The Monday Tilley Watch, The New Yorker Issue Of November 4, 2019

The Cover: Without heading to the Table Of Contents and reading the title for this cover I’m going to guess it’s a comment on city noise. I’ve always felt New Yorker covers should work stand alone, without explanation, or description. This was the practice until Tina Brown’s revamp of the magazine, beginning with the issue of October 5, 1992.

Okay, now to the Table of Contents and the cover’s title: “Noise New York.”

There’s a hint of Steinberg on the cover; the police car beams of flashing lights for instance. Below left, a detail from Steinberg’s March 13, 1978 New Yorker cover, and to the right, a detail from this week’s cover (by Richard McGuire).

 

 

 

 

If you want to read more about Mr. McGuire’s cover, go here.

The Cartoonists:

Some random thoughts on some of the Cartoons & Cartoonists:

So yay! A lot of cartoonists. If we count the two teams (Sofia Warren & J.A.K., and Pia Guerra & Ian Boothby) as one cartoonist per drawing, there are twenty-one contributors.

There’s a newbie: Luke Kruger-Howard, who is the twenty-fourth new member of the magazine’s stable of cartoonists this year and the fiftieth newbie under Emma Allen’s editorship, begun in the Spring of 2017.

There are four bedroom cartoons in the issue: one by Victoria Roberts (page 46), one by the aforementioned Mr. Kruger-Howard (p. 23), one by Will McPhail (p. 36), and one by the aforementioned team of Guerra & Boothby (p. 70). Victoria Roberts’ three little pigs in bed drawing is both funny and touching.  It’s become an instant favorite Roberts cartoon.

Paul Noth has a fine colorful cartoon on page 50.  As mentioned here a number of times, it’s the cartoons that surprise that catch my attention (and often my affection). This is an out-of-left-field drawing that surprises. What more could one ask for.

P.C. Vey specializes in out-of-left-field drawings. His hikers (p. 54) don’t disappoint. I love everything about this drawing, especially the unseen co-hikers’ name (“the Jensons”). Someone ought to frame the original and hang it on a wall.

One can’t see Karl Stevens “Casablanca” drawing (p.39) without recalling others. A quick search on the magazine’s Cartoon Bank turned up five (it’s possible there are more):

Bob Eckstein’s from November 30, 2015

This classic from  Sam Gross, published February 11, 2008

A duo effort by Emily Flake & Rob Kutner, published October 16, 2017 

One by the late great Al Ross, published February 2, 1987.

And this fun one by Julia Suits, published October 30, 2017

 

High on my favorite things to draw are dogs and clouds. It’s only natural then that I’d be partial to a drawing that combines both, such as Amy Hwang’s cartoon on page 31 (her poodles are ever-so-slightly Gahan Wilsonesque).

I can’t see a cloud-based New Yorker drawing — heck, I can’t see clouds — without thinking of Charles Addams’ classic cover of May 19, 1975.

 

Lastly, I appreciate the challenge presented by aerial view drawings such as Sofia Warren & J.A.K’s joint effort on page 28. The last one I recall seeing was this one by David Borchart, published  February 22, 2016.  Then there is this spectacular dizzying cover from Adolph Kronengold, published September 22, 1928.

The Rea Irvin Talk Masthead Watch

Sadly, Mr. Irvin’s iconic Talk masthead drawing (below) remains mothballed. It was replaced by a redraw in 2017 after appearing 92 years.  Read about it here.

 

 

 

Book Tour Of Interest: Liana Finck; Dick Buchanan On The Roth Brothers: Al Ross, Irving Roir, Ben Roth, And Salo; Daily Cartoonists: Teresa Burns Parkhurst, Avi Steinberg; A Daily Shouts By…Ward Sutton

Book Tour Of Interest: Liana Finck

Liana Finck’s latest book, Excuse Me: Cartoons, Complaints, And Notes To Self  is out September 24th (Random House). Ms. Finck began contributing to The New Yorker in 2013.  Link here to her website.

