The Monday Tilley Watch: The New Yorker Issue of March 19, 2018

The latest New Yorker is the “Spring Style” issue (it says so right at the top of the Table of Contents). The huge feathered Carol Channing-esque hat on the cover (by Maira Kalman) sets the tone, or theme. There’s a lot of color in this issue (ads, illustrations, and one cartoon) — more so than usual, I think.  Makes sense: Spring = color.

Was hoping Rea Irvin’s iconic masthead (below) would be reborn for Spring, but alas. Had it popped up in this issue, it would look exactly like this.

And now off to the cartoons. The first, on page thirty-three, is by Carolita Johnson. For those visiting New York, or living in New York, Ms. Johnson’s titled drawing,  Dressing For the Manhattan Climate, will ring true any time of year.  Six pages later a Harry Bliss drawing. Mr. Bliss’s single panel cartoons are instantly recognizable — they’re always in a box. I’ll be curious to see how the fellows at the Cartoon Companion dissect this drawing.  

Five pages later, Joe Dator brings us a variation of pin the tail on the donkey.  For me, Mr. Dator’s drawings belong in that category of cartoonists work that amuses at first sight, even before the caption is read. Four pages later, a Roz Chast drawing that drove me to a dictionary. The drawing is titled Deux Ex Caffeina. I recognized it as a play on deus ex machina — a phrase I know but never bothered (til now) to understand.  Here’s how Mirriam -Webster defines it:

The New Latin term deus ex machina is a translation of a Greek phrase and means literally “a god from a machine.” “Machine,” in this case, refers to the crane that held a god over the stage in ancient Greek and Roman drama.

Got it now. Very nice drawing.

Opposite Ms. Chast’s drawing is a P.C. Vey drawing. With a caption that concerns paper shredding and includes the words “incriminating documents” there’s a heavy overtone of criminality.  By the way, both Ms. Chast’s drawing and Mr. Vey’s sit well on their respective pages, sized and balanced well off each other.

The next two pages contain two cartoons as well.  Mary Lawton’s, with a cat hogging a shaft of late afternoon sun and  Paul Noth’s comment on gun control (or lack thereof). Following a few pages later is a drawing by relative-newbie Olivia de Recat with another in her series of word-based cartoons. Time will tell if this is her specialty.

Two pages later a Will McPhail bathroom drawing.  I found the terror of the fellow in the tub very funny, but I do wonder why the text, in horror typeface, is within the drawing itself. This is the kind of big cartoon question that keep some of us awake at night. 

Opposite Mr. McPhail’s tub terror is Bishakh Som‘s debut in the New Yorker.  For those keeping track, Mr. Som is the fourteenth new cartoonist to make their debut since Emma Allen assumed the position of cartoon editor in May of 2017. 

Three pages after Mr. Som’s drawing is one by this cartoonist, putting to use perspective I learned in a high school Mechanical Drawing class. Thank you, Mr. Minchin.

Two pages later Ed Steed employs a bit of color in a drawing featuring little identical gentlemen.  At first I thought Mr. Steed had joined the cartoon tiny wind-up toy people club (Charles Addams did a lot of those drawings).  But closer inspection reveals these tiny folk to be real cartoon people and not toy cartoon people (you can tell they’re not toys because they lack wind-up keys). It being an Ed Steed drawing I don’t suppose it makes any sense to wonder why these dapper miniature men are tiny and identical and appear to have some Snidely Whiplash characteristics (the hats and mustaches). Funny is funny.

Three pages later, an Emily Flake family in crisis drawing, followed thirteen pages later by a Liana Finck drawing. Ms. Finck’s style, like the aforementioned Mr. Dator’s style, is immediately welcoming (and, of course, humorous). 

Eight pages later, the last drawing in the issue (not counting the Cartoon Caption Contest drawings) and the newest entry in the New Yorker‘s cartoon subway series. This one is by newbie (though not debut newbie) Sharon Levy. Having never been out west, I needed someone with left coast experience to explain it to me.  Okay then.

