The Monday Tilley Watch: The New Yorker Issue of September 11, 2017

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

We’ve come to expect, in these modern New Yorker times, that the cover will likely be a graphic comment on the biggest news of the week, and so it is with this new issue, featuring Chris Ware’s reflection on Hurricane Harvey. On a week like this it’s not really a surprise what the magazine’s cover will be about — the only question is, who will have the cover. Selfishly, I would love to see what other artists had submitted (perhaps the magazine will provide a slide show?).

And now on to the issue’s cartoons. First, of course, we must page through the Goings On About Town (GOAT) section. As a sidebar, I clearly recall looking through the first copies of The New Yorker I found when I began collecting older issues (by older, I mean issues from the magazine’s earliest decades). A read through GOAT in those issues was (and can still be) a form of time travel. For instance: in the After Theater Entertainment listed in the issue of November 15, 1930 there’s this:

Grill Neptune, Hotel Pierre, 5 Ave. at 61. (Regent 5901) –- A new and unusual room for supper dancing. For the more fastidious. Must dress.

Wow, Peter Arno’s Manhattan did exist, once.

This morning, with my mission quite clear, there’s no time to pause to see what’s happening at the Metropolitan Museum, and yet, sheepishly, I do stop at the full page ad for Zabar’s. For a brief moment, I wish I was a hundred feet from the entrance to Zabar’s instead of a hundred miles away.

Onward to the Talk of The Town — there’ll be a Spill “Posted Note” one day soon about Rea Irvin’s classic masthead — and to the first cartoon ( like last week’s issue, it doesn’t take very long to come upon: page 28). The cartoon is by newish-comer Jeremy Nguyen (recently a subject of Jane Mattimoe’s Case for Pencils blog). It opens up a whole new situation for cartoonists to mine: artists in cages. Mr. Nguyen’s first cartoon appeared in the magazine February 7, 2017.

Flipping through to the next cartoon I can’t help but notice a Personal History piece by  Calvin Trillin (now in his 54th year of contributing to The New Yorker).  Note to myself: read later! Several pages later is a John McNamee Garden of Eden drawing. Mr. McNamee’s first New Yorker work appeared in June of 2016, unless the magazine’s search function is mistaken.  I’ve just realized Mr. McNamee is not on The Spill’s A-Z.  My only excuse is that his work appeared in the year when more new cartoonists appeared (16) in The New Yorker than in any other year in modern times. Things were a little nutty then. [I just added his name. Again, my apologies to Mr. McNamee].  Here’s the Case For Pencils post on him and his tools of the trade.

Seven pages later we come upon an Amy Kurzweil drawing nicely situated in the upper right hand corner of the page. Ms. Kurzweil’s graphic memoir, Flying Couch  (Black Balloon Publishing, 2016) was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice.  In this issue  she visits one of the cartoonist’s tried-and-true situations: the boardroom. I’ve scurried around my memory library for sterling boardroom cartoons and two immediately came to mind, but I’ll mention just one, by the late great Charles Saxon,  published May 25, 1981. “Of course, honesty is one of the better policies.” (also the title of a wonderful 1984 collection of his work).

Five pages later is another standard situation and character utilized by scores of cartoonists: the King on his throne (I’ve done way more than my share).  The curtains In this drawing vaguely remind me of this classic scene from Monty Python’s Holy GrailThe cartoonist, Kaamran Hafeez, first published in The New Yorker in 2010 (you can see his work on the Cartoon Bank site here). For me, Mr. Hafeez’s cartoon (both the setting and the caption itself) is, in a way, a step-child to many drawn by master cartoonist,  Dana Fradon over his long New Yorker career (Mr. Fradon, now in his 90s, is still drawing and occasionally posting the drawings on social media).

Four pages later is a well-placed Tom Chitty drawing of two businessmen. The anatomy here reminded me of those plastic cowboys from the 1950s or 1960s who were designed to sit on a plastic horse.

Mr. Chitty’s work began appearing in the magazine, October 13, 2014.

