The Monday Tilley Watch, The New Yorker Issue Of July 22, 2019

The Cover:    As you can see by the puzzled fellow icon, I am a little puzzled (though not completely puzzled) by Christoph Niemann’s Geico-esque subway cover for the July 15th issue. Luckily, there’s the go-to weekly Q&A for those in need of clarity.

The Cartoonists:

The Newbie: Madeline Horwath debuts this week.  She is the 21st new New Yorker cartoonist this year and the 47th to join the magazine’s stable under Emma Allen’s cartoon editorship (begun in May of 2017).

The Cartoons: A first impression after going through the magazine was the number of cartoons afforded generous space. Not too small, not too big, just right.  

A Selection Of The Magazine’s Moon covers: In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, there’s a page of four New Yorker covers by four artists: Charles Addams, Charles E. Martin (C.E.M.), Laura Jean Allen, and John O’Brien. But let’s not forget Alajalov, whose three Moon-centric covers perhaps qualifies him as King Of The Moon Covers.

Rea Irvin: How wonderful would it be to see Mr. Irvin’s Talk masthead return to the place it held for 92 years Until then, here’s Joe Starrett’s famous last line in Shane:“Shane! Shane! Come Back!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some Favorite Summertime New Yorker Covers

This hot and humid long 4th of July weekend makes me think of specific favorite summertime New Yorker covers. The choices are good and plenty when one decides to select a few favorites from the magazine’s 94 years; for every one shown here, there are at least five more that fall into the fave category — these half dozen are but a fraction of the magazine’s superb summertime covers.

It’s perhaps worth noting that each of the artists below contributed both cartoons and covers to The New Yorker. They all hail from the pre-Tina Brown days when more than 60% of the magazine’s covers were contributed by its cartoonists (a reasonable guess would be that the % now of the magazine’s cartoonists contributing covers is somewhere in the low single digits).

This August 4th 1945 Mary Petty cover has always been a first thought when summer arrives.  The simple quiet moment Ms. Petty gives us during a particularly horrendous moment in history has always fascinated me. This scan doesn’t do justice to Ms. Petty’s watercolors.

Whenever I think of summertime and beaches I think of this Ludwig Bemelmans July 13, 1946  cover. Most will think of Mr. Bemelmans and immediately recall his Madeline books, but his contribution of 32 New Yorker covers was substantial

Here’s a beauty by Anatol Kovarsky from August 2, 1969. If you look through Mr. Kovarsky’s New Yorker covers you’ll see he often returned to aerial views. I’ve always found it amusing that he focused here on the parking lot, with the beach and ocean as supporting players.

Charles Addams’s cover shown below was published the very next week after Mr. Kovarsky’s. It reminds me of the summers during the years I lived in Manhattan, especially the days I headed up to The New Yorker‘s office to drop off my weekly batch of cartoons. The city never seemed hotter, the sidewalks never stickier, the non-air conditioned subway cars never sootier, than on those trips between my apartment in Greenwich Village and 25 West 43rd Street.

 

There are so many wonderful New Yorker baseball covers, but this one by Garrett Price is a particular favorite. 

Finally, this spectacular July 4th 1953 cover by Alajalov.

Here are the Spill’s A-Z entries for each of the above artists. 

 

 

 

 

Mary Petty  Born, Hampton, New Jersey, April 29, 1899. Died, Paramus, New Jersey, March, 1976. New Yorker work: October 22, 1927 – March 19, 1966. Collection: This Petty Place ( Knopf, 1945) with a Preface by James Thurber.

 

Ludwig Bemelmans  Born, April 27, 1898. Died, October 1, 1962. New Yorker work: contributed six cartoons and thirty-two covers as well written pieces in a New Yorker career that began in October of 1937 and lasted until August 1962. He achieved lasting fame with his Madeline childrens books.

