At The New Yorker Festival: New Yorker Cartoon Editor Emma Allen & Company Talk Peanuts; A Conversation With Alison Bechdel; Chast & Ukulele; Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon; A Daily Shouts With… Avi Steinberg

At The New Yorker Festival: New Yorker Cartoon Editor Emma Allen & Company Talk Peanuts; A Conversation With Alison Bechdel; Chast, Marx, & Ukuleles 

Cartoon-related Fest Happenings:

The New Yorker‘s Cartoon Editor, Emma Allen will moderate a panel discussion on “Peanuts.” (Oct. 12). All the info here.

Alison Bechdel will speak with Judith Thurman (Oct. 12).  Info here.

Roz Chast, and co-author Patty Marx (Why Don’t You Write My Eulogy Now So I Can Correct It?) will play their ukuleles (Oct. 12th). Info here. 


Today’s  Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

J.A.K. on Brexit. Mr. K. has been contributing to The New Yorker since 2014.


A Daily Shouts With… Avi Steinberg

“Existential Dread In The Animal Kingdom” by Avi Steinberg and Irving Ruan.

Mr. Steinberg has been contributing to The New Yorker since 2012.

The Monday Tilley Watch, The New Yorker Issue of September 9, 2019

The Cover:

It’s the Style Issue this week….thus the bountiful polka dots on Malika Favre’s eighth cover for the magazine. A Q&A with the artist here. If you link to the Q&A you’ll see the polka dot dress swirl.

I can’t see that many polka dots (and red) on the cover without thinking of Peter Arno’s March 23, 1935 New Yorker cover. It was also used as the cover for The Seventh New Yorker Album.

The dalmatians cover is perhaps overly familiar to me because it’s the front endpaper of my biography of Arno. Hey, what can I say? I like dogs…and Arno.


The Cartoonists and Cartoons

With the appearance of another team effort (third? fourth?) by Pia Guerra and Ian Boothby I think we’re in new territory as far as crediting a writing team goes for single panel cartoons in the magazine. Someone please correct me if there has been another duo credited beyond one or two appearances (Robert Crumb and Aline Kominsky-Crumb come to mind, but their work is in a different realm, i.e., their “thing” is not single panel cartoons). The duo of Guerra & Boothby have given us a slightly different take on the usual cartoonist’s representation of Noah’s Ark (the drawing appears on page 78). Instead of the long ramp leading up to the ark, it’s more of a tailgate.  It works well here.

Of note: Elisabeth McNair’s drawing of the tortoise and the hare (p. 72). If you remove the art hanging on the wall, and the door frame, the cartoon could easily be seen as descended from the school of (Charles) Barsotti minimalism. Love the turtle’s expression.

Also of note: Hilary Fitzgerald Cambell’s spooky “campfire” story-time drawing (p.49). At first glance I thought the scene was outdoors, but then saw the light sockets in the background with a charging electronic device (a phone?) connected to one of them. That it plays a trick on the eyes — intended or not — is pleasing, as is the drawing itself.

Further of note: Ed Steed adds another drawing to the cartoon canon of mounted something (in this case, someone) or others on the wall (p. 25).

Being the great grandson of bakers, and a fan of baked goods in general, it was a nice surprise  seeing pastries as a focus in Amy Hwang’s drawing (p. 43). Also a nice surprise: seeing Glen Baxter’s drawing (p.68). While a number of cartoonists box in their drawings, Baxter’s boxes somehow seem part of the drawing within, if that makes any sense (is the word “integral” — maybe, maybe not).

Rea Irvin’s Talk Masthead: Still not home. Read about it here.






The Weekend Spill: Donnelly & Thurber’s Influence; A Thurber Event At The Society Of Illustrators; The Tilley Watch Online; Interview Of Interest: Seth; Chris Ware In Conversation With Chip Kidd

Donnelly & Thurber’s Influence

From The Cleveland Plain Dealer (, September 1, 2019, “James Thurber continues to influence today’s cartoonists”  — this piece by Marilyn Greenwald


A Thurber Anniversary Event At The Society Of Illustrators

From The Society Of Illustrators, this notice of a Thurber event this coming October. Coinciding with the 125th birthday celebration publication of Collected Fables and A Mile And A Half Of Lines: The Art Of James Thurber and the extensive exhibit of Thurber art in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

The evening, hosted by Michael Rosen (author, editor, illustrator, and  founding director of The Thurber House) will include long-time New Yorker contributors, Danny Shanahan, Liza Donnelly, and yours truly.


