Fave Photo Of The Day: Lars Kenseth & Ben Schwartz
— photo courtesy of Mr. Kenseth
Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell Pencilled
Fave Photo Of The Day: Lars Kenseth & Ben Schwartz
— photo courtesy of Mr. Kenseth
Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell Pencilled
Noted that this week’s cover (above right) is by Harry Bliss, one of the New Yorker‘s cartoonists. Noted because the majority of the magazine’s covers were once handled by its cartoonists (somewhat more than 60% a year by my iffy calculations). The number of cartoonists contributing covers these days can be counted on one hand: Mr. Bliss, Roz Chast, Bruce Eric Kaplan, Danny Shanahan, and George Booth.
The change came, as so many changes did, with the arrival of Tina Brown as editor in 1992. At a meeting of cartoonists called by Ms. Brown just before she took the reigns as editor of The New Yorker, a bunch of us sat around a large table in an upstairs conference room at the fabled Algonquin. Arriving late (Amtrak issues), I sat next to then art editor Lee Lorenz and asked him what I’d missed. He leaned over and whispered, “She’s going to bring in a lot of illustrators.” He then added something else, which you’ll have to wait to read in my memoir.
Some of Mr. Bliss’s cover has that Hitchcockian “Rear Window” feel to it; the structure of the cartoon (using balconies) has been put to good use by a few cartoonists over the years. Here’s an example that readily came to mind: a Liza Donnelly drawing that appeared in the January 20, 2014 New Yorker:
To read what Mr. Bliss had to say about his cover, go to this mini-interview here on newyorker.com.
From the Depart of Just Sayin’: The number of illustrations in this issue outweigh (in space) the number of cartoons appearing. Sixteen illustrations (not including Tom Bachtell’s wonderful drawings that are laced through the Talk of The Town). Three of the sixteen are full page. Seventeen cartoons this week, one a full page by Liana Finck.
The sizing of cartoons in this issue is generally very good. Most every drawing gets some breathing room (just one is shoe-horned into a tight space).
Love Edward Koren‘s restaurant drawing. Some New Yorker drawings are referred to as evergreens — they always work, no matter the year, the trends, the political landscape, the whatever. Mr. Koren’s drawing is an evergreen.
The Spill‘s candidate for New Yorker drawing of the year (thus far) is Joe Dator‘s Abe Lincoln cartoon. (You can find it here on the magazine’s slideshow of the current issue’s cartoons. It’s number 13.) When Harold Ross, the New Yorker‘s founder and first editor was asked why his magazine did not run color cartoons his response was, “What’s so funny about red?”* Mr. Dator’s drawing is a perfect example of what is funny about pink and orange, and yellow, and green and purple.
A Spill round of applause for the above drawings.
*The New Yorker did run one color drawing in Ross’s time, Rea Irvin’s two page color spread, The Maharajah of Puttyput Receives a Christmas Necktie From the Queen. It was in the issue of December 12, 1925.
Still missing: Rea Irvin’s iconic Talk of The Town masthead. Here’s a Spill piece about its disappearance and replacement.
This is what the real thing looks like:
— See you next week
A Few Images Posted From the Upcoming New Yorker Encyclopedia of Cartoons
The above from the publisher’s website. Well it’s not much, but it’s better than nuthin’. I could only get the middle image to open up for a better view. Will post more when there’s more to post.
Baseball in the air, on the field and on the cover of the latest issue of The New Yorker (actually, stickball’s on the cover, which appears, to me anyway, as if it’s a page out of an illustrated book).
Fewer illustrations/photos this week than last, but still, there are three full pages (including a full page photo of Hitler), and close to full page photo on the Goings On About Town lead page. How I wish we could see cartoons occupy a larger space every so often. Below are two pages from the issue of November 15, 1930. You can see how the drawings dominate the page and how the type follows the drawing. For instance: in the drawing on the left, by the great Barbara Shermund, the hanging plant is allowed to push up and compress the column of text. Notice too how the space afforded her beautiful drawing allows us to get far more visually involved in her work than if it had been squished in a rectangle.