 

 

Anatol Kovarsky (photo: NYC, 2013. By Liza Donnelly) Born, Moscow. Died, June 1, 2016, NYC. Collection: Kovarsky’s World (Knopf, 1956) New Yorker work: 1947 -1969. Link to Ink Spill’s  2013 piece, “Anatol Kovarsky at 94: Still Drawing After All These Years”

 

 

Charles Addams  Born in Westfield, New Jersey, January  7, 1912. Died September 29, 1988, New York City. New Yorker work: 1932 – 1988 * the New Yorker has published his work posthumously. One of the giants of The New Yorker’s  stable of artists.  Key cartoon collections: While all of Addams’ collections are worthwhile, here are three that are particular favorites; Homebodies (Simon & Schuster, 1954), The Groaning Board (Simon & Schuster, 1964), Creature Comforts (Simon & Schuster, 1981). In 1991 Knopf published The World of Chas Addams, a retrospective collection. Visit the Addams Foundation website for far more information : http://www.charlesaddams.com/

 

Garrett Price ( Photo Source: Esquire Cartoon Album, 1957) Born, 1897, Bucyrus, Kansas. Died, April, 1979, Norwalk, Conn. Collection: Drawing Room Only / A Book of Cartoons (Coward -McCann, 1946). New Yorker work: 1925 -1974.

 

 

Constantin Alajalov  Born Constantin Aladjalov, 1900, Rostov-on-the-Don, Russia. Died Oct., 1987, Amenia, New York. New Yorker work: 1926 -1960. Perhaps best known for his New Yorker covers ( he also supplied cover art to other publications). Key collection: Conversation Pieces (The Studio Publications Inc., 1942) w/ commentary by Janet Flanner. A profile from The Saturday Evening Post.

Helen Hokinson’s Silent Partner: James Reid Parker; Attempted Bloggery: Peter Arno Uncovered

While reading James Reid Parker’s brief New York Times obit, (published January 31, 1984) I was anticipating at least a mention of his work with one of The New Yorker‘s earliest superstars, Helen Hokinson. In the magazine’s first decades, according to an in-house memo, Ms. Hokinson, along with Peter Arno, was in a special category above all other contributing artists. As you can see for yourself below, the Times obit does mention Mr. Parker’s “humorous pieces and light sketches” he contributed to the magazine, but not a word about his eighteen year sideline as a writer for Ms. Hokinson.  And that’s a shame. 

There’s not a mountain of material to sift through regarding the Hokinson-Reid working relationship, but what we do have allows us a feel for how their collaboration worked.  The best reading is found in Reid’s “memoir” included in the Hokinson collection, The Ladies God Bless ’em! published a year after Hokinson was killed in a spectacular plane crash over the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. 

Mr. Parker fills us in on how he met Hokinson, and how it came to be that he became her main supplier of ideas (The New Yorker sometimes passed along an idea they felt was right for her — a practice begun in 1925, the year she joined the magazine’s brand new stable).  A mutual friend made the introduction; it was during that first meeting that ordinary conversation occasioned a spark.  Here’s Parker talking about the moment:

I happened to mention that in a story on which I was working there were two suburban matrons who talked, it seemed to me, the way some of her women might. Miss Hokinson asked what sort of things I was having them say, and I quoted a few lines of dialogue. She stopped twisting her handkerchief.  With a sigh she remarked that one of the lines in particular would have made a good caption for a drawing and that the situation was exactly the kind of thing she liked to do. I told her to go right ahead because my women could just as easily be saying something else.

About a week later, The New Yorker bought the Hokinson drawing using Parker’s idea. In a year’s time they had officially set aside all of every Friday to look at each other’s work with an eye to finding “acceptable” material.  An interesting revelation by Parker is that in 1933 he “devised” Hokinson’s women’s lunch club scenario. 

Below: a Hokinson women’s lunch club New Yorker drawing, published April 24, 1948

When the relationship between cartoonist and idea person works well, the seams don’t show — the reader believes they’re visiting a singular world (ala Jack Ziegler or Steinberg — neither of whom used outside ideas). The seams never showed in Hokinson’s drawings; looking through her work you won’t see an awkward fit. Some of the best New Yorker artists have done wonders with some outside help (Addams, Hoff, George Price, to name a few) but the Hokinson/Parker relationship was different in that she was fully dependent on provided ideas (George Price is the only other New Yorker artist known to completely rely on provided ideas).*  More than that, Parker was much involved in Hokinson’s world. In their first year of collaborating they went to dinner and then the theater once or twice a week (in his memoir he describes how much fun it was being with her on outings in Manhattan, watching her draw, sharing  her joy in discovering wondrous New York City things). When Hokinson moved up to Connecticut, Parker eventually rented a place close by her home. 

Parker on the scene there:

Thereafter Helen’s guests and mine mingled amicably, often joining forces for picnic lunches, and whenever it was necessary Helen and I could confer about a drawing on very short notice.

It’s not clear how many of Ms. Hokinson’s roughly 1,800 New Yorker drawings were the product of working with Parker, but no matter. We have a great body of work they had a grand time finding acceptable — maybe that’s plenty enough.

