The Monday Tilley Watch: The New Yorker Issue of April 30, 2018

Baseball in the air, on the field and on the cover of the latest issue of The New Yorker (actually, stickball’s on the cover, which appears, to me anyway, as if it’s a page out of an illustrated book).

Fewer illustrations/photos this week than last, but still, there are three full pages (including a full page photo of Hitler), and close to full page photo on the Goings On About Town lead page. How I wish we could see cartoons occupy a larger space every so often. Below are two pages from the issue of November 15, 1930. You can see how the drawings dominate the page and how the type follows the drawing. For instance: in the drawing on the left, by the great Barbara Shermund, the hanging plant is allowed to push up and compress the column of text. Notice too how the space afforded her beautiful drawing allows us to get far more visually involved in her work than if it had been squished in a rectangle.   

And now on to the issue’s cartoons.  A fun issue, mostly.

  It starts off well with a Danny Shanahan politically tinged(?) monkey drawing. Going out on a limb here, but Mr. Shanahan’s fabulous monkeys are the obvious heirs to Charles Addams’ takes on our ancestors.

Next up, three pages later, Jason Adam Katzenstein (aka JAK) goes to where many-a-cartoonist before him has gone: to the myth of Sisyphus. After I sped through an online refresher course about the King’s uphill struggle, I realized how this scenario beloved by cartoonists has oftimes become untethered from its backstory. No matter — that’s how we cartoonists roll. As Robbie Robertson wrote: “Ya take what ya need and ya leave the rest…”

Speaking of backstories, three pages later Ben Schwartz gives us Beethoven on stage. What’s really interesting about the drawing is Mr. Schwartz’s sly nod to the great Al Hirschfeld.  Do I, or do I not see Nina-esque shout-outs in the drapes. I do.

Five pages later, a Mick Stevens cave man drawing (he also had one two issues back). I like that he’s used the words stalagmites and stalactites. A little memory trick I learned back in fourth or fifth grade — how to tell the difference between stalagmites and stalactites: stalactites are the ones pointing down; they need to hold on “tite” to the ceiling. 

Three pages later, a shrink meets legume drawing by the wonderful Victoria Roberts. A fun and funny drawing. What more can one ask for.

Next up,  a domestic situation courtesy of Will McPhail. Funny. Another three pages brings us to a sidewalk scene from Pia Guerra. Dogs lined up to use a fire hydrant. I found myself wishing for a line-jumping dog instead of a fireman…

Two pages later another intensely graphic drawing from William Haefeli. Detail-city! And very slice-o-life.

Three pages later, a typically formatted (three panel) Roz Chast drawing. The word “Comix” pops out here. On the very next page, A Haefeli-like (in its use of detail) drawing by Jeremy Nguyen. Yet another slice-o-life drawing. I like how he’s given us two folks in silhouette in the foreground — that’s different. 

Four pages later a subway drawing from P.C. Vey (although here the subway is not central to the drawing — the situation could’ve taken place in any number of situations). A few pages later A Zach Kanin drawing focused on recreational drugs. On the very next page, A Lars Kenseth drawing.  You know it’s his work within a nano-second of turning the page. No one draws like this. I don’t rate cartoons like the Cartoon Companion boys do, but occasionally I applaud a drawing. 

On the next page Kim Warp  has drawn a Spill favorite scenario: a bakery (in this case, a cupcake bakery). I didn’t realize at first that there as an enormous Charles Addams-like cupcake involved in the drawing (initially saw the drawing on a tablet screen before switching to a laptop).  An unusual cartoon in that I think it works both ways (with the big cupcake, and without).  Sweet. 

On the following page, a Paul Noth drawing with a splash of color.  You have to be familiar with the commercial character who’s central to this cartoon. Three pages later a Carolita Johnson umbrella triptych just in time for May showers. Six pages later, immediately following that aforementioned full page photo of Hitler, is an Amy Hwang domestic situation — another go-to for many cartoonists: the couple discovered in bed by a significant other. Three pages later, the last cartoon of the issue (not counting the caption contest drawings): an online whack-a-mole scenario from Sam Marlow.

Finally: we are oh-so-close to the one year anniversary of the disappearance of Rea Irvin’s classic Talk Of The Town masthead. Here’s a Spill piece about it from last Fall when I was convinced the masthead would soon return. Not giving up hope on this, folks! 