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Dick Buchanan On The Roth Brothers: Al Ross, Irving Roir, Ben Roth, and Salo

Here’s a terrif post by Dick Buchanan on the Roth brothers (via Mike Lynch’s blog).

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Daily Cartoonists: Teresa Burns Parkhurst, Avi Steinberg  

The Daily News Cycle  by Teresa Burns Parkhurst, who began contributing to The New Yorker in 2017.

A back to school Daily by Avi Steinberg, who began contributing to The New Yorker in 2012.

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A Daily Shouts By…Ward Sutton

“The World’s Greatest Dealmaker” by Ward Sutton, who began contributing to The New Yorker in 2007. Visit his website here.

An Al Ross Exhibit!; The Tilley Watch Online, The Week Of January 7-11, 2019; Cartoon Companion Rates The Latest New Yorker Cartoons

An Al Ross Exhibit!

Exciting news of an exhibit of work by the late great New Yorker cartoonist, Al Ross at the Gallery @ The Falcon, January 20, 2019, from 3-5pm.  Here’s the entire press release:

Gallery@TheFalcon invites the public to join the family of legendary cartoonist and artist, AL ROSS, for wine and small bites. Ross’s son – renowned “TELEMASTER” guitarist Arlen Roth, and granddaughter, singer-songwriter, Lexie Roth will be hosting. 
Born Abraham Roth in Romania, Al Ross (1911-2012) was one of the great cartoonists of the “Golden Era” of cartooning and illustration, primarily known for his seminal work in The New Yorker Magazine from 1937 to 2012. Ross’s droll cartoons featuring married couples, bar habitués, anthropomorphic animals, philosophizing prisoners, art and publishing world denizens, anachronistic mythological figures and loyal Mets fans appeared in The New Yorker for more than 60 years.

Ross’s work was featured, as well, in the world’s most respected magazines; Esquire, Playboy, The Saturday Evening Post, The New York Times, Paris Match, Du Magazine, Colliers, Life, and Look among others. 

“…he mastered the wry, arched-eyebrow sensibility of the magazine’s cartoons, and its signature wit, which speaks to an affluent, sophisticated readership and relies partly on erudition, partly on timeliness, partly on psychological astuteness and partly on silliness.” – Bruce Weber, The New York Times

Arriving in America in 1922, Ross and his three brothers – all soccer players with artistic ability, and great senses of humor – began cartooning and studied drawing at the Art Students League. “They were always carrying on, almost like the Marx brothers.” 

Ross’s wife, Sylvia Heller, started the Rothco cartoon agency, an expansion of the cartoon bank started by Ben Roth, establishing a secondary market for published cartoons. Al Ross’s books of cartoons included titles – a product of those times – such as ,“Sexcapades: The Love Life of the Modern Homo Sapiens“, and the guide “Cartooning Fundamentals.” 

His painting, though lesser known than his cartoons, was his true passion and has been part of important collections around the world. He was a tireless creative force, turning out countless oil paintings, collages, drawings, sculptures, and of course, cartoons throughout his lifetime, from his art studio in NYC.

Of his influences, the most prevalent were Picasso, DeKooning, Roualt, Braque, Miro, Rothko, Cezanne, Matisse, John Graham, and Rodin. In the 1940’s, he studied with German-born American painter, the renowned Hans Hoffman, who in his long career preceded and influenced Abstract Expressionism, through his teaching at the Art Students League in New York City. 

Ross is the father of renowned guitarist, Arlen Roth, who has played at The Falcon numerous times, also with Arlen’s daughter, Lexie Roth, who is a singer-songwriter, actress and chef.. It is Al Ross, who encouraged and envisioned his son Arlen becoming a guitar player and he also inspired David Roth, his eldest son, to follow his footsteps and become an artist as well. 

We hope that all who see this exhibition get a chance to see and reflect upon a brilliant life of work, art, humor, family and love that is Al Ross’ true legacy.

— My thanks to Lexie Roth and Paul Karasik for bringing the above information to my attention.

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The Tilley Watch Online, The Week Of January 7-11, 2019

Contributors to the Daily Cartoon this week: Jason Adam Katzenstein, Emma Hunsinger, Lila Ash, Kim Warp, and Karl Stevens (an online New Yorker cartoonist).

