The Monday Tilley Watch is a meandering take on the cartoons in the current issue of The New Yorker.
By now, observant social media types (and/or Spill visitors) have had four days to digest the latest issue’s cover. Our current President as Scrooge, and in the background, one of his former associates singing, like a canary(?). As this is a double issue we’ll have to wait til Christmas morning for a new issue. Bah! Humbug!
True story: Yesterday late afternoon I was in our local grocery store — the sole customer in the yogurt, cheese, butter section of a very long aisle. I was looking to buy cheese sticks (some people call it string cheese). As I haven’t shopped for cheese sticks in a very long time, I needed to pause in front of what seemed like too many choices. Looking back on it now, I suppose I was momentarily in my own cheese stick bubble, unaware of anything or anyone else.
I’d finally given up trying to make the “right” choice and was leaning in to grab a package of sticks off the wall display when suddenly a black shape appeared directly in front of my face, blocking my vision. I grasped, rather quickly, that the black shape was the sleeve of a winter coat. The rest of the coat belonged to a fellow customer who, unbeknownst to me, had been in the aisle waiting patiently for me to choose a cheese. Her patience having run out, she made a move deep into my “personal space” throwing her arm across my face to grab her cheese sticks of choice. Startled by the sudden turn out the lights moment, I drew back, and turned to see a smiling face. I smiled too, then I laughed. Then she laughed too.
In many ways this is the experience I hope for when I take a first look at the cartoons in every new issue of the New Yorker. The very best moments are those that take me completely by surprise, then make me laugh. Peter Arno likened the surprise moment to a “one-two” punch: looking at the drawing, then reading the caption. When the two work perfectly together: Pow! Sometimes it’s much much less than a pow — it’s an “ow” (sorry!). Usually though, cartoons (the drawing itself, or the caption) work somewhere between the extremes of “pow” and “ow.”
This week’s issue contains several fun moments (and a few ‘Pows”). I’m going to cite those particular drawings in an informal list, rather than mentioning each and every drawing in the issue.
The first drawing in the issue, placed at the close of the Table of Contents just below the list of Artists (placing cartoons there is a Tina Brown era confection) is by Edward Koren. Mr. Koren’s expertise is on full display here. Part of enjoying a drawing, at least for me, is the feeling that the cartoonist was enjoying him or herself while drawing. This is a beautiful drawing — an excellent way to lead off the issue.
David Sipress‘s drawing, on page 49, has a terrific caption right out of the Charles Saxon, George Booth mold. Mr. Sipress has delivered a poetic and funny twist for a moment many have experienced.
P.C. Vey‘s drawing on page 62. Not too many dry cleaner drawings in the New Yorker‘s 92 years. This is quite simply a funny drawing. The word “slob” in the caption delivers the “pow!”
Kim Warp‘s prison escape drawing (p. 67) is fun. I love the effort put into this drawing. A funny moment: the caption was at first not in sight (i.e., cut off) when I saw this drawing on my tablet. I thought the drawing worked captionless (the idea that one of the escaping convicts is videoing his co-escapee being caught coming out of the hole in the ground).
Maggie Larson‘s captionless drawing on page 78. A situation plenty of folks can relate to. Visually (graphically) it reminded me of this great Otto Soglow drawing from the issue of May 7, 1932:
Joe Dator‘s drawing on page 80. The caped eye-patched fellow speaking is so interesting, as is the scenario Mr. Dator has drawn. I like being sucked in to a cartoonist’s world.
William Haefeli‘s lovely Christmas morning drawing (p.87). Another drawing, like Mr. Sipress’s that many can relate to.
Liana Finck‘s drawing (p. 88). This one needed to be seen on my laptop as the words were tough to see on the tablet. But worth switching devices for. A fun drawing.
Thomas Cheney‘s drawing (p. 96). An evergreen drawing. If I was handing out ribbons like they do over on the Cartoon Companion, I’d be handing out a ribbon: the caption provided a “pow!”
- Sadly, Rea Irvin’s Talk of the Town masthead (below) has yet to return. Fingers crossed that someday it does.
- A follow-up to one of last week’s newbie cartoonists, Mary Lawton. Ms. Lawton has informed the Spill that she submitted to the magazine for 30 years before seeing her first drawing published in its print edition. I believe that that is the longest effort on record (submitting before publication, not just submitting).
- In this week’s issue, another newbie: Pia Guerra. If you’re keeping track, that makes 11 new cartoonists in Emma Allen’s first 8 months as cartoon editor.
— see you here Christmas day (or possibly, Boxing Day), for the issue of January 1, 2018.