Here’s a fun oddity: the stamp/envelope moistener that once sat in The New Yorker‘s Art Department at the magazine’s 25 West 43rd Street address. The moistener, sold by Chicago’s Wilson Jones Company, seems have been manufactured in the 1940s. It was in use at The New Yorker until 1991, when the magazine moved south across 43rd Street to modern digs and more modern means of correspondence.
When I began contributing to The New Yorker in the 1970s, cartoonists either went into the office to drop off their weekly batch of drawings, or they mailed in their batch. If you sold a drawing, it would arrive by week’s end in a 10″x13″ manilla envelope with a glued flap. I can’t help but think of the humble part the moistener –a simple heavy object — played in the process of every New Yorker cartoonist’s life back then. It was part of a chain of events that began with the cartoonist’s creation of a drawing; the drawing then sent or brought to the magazine’s offices where it passed by the eyes of the art editor (James Geraghty, until 1973, and then Lee Lorenz). If it made that first cut, it moved on to the art meeting, and shown to the editor (Harold Ross until 1951, William Shawn until 1987, then Robert Gottlieb). If the editor Oked it (and the fact checkers cleared it), the Oked cartoon was placed in a New Yorker envelope, sealed (!) and returned to the cartoonist. Trumpets didn’t blare upon its homecoming, but it was always a heart-racing “moment” seeing that envelope and unsealing it to find which of your drawings was now a New Yorker cartoon.
Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon
Help remembering 2020 by Avi Steinberg.
Mr. Steinberg began contributing to The New Yorker in 2012.
Today’s Daily Shouts Cartoonist
“Torture Devices Designed By My Inner Monologue”
by Irving Ruan, and cartoonist Eugenia Viti, who began contributing to The New Yorker in in June of 2019.
Surging through social media is the sad and unpleasant news from the publisher of MAD Magazine that there are but two (mostly) new issues left before the magazine begins recycling previously published work.
Tweets from MAD editor Allie Goertz:
There’s been an outpour of kindness surrounding the rumor that @MADmagazine is ceasing publication, but MAD is not quite done. After the next TWO great new issues are released, MAD will begin publishing bi-monthly issues with vintage pieces and new covers.
While there will be no new material after issue #10, @MADmagazine is not gone. I find it deeply sad to learn that there will be no new content, but knowing history repeats itself, I have no doubt that the vintage pieces will be highly (if not tragically) relevant.
Working at MAD was a childhood dream come true. MAD is an institution with such a rich history. It informed just about every comedian and writer I (and probably you) look up to. I worked with ICONS. Sergio Aragonés visits were common. Al Jaffee still does the fold-in!
I am so proud of what the new team accomplished, am such a fan of the team before us, and am forever in awe of the original gang of idiots. I look forward to receiving vintage @MADmagazine pieces on my door step, but it’s bittersweet to say the least. Thank you to all the MAD fans, contributors, and Usual Gang of Idiots in all its forms.
Just Some of the Media Coverage:
The BBC: MAD Magazine To Cease Publication Of New Material
Boing Boing: MAD Magazine Mostly Shutting Down After 67 Years
The Huffington Post: MAD Magazine Is Winding Down And Fans Are Devastated
The Hollywood Reporter: MAD Magazine To Effectively Shutter After 67 Years
I happened upon a paper-clipped bunch of pages today in the Spill‘s archives that I’d completely forgotten about. The very first page, from late 1980, appears above. It comes as news to me thirty-nine years later that I made a list of drawings that were being held by The New Yorker.
This is what holding means:
When a cartoonist submitted a batch of drawings, and returned the following week to submit another batch, last week’s rejects would be waiting. Along with the returned drawings was the classic New Yorker rejection slip — and occasionally there would be, on the slip, a handwritten Holding 1 (sometimes more than one drawing was held). For whatever reason, or reasons, Lee Lorenz, the art editor at the time, had decided to hang onto a drawing for further consideration. Held drawings were in limbo — not bought, just held. And then they were either returned, or bought.
Having a drawing held was always preferable to complete rejection: it was a glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe, that held drawing would be “OKed” (i.e., bought). What’s interesting (to me) about the list was how many held drawings there were in that short period of time. Without this list as a reminder I would’ve guessed that one of my drawings was held every two or three months, at most. Six held within a couple of months, and two bought seems like much better odds than memory allowed. The Calm Before The Coffee was Oked but I didn’t bother underlining it in red and placing an asterisk next to it — I must’ve forgotten I had started a holding list by the time it was OKed.
Somehow this December 2018 release escaped notice here. What’s of particular interest are the number of reprinted New Yorker cartoons it contains: 75 of them. I can’t remember a non–New Yorker book that has ever come close to reprinting this many (if anyone does, please let me know).
PR from the publisher, The Oxford University Press:
In Guilty Pleasures, legal scholar Laura Little provides a multi-faceted account of American law and humor, looking at constraints on humor (and humor’s effect on law), humor about law, and humor in law.
To give you an idea of how massive this usage is, here are the drawings (with each cartoon’s artist and assigned Cartoon Bank number):
Tim Hamilton does the honors today — see it here. Mr. Hamilton began contributing to The New Yorker in 2015.
Reminder: Roz Chast At The Strand Tonight at 7:00
All the info here!
New York Times Op-Ed On The American Bystander
A fun NYTs Op-Ed on The American Bystander, past and present (mentions George Booth, Sam Gross, and Ms. Chast)
Gahan Wilson GoFundMe Campaign Over A Third Of Its Way To Goal
One of the great contemporary New Yorker cartoonists is suffering from severe dementia. A GoFundMe campaign is underway to help Mr. Wilson. Read about it here and to donate.
Here are a couple of fun photos, taken in NYC yesterday: On the left is Drew Friedman, and on the right is Robert Crumb. What brought them together is the book Mr. Crumb is holding, The Book Of Weirdo, an anthology of Weirdo magazine (created by Mr. Crumb in 1981, it was published until 1993).
The anthology is coming this Spring from Last Gasp. Mr. Friedman did the cover and wrote the intro; the anthology itself is edited by Jon B. Cooke. More photos here.
Both Mr. Friedman and Mr. Crumb began contributing their work to The New Yorker in 1994.
(photos courtesy of Mr. Friedman)