And now on to the issue’s cartoons. A fun issue, mostly.
It starts off well with a Danny Shanahan politically tinged(?) monkey drawing. Going out on a limb here, but Mr. Shanahan’s fabulous monkeys are the obvious heirs to Charles Addams’ takes on our ancestors.
Next up, three pages later, Jason Adam Katzenstein (aka JAK) goes to where many-a-cartoonist before him has gone: to the myth of Sisyphus. After I sped through an online refresher course about the King’s uphill struggle, I realized how this scenario beloved by cartoonists has oftimes become untethered from its backstory. No matter — that’s how we cartoonists roll. As Robbie Robertson wrote: “Ya take what ya need and ya leave the rest…”
Speaking of backstories, three pages later Ben Schwartz gives us Beethoven on stage. What’s really interesting about the drawing is Mr. Schwartz’s sly nod to the great Al Hirschfeld. Do I, or do I not see Nina-esque shout-outs in the drapes. I do.
Five pages later, a Mick Stevens cave man drawing (he also had one two issues back). I like that he’s used the words stalagmites and stalactites. A little memory trick I learned back in fourth or fifth grade — how to tell the difference between stalagmites and stalactites: stalactites are the ones pointing down; they need to hold on “tite” to the ceiling.
Three pages later, a shrink meets legume drawing by the wonderful Victoria Roberts. A fun and funny drawing. What more can one ask for.
Next up, a domestic situation courtesy of Will McPhail. Funny. Another three pages brings us to a sidewalk scene from Pia Guerra. Dogs lined up to use a fire hydrant. I found myself wishing for a line-jumping dog instead of a fireman…
Two pages later another intensely graphic drawing from William Haefeli. Detail-city! And very slice-o-life.
Three pages later, a typically formatted (three panel) Roz Chast drawing. The word “Comix” pops out here. On the very next page, A Haefeli-like (in its use of detail) drawing by Jeremy Nguyen. Yet another slice-o-life drawing. I like how he’s given us two folks in silhouette in the foreground — that’s different.
Four pages later a subway drawing from P.C. Vey (although here the subway is not central to the drawing — the situation could’ve taken place in any number of situations). A few pages later A Zach Kanin drawing focused on recreational drugs. On the very next page, A Lars Kenseth drawing. You know it’s his work within a nano-second of turning the page. No one draws like this. I don’t rate cartoons like the Cartoon Companion boys do, but occasionally I applaud a drawing.
On the next page Kim Warp has drawn a Spill favorite scenario: a bakery (in this case, a cupcake bakery). I didn’t realize at first that there as an enormous Charles Addams-like cupcake involved in the drawing (initially saw the drawing on a tablet screen before switching to a laptop). An unusual cartoon in that I think it works both ways (with the big cupcake, and without). Sweet.
On the following page, a Paul Noth drawing with a splash of color. You have to be familiar with the commercial character who’s central to this cartoon. Three pages later a Carolita Johnson umbrella triptych just in time for May showers. Six pages later, immediately following that aforementioned full page photo of Hitler, is an Amy Hwang domestic situation — another go-to for many cartoonists: the couple discovered in bed by a significant other. Three pages later, the last cartoon of the issue (not counting the caption contest drawings): an online whack-a-mole scenario from Sam Marlow.
Finally: we are oh-so-close to the one year anniversary of the disappearance of Rea Irvin’s classic Talk Of The Town masthead. Here’s a Spill piece about it from last Fall when I was convinced the masthead would soon return. Not giving up hope on this, folks!
Here’s the missing masthead:
*Dept of Corrections: an earlier version of the Monday Tilley Watch for the April 30th issue incorrectly listed Sam Marlow as Sam Means.
Tom Gauld’s cover for this new issue is one of the best covers I’ve seen in the post-Lee Lorenz as editor era (Mr. Lorenz was the New Yorker‘s art editor from 1973 through 1993, and cartoon editor from 1993 through 1997. During his years as art editor he edited both covers and cartoons). Here’s Mr. Gauld talking about his Spring offering.
