The Monday Tilley Watch: The New Yorker Issue of March 26, 2018

The cat, or, uh, cover’s been outta the bag for several days now, so we can move right on to the cartoons in the issue. (I’ll mention Rea Irvin‘s missing masthead later on in this post).

Roz Chast has the first drawing (p.19). The setting of several folks lined up on a sofa hard up against a wall seems to belong to her.  It’s her signature, as much as George Booth’s guy-in-the bathtub scenario is his. 

Six pages later a Zach Kanin cozy-under-a-blanket-by-a-fire drawing (coincidentally, the action in the drawing is set on a sofa). The cartoon is anchored by the use of the word “breasts” in the caption.  A quick online search shows a modest number of New Yorker breast-related cartoons, with very few actually mentioning breasts in the caption. One that came readily to mind is this classic courtesy of Jack Ziegler from November of 1997.  

  Nine pages later, a fun Seth Fleishman drawing (captionless, of course. His specialty).  Succinct clean lines and ideas. The same could be said for the very next cartoonist: William Haefeli. Unlike Mr. Fleishman, he works with a caption. This particular drawing is textbook Haefeli. Even the inconsequential fruit in the bowl (in the foreground) is rendered as if it is essential to our grasp of the entire piece.

On the very next page is a grand drawing from Charlie Hankin, well-placed on the page. A crime scene by P.C. Vey is on the opposite page. I love how he’s drawn the victim. This compact set of drawings is one of my favorites in quite awhile (the set consisting of Fleishman, Haefeli, Hankin, and Vey).

Five pages later, the second New Yorker drawing from Bishakh Som, who delivers the magazine’s weekly subway drawing. Subway drawings are now certifiably the new crash test dummy drawings.  [a second subway drawing, by this cartoonist, appears as this weeks Caption Contest challenge] 

Fifteen pages later (following a photo spread) is a colorful and intricate drawing by Peter Kuper. An excellent piece of work. Five pages later, Carolita Johnson takes us to a concert hall. I like that she’s brought us somewhere we typically don’t go much (anymore) in New Yorker cartoons. Ms. Johnson’s handled the scene well, with the audience, drawn in grey, driving our focus to the sniffling quartet. I am curious about the tiny dash and “c”  appearing next to her signature:

Three pages later a well-drawn Tom Cheney cartoon (is there any other kind?).  NYC apartment seekers who don’t have money to burn will find this drawing especially hilarious. On the very next page, Emily Flake brings us a demographic not often seen in the magazine: senior citizens. It appears the fellow’s had enough and is taking a walk.  He can’t be planning on being away very long: he has no coat or jacket, and just one piece of luggage not much bigger than a bowling ball bag.

The last drawing in the issue (not counting those on the Caption Contest page) is by Edward Koren, who will, this May, celebrate his 56th year of contributing his drawings to The New Yorker.  No one draws birds like Mr. Koren, and, need I say it (sure, why not) — no one draws like Mr. Koren.

 Link here to see all of the drawings referenced in this issue.

And don’t forget to check out The Cartoon Companion (they usually post at week’s end) for their rated take on all the issue’s cartoons.

— See you next week

ps: Couldn’t help but notice that Rea Irvin’s iconic Talk of the Town masthead is still a-missin’.  There’s a substitute in its place.  This is what the real deal looks like:




Many Moons Ago At The New Yorker

A departure this Sunday from previous Sundays in that the book above contains only New Yorker covers, and zero cartoons. However, of the thirty-six cover artists represented in the book, twenty-eight also contributed cartoons. This seemingly lop-sided representation of the magazine’s cartoonists doubling as cover artists was not at all out of the ordinary in the pre-Tina Brown days (Ms. Brown inverted the cartoonist/strictly-cover artist ratio, reducing the percentage of cartoonists on the cover to a minimum. Non-contributing cartoonists have been in a wide majority since).   

The book, published in 1984 by United Technologies Corporation, with the heavy lifting done by the National Academy of Design, is a must have for any library stocked with New Yorker collections. It’s a coffee table book that doesn’t need a coffee table (measuring 10″ x 13″, but just 160 pages).

The folks at the National Academy did a splendid job of designing the book, taking great care to present us with not only the covers as they appeared as New Yorker covers, but full page, sans New Yorker logo. The book is divided into the four seasons; the only non-seasonal cover is the magazine’s very first (by the incomparable Rea Irvin) beautifully reproduced on the page just before we enter Spring. 

The bonus material is right up front of the book.  Two introductory pieces: Brendan Gill’s “A morning light” and Charles Saxon‘s “A special moment, fleetingly observed.”

