It’s Not All About New Yorker Cartoons…But Mostly It Is

 

 

 

It makes sense that the shelves of the cartoon library of two New Yorker cartoonists would be sagging under the weight of New Yorker cartoon collections. But a  large fragment of what makes up our cartoon library has little to do with New Yorker cartoons and a lot to do with work that initially inspired us, and with newer work that continues to inspire.

 

Pictured above is a condensed collection — a mini-library — of non-New Yorker books that I keep near my office (my wife has her own mini-library in her office). There’re a lot of books devoted to Superman and Batman, and that’s exactly how it should be.  Those were my earliest influences along with a few Sunday Funnies, such as Blondie and Dick Tracy.  And then, of course, there was Mad (I’m especially fond of Mad Cover To Cover).

 

The two Smithsonian collections pictured (Comic-Book Comics and Newspaper Comics) are essential cartoon library books.  The R. Crumb books are there because his work acted as bridge  connecting the years I devoted to comic books with my earliest days of discovering New Yorker cartoonists (Crumb himself began contributing to The New Yorker in the 1990s and then stopped contributing due to…well, let’s leave that for another post).

There’re a number of books devoted to graphic novels.  I had the graphic novel fever for a while.   The Marx Brothers Scrapbook in the photo sits next to Monty Python Speaks!   Neither are cartoon collections, but it’s fitting that they are represented.  Their work was and is as graphically inspiring as any of the others on the shelves.

A handful of  New Yorker contributors books are part of this mini-library (Crumb, for instance, as well as Edward Sorel, Ward Sutton, Daniel Clowes,  and Seth), but these books are from their other fields of interest.

The eagle-eyed will spot an actual New Yorker collection.  It makes no sense that it’s there and I can only think it has to do with its origin —  it’s a French collection.

Posted Note: Cartoon Library

 

A few years ago I put up eight foot long by eight foot high bookshelves exclusively devoted to holding the sprawling collection of cartoon books my wife (and fellow cartoonist) Liza Donnelly, and I have collected over the years. Before the cartoon library wall of shelves went up, our cartoon collection was here and there throughout the house, in piles on various shelves.  It might take twenty minutes to find a desired book, or it might never happen.

 

Once the shelves were up, and the shelving of books began, it became obvious that the cartoon library wouldn’t be the place to go for cartoon books in our home –- it was just another place to go.

 

What I didn’t realize was that I was reluctant to remove favorite cartoon collections from my work room. Most of these books have been at arm’s reach my entire cartoon working life – they had to stay put (included among the within reach books: certain titles by Thurber, Addams, Peter Arno, Steinberg, and Soglow).  Our Thurber collection had to stay nearby my work room, on bookshelves in our living room.  So did our small collection of graphic novels and comic book anthologies.

 

In the last few months I’ve taken certain books out of the cartoon library, and brought them back closer to my desk.  The most recent transfer was Superman: The Complete History by Les Daniels.  I love its cover – a blow up of the early Superman. One of these days Daniel’s companion volume, Batman: The Complete History will be retrieved from the library.   As there’s no space left on any of the shelves in my room, it will have to rest on top of the Superman book, in a pile.