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*Ms. Hokinson’s  New Yorker cover ideas were her own. George Price had one New Yorker cover — it was his own idea.  

For further reading on Ms. Hokinson the place to go is Liza Donnelly’s Funny Ladies: The New Yorker’s Greatest Women Cartoons and Their Cartoons (Prometheus, 2005)

You’ll have to find a copy of Hokinson’s Ladies God Bless ’em! for James Reid Parker’s nine page Hokinson “memoir” (It can be had for a buck on AbeBooks.com). You can also find it at the end of  The Hokinson Festival  (Dutton, 1956). The bonus in that anthology: some of Hokinson’s New Yorker covers are reproduced in color. 

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Attempted Bloggery: Peter Arno Uncovered

Attempted Bloggery discusses the 1931 Arno collection, covered and not.  Read here!

Above left: an early version (or “rough”) of a New Yorker drawing in the book. “I want you to meet my bosom friend”  appeared in The New Yorker issue of October 10, 1931.

 

 

 

 

 

A Charles Addams Biopic In The Works!; A Daily Shouts By Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell

Well this is exciting news…

From Indiewire, June 22, 2019, “Sara Driver Is Back: After ‘The Dead Don’t Die,’ A Charles Addams Project, And Much More”

A snippet from Eric Kohn’s article: The project is especially personal to Driver since, like Addams, she was born in Westfield, New Jersey; the cartoonist did much of his work there. “Westfield is a particularly odd place,” Driver said. “A lot of the buildings he drew are still standing, and he was such a beautiful draftsman.”

 

My thanks to Stephen Nadler of Attempted Bloggery for bringing this article to the Spill‘s attention.  One of the Spill‘s fave blogs, it is now celebrating its 8th anniversary.  Check it out!

 

While we’re waiting for the film, it might be time to re-visit Linda Davis’s  biography of Addams, as well as Addams work  — any of his collections will do (I’ve shown just three above).  

Right: Davis’s Chas Addams: A Cartoonist’s Life  (Random House, 2006)

 

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A Daily Shouts By…

Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell, who has been contributing to The New Yorker since 2017. See the piece here.

A Tour Of Harry Bliss’s “Ink Slingers” Exhibit In New Hampshire

 
While browsing New Yorker cartoonist/cartoon info online yesterday I came across this enticing entry:
 
“Ink Slingers,” an exhibition of cartoon drawings from the collection of New Yorker cartoonist, and Cornish resident, Harry Bliss, is on view at Philip Read Memorial Library in Plainfield. The show, which includes original drawings by cartoonists and illustrators, is on view through June.
 
I contacted Mr. Bliss for more information on the exhibit and was delighted and grateful that he agreed to send, via photographs and text, the entire exhibit to the Spill.  Below are Mr. Bliss’s photos of the pieces as they are hung (it’s a wonderful extra touch that you can make out his image reflected in a few of the pieces) as well as his accompanying text for each piece. I’m showing the entire exhibit here, with New Yorker  cartoonists work first, and then work by George McManus (“Bringing Up Father”), Bill Peet, Milton Caniff, Russell Myers, and Walt Kelly.
 
Enjoy!
 
 
 

This is a New Yorker cartoon by Charles Addams. Addams was a student at the University of Pennsylvania for a brief time, though my friend Ed Koren would argue this point (Ed Koren is wrong). Addams studied architecture at Penn and that’s why he was so good at delineating all of the details in the Addams family home. When I was a child growing up in upstate New York I would pour over Charles Addams cartoons and I especially loved all those details – so lush and the drawing was skillful and had such personality. This particular cartoon is an early Addams, probably 1937 or earlier and he hadn’t invented his Addams family characters yet, but the attention to detail is still there. The caption is: “I think we need to make a few changes at the training table.” Addams didn’t write most of his gags, he employed gag writers, very common back then. Charles Addams is the reason I began working for The New Yorker.

This is a color sketch for a proposed cover for The New Yorker by Garrett Price, a fantastic cover artist and cartoonist who did nearly 100 covers for The New Yorker over the years. Here we see people on a bus, probably tourists, looking out at the United Nations. In the far right corner you can see all the flags… Stylistically, this is uncharacteristic of Price’s work, but I love the unorthodox application of paint, Van Gogh-like swirls and all. This is a fine example of what we cover artists have to send in when we pitch covers for the New Yorker. Sometimes they’re not as finished as this, in a rush, black and white, but mostly they are finished like this, in full color so our non visual editors really get the idea.

