartoon Issue out

From Mick Stevens’ site, October 24, 2011,  this illustrated song


And a reminder that Peter Steiner has a brand new blog, Hopeless but not Serious, wherein he posts daily energetic graphic swipes at politics, politicians, etc..


Finally:  The 15th annual New Yorker Cartoon Issue hits the stands today.  It features a wonderful cover by George Booth, and includes color work by the likes of Mark Alan Stamaty, Emily Flake, Zach Kanin, and Roz Chast.   There’s a b&w spread of work by the late Leo Cullum, and The Funnies, where you’ll find drawings by Jack Ziegler, Lee Lorenz, Bruce Eric Kaplan, and more.  There’re a handful of cartoonists sprinkled among the ads as well (Marisa Acocella Marchetto, Danny Shanahan, and Liza Donnelly).


Why a Platter?


In February of 1991 when The New Yorker offices moved from 25 West 43rd Street  across the street to 20 West 43rd,  some housecleaning was in order.

Some of the objects that once sat in the Art Department couldn’t make the move due to space considerations. Among the few generously donated to our collection was this oddity:  a large wooden platter, signed by a handful of cartoonists as well as by Anne Hall, who for decades was Assistant to the magazine’s Art Editor, Lee Lorenz.

Part of the signed platter’s charm is its scarcity of signatures. Considering how many cartoonists came and went through the Art department every week, one would think the platter would be full.

“What’s So Funny About Red?” Color Cartoons in The New Yorker

I’m  betting that a good number of The New Yorker’s readers (you know, those folks who go to the cartoons before looking at anything else in the magazine) have noticed something colorful going on with the cartoons.

Four out of the first five issues of the new year have  a color cartoon (the cartoons in the issue of January 24th are black & white, while the issue of January 31 has two color cartoons).

Any article that mentions color cartoons and The New Yorker in the same breath would be ridiculously remiss without including the famous line attributed to the magazine’s founder, Harold Ross.  When asked why The New Yorker didn’t run color cartoons, Ross was reported to have said, “What’s so funny about red?”  The magazine itself used this Rossism as a heading back in its 2007 Cartoon Issue when it ran five cartoons “testing the possibilities” of using red in cartoons.  And more recently, in October of 2010, The New Yorker’s current Cartoon Editor, Bob Mankoff,  taking part in a live online chat on the magazine’s website had this exchange with a questioner:

Q:  Do your artists feel limited by black and white?

A: I don’t think so. Everyone once in a while a cartoon demands color for the joke to be understood or better understood but for the most part color is a distraction. Harold Ross, the first editor of The New Yorker when asked why the cartoons didn’t use color answered ” What’s so funny about red?”

Color New Yorker cartoons were once such a rarity that The New York Times, in an article dated February 15, 1989, noted  William Steig’s four-page color contribution in the magazine’s 64th Anniversary issue.  Robert Gottlieb, the magazine’s editor at the time, told the Times,  ”Cartoons and maps are not suddenly going to be in Day-Glo.” Wouldn’t that have been something?   The Times noted that the last known use of color cartoons was in 1926, when it ran a two-page spread by Rea Irvin.  [Rea Irvin’s two page color spread,  The Maharajah of Puttyput Receives a Christmas Necktie From the Queen, actually ran in the issue of December 12, 1925]

The first use of color single panel cartoons  in The New Yorker occurred during the tenure of Gottlieb’s successor, Tina Brown.  In the March 21, 1994 special issue, The New Yorker Goes to the Movies, three color cartoons appeared, one each by Peter Steiner, Liza Donnelly, and J.B. Handelsman.