Ordinarily I’d rather not think too much about the end days of good friends. But today I can’t quite shake thinking about my New Yorker cartoonist colleague and friend, Jack Ziegler, who passed away on this day three years ago. His unexpected finale was a shock; the aftershocks continue.
Photo: Jack Ziegler with New Yorker cartoonist Dick Cline draped around his shoulders.
Beginning in 1974, when his first drawing was published in the magazine, Jack ‘s work was a ground-breaking force. Looks alone set it apart, never mind his cartoon concerns, his hamburger madness. The work disrupted the long held notion of what a New Yorker cartoon should be, and helped usher in the era of what it could be. Other cartoonists followed Jack into the art department (Roz Chast, Mick Stevens, Leo Cullum, to name but a few), but Jack was the point man for the magazine’s art editor, Lee Lorenz, when Lee decided to shake things up.
As March 2017 ended, in the days when it was time to speak to reporters about what Jack’s work meant to the magazine, I dubbed him the Godfather of Contemporary New Yorker Cartoonists. 2017 already seems like a long time ago, but the accolade stands. Without Jack, who knows if the magazine’s next generations of cartoonists would’ve taken the road less traveled. We’ll never know, and it doesn’t matter. We are where we are, in great part because of Jack.
Jack Ziegler’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:
Jack Ziegler (photo by Michael Maslin, taken at The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, NYC, 2008) Born, Brooklyn, NY July 13, 1942. Died, March 29, 2017. New Yorker work: 1974 – 2017. Key collections: all of Ziegler’s collections are must-haves. Here’re some favorites: Hamburger Madness (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1978), Filthy Little Things ( Doubleday/Dolphin, 1981) and The Essential Jack Ziegler, Complied and Edited by Lee Lorenz ( Workman, 2000). Link here for Ink Spill’s Jack Ziegler interview from late 2016.
An Evergreen Cartoon From Dana Fradon Cartoon
Daniel Borinsky, a good friend of the Spill, recently unearthed this Dana Fradon New Yorker drawing. It appeared in the issue of April 27, 1957. My thanks to Mr. Borinsky for passing it along.
Dan Fradon’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:
Dana Fradon (photo taken in 1978). Born, Chicago, Illinois, 1922. Died, October 3, 2019, Woodstock, NY. Studied at the Art Institute of Chicago prior to service in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II. Following his service, he attended the Art Students League of New York, New Yorker work: May 1, 1948 – April 21, 2003. Collection: Insincerely Yours (Scribners, 1978) To read Ink Spill’s 2013 interview with Mr. Fradon, “Harold Ross’s Last Cartoonist” link here.