Well here’s something we haven’t seen since Lee Lorenz’s Essential Cartoonist Library series ended in 2000: a book about a legendary New Yorker cartoonist written by another legendary New Yorker cartoonist. James Stevenson’s new book, The Life, Loves and Laughs of Frank Modell (Frank & Ralph Press, 2013) is a wonderful tribute to Frank Modell, his long-time friend, and the New Yorker’s elder cartoonist statesman (his first New Yorker cartoon appeared in the issue of July 20, 1946). Frank, who is now 95, kindly sent a copy of the book this way. I read it through, then read it through again.
The book is part autobiography and part biography with reminiscences from Frank’s friends, along with a fascinating interlude by Stevenson about his early years at the magazine. Life, Loves and Laughs is chock full of color reproductions of Modell’s art, cartoons, covers and fine art, as well as plenty of photographs including a number taken by Stevenson of William Shawn, the New Yorker’s second editor.
The only catch with this book, and thankfully it’s a temporary catch – is that it is privately printed and momentarily unavailable to the book-buying public. However, Ink Spill has learned that plans are well underway to soon make it available to all. This site will post details, possibly as early as next week.
For those who’d like a hefty dose of Modell while waiting for Mr. Stevenson’s book, there’s always Frank Modell’s classic 1978 cartoon collection, Stop Trying to Cheer Me Up!(below), available through most any online book dealer. And then there are Frank’s 1400+ New Yorker cartoons and 6 New Yorker covers, readily available to anyone with a subscription to the digital edition of the magazine or access to a library holding bound New Yorkers.