New Yorker cartoonists contributing to Daily Shouts this week: Jason Adam Katzenstein (with Aubrey Nolan), , Emily Flake, Ellis Rosen & Colin Stokes, Sharon Levy.

To see all the above work and more go here.

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The ratings are in! Go see what “Max” and “Simon” have to say about all the cartoons in the January 14th, 2019 New Yorker .

The Monday Tilley Watch: The New Yorker Issue of January 8, 2018

The Monday Tilley Watch is a meandering take on the cartoons in the current issue of The New Yorker.

And off we go — a new year!  Hundreds of new cartoons to look forward to in 2018’s 47 issues (there are five double issues).  On yesterday’s Spill I showed the back flap copy from the Third New Yorker Album, published in 1930. I like it so much I’m repeating it here:

Note that the copy expresses the publisher’s pleasure if you’ve experienced any of these symptoms while looking through the cartoons: amusement, irritation, or nervousness.  I think that’s about right; the magazine’s cartoons shouldn’t be just a cozy reassuring sweater, they should — sorry — itch a little every so often. The magazine’s cartoons have long had a reputation for sometimes being annoyingly indecipherable. I think that’s mostly a myth, but what the heck — it’s a fun myth, and cartoons are in the business of being fun.  

If you substitute “The New Yorker” for “The Third New Yorker Album” in that ancient flap copy above I think you might agree that we’re still in the same boat, cartoon-appreciation-wise. At least for me, the cartoons appearing in every new issue can amuse, irritate, and/or cause some nervousness that produces that sudden clammy feeling that it’s finally happened: I’m totally out of it — the world has passed me by. Why just last night I had to Google “Backpack Kid” after Anderson Cooper mentioned him during CNN‘s live Times Square coverage. Oh, the stress.

Thankfully, it being the first day of the new year, and an enforced happy holiday, no nervousness (for me) while looking through this brand new issue. Some amusement, and some teeny tiny fun irritants here and there (technical cartoon stuff — no cause for alarm). 

But before we get to the new cartoons:  just above is Rea Irvin’s beautiful classic Talk of the Town masthead that’s been missing since last Spring (talk about yer irritants!). I hope it returns home soon.

The first cartoon (or “drawing” if you’re a New Yorker classicist) is by William Haefeli. Having selected a wine 100% based on its label just two days ago, it’s personally relatable (one of several not-so-secret ingredients making for a successful cartoon).  And of course the drawing itself is top shelf Haefeli.

Eight pages later, a Victoria Roberts cartoon. A surprise here is that Ms. Roberts has given us an outdoors scene — I’ve become accustomed to her drawings being set inside, usually in a living room. This new one is fun all around. No one else draws like Mr. Haefeli and the same is true with Ms. Roberts.

Nine pages later yet another New York City subway drawing (I’m going to predict that the fellows over on Cartoon Companion will make special note of this come Friday when they post their rated takes on the issue’s cartoons). I spent more time than usually spent looking at a cartoon when I came to Ellis Rosen‘s well-drawn drawing of an urban underground diarist. At first glance, seeing the drawing on my tablet, I wondered if that was a hot water tank behind the tent. Switching over to my computer I could see it was a trash can. 

Below left: Mr. Rosen’s trash can.  Right: a hot water tank.

In a way, I wish it had been a hot water tank as it would’ve made zero sense having it there (sometimes/most times, I love something nonsensical in the mix). I also liked that the fellow in the drawing appears to be wearing a Davey Crockett coonskin hat (but I hope it’s synthetic and that no raccoons were harmed in the making of the cartoon). By the way, you can still buy these hats.  Here’s one on Etsy.

I worry a little about Mr. Rosen’s diarist’s tent. If a subway train ever does blow into the station the tent will likely have serious stability issues as there aren’t any stakes holding it down.

