The cover above, by Rea Irvin, appeared on the very first issue of The New Yorker — thereafter it showed up for every anniversary issue from 1926 through 1993. If you happen to have a bunch of those anniversary issues and fan them out on your floor — such as I did back in 2008 — they look pretty neat:
In 1994, Tina Brown broke the string of Rea Irvin Tilleys by running Robert Crumb’s “Elvis Tilley.” Since 1994 Mr. Irvin’s original cover (with slight alterations from time-to-time) has been seen in the years 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009. It was last seen 2011.
In 1995, Irvin’s Tilley appeared swimming in gold to celebrate the magazine’s 75th anniversary. When the original Tilley hasn’t appeared he’s been replaced by look-a-likes, or take-offs, or homages, or what-have-yous. Sometimes Tilley has been left off/left out altogether. On this week’s 95th anniversary issue, there is, what’s described on the Table of Contents, an “origin” cover by Barry Blitt (who also supplied the Tilley-ish spot drawings this week).
My instinct to gather has led to the below gallery of substitute anniversary covers, from Crumb to Blitt. Included are the covers that have no Tilley reference whatsoever but appeared in the anniversary slot.
Above: the non-Tilley anniversary cover artists: R. Crumb (1994), R.O. Blechman (1996), Art Spiegelman (1997), Michael Roberts (1998), Edward Sorel 1999), William Wegman 2000), Chris Ware (2005), Seth (2008), Chris Ware (2010), Bruce McCall (2012), Simon Greiner (2013) Jorge Colombo (2014), Barry Blitt (2015), Liniers (2016), John W. Tomac (2017), Malika Favre (2018), Kadir Nelson (2019), Barry Blitt (2020)
Zoe Si is the first newbie of 2020. She is the fifty-fourth new cartoonist brought into the magazine’s stable since Emma Allen became cartoon editor in the Spring of 2017.
Fourteen cartoons in this issue (fifteen cartoonists as Emily Flake provided a “Sketchpad”), with two cartoon gods on board: Edward Koren and George Booth. With Valentine’s Day approaching, cartoon love is in the issue, including a great cupid cartoon by Paul Noth and a fab love & justice drawing by Peter Vey. A Spill round of applause for those as well as Bruce Eric Kaplan’s splendid dinner party drawing.
The Rea Irvin Talk Masthead Watch: this being a big birthday issue, I had low high hopes for a return of Mr. Irvin’s classic masthead (shown below). Alas, the spring of 2017 re-draw is still in place. Read about the original and its replacement here.