Ink Spill puts its hands together for the cover.
My first run through of the issue earlier today made me wonder if this was the Illustration Issue (there isn’t an official Illustration Issue, but if there was, this could be it). Here’s what I saw:
Goings On About Town, is as usual nearly a full page photograph.
A small color illustration in the Theater section.
A nearly half-page illustration for Night Life.
A three column wide photograph for Food & Drink.
A more than quarter-page photograph for Personal History.
A two column wide illustration for Shouts & Murmurs.
A nearly half-page photograph for The Sporting Scene.
A full page illustration for Profiles.
A page-and-a-half illustration for The World of Fashion.
A full page photograph for Fiction.
A three-quarter page illustration for The Theater.
An large illustration center of the page for Vinson Cunningham’s review in Books.
A more than quarter-page illustration for James Woods review in Books.
A center of the page illustration for Cinema.
And now to the cartoons:
The very first cartoon is by the veteran Mick Stevens. It’s an inside a whale cartoon. I immediately paused to consider the bend in the gullet of the whale. Having never been inside a whale I don’t know what it looks like in there but the cartoonist in me has always thought the inside of a whale was one huge space, like an airplane hanger. So yes, the bend caused me to stop and think awhile.
Up next five pages later is a super-dee-duper detailed William Haefeli drawing. Its graphic-ness (I don’t think that’s really a word) is startling. Perhaps it’s the use of so much black space (windows especially).
Five pages later a Paul Noth drawing (Mr. Noth has a new book out, so congrats to him). This is an airlines passengers themed cartoon. As someone who has almost never flown I’m outta the loop on the whole boarding routine, so…
Two pages later a Seth Fleishman captionless drawing (as mentioned in previous posts here, Mr. Fleishman is solidly in the captionless cartoon school — which isn’t to say there are never captions). Here we have brick-oven pizza blended with a fossil fuel. I can’t get enough of pizza parlor cartoons. I’m sure everyone remembers this classic from Gahan Wilson.
Six pages later, a P.C. Vey cartoon. Not sure anyone else could’ve done this (maybe the aforementioned Mr. Wilson). There’s a tiny bit of sinisterism (is that a word?) in the air with this drawing. Seven pages later an outta the box (or boxes) Roz Chast drawing. We’ve become accustomed to her comics-like structure of three panels (or more). This single panel is striking, graphically.
Equally striking on the very next page is a teethy Edward Koren drawing starring one of his famous beasts. Perhaps the best placed drawing in the issue (there are several cartoons vying for worst placed cartoons). Breathing room galore for Mr. Koren’s dental drawing.
Four pages later Kate Curtis three bears cartoon (one bear unseen, as is Goldilocks). The window in the drawing looks out onto a dark forest. My gaze kept returning there, expecting to see something. But no…
Three pages later an ashes in an urn drawing from David Sipress. Comedic use of ashes in urns summons up (for me) this scene from Meet the Parents. Mr. Sipress makes use of Milton Glaser’s I heart NY campaign, introduced in 1977.
Two pages later a Ben Schwartz scientists observing behavior cartoon. The cartoon rests on the hope that the reader has some familiarity with a particular author mentioned. If you’re not familiar with the author then it’s off to Wikipedia for a crash course.
Four pages later, Julia Suits has a toga drawing featuring some lovely draping. On the very next page Trevor Spaulding has a cartoon related to a recent cultural movement. Interesting drawing.
Three pages later a somewhat complex drawing from Lars Kenseth combining fringe mob activity with fine art (see Mickey Blue Eyes for more on this).
Seven pages later, the last drawing in the issue (not counting those that are part of the caption contest): a Carolita Johnson cartoon in a slim space on the bottom of page 72. The drawing is about lip balm which strangely(?) reminds me of an interview I saw the other day with Joseph Kennedy III wherein he discusses “Chapstick-gate.”
And that’s that, except for this *
*Rea Irvin’s classic Talk of the Town masthead design has been missing for nearly a year now. Just as a reminder, it looks exactly like this: