The Monday Tilley Watch: The New Yorker Issue of November 13, 2017

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

Surprise, surprise — two non-political New Yorker covers in a row. Last week was John Cuneo‘s wonderful big falling leaf; this week, in a debut appearance, Jenny Kroik gives us a lovely bookstore scene (it’s titled “At the Strand” but really it could be almost any bookstore). You can read about her cover here.

Before wading in to the magazine’s cartoons (there are only eight in the issue, so it will be an abbreviated wade this week), two graphic pieces in the front of the magazine caught my eye. One’s an illustration, and the other an ad. Bendik Kaltenborns Coney Island illustration on page 16 is a whole lot of fun. Perhaps I’m already getting a little wistful about summer past, but I think it’s more the playfulness of the piece. Besides, I’m glad summer is over.

The other piece (the ad) is for an exhibit of work by Henry Martin Gasser, an artist I never heard of until this morning. I’m posting the ad here in the hope the advertiser won’t mind. Lovely work, judging by this one piece shown. Having just looked him up, I was delighted to find he was born in Newark, New Jersey. A fellow Jerseyite!

Okay, now into and onto the magazine’s cartoons and cartoonists. Oh wait, first let me check and see if Rea Irvin’s classic Talk of The Town masthead has been returned to its rightful place. Nope. Darn. Sigh.  If it was back in place, you’d certainly recognize it. It would look exactly like this:

This issue’s first cartoon appears on page 30.  Ben Schwartz gives us a family in a car, drawn head on through the windshield (geez, this is sounding like an accident report). You have to be familiar with the game “I Spy” to get at the humor in the caption, but you don’t need to be familiar with divorce to fully appreciate the uncomfortable situation. I like car drawings, and in particular, like it when a cartoonist takes on this scenario (that is, the challenge of drawing head-on into a car, or the reverse, drawing from the back seat looking forward). Charles Addams, who loved cars, and loved drawing cars, did several of these kinds of drawings. Here’s one:

In the next drawing, five pages after Mr. Schwartz’s, Emily Flake mixes religion with pizza. Understanding this drawing may also require you to seek out, via your search box, the Temptation of Christ (no joke!, or yes joke?). In Ms. Flake’s drawing, Jesus finds himself in a situation many of us have found ourselves in: seeing doughnuts* in a box, and debating whether or not to partake. I found, in my just completed research of the Temptations (not these Temptations) that one of the them was hedonism (hunger/satisfaction), so doughnuts as a temptation really does work here.

*[correction: in an earlier post I referred to the food in the box as pizza.  On my screen the object on the boxtop looks exactly like a pizza.  I stand corrected. My thanks to the corrector!]

On the way to the next cartoon, on page 45, we pass a “Sketchbook” by Roz Chast. It is, as Tina Brown would say, “text driven” with some drawings of children in party hats surrounding the text. Not a cartoon, but something that really does look to be out of a sketchbook.

On page 45 is an offering from Amy Hwang. A clothing store scene (babies clothing, to be more precise). The store is woefully low on inventory. Good luck to the proprietors!

Four pages later, following a double page photograph, is a Harry Bliss drawing. Talking pets in a jam (talking pets in jam might be funny too, I think). You may need to search for “Tang Dynasty Urn” to understand the severity of the pooch and kitty’s situation.

Five pages later, Liana Finck takes us into outer space with a drawing I have notched in my brain as memorable. Well drawn, amusing, and beautifully placed on the page.  What more could we ask for. (I note it’s the second footwear drawing in recent times. Carolita Johnson had one back in September).

Another five pages brings us to newbie Maddie Dai‘s drawing of an icky hairbrush (I say “icky” because I’m not a fan of snakes). You may or may not have to go to your search box to look up Medusa to refresh your graphic memory. Oh heck, despite my not wanting to see more snakes, here’s a version, in marble, by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, from 1630.

And yet another five pages later (hey, is this a pattern, this five pages apart thing?) is a Glen Le Lievre drawing, and amazingly(!) the first politically tinged cartoon of the issue. Why politically-tinged?  There’s the the word “subpoena” in the caption plus the background appearance of the Washington Monument and the U.S. Capitol Building (sans the Statue of Freedom, shown below).  Both structures are handled in light wash, and looking a little ghost-like.

Eight pages later (so much for the five pages pattern) is a Frank Cotham castle. It’s the last drawing of the issue (not counting those in the Caption Contest). Mr. Cotham’s drawing is allowed generous space on the page. The fellow speaking (a King) has done a major renovation on his property, leaving just a safe space (the castle’s redoubt) in case there’s big trouble. I like the outfit his visitor is wearing as well as the vaguely 1960-ish architecture of the new addition. 

and that’s that. See you next Monday for the issue of November 20th. It being the issue closest to Thanksgiving (on the 23rd), I’m really hoping for a turkey cartoon to appear somewhere in the issue, or on the cover.

Until then, here’s  some food for thought — a drawing of mine published in the December 8, 2014 New Yorker.