Three pages later, a Barbara Smaller back-to-school drawing sans Smaller people(!).  Ms. Smaller’s first cartoon appeared in the magazine in 1996. (Ms. Smaller’s work can be found on the Cartoon Bank site). A few pages later is a Robert Leighton drawing that takes place at some sort of event that involves a dais.  It’s fun when a cartoonist widens the scene and gives us a lot to look at. Mr. Leighton’s first drawing in the magazine: 2002. (See his work on the CB site). 

Next up is Liana Finck drawing.  I appreciate the Thurberesque framed piece Ms. Finck has placed on the wall and the electrical socket near the floor. Somewhere in my research for the Arno biography I ran across a cartoonist discussing how, in ancient times at the magazine, certain cartoonists were allowed or not allowed to show plugged-in lamps, depending on their abilities (or was it seniority?). Thanks to Thurber’s influence,  I’ve always drawn sockets and plugged in my lamps — how else would they work?  Ms. Finck’s work first appeared in February of 2013 (visit the Cartoon Bank site to see more).

After a page-and-a-half color politically-themed spread (called a”Sketchbook” on The Table of Contents) by the great Edward Sorel, we come to a Will McPhail drawing based on the ever popular Whac-A-Mole.  I did not know, until this moment that Whac-A-Mole was invented in 1975.  An unscientific survey of Whac-A-Moles images show most moles with their mouths closed.  Mr. McPhail’s mole’s mouth is open, suggesting the mole is speaking. I suppose that makes sense as the seated fellow pictured is trying to understand the mole. How I wish I knew what the mole was saying. (Link here to Mr. McPhail’s website.  His first New Yorker appearance was in 2014).

Immediately following Mr. McPhail’s mole drawing is a beautifully placed color piece by Roz Chast with a political twist.  Ms. Chast’s work first appeared in the New Yorker in 1978. Five pages later is a full page Ed Steed piece about the eclipse.  Responding to this piece just graphically, it seems like a page out of The National Lampoon (sort of a graphic mixture of Mark Marek‘s work with Randall Enos’s and Charles Rodrigues’s). Mr. Steed’s work first appeared in The New Yorker in March of 2013.  You can see more here on the Cartoon Bank site.

Five pages later is an Avi Steinberg drawing incorporating boxing and music. My personal laugh-o-meter responds well to this drawing even though the “kid” looks like he’s well past a career in boxing. Mr. Steinberg’s work first appeared in the magazine in December of 2012. His work can be found on the CB site.

In the final cartoon of the issue, not counting the Cartoon Caption Contest work on the back page, is a David Sipress drawing (first New Yorker cartoon: 1998…see his work on the CB here). Mr. Sipress mashes tennis with Shakespeare. The caption immediately  takes me away from the tennis court to the televised court of public opinion, to the  McCarthy era and to William R. Murrow’s famous use of the line.  None of that had anything to do with tennis, but then again — and here we return to Mr. Ware’s Hurricane Harvey cover — everything is political. 

 — See you next Monday.

 

 

 

The Monday Tilley Watch: The New Yorker, Sept. 4, 2017: The Television Issue

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

I can think of no better way to kick-off The New Yorker’s very first “Television Issue” than with a cover by Bruce Eric Kaplan who is in the New Yorker/Television Hall of Fame because he wrote the famous and exceptionally funny Seinfeld episode “The Cartoon”;  Mr. Kaplan has television creds to spare — he was a producer for “Girls” and “Six Feet Under”… learn more here. Wearing one of his other  hats — that of New Yorker cartoonist, he’s been contributing his boxed-in world to the magazine since 1991. Here’s Mr. Kaplan talking about this week’s cover.

No disrespect to the front of the book, but as our concern here is cartoons, we need to zip through GOAT (Goings On About Town) and get right to the cartoons…but first: a brief stop at The Talk of The Town. For those new to this site, let me explain: I’m trying to will the long-standing Rea Irvin masthead back home.  This is the one that greeted New Yorker readers every week beginning in the issue of January 26, 1926 through to this past issue of May 15, 2017.  It was replaced in the issue of May 22, 2017 by a revamped version. My potted history of Mr. Irvin’s masthead can be found here on an earlier Spill post where you’ll see all the incarnations of the masthead.