Here’s the missing masthead:

 

*Dept of Corrections: an earlier version of the Monday Tilley Watch for the April 30th issue incorrectly listed Sam Marlow as Sam Means.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Monday Tilley Watch: The New Yorker Issue of January 8, 2018

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

And off we go — a new year!  Hundreds of new cartoons to look forward to in 2018’s 47 issues (there are five double issues).  On yesterday’s Spill I showed the back flap copy from the Third New Yorker Album, published in 1930. I like it so much I’m repeating it here:

Note that the copy expresses the publisher’s pleasure if you’ve experienced any of these symptoms while looking through the cartoons: amusement, irritation, or nervousness.  I think that’s about right; the magazine’s cartoons shouldn’t be just a cozy reassuring sweater, they should — sorry — itch a little every so often. The magazine’s cartoons have long had a reputation for sometimes being annoyingly indecipherable. I think that’s mostly a myth, but what the heck — it’s a fun myth, and cartoons are in the business of being fun.  

If you substitute “The New Yorker” for “The Third New Yorker Album” in that ancient flap copy above I think you might agree that we’re still in the same boat, cartoon-appreciation-wise. At least for me, the cartoons appearing in every new issue can amuse, irritate, and/or cause some nervousness that produces that sudden clammy feeling that it’s finally happened: I’m totally out of it — the world has passed me by. Why just last night I had to Google “Backpack Kid” after Anderson Cooper mentioned him during CNN‘s live Times Square coverage. Oh, the stress.

Thankfully, it being the first day of the new year, and an enforced happy holiday, no nervousness (for me) while looking through this brand new issue. Some amusement, and some teeny tiny fun irritants here and there (technical cartoon stuff — no cause for alarm). 

But before we get to the new cartoons:  just above is Rea Irvin’s beautiful classic Talk of the Town masthead that’s been missing since last Spring (talk about yer irritants!). I hope it returns home soon.

The first cartoon (or “drawing” if you’re a New Yorker classicist) is by William Haefeli. Having selected a wine 100% based on its label just two days ago, it’s personally relatable (one of several not-so-secret ingredients making for a successful cartoon).  And of course the drawing itself is top shelf Haefeli.

Eight pages later, a Victoria Roberts cartoon. A surprise here is that Ms. Roberts has given us an outdoors scene — I’ve become accustomed to her drawings being set inside, usually in a living room. This new one is fun all around. No one else draws like Mr. Haefeli and the same is true with Ms. Roberts.

Nine pages later yet another New York City subway drawing (I’m going to predict that the fellows over on Cartoon Companion will make special note of this come Friday when they post their rated takes on the issue’s cartoons). I spent more time than usually spent looking at a cartoon when I came to Ellis Rosen‘s well-drawn drawing of an urban underground diarist. At first glance, seeing the drawing on my tablet, I wondered if that was a hot water tank behind the tent. Switching over to my computer I could see it was a trash can. 

Below left: Mr. Rosen’s trash can.  Right: a hot water tank.

In a way, I wish it had been a hot water tank as it would’ve made zero sense having it there (sometimes/most times, I love something nonsensical in the mix). I also liked that the fellow in the drawing appears to be wearing a Davey Crockett coonskin hat (but I hope it’s synthetic and that no raccoons were harmed in the making of the cartoon). By the way, you can still buy these hats.  Here’s one on Etsy.

I worry a little about Mr. Rosen’s diarist’s tent. If a subway train ever does blow into the station the tent will likely have serious stability issues as there aren’t any stakes holding it down.

Five pages later a Roz Chast cartoon. Like Ms. Roberts, Ms. Chast has gone outdoors. Bonfires bring to mind all sorts of stuff, some good (beach bonfires), some bad (book burning). As with Mr. Rosen’s drawing, I lingered on this one a bit more than usual, trying to figure out if the ring of people was made up of children, teenagers, or adults. I think all three. 

On the very next page, a Lars Kenseth Moby Dick, uh, Moby Lobster cartoon. As much as I feel for  tanked lobsters in restaurants and grocery stores, this is, like Mr. Haefeli’s work, top-shelf stuff. I’m dragging out the Spill’s graphic applause meter for this one:

 

Three pages later, a boxed drawing that could only be the work of Harry Bliss. Rarely do we see this much detail in a drawing (if you don’t count Mr. Haefeli’s work). What I find amusing in this drawing, with its incredible detail — especially the tree in the forefront — is that there are no footprints in the snow created by either father or daughter. Shadows by the shoes, yes…but no indication of prints. Funny. Maybe it’s a cleared dry pathway void of snow.

The next drawing, by Teresa Burns Parkhurst, is on the very next page. I could be terribly wrong about this but I don’t remember seeing too many public restroom drawings in the New Yorker. There’ve been many many drawings of private bathrooms.  Peter Arno’s so-called Man in the Shower immediately comes to mind and of course George Booth’s man in the tub series.  But a quick look through the New Yorker‘s database only turns up a few cartoons taking place in restrooms (i.e. bathrooms out of the home).  For what that’s worth! 