A declaration of interest from Mr. Gill:

“There is…no such thing as a New Yorker cover…If one can say there is no such thing as a New Yorker cover, one can at least say that there are three or four types of art work that appear with considerable frequency on the covers of The New Yorker: those that are purely decorative, those that are topical or seasonal, and those that contain a mild satiric swipe or possibly a small, covert joke.”

My my, how times have changed.  The are still “three or four types of art work” but covers that “contain a mildly satiric swipe” are now a thing of the past.

And from Charles Saxon, another that was then declarative:

“Artists are invited to submit their work. Nothing is assigned, nothing is directed. The work is welcomed or it is not.”



On a personal note, I was just into my seventh year as a New Yorker contributor when I received an invitation to attend the gallery exhibit of some of the covers in the book. Here’s a very short excerpt about my visit to the opening from my still in-the-works/ongoing New Yorker journal.  At the time I was living in upstate New York after having somewhat recently moved from Greenwich Village.

May 31, 1984

Perhaps missing some of Manhattan’s hubbub, I decided to attend the Seasons At the New Yorker opening at the National Academy of Design on 5th Avenue hard by Central Park — new-ish territory for me, other than my infrequent visits to the Metropolitan Museum. I was half-a-block from the party when I noticed the New Yorker writer Brendan Gill holding court out on the sidewalk. He was wearing a dark suit and looked to be holding a glass of champagne. 5th Avenue! Champagne! Brendan Gill! THE Brendan Gill — the man whose book, Here At the New Yorker helped drive me to this magazine. The idea of introducing myself to him that evening was out of the question: just to be here at this party was more than enough excitement.  

Surveying the crowd as I walked into the gallery I immediately felt out-of-place — I was dressed casually, in sneakers, jeans, a faded red shirt and a thrift shop seersucker jacket. Everyone else  was dressed, as my mother would say “to the hilt.”

After rounding the exhibition looking at the framed covers, I sat down for a moment on a circular stuffed sofa next to a very nice woman, somewhat older than me.  After some initial pleasantries, I discovered that she had been married to Robert Kraus, a former New Yorker cartoonist (and later owner and editor in chief of his own publishing house, Windmill Press, publishers of William Steig’s children’s books).

Eventually I made one more pass around the gallery space and found myself walking into the New Yorker’s art editor, Lee Lorenz and his (then) wife. I knew Lee wouldn’t know me by sight — we’d only met once before, but I thought it would be silly not to speak with my editor. As I suspected, Lee looked confused and slightly unhappy when I walked up to him, but was relieved and seemingly amused when I told him my name. Lee looked me over and said, “You look like an ice cream salesman.”  And perhaps following up on the theme, his wife said, “Oh, you’re the one who does all the ice cream cartoons.” My self-confidence at once damaged and lifted, I made small talk, then drifted back out to 5th avenue, and back upstate.

Below: From the Spill‘s files, the invitation (my friend, Jack Ziegler didn’t call me the “boy archivist” for nuthin).




Robert Grossman, Illustrator, Cartoonist Extraordinaire: 1940-2018; The Tilley Watch Online

Robert Grossman, Illustrator, Cartoonist Extraordinaire, 1940 – 2018

  Robert Grossman a multi-talented artist with an instantly recognizable style, has passed away. Mr. Grossman enjoyed a spectacular career as an illustrator and cartoonist with his work appearing on the cover of numerous major publications. For far more information please go to Drew Friedman’s 2013 piece about Mr. Grossman’s career. 

In the early 1960s Mr. Grossman worked briefly as an assistant to the New Yorker‘s Art Editor, James Geraghty. He contributed two cartoons in the Geraghty years: January 13, 1962 (seen above) and December 22, 1962. His work returned to the magazine in the Tina Brown years in the form of six comic strips; his last contribution ran under David Remnick’s editorship.

( Mr. Grossman’s Yale Record parody cover of the New Yorker appears at the top of this piece)


Trumpian cartoons were in the majority again this week in the Daily Cartoon slot:  a reflection on teachers & guns-in-the-classroom by Avi Steinberg, Stormy weather by Kim Warp, March Madness by Lars Kenseth, a tribute to Stephen Hawking by David Sipress (that was a ‘bonus” Daily), Trump & school walkouts was a team effort by Jason Chatfield and Scott Dooley.  The week ended with Ellis Rosen‘s nod to the nationwide closing of the Toys r Us chain. 

Contributing cartoonists appearing on Daily Shouts: Emma Hunsinger, Will McPhail, and Ben Schwartz.

All the work (and more) can be seen here.

Blitt’s 15th Trump NYer Cover; Brand New NYer Cartoons Rated by Cartoon Companion; Library of Congress’s “Drawn To Purpose: American Women Illustrators and Cartoonists”; More Spills: Cartoonists to Unveil a Mural in Brooklyn, Reginald Marsh Diary Entries, An $800.00 Edition of The New Yorker Encyclopedia of Cartoons

Blitt’s 15th Trump New Yorker Cover

The New Yorker sometimes releases its next cover several days early. Today is one of those days. According to the magazine’s covers editor, this is Barry Blitt’s 15th Trump New Yorker cover. For more on Mr. Blitt and his cover, go here.