Okay, with that out of my system (til next week?), off to the cartoons. 

Last Monday I mentioned that that week’s first cartoon didn’t appear until page 45; this week’s first cartoon appears on page 22 — my gut tells me that this is in the range of the norm for first cartoons. The first cartoon (hey, it’s a Bruce Eric Kaplan-esque boxed-in drawing) is by T.S. McCoy, whose first New Yorker appearance seems to have been in the issue of August 15, 2014.  I say “seems” because I cannot locate any info on this artist on the Cartoon Bank site, nor in the database (someone please contact me and set me straight if I’m wrong). The subject of McCoy’s drawing is therapy, with the help of buffalo. From the number of Youtube videos showing people getting too close to buffalo, I’d suggest sticking with dogs, rabbits, birds, horses, cats, etc., as therapy pals. [Update: T.S. McCoy has reached out to the Spill, and confirmed that the Aug.15, 2014 drawing was this artist’s first appearance in The New Yorker.  I’ve added McCoy to the Spill’s A-Z under the cartoonist’s preferred moniker: The Surreal McCoy]

Five pages later we come to a title drawing  — that is, a drawing without a caption, but with the essential wording appearing above — or sometimes below — the drawing. In this case the title reads: The Annual Hamptons End of Summer Back-To-Wall Street Tie Fly. It’s by David Sipress, whose first New Yorker drawing appeared in 1998. I like the action of the blowing-in-the-wind neckties — very beachy. Unsure if this drawing was referencing a real Hamptons tradition I asked Mr. Sipress about it this morning. He said in an email:  “Not a real thing. In fact it’s one of those ridiculous, totally silly and meaningless ideas that begin as a drawing that I find funny and then the words pop into my head. A frisson of disdain for both Wall Street and the Hamptons is in there somewhere as well.”

Three pages later a full page Roz Chast drawing (in color).  Ms. Chast has, appropriately enough, a television themed drawing, “The Seven Ages of Me and TV” (for those who were reading the New Yorker pre-Cartoon Caption Contest you might remember there was a period when the back page was dedicated to full page color drawings by Ms. Chast).  Ms. Chast’s first New Yorker drawing appeared in 1978.

Four pages later, a Will McPhail cartoon.  At first glance, I thought the magazine had erred and rerun a McPhail drawing from May of this year. The drawing from the May issue is on the left, the current issue’s drawing is on the right:

 

But no, they’re two different drawings. Perhaps the woman splayed out on a chair will become a sort of (George) Boothian man in the bath tub thing for Mr. McPhail. Mr. McPhail’s first New Yorker appearance: December 22, 2014.

On the very next page is a Peter Kuper cartoon. Mr,. Kuper’s first New Yorker cartoon appeared June 6, 2011. I’m a fan of cops & robbers cartoons (no cops in this drawing, fyi). A number of colleagues have spent time graphically visiting the criminal underworld.  When the subject comes up nowadays, I’m reminded of the late Michael Crawford’s paintings.  

Five pages later, a restaurant scene courtesy of Avi Steinberg (note: if a cartoonist does not have a website I will link you to the New Yorker’s Cartoon Bank site where filling in the search box and clicking on “Search” will take you to some of the artist’s work.  Here’s the CB link). Avi Steinberg’s first cartoon appeared in the issue of 2012.  About five pages later is a talking magic bean genie cartoon by Farley Katz,  one of the off-the-wall specialists in the New Yorker’s stable.   Not sure I’ve ever seen a talking magic bean genie drawing before.  I’m intrigued by the level of the woman’s head as it relates to the counter-top. Did she drop to the floor after the bean began to float and speak, then slowly rise up to counter level see what the heck was going on? I’m a fan of cartoon back stories. 

Eight pages later is a Liana Finck drawing (first New Yorker appearance: February 13, 2015. CB link here). Ms. Finck’s style is immediately and welcomingly identifiable — an achievement not to be pooh-poohed in this age of a gazillion styles. Five pages later is a subway themed drawing by Carolita Johnson (first New Yorker drawing: 2003). I am reminded of an exhibit some years ago of New Yorker subway drawings. Here’s a quick read about it.