Sixteen pages later is a David Sipress television documentary series cartoon. Seeing this I couldn’t help but recall one done in the same school of thought published in the New Yorker 35 years ago by a then relative newcomer to the magazine (me). Coincidentally, Mr. Sipress and I share an affection for the word and number “six” in our captions: he uses it once, “…ninety-six part -documentary…” and, as you see below, I used it twice (coincidentally, and unimportantly, I was in my sixth year of contributing when the drawing below appeared in the issue of May 2, 1983). 

 

Five pages later an Emily Flake drawing, set outside.   A woman sits on a park bench in what appears to be sweater weather — there’s foliage on the trees (with two leaves on the ground).  California maybe?  I’m reminded of the late great Al Ross who somewhat specialized in park bench drawings. I raise my morning mug of coffee to Ms. Flake for this unexpected opportunity to mention the exceptionally talented and charming Mr. Ross.

Six pages later a Frank Cotham limo drawing. Without checking the New Yorker‘s database I think I’m on safe ground in saying that Mr. Cotham has done a good number of limo drawings (and by the way, isn’t it well past time for a Cotham anthology of cartoons?). I’m having difficulty deciphering the ears on the passenger.  Are they pointy? If they are, is that essential information?  Questions, questions…

Three pages later the last drawing of the issue (not counting the Caption Contest drawings).  This one, by Andrew Hamm is anchored by the oft-used flock ‘o’ birds scenario.  I pretty much always enjoy these drawings, whether done by Henry Martin or Lee Lorenz, etc., etc… Here we have very heavy appliances heading south…a scary proposition.

— See you next Monday.

 

 

 

 

 

The Monday Tilley Watch: The New Yorker Issue of December 4, 2017

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

Back in February of 1996, the New Yorker celebrated its 71st anniversary with a “Special Women’s Issue.” Of the 23 cartoonists in the issue, 20 were men. The three women cartoonists were Victoria Roberts, Roz Chast, and Liza Donnelly. The cover, a take-off on Eustace Tilley, dubbed “Eustacia Tilley” was handled by a man, R.O. Blechman.

Now, just 21 years later, we have what I believe to be a first: this is the first issue of the New Yorker where the number of women artists outnumber the men (if anyone can provide an earlier issue where this was the case, please let me know). Of the 14 cartoonists contributing to this latest issue, 8 are women. The cover is by a woman as well. 

Before heading on to the cartoons and cartoonists, I note this modern Tilley take (below left)  on page 4, below the list of Contributors:

Poor Eustace!  He’s lost most of his facial features, and he seems to have gained a large strand of red licorice around his shoulders. Just as a reminder, I’ve placed Rea Irvin’s original Eustace alongside, lest we forget.

Now on to the business at hand (at eye?). The first cartoon is the not-too-often-seen -anymore people-in-line drawing.  Memorable people-in-line moments that come to mind: the line waiting for soup in Seinfeld’s  “Soup Nazi” episode, and this classic  Woody Allen scene. Mr. Vey’s caption has a faint Horton Hatches The Egg-ness about it. The drawing itself features an abundance of stanchions that immediately reminded me of this wonderful captionless cartoon by Bill Woodman that appeared in The New Yorker, May 8, 1978:  

Five pages later is Sofia Warren’s second-ever New Yorker drawing (her first appeared last week). Sometimes New Yorker drawings drive me to the closest dictionary (via a search box) to clarify some word or phrase I’ve felt I generally understood (but didn’t really). There are two drawings in this issue that caused me to seek further definition.  The use of “vortex”  in Ms. Warren’s drawing was the first. Webster‘s defines it as “something resembling a whirlpool”  — Aha! That’s in the ballpark of what I thought it meant. Ms. Warren, confronted the challenge of drawing a stand-alone whirlpool by giving  us an energetic mass somewhat resembling birds nest pasta. Works for me (both the vortex and the pasta).

 

Three pages later a father/son factory “Someday this will be all yours” drawing. Updated, I suppose, with a reference to offshore shell companies.  In tried and true trope fashion, Mr. Noth has shown us framed images of the company’s previous generations of owners. Next up, a mash-up drawing by newbie, Jon Adams. Here we have the Michelin Man (in a sash). I had to look that up as well. I didn’t picture him in a sash — apparently, he doesn’t always wear one. The rubbery fellow is mixed up with the famous Michelin Guide. Also apparently, the Michelin Man is a Michelin Guide food critic who has been escorted out of a restaurant by a chef. The restaurant apparently (yes, the third “apparently”) does not allow customers to wear sashes.  An awful lot of apparentlys here. 

Three pages later another newbie, but not as new as the previous newbie.  In this Teresa Burns Parkhurst drawing both of the folks seem to be speaking (both have open mouths). I suppose it doesn’t really matter who’s doing the talking.  The caption works either way.  I was surprised that this drawing and the last were so close together as they are graphically similar.

In another three pages we come to the always welcome art of Joe Dator.  I can’t quite explain how (or why?), but I feel Mr. Dator brings a Mad Magazine/National Lampoon-quality to the New Yorker.  And that, of course, is a very very good thing. 

