The New Yorker Book of_______Cartoons

There’s an alternate universe of New Yorker cartoon collections out there: custom hard cover books produced by the magazine’s Cartoon Bank. These books resemble in size and format the popular series that began in 1990 with The New Yorker Book of Cat Cartoons. The Cartoon Bank’s Production Manager, Trevor Hoey (who is also a New Yorker cartoonist)  tells Ink Spill that there are about two hundred different custom titles out in the world, with production runs of anywhere from fifty copies to ten thousand copies per title.

I really like these custom books, with their dust-jacketed hard covers and their helpful “Index of Artists”  at the back (a carry-over from the mainstream New Yorker cartoon collections). And even though I’ve never been a fan of themed collections, these are kind’ve fun in a cartoony universe sort of way as they feature insurance agencies, brokerage firms, law offices, television stations, etc., etc.. It may sound as if I’m shilling for the Cartoon Bank, but these titles are usually difficult to find. A recent search on Amazon turned up just a handful.  As we wait for the next big New Yorker Album—perhaps the 90th Anniversary Album in 2015, or the 100th Anniversary Album in 2025, these custom collections will do nicely, if you can find them.

A Pile of Newspapers and a Magazine: John Lennon and The New Yorker

I‘ve a habit of examining photos for the little things in the background.  While browsing through the recent issue of Rolling Stone (with the John Lennon cover story) I paused to take a closer look at an Annie Leibovitz photo – one I’d seen before, but in a ever-so-slightly edited form.  The photograph was taken at The Dakota, December 8, 1980, the afternoon of the day John died.  John sits on a white stuffed chair in the “Morning Room” of his and Yoko Ono’s apartment.   John’s arms are stretched out over the back of the chair; an end table to the left holds a pile of newspapers. A glass bowl (an ashtray?) sits atop the pile, and peeking out from under the bowl is a copy of the December 1st, 1980  issue of The New Yorker. There’s not a lot of James Stevenson’s cover visible, just the final “R” of “YORKER” and a fallen leaf on the ground.