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertising Work by New Yorker Cartoonists, Pt. 22: John Held, Jr.; More Booth!

Advertising Work by New Yorker Cartoonists, Pt. 22: John Held, Jr.

I know, I know… you woke up this morning wondering if John Held, Jr., who became famous for his drawings of flappers in and on the cover of the pre-Luce Life ever did advertising work.  Well courtesy of Warren Bernard‘s detective work, we have some examples of Mr. Held’s commercial work. My thanks to Mr. Bernard for sharing his findings with Ink Spill.

New Yorker readers who have dipped into the magazine’s cartoon anthologies or looked through ancient issues would certainly have come across Mr. Held’s work — but it wasn’t the style that brought him fame. His New Yorker work looks like this:

  Harold Ross, the New Yorker‘s founder and first editor (who met Held in high school when they both worked on the school newspaper,The Red and Black)  wanted Held in his new magazine, but he didn’t want Held’s famous flapper style work. According to Thomas Kunkel, in his magnificent biography of Ross, Genius in Disguise:

“Ross and [Rea] Irvin eschewed his [Held’s] overexposed flappers, instead publishing his contemporary twists on the Gay Nineties woodcuts Ross had loved as a boy.”

So what you see here are examples of Held’s non-New Yorker style. The Ovington Gift Shop ad was published during the heart of the Roaring 20s (1926), and the others were published in 1929 — the year that ended so badly.

Here’s John Held, Jr.’s entry on the Spill’s A-Z:

John Held, Jr. (Pictured above. Source: Sketchbook of American Humorists, 1938) Born, January 10, 1889, Salt Lake City, Utah. Died, 1958, Belmar, New Jersey. New Yorker work: April 11, 1925 – Sept. 17, 1932.

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More Booth!

Mike Lynch and Jane Mattimoe have posted pieces about the wonderful George Booth exhibit at The Society of Illustrators.  The exhibit, as you can see in the poster, is up now and will run through the end of this year. Do not miss!

 

 

 

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

–See you next Monday

 

 

 

   

 

 

Article of Interest: “When Did New Yorker Covers Get So Thirsty?”; Fave Photo of the Day: Five New Yorker Cartoonists in Times Sq (2002)

From Slate, October 25, 2017, “When Did New Yorker Covers Get So Thirsty?”

— a piece by Matthew Dessem on the evolution of “specific people” New Yorker covers.

The first one, Nov 22, 1941, by Rea Irvin:

Top of the post, left: the second one: October 31, 1942 by Rea Irvin ; on the right, the most recent by Carter Goodrich.

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Fave Photo of the Day: Five New Yorker Cartoonists in Times Sq. (2002)

The photo, taken in Times Square, September 2002,  came to the Spill courtesy of Paul Wood, who lives and works across the pond. The cartoonists are from left to right: Sam Gross, Felipe Galindo (aka feggo), Paul Wood, John Kane, and Sid Harris. 

My thanks to Mr. Wood (an Ink Spill One Clubber: his drawing appeared in the New Yorker  January 24, 2000).

The Monday Tilley Watch: The New Yorker Issue of October 30, 2017

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

We are definitely in the Halloween mode in the new issue, and it all begins with Carter Goodrich’s cover; a scary clown looking remarkably similar to our current president peers out from the woods.  For some reason my thoughts drifted back to what I believe was the first appearance of the Donald on the cover way way back in 1992; the Robert Risko high-kickin’ chorus line cover was on the 13th issue of Ms. Brown’s tenure.

Skipping through GOAT (Goings On About Town), and, sigh, the redrawn Rea Irvin Talk of the Town masthead,  we come to page 18, and the first cartoon of the issue.  Zach Kanin is back with what at first might seem like a Halloween themed drawing, what with the full-face ski hats, but it’s not Halloween-related — it’s a pizza crime cartoon. Not the first pizza drawing in the magazine (for instance: who could forget Gahan Wilson’s 1997 classic), but possibly the first incorporating a stick-up using bank robbery terminology.  My one microscopic quibble with the drawing is not with the drawing at all, but the proximity of the Otto Soglow spot drawing just above it.  I’m firmly in the camp of letting the New Yorker‘s cartoons have plenty of breathing room. 

 Roz Chast’s gingerbread man drawing, appearing five pages after Mr. Kanin’s, is an example of plenty of breathing room.  A Danny Shanahan carrot cake man two issues ago, and now a gingerbread man.  Somebody should really do a book of pastry people cartoons.

Nine pages following Ms. Chast’s couch-bound confection (with a Trump illustration appearing along the way) is an Amy Hwang drawing that, at first glance, appears to be Halloween-related. But, like Mr. Kanin’s, it’s not a Halloween drawing (although I’ve seen situations like this set up in front yards of homes at this time of year). A buff executioner stands beside a rope-less(?) guillotine. Five pages later is a Will McPhail drawing with its figures in silhouette (guillotine, silhouette…what an issue).  Lovely night sky, Mr. McPhail. On the very next page is another William’s drawing (William Haefeli).  I should mention that all of the drawings, from Ms. Chast’s on, have been beautifully placed on the page. Mr. Haefeli delivers a principal’s office cartoon drawn in his trademark style. This drawing might even have more going on than the usual Haefeli contribution. I found myself enlarging the cartoon on my computer screen to see what was on the cartoon computer screen and what was going on out in the cartoon hallway.