Four pages later is a Roz Chast drawing — it’s the second drawing of the issue that took me to the search box for a clear definition.  I’ve heard “life hacks” for awhile now, but never took the half-second to look it up. Well, okay…got it now.

Four pages later a Tom Chitty police line-up drawing. Mr. Chitty went at this head-on which almost (almost) makes the fellows in the line-up look like they in a painting or photo on the wall. Maybe they are, but I don’t think so. I wondered why it was possibly a #7 missing from the line-up and not #6.  Anyway, funny idea. On the opposite page is a Liana Finck drawing — the style recognizable from across the room. Nice grizzly bear.

Twenty-one pages later (!) is a Liza Donnelly drawing of an off the grid little piggy. I can’t tell if he’s happy to be off the grid or not.  Has he made the right decision for him or herself?  Only the little piggy knows. Opposite Ms. Donnelly’s drawing is a Frank Cotham drawing that caused me to, as Bob Dylan once said (in the song “Belle Isle”), “stay for awhile.” I couldn’t decide who was “clinging to territory”— the dog or the guy. I still can’t decide.

Four pages later a drawing by another newbie, Maggie Larson (but this isn’t her first New Yorker drawing). Ms. Larson’s style here reminds me of someone we don’t hear about much anymore: Charles Sauers. Both Ms. Larson and Mr. Sauers work employs a particular perspective as well as simple line drawing.   Here’s a Sauers drawing from the August 20, 1984 New Yorker:

And the last drawing of the issue (not counting the work on the Caption Contest page) is by Kate Curtis. A really well drawn piece, solidly in the Charles Addams school of everything.

So that’s that for this week…other than mentioning my campaign to reinstate Rea Irvin’s Talk of the Town masthead.  Here’s Mr. Irvin’s original.  Perhaps someday it will get back to where it once belonged. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fave Photo of the Day: Dator & Le Lievre Down Under; Attempted Bloggery on Advertising Work By New Yorker Cartoonists; A Spill Note

Fave Photo of the Day

Here’s Joe Dator, in the land down under with New Yorker cartoonist colleague, Glen Le Lievre, August 2017.

Mr. Dator began contributing toThe New Yorker in 2006.

Mr. Le Lievre began contributing toThe New Yorker in 2004.

 

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Attempted Bloggery On Advertising Work by New Yorker Cartoonists

I’d planned to briefly detour from the Warren Bernard New Yorker cartoonists ad collection that’s been appearing here and show the Absolut ads — all appeared in 1991 —  by a bunch of colleagues (Robert Weber, William Hamilton, Edward Koren, Victoria Roberts, Roz Chast, Jack Ziegler, Mischa Richter, Danny Shanahan, and Lee Lorenz).  I soon discovered that Stephen Nadler’s Attempted Bloggery had already done just that in a January 2016 post.  It includes scans of all the ads.  See them here. __________________________________________

A Spill Note

Normally, today’s Spill would consist entirely of The Monday Tilley Watch, but alas, the New Yorker that appeared last week (dated August 7 & 14, 2017) is a double issue, so no new cartoons until next Monday.

 

 

 

 

Signed & Drawn

From the always interesting Attempted Bloggery, this fun piece, with scans, about a signed copy of Lee Lorenz’s The Art of The New Yorker. (Mr. Lorenz was the Art Editor of The New Yorker from 1973 — 1993, then Cartoon Editor from 1993 — 1997).

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Exhibit of Interest: R. Crumb’s Early Work; More Spills with Liza Donnelly, Victoria Roberts, Michael Crawford, and a Piece on newyorker.com’s Videos

zap_1-210x300The Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery will exhibit “R. Crumb: Early Works, 1965 – 1967″ Details here.

Mr. Crumb’s New Yorker debut was a cover for the 1994 anniversary issue.  His cover, titled “Elvis Tilley” marked the first break in the magazine’s sixty-eight year old tradition of running Rea Irvin’s classic Eustace Tilley  on the cover of the anniversary issue. (For more on Tilley’s anniversary appearances go here to a piece I wrote for newyorker.com back in 2008)

Elvis Tilley

 

 

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More Spills Icon Editedhere’s a short video for the blog,  Skillshare featuring Liza Donnelly. A link to a longer interview with her can be found on the site. LD Skillshare

 

 

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Link here to this interview of interest:  “New Yorker Cartoonist Victoria Roberts: Write at Home in San Miguel”

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…Here’s an article from Nieman Lab, “Video is giving The New Yorker a way to reach new readers without turning off existing diehards” (the newyorker.com‘s Cartoon Lounge is briefly mentioned).

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Finally, this short piece from a Hudson Valley (NY) publication, Chronogram, “Parting Shot: Michael Crawford”

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