A week end round up of New Yorker artists who’ve contributed to the Daily Cartoon and/or Daily Shouts

The Daily Cartoon: Trevor Spaulding, Teresa Burns Parkhurst, Emily Flake, David Sipress, and Tim Hamilton.

Daily Shouts: Liana Finck (another in her “Dear Pepper” series), Ali Fitzgerald, Olivia de Recat (with Julia Edelman),

…And: Barry Blitt’s Kvetchbook returned; cover artist Jenny Kroik contributed a piece, “New York: En Espanol” to The Culture Desk.

You can see all of the above and more here.


Interview Of Interest: Seth

From The Comics Beat, August 30, 2019, Alex Dueben interviews New Yorker cover artist, Seth.  Read it here.

Seth (real name: Gregory Gallant) began contributing to The New Yorker in 2002.


Chris Ware In Conversation With Chip Kidd, Sept. 25th

Designer Chip Kidd sits down with Chis Ware on September 25th in Oak Park, Illinois to discuss Mr. Ware’s soon-to-be-released graphic novel, Rusty Brown (Pantheon) . All the details here.

Mr. Ware began contributing to The New Yorker in 1999.


Ralph Pekor: “Smiling Jesus” Artist, Folsom Prison Inmate #21692, Cartoonist

If you take a look at Ink Spill‘s “New Yorker Cartoonists A-Z “ you’ll notice that there are, at present, one hundred and thirty-two members of the Spill‘s “One Club.”  One Club membership is limited to those cartoonists whose work appeared just once in The New Yorker (the One Club icon    appears beside each member’s entry).  Most of these One Clubbers have thin biographies; I’ve found over the years that it’s tough tracking down much at all about them other than their one cartoon appearance. There’ve been exceptions when a One Clubber went on to other things outside the New Yorker.  Ted Key, who created the comic strip character Hazel, would be an example. B. Kliban is another. Occasionally, a relative of a One Clubber will write in to the Spill and provide much needed biographical information. But mostly, One Clubbers are anonymous other than for their one cartoon that appeared in one issue of The New Yorker. Such was the case for Ralph Dubois Pekor, whose one cartoon (below) appeared in the issue of May 18, 1948. His entry (soon to be updated) looks like this:  Ralph Pekor NYer work: 1 drawing, May 18, 1946

Recently a gentleman wrote to me asking where exactly Mr. Pekor’s drawing was to be found in that May 18, 1946 issue. Mr. Pekor’s name appears in The New Yorker‘s database but he had signed his one New Yorker cartoon “Peek,” thus allowing for some confusion.

An email back-and-forth about Mr. Pekor’s past (once the Pekor/Peek mystery was solved) led to more information than I could’ve possibly imagined; I was provided links to newspaper articles, and a photograph. Not only did I learn when and where Mr. Pekor was born (Columbus Georgia June 14, 1901) and died (January 6th, 1957, Phoenix, Arizona) but discovered a fascinating television profile on him.

These pieces, and more information  found by scouring the internet provided a fuller picture of an artist with a developing career out in Hollywood in “theatrical public relations,” as a “bit player,” and as a published cartoonist. Within a decade of his arrival out west he was serving time in Folsom Prison for manslaughter.

The particulars of his case from newspaper accounts tell of a court case that saw Mr. Pekor draw the scene of what he described as an accidental shooting. In 1937, driving along a road in California, Mr. Pekor and William Williamson, “a movie-struck farmer from Missouri”  — commonly described in news accounts as a “cowboy” —  stopped to shoot at beer cans. Mr. Pekor told the court he did not intend to shoot the cowboy. The jury found that he shot and killed the cowboy on purpose.

While in prison, Pekor painted murals on the prison walls (including a take on Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper;  Pekor was rumored to have used inmates as models for the disciples). Released from Folsom, Pekor wound up in New Mexico’s state prison (convicted of fraud) from which he eventually escaped. He then landed in Florida’s Raiford Prison, where one of his latest paintings, his “Smiling Christ” or “Smiling Jesus” (which he signed as “The Old Timer”) brought him a different kind of fame than the cowboy shooting. From the Pan American, October 1957: “In a short time the ‘smiling christ’ has attracted the attention of the world outside the walls of Raiford. Copies of Pekor’s work  has been sought by churches, magazines and individuals and have won international mention.”

Released from Raiford, Pekor was arrested in Tennessee on a larceny charge, then extradited to New Mexico.  Serving a life term there as a “habitual criminal” he was granted a mercy parole at age 56 when it was discovered he was dying of cancer.  He died just days after his release.