Three pages later is a Julia Suits drawing that causes us (or maybe just me) to imagine another cartoon within her cartoon.  A fellow at a very long bar is thinking about a woman who’s walked into his wet cement. That’s what I was imagining — the walking into the wet cement scene.

On the very next page is — yay! — a Halloween cartoon, courtesy of one of our modern anchor cartoonists, Joe Dator.  Mr. Dator’s “last-minute” parade drawing made me think about the now famous Greenwich Village mega-parade, wherein gazillions of costumed folks gather together.  Mr. Dator’s less populated parade is appealing. Four pages later, a drawing by one of the most recognizable stylists in recent times, Seth Fleishman. Looking slightly Spy vs Spy in this drawing (it’s the hat, I think, plus the mash-up of black & white figures) Mr. Fleishman dips into mobsterville  — the fish wrapped in newspaper). 

On the very next page is a Drew Panckeri drawing of a reclined and relaxed member of the armed forces on his bed speaking with what I imagine is a counterpart from an adversarial country. I find the fellow’s coat interesting — it looks a bit like an Eisenhower jacket, but it’s not quite short enough. Several objects in the room caused me to linger on this drawing for awhile: the lava lamp, the large model (?) of a rocket, and the framed piece which looks as if it might be based on James Montgomery Flagg’s 1917 “I Want You poster (itself based on New Yorker cartoonist Alfred Leete‘s earlier work, shown below far right). The fellow in Mr. Panckeri’s  frame is definitely pointing at the viewer, but his clothing looks more carny than country.  

 

Fourteen pages later (following a photo essay) is a Bruce Eric Kaplan drawing of a woman in bed. As usual with Mr. Kaplan, a winning caption. Opposite Mr. Kaplan’s drawing is a wonderful bookend to Mr. Dator’s parade drawing (it being the Halloween issue): witches standing at a boiling cauldron.  This is a lovely drawing, with an Edward Gorey-ish feel to it.

Ten pages later is the last drawing of the issue (not counting the caption contest work on the last page).  It’s a Paul Noth word play drawing.  I see people at a table with the mention of wine and I cannot not think of James Thurber’s 1937 oft-reprinted classic drawing.

I can’t leave this week’s issue without a Charles Addams shout-out. If you have a moment, seek out his covers and drawings.  With Addams it was Halloween all year long. 

Til next Monday… 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

84 Years Ago: The Sixth New Yorker Album of Cartoons

I love all of the New Yorker Albums that have come out in the magazine’s 92 years, but this one I like maybe just a teeny-tiny bit more than many of the rest (partially due to the fact that it was a gift from Jack Ziegler, back in the days when I was building a set of all the albums, with their dust jackets.  Jack’s copy arrived with a gold star on it, which, as you can see, is still there).

Published in 1933 by Harper & Brothers, the 6th Album sports a collage cover by Harry Brown (who contributed 18 covers to the magazine from 1931 thru 1937); the collage was a first — it was the first time the magazine allowed something other than a reproduction of one of its covers to grace an Album. I like the burst of color, but am thrilled the cover’s designer left the Thurber drawings, running up the strap, in black and white.

Starting top left on the cover, we see Otto Soglow’s Little King and his Queen and a couple of footmen in red with yellow sashes. Going clockwise, Peter Arno’s “Major” and his wife, then down at the bottom at the cover, Rea Irvin’s iconic Eustace Tilley. On the left is a William Steig father holding his son. In the middle of the cover, two Barbara Shermund ladies standing close to each other; directly below them, a classic Helen Hokinson woman (a so-called Hokinson “lunch lady”) holding her dog.

The inside cover flap shows us a partial list of the artists represented:

    

Looking through this Album I’m always struck by the variety.  Variety of sensibilities, of art, of subject.  Published just eight years after the very first issue of The New Yorker appeared on newsstands it’s loaded with artists whose work is instantly recognizable. It’s an excellent portrait of the New Yorker‘s first stable; a wealth of exceptionally talented artists such as Peter Arno, Helen Hokinson, James Thurber, William Steig, Barbara Shermund, Rea Irvin, Charles Addams, Otto Soglow, Carl Rose, Gluyas Williams, Whitney Darrow, Richard Decker, Syd Hoff, George Price, Alan Dunn, and Mary Petty.

Artistry was all over the place back in those early years (there’s a huge difference in Thurber’s work from Reginald Marsh’s, or Soglow’s from Perry Barlow’s). What a fun,  exciting, beautiful mix. 

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Note: you can sometimes find a copy of this collection in used bookstores, or here online (although I don’t see any listed, at the moment, with a dust jacket). With the dust jacket, or without, you’re still in for a real treat.