Brand New New Yorker Cartoons Rated by Cartoon Companion

If you’re looking for New Yorker cartoon dissection, this is the place for you.  “Max” & “Simon” take you through every cartoon in the latest New Yorker and assign each a rating of 1 – 6 (6 being the top). 


Library of Congress’s Drawn to Purpose: American Women Illustrators and Cartoonists

This title is now available.  Read all about it here!


There’s a new mural in town: New Yorker cartoonists Corey Pandolph and Drew Dernavich will reveal the piece this Sunday at Crystal Lake Brooklyn at 647 Grand St.. The Unveiling Party, from 6 -9, is open to the public.


The Diary Review, has a short piece on Reginald Marsh.  Read it here.

Here’s Mr. Marsh’s entry on the A-Z:




Reginald Marsh (above) Born in Paris, March 14, 1898, died in 1954: New Yorker work: 1925 -1944. More information:


The Spill has been following information being released on the upcoming New Yorker Encyclopedia of Cartoons (two volumes totaling 1536 pages). The publisher (previously Blackdog & Leventhal, now Running Press) now lists a deluxe version for $800.00. No info (yet) on what to expect for that much dough.

Here’s a screenshot of the listing — the deluxe version is at the bottom, sans cover image:



Blitt’s Hawking Tribute in The Paris Review; New Yorker State of Mind’s Latest Post (with a Cartoonist Mystery);

Barry Blitt’s Hawking Tribute in the Paris Review

Here’s Barry Blitt not on the cover of The New Yorker. 

And here’s Mr. Blitt’s entry on the A-Z:




Barry Blitt (above) Born in Montreal. New Yorker work: January 10, 1994 -. His first contribution to the magazine was a cover, one of many to come for the magazine. His cover, “Politics of Fear” for the issue of July 21, 2008 was and remains a cause celebre. His first cartoon appeared December 18, 2006. Website: Mr. Blitt’s Wikipedia entry (with personal and professional history).


New Yorker State of Mind’s Latest Post (with a Cartoonist Mystery)

One of my favorite blogs returns with a look at the issue of March 2, 1929. The beautiful cover (above) is by Adolph K. Kronengold, who (according to The Complete Book of Covers From The New Yorker: 1925- 1989 ) contributed 22 covers to the magazine between 1928 through 1947.  I can find just two mentions of Mr. Kronengold in the New York Times archive: as having an exhibit of paintings in the Lounge Gallery of the Eighth Street Playhouse in March of 1936,  and as an instructor in “commercial art and cartooning” at the Westchester Workshop in September of 1938.  Anyone have more?

This scant info leads me to the mystery cartoonist noted on the current New Yorker State of Mind post (the cartoon appears below).  The New Yorker State of Mind blogger is asking for help ID-ing the artist (as I love a mystery, I’d love to know too). The drawing is incorrectly attributed to I. Klein in the Complete New Yorker database, and the name does not show up in the general index in the database.  It also does not appear in the Index for The Complete Cartoons of The New Yorker. An online search turned up zippo results. I used various search configurations, such as the name + illustrator, or  name +artist, name +cartoonist, or just the name solo. I also tried the name as “Kindl” instead of “Kindol.” If anyone out there has a solution, please pass it along. I’d like nothing more than to add this cartoonist to the Spill‘s A-Z.

Here’s the cartoon from the issue:



Marisa Acocella’s Animation; Blog Post of Interest: Captionless Cartoons; Campbell Fest Rolls On

Marisa Acocella’s Animation

Marisa Acocella’s animated “Mission Control” is up on Youtube See it here.

Ms. Acocella began contributing to the New Yorker in 1998.  Her most recent book was Ann Tenna.


Blog Post of Interest: Captionless Cartoons

Thanks to Dick Buchanan by way of Mike Lynch’s blog we can see a sampling of non-New Yorker captionless cartoons from 1938 – 1970.  A number of New Yorker cartoonists are represented, such as Everett Opie, above. See all the work here. 


E. Simms Campbell Fest Continues on Attempted Bloggery

Stephen Nadler’s blog continues to direct a spotlight on Mr. Campbell’s Esquire work.  See the latest post here!

Here’s Mr. Campbell’s entry on the A-Z:

E. Simms Campbell (above) Born, 1906. Died, 1971. New Yorker work: 1932 -1942. Key collections: Cuties in Arms (1943) – the earliest published collection of cartoons by an African-American cartoonist); More Cuties in Arms (also 1943); and Chorus of Cuties (1953)