Next up, a generously placed Ed Steed drawing (CB link here).  The second of Mr. Steed’s drawings in a row featuring a large rectangle.  In this case we’re looking out onto a field that’s sporting a huge ping pong paddle and a ping pong ball. There’s a heavy military presence in this drawing: the trucks on the field, the uniform of the fellow speaking, the matching outfits of three figures, the map on the table — the sign reading “Top Secret” strangely placed on the inside of the room, instead of outside where you’d expect it.  But why split hairs? And then there’s the guy wearing the hood and athletic footwear. I guess I shouldn’t ask why there’s only one paddle and only one (potential) ponger or player, or whatever. Mr. Steed’s first New Yorker appearance: March 4, 2013.

Sixteen pages until the next cartoon. There’s a television-themed photo essay in-between.  One of the photos is of Pete Holmes, who touched down, briefly, in the New Yorker, between 2006 through 2008, with three cartoons. Following the photos is a witch drawing by J.A.K. (Jason Adam Katzenstein). His first drawing appeared in the issue of November 17, 2014. Those are some happy/scary creatures bubbling up from the big pot. Mr. Katzenstein’s drawing reminds me ever-so-slightly of how the late great Donald Reilly handled witch drawings.  Here’s one of Mr. Reilly’s from October 17, 1988:

Six pages later, a socks and Spielberg drawing by relative newcomer, Maggie Larson (first New Yorker appearance in the double issue dated July 10/17, 2017).  As this is the last drawing in this televIsion issue (not counting the Caption Contest drawings on the last page) I thought it appropriate to return to Jerry Seinfeld and his classic sock routine.

 — See you next Monday

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wall-to-Wall Cartoonists at David Remnick’s Hello Goodbye Party

The New Yorker‘s editor, David Remnick threw a Hello Goodbye party last night (Hello, Emma Allen, the magazine’s new cartoon editor; Goodbye, Bob Mankoff, the former cartoon editor). It was, by far, the largest gathering of New Yorker cartoonists since  1997, when forty-one gathered for an Arnold Newman group photo (it appeared in the magazine’s first cartoon issue, December 15, 1997). Here are a bunch of photos from the evening, courtesy of Liza Donnelly, the Spill‘s official photographer for the evening; additional  photos by  Sarah Booth, Marshall Hopkins, and Paul Karasik.

Photo above, l-r: Drew Dernavich, Sarah Booth, John Klossner, George Booth, Chad Darbyshire (back to camera), Matt Diffee, (New Yorker writer) Sarah Larson, Ken Krimstein, Bob Mankoff, Eric Lewis, Bob Eckstein

Edward Koren and Francoise Mouly (The New Yorker‘s Art Editor)

 

 

 

 

 

Emma Allen, The New Yorker‘s Cartoon Editor, and Stanley Ledbetter, the magazine’s jack-of-all trades.

 

 

 

 

 

George Booth and Roz Chast.  That’s Lars Kenseth in the background (photo courtesy of Sarah Booth)

 

 

 

 

 

Paul Karasik, Liana Finck and Gabrielle Bell (photo courtesy of Paul Karasik)

 

 

 

 

Jason Adam Katzenstein, unidentified, Roz Chast speaking with Sara Lautman (back to camera), and Chris Weyant far right.

 

 

 

Chris Weyant (partially obscured), Farley Katz, unidentified, David Sipress, New Yorker writer Matt Dellinger (in checked shirt), Andy Friedman, Danny Shanahan. The group in the back: Drew Panckeri, Mitra Farmand, Sara Lautman, Kendra Allenby

 

Sam Gross and Robert Leighton

 

Bob Mankoff and David Remnick

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chris Cater, with the New Yorker‘s assistant cartoon editor, Colin Stokes, and Avi Steinberg

 

 

 

George Booth and David Borchart

 

 

 

 

 

Joe Dator and Peter Kuper

 

 

