Police-related cartoons have long been a New Yorker staple. The very first one, by Gardner Rea, appeared in the very first issue, and the magazine’s second cover, by Al Frueh, featured two policemen riding on a tiny car.
According to the New Yorker‘s database, well over a thousand cartoons featuring those who protect and serve have appeared in the magazine.
Looking through the ninety plus years of the magazine, you’ll find a lot of cops and paddy wagon cartoons, cops at crime scenes, cops directing traffic, in court rooms, etc.. Besides the ever-popular staple of the good cop-bad cop, one police-themed situation that cartoonists find irresistible is the police lineup. The first one to appear (and if I’m wrong, please let me know) is by Peter Arno in the issue of February 13, 1937 (shown above). As with many of Arno’s drawings, it was published as a full page. A more recent lineup cartoon is by Ed Steed in May of this year. In between have been such personal favorites as Edward Sorel’s multi-panel from 2002, and Charles Addams’s from the issue of January 8, 1979. Here’s one from Paul Noth, published May 23, 2011, that blends in something familiar from another field of comedy.
A roster of other New Yorker cartoonists who’ve done at least one lineup drawing include (this is likely an incomplete list): Robert Day, Barney Tobey, Syd Hoff, William O’Brian, Whitney Darrow, Jr., Al Ross, David Christianson, Bill Woodman, Arnie Levin, Drew Dernavich, Charlie Hankin, Edward Frascino, Shannon Wheeler, David Sipress, Christopher Weyant, Ben Schwartz, Trevor Hoey, and Tom Cheney.
Here’s Sid Hoff’s from May 18, 1957
A classic Bill Woodman, published November 10, 1975
And finally, the great Al Ross, who turns things around in this drawing from July 7, 1962