Note: all of the above cartoons can be seen on the New Yorker‘s website here.   Scroll down to Cartoons from the Issue

–See you next week







The Tilley Watch Online; Advertising Work by New Yorker Cartoonists, Pt. 30: Helen Hokinson for Flit

On this always somewhat hard-to-define week between Christmas Day and New Years Day, these are the New Yorker cartoonists who figured into either the Daily cartoon or Daily Shouts:

*A Daily cartoon by Mort Gerberg:  a skier sees a warning sign(post).

*Another installment of Liana Finck’s “Dear Pepper” series on Daily Shouts.

*An animated Daily cartoon by Sharon Levy .

*Lars Kenseth’s illustrations for Rejected Versions of “The Gift of the Maji”  — a  Zack Wortman Daily Shouts piece.

All of these can be seen on, either here (Daily Cartoon) or here (Daily Shouts)


Advertising Work by New Yorker Cartoonists, Pt. 30: Helen Hokinson for Flit

  Ms. Hokinson, one of the New Yorker‘s earliest stars (Peter Arno was the other) makes her second solo appearance in this series of ads with these two drawings for Flit, both from 1935.  My thanks again to SPX’s Warren Bernard for sharing these ads with us.

Helen Hokinson’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:

Helen Hokinson (above) Born, Illinois,1893; died, Washington, D.C., 1949. New Yorker work: 1925 -1949, with some work published posthumously. All of Hokinson’s collections are wonderful, but here are two favorites. Her first collection: So You’re Going To Buy A Book! (Minton, Balch & Co, 1931) and what was billed as “the final Hokinson collection”: The Hokinson Festival (Dutton & Co., 1956)

*For more reading on Ms. Hokinson there’s no better place to go but Liza Donnelly’s  Funny Ladies: The New Yorker’s Greatest Women Cartoonists and Their Cartoons (Prometheus, 2005). Foreword by Jules Feiffer.  Preface by Lee Lorenz.




Interviews of Interest: Roz Chast, Jason Adam Katzenstein; The Tilley Watch Online

Interview : Roz Chast

From The Rumpus, November 30, 2017, “The Rumpus Mini-Interview Project #122: Roz Chast”


Interview: Jason Adam Katzenstein

From, December 1, 2017, “Cartooning’s Jewish Je Ne Sais Quoi”


…This past week’s Daily featured a slightly animated cyber drawing by Sharon Levy; a media-centric drawing by Emily Flake, and lotsa politics, from David Sipress, Brendan Loper and Kaamran Hafeez.  Elsewhere (Daily Shouts, for instance): a piece by Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell, and Liana Finck (the second of her advice pieces).

I note that the New Yorker is up to at least five official Instagram accounts: newyorkerart, newyorkermag, newyorkercartoons, newyorkerphoto, newyorkerpromo…have fun!

…and don’t forget these official New Yorker Facebook pages: The New Yorker Magazine, The New Yorker Radio Hour, and The New Yorker Cartoons (the latter carries an icon by an illustrator, not a cartoonist…go figure). 



New York Times Article of Interest: Emma Allen; Radio: Liza Donnelly on “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know”; The Tilley Watch: New New Yorker Cartoonists

New York Times Article of Interest: Emma Allen

From The New York Times, July 2, 2017, “At The New Yorker, the Cartoonists Draw, But the Vision is Hers” —  Ms. Allen,  two months into her new position as the magazine’s cartoon editor. 




Radio: Liza Donnelly on “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know”

Ms. Donnelly as a panelist on Episode #20: Family Matters, discussing “parenting, cousins, genealogy and more.” Hear it here.

Link here to visit Liza Donnelly’s website

 (Photo: Lucy Sutton)


Three New New Yorker Cartoonists

…if the Spill‘s record keeping is correct (and someone please correct me if it’s wrong) there are three new cartoonists in The New Yorker’s  double issue, July 10 & 17: Maggie Larson, Jason Chatfield, and Sharon Levy