New Yorker Caption Contest Friday


         This being the end of the traditionally news-less week (for New Yorker cartoons and cartoonists) leading up to the new year, I thought why not dedicate today’s post to the New Yorker‘s Caption Contest. Last time I checked, the contest had reached its 644th offering (with a windmill drawing by Bob Eckstein).  

Background: every time I’ve been involved in a New Yorker event (usually a panel discussion) the contest comes up in the Q&A. The most frequently asked multi-part question is: How does it work? Did the cartoon originally have a caption?  Do you (the cartoonists) get to judge?

Here’s how it works (from the cartoonists perspective).  The cartoons used in the contest are taken out of the weekly batches submitted by the magazine’s cartoonists.  Sometimes the selected cartoon has a caption that is (obviously) stripped from the cartoon.  Sometimes the submitted cartoon has no caption (I sometimes submit captionless cartoons just for the hell of it to see what  caption entrants might come up with. Here’s one example.). The cartoonists have no say in the process of selecting the winning captions. 



There’s a new celebrity video posted by The New Yorker featuring the actors John C. Reilly  and Will Ferrell trying their hands/minds at captioning a bunch of cartoons:

For the record, the cartoons are (in order of appearance) by P.C. Vey, Kaamran Hafeez, Tom Toro, Tom Cheney, a second by P.C. Vey, and the final two are by Liam Walsh.  I again encourage the folks in charge of these videos to have the celebs identify the cartoonists, or at least identify the cartoonists names in full somewhere on the screen. 


Here’s a story about a fellow who won a recent contest (the drawing at issue is by yours truly…and ouch, the drawing takes a few hits). From the, “‘It is I, Manbunzal’: Melrose Resident Alan Leo Wins The New Yorker Caption Contest”


Here’s a Facebook group dedicated to the contest: New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest Rejects (and Enthusiasts). Enter all those bolded words in the search box and presto: you have an instant caption contest community.


Very Old News: everyone interested in the contest probably already has or decided not to have this book that came out in 2008.


Not That Kind Of Boxing Day

    It being Boxing Day, I thought it would be fun to post an ancient New Yorker boxing drawing of mine. Then I looked up the meaning(s) of Boxing Day. A major surprise (to me) that “boxing” in this case has nothing to do with fisticuffs.

Well I’m going to post the drawing anyway, despite it having zero connection to this day. I’ve always been fond of it as it reminds me of my late step-father, a first-generation Italian who fought professionally, pre-WWII under the name Al Murphy.  After leaving the boxing trade he opened up a bar in Newark, New Jersey.

The bar was still functioning in the late 1960s when my family entered Al’s scene. A fascinating place for a little kid to visit. One of Al’s bartenders patiently taught me to play pool at the single table at the back of the bar.

I saw my first go-go girl there. She danced on a high small stage covered in tin foil. A revolving multi-colored light pointed at the stage really heightened the experience. 

Here’s Al behind the bar of his Hollywood Gardens. Judging by the decorations, it’s around Halloween (appears as if he’s just served his sharp-looking customer a glass of beer). Al was a barrel-chested Cadillac-driving tough guy with a cauliflower nose who, to quote Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne character in The Bourne Identitity, “knew how to take care of himself.”

As for the cartoon, there’s no doubt I was thinking of Al when I drew the boxers (he was, as I said, barrel-chested). It’s a multi-panel drawing — something you don’t see too often in the New Yorker anymore.  Back when this was published, in the issue of February 3, 1986, multi-panels were common (I think I did five of them). 

And here’s how it appeared in the magazine:


Blogs of Interest: A New Yorker State Of Mind & Attempted Bloggery

Two favorite blogs, both in the holiday spirit.

A New Yorker State of Mind with its ongoing fascinating deep dives into the magazine, issue by issue, beginning with the very first number.  In this case it’s the issue of December 7, 1929 (cover by Julian de Miskey). Read here.

And Attempted Bloggery shows us an E. Simms Campbell cartoon from the January 1937 issue of Esquire. To see the entire cartoon go here.

Mr. Campbell’s entry on the Spill’s A-Z:

E. Simms Campbell (photo above) Born, 1906. Died, 1971. New Yorker work: 1932 -1942. Key collections: Cuties in Arms (1943) – the earliest published collection of cartoons by an African-American cartoonist; More Cuties in Arms (also 1943); and Chorus of Cuties (1953)





The Tilley Watch Online, December 16-21, 2018

An atypical Daily week in that it was un-Trumpian.  But…Emma Allen, the New Yorker‘s cartoon editor posted a slide show review of Trump cartoons from 2018. See it here

The Daily Cartoon New Yorker contributors this week : Maggie Dai, Jason Chatfield, Elisabeth McNair, Peter Kuper, and Brendan Loper.

And over on Daily Shouts, the contributing New Yorker cartoonists: Maggie Larson, Liana Finck, Gabrielle Bell, Olivia de Recat (with Sarah Vollman), and Sara Lautman.

See all the work above, and more, here.

Also online this week: the New Yorker‘s most popular Instagram cartoons, posted by the magazine’s assistant cartoon editor, Colin Stokes.

Below: a bonus photograph from the New Yorker‘s holiday party for cartoonists last Thursday.  My colleague Felipe Galindo took this that evening and posted it online.