Five pages later a Roz Chast cartoon. Like Ms. Roberts, Ms. Chast has gone outdoors. Bonfires bring to mind all sorts of stuff, some good (beach bonfires), some bad (book burning). As with Mr. Rosen’s drawing, I lingered on this one a bit more than usual, trying to figure out if the ring of people was made up of children, teenagers, or adults. I think all three. 

On the very next page, a Lars Kenseth Moby Dick, uh, Moby Lobster cartoon. As much as I feel for  tanked lobsters in restaurants and grocery stores, this is, like Mr. Haefeli’s work, top-shelf stuff. I’m dragging out the Spill’s graphic applause meter for this one:

 

Three pages later, a boxed drawing that could only be the work of Harry Bliss. Rarely do we see this much detail in a drawing (if you don’t count Mr. Haefeli’s work). What I find amusing in this drawing, with its incredible detail — especially the tree in the forefront — is that there are no footprints in the snow created by either father or daughter. Shadows by the shoes, yes…but no indication of prints. Funny. Maybe it’s a cleared dry pathway void of snow.

The next drawing, by Teresa Burns Parkhurst, is on the very next page. I could be terribly wrong about this but I don’t remember seeing too many public restroom drawings in the New Yorker. There’ve been many many drawings of private bathrooms.  Peter Arno’s so-called Man in the Shower immediately comes to mind and of course George Booth’s man in the tub series.  But a quick look through the New Yorker‘s database only turns up a few cartoons taking place in restrooms (i.e. bathrooms out of the home).  For what that’s worth! 

Sixteen pages later is a David Sipress television documentary series cartoon. Seeing this I couldn’t help but recall one done in the same school of thought published in the New Yorker 35 years ago by a then relative newcomer to the magazine (me). Coincidentally, Mr. Sipress and I share an affection for the word and number “six” in our captions: he uses it once, “…ninety-six part -documentary…” and, as you see below, I used it twice (coincidentally, and unimportantly, I was in my sixth year of contributing when the drawing below appeared in the issue of May 2, 1983). 

 

Five pages later an Emily Flake drawing, set outside.   A woman sits on a park bench in what appears to be sweater weather — there’s foliage on the trees (with two leaves on the ground).  California maybe?  I’m reminded of the late great Al Ross who somewhat specialized in park bench drawings. I raise my morning mug of coffee to Ms. Flake for this unexpected opportunity to mention the exceptionally talented and charming Mr. Ross.

Six pages later a Frank Cotham limo drawing. Without checking the New Yorker‘s database I think I’m on safe ground in saying that Mr. Cotham has done a good number of limo drawings (and by the way, isn’t it well past time for a Cotham anthology of cartoons?). I’m having difficulty deciphering the ears on the passenger.  Are they pointy? If they are, is that essential information?  Questions, questions…

Three pages later the last drawing of the issue (not counting the Caption Contest drawings).  This one, by Andrew Hamm is anchored by the oft-used flock ‘o’ birds scenario.  I pretty much always enjoy these drawings, whether done by Henry Martin or Lee Lorenz, etc., etc… Here we have very heavy appliances heading south…a scary proposition.

— See you next Monday.

 

 

 

 

 

Danny Shanahan’s Hudson Valley Interview; An Al Ross Sampler

Danny Shanahan, one of the best there is in the New Yorker cartoonist universe, will sit down for a rare interview and Q&A next week as part of the Hudson Valley Celebrity Series.  Info here (scroll down to the Shanahan section).

 

 

Below: An early classic Shanahan New Yorker drawing (published May 8, 1989), and one of his New Yorker covers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dick Buchanan takes a look at some mid-early work of the late great Al Ross.  You can see them all on Mike Lynch’s website here.

Al Ross’s  entry on Ink Spill’s “New Yorker Cartoonists A-Z”:

 

Al Ross Born Al Roth, Vienna Austria, October 19, 1911. Died, March 23, 2012. One of four Roth brothers, all of them cartoonists ( Ben, Salo, and Irving are the other three). NYer work: 1937- 2002. Collections: Sexcapades – The Love Life of the Modern Homo Sapiens ( Stravon Publishers, 1953), Bums vs billionaires (Dell, 1972)