Felipe Galindo and Carolita Johnson

 

 

 

John O’Brien and Bob Eckstein

 

 

Three former cartoon department assistants: Marshall Hopkins, Emily Votruba, and Andy Friedman (photo courtesy of Marshall Hopkins)

 

 

 

 

 

Chris Weyant and Paul Noth

 

 

Matt Dellinger with  Stanley Ledbetter, and Matt Diffee (and way back by the window: Chad Darbyshire to the left, and Amy Hwang to the right)

 

 

 

 

P.C. Vey and Trevor Hoey

 

 

 

 

 

Kim Warp, Pat Byrnes, and George Booth

 

 

 

Sam Gross and Roz Chast

 

 

 

 

l-r: P.C. Vey, Liza Donnelly, Danny Shanahan, George Booth, and Michael Maslin (photo courtesy of Sarah Booth)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chris Weyant and Liana Finck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sam Gross and Lars Kenseth

 

 

 

 

 

Eric Lewis, Andy Friedman, and Barbara Smaller

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pat Byrnes, Paul Karasik, and Peter Kuper

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marc Philippe Eskenazi and Ben Schwartz

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charlie Hankin, Amy Hwang, Jeremy Nguyen (mostly obscured), Kendra Allenby, and Avi Steinberg

 

 

 

Marshall Hopkins with Bob Mankoff’s first assistant, Emily Votruba (Mr. Hopkins was also at one time Mr. Mankoff’s assistant)

 

 

 

Far left: David Sipress speaks with Andy Friedman.  Foreground: Barbara Smaller, Emily Flake and P.C. Vey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

l-r: Felipe Galindo, Marshall Hopkins, Sam Gross, Mort Gerberg, and Ed Koren

 

 

 

 

 

Edward Koren, Michael Maslin, Liza Donnelly and a photobombing David Remnick. That’s Charlie Hankin in the back, far right.

 

 

 

 

Here’s an incomplete list of all the cartoonists who were there (if you were there and don’t appear on this list, please let me know)

Kendra Allenby, George Booth, David Borchart, Pat Byrnes, Chris Cater, Roz Chast, Joe Dator, Chad Darbyshire, Drew Dernavich, Matt Diffee, Liza Donnelly, Bob Eckstein, Mitra Farmand, Liana Finck, Emily Flake, Andy Friedman (aka Larry Hat), Felipe Galindo(aka feggo), Mort Gerberg,  Sam Gross, Charlie Hankin, Marshall Hopkins, Amy Hwang, Edward Koren, Trevor Hoey, Carolita Johnson, Paul Karasik, Farley Katz, Jason Adam Katzenstein, Lars Kenseth,  John Klossner, Ken Krimstein, Peter Kuper, Amy Kurzweil, Sara Lautman, Robert Leighton, Eric Lewis, Bob Mankoff, Sam Marlow, Michael Maslin,  Paul Noth,  Jeremy Nguyen, John O’Brien, Drew Panckeri, Corey Pandolph, Ellis Rosen, Jennifer Saura, Ben Schwartz, Danny Shanahan, David Sipress,  Avi Steinberg, P.C. Vey, Kim Warp, Chris Weyant.

New Yorker Cartoonists Turn Out for Holiday Party

 

 New Yorker cartoonists turned out in time honored fashion to celebrate the holidays last night.  Corey Pandolph gets a heap of credit for procuring a corner of the Upper East Side Hi Life Restaurant where nearly two dozen contributors came together in good cheer.  Among those attending, including Mr. Pandolph: Joe Dator, David Borchardt, Liam Walsh (who brought and shared a tray of cookies), Andy Friedman, Liza Donnelly, Robert Leighton, Bob Esmay, Emily Flake, Drew Dernavich, Farley Katz, John O’Brien, Avi Steinberg (celebrating his first appearance in the magazine), Barbara Smaller, Felipe Galindo, David Sipress, Bob Eckstein, Eric Lewis, Ward Sutton, Christopher Weyant, Ben Schwartz, and Karen Sneider.

Liza Donnelly has posted on her blog  a handful of photographs taken at the event.