 

I love this illustration. It’s by Robert Grossman. It’s all airbrush and it’s a portrait of Howard Hughes. Robert Grossman was one of the greatest cartoonist of the 20th century. He was a master of caricature and airbrush and his work spilled out onto the pages of Ramparts, Rolling Stone, The Village Voice, and every other left-leaning magazine you can think of. He did album covers for The Grateful Dead, The Who and countless more…and of course, the movie poster for the hilarious film Airplane. Google him!

 

This is by my dear friend and Vermont cartoonists Ed Koren. Ed has been a cartoonist for The New Yorker magazine since the late 1960s and I am proud to call him my friend. I grew up enjoying his furry characters in the pages of The New Yorker magazine when they arrived at our home. A few years after we had met, in the early 2000’s, I was struggling a bit, finding it hard coming up with ideas. Ed gave me a wonderful piece of advice that I will never forget, He said ‘just draw’. Seems so simple, but it really works. The organic process of sitting down, putting pen to paper and watching the line move about on the surface will inevitably morph into something…and before you know it, your creativity is off and running!

 

This is an original by a wonderful New Yorker cartoonist who passed away a few years ago, Leo Cullum. Leo got his start at The New Yorker in the early 70s, I think. I have always loved the expression of deadpan on his characters. There is a sardonic visual mirth hidden in those eyes – typical of many of the 1980s New Yorker cartoons.

 

This is one of my cartoons that ran in The New Yorker a few years back. It’s done in black ink and graphite on acid free sketchbook paper. I have many therapy-based cartoons. Why? For so many reasons, too many to list here. If I were to list the reasons, you would feel like my therapist and then I would have to pay you.

 

This is the title page for a story that I did for my cover editor at The New Yorker, Francoise Mouly and her husband, the cartoonist, Art  Spiegelman. They had published a series of oversized picture books entitled Little Lit: Comics for Kids, and asked me to contribute a story. All of the stories in the first volume are based on folktales and I chose ‘The Baker’s Daughter and Irish folk tale about a selfish girl who pays for her lack of empathy. The experience of working with Art Spiegelman was one I will never forget. I spent two days in his studio breaking down this story into panels and pages…Comics. Everything Art had communicated to me back then I still employ in the work I do today.

 

Bringing Up Father:
This strip is by George McManus and he is one of the greatest comic strip artists of the 20th century. I have three of his strips in my collection, one of them is a Sunday and is absolutely gorgeous. There’s no mistaking McManus‘s style, his use of texture and steady black line work along with perfectly placed blacks makes him unique amongst all cartoonists working at this time.

 

Bill Peet was a remarkable children’s book artist, writer and also a Disney animator who wrote 101 Dalmatians for the film. I had always loved Bill Pete’s books, marveled at his expressive/gestural drawings and his use of colored pencil, really a gifted colorist and a wonderful draftsperson. I had communicated with Bill In 1999 and we sent a few letters back-and-forth. Then, one day I opened my mail to find this wonderful little sketch that he gave to me. He tried to write a little note on it, but his wife let me know that he just didn’t have it in him to finish, he was very old and did not have a steady hand.

 

This comic strip is by the great Milton Caniff. It’s a Terry and the Pirates daily strip, done in black ink with a brush. This is typical of Caniff’s work throughout the run of this particular comic strip, which was immensely popular. Caniff, along with Will Eisner often employed cinematic techniques in their work, using different perspectives, POVs, and dramatic lighting to get a specific effect.

 

One of the nice things about being a syndicated cartoonist is that often times I get the opportunity to trade original art with another cartoonist I admire. In this case, I traded an original drawing of mine for this wonderful large panel of Broom Hilda by Russell Myers. I grew up loving Broom Hilda as a kid, all those terrific Sunday strips in the Comics section of The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle newspaper. I always knew I needed to have an original in my collection and Russell was kind enough to trade with me.

 

This is a graphite drawing done by my uncle Harry back in the 1970s. My uncle was a fantastic artist and quite successful in and around Rochester New York. He and my father and my other uncles (too many artists!) opened a graphic design studio in Rochester (Studio 5 Graphics) – working for Kodak, French‘s, Xerox and other businesses back in the day when ad agencies outsourced design work. As much as I loved my uncles work, I felt he was too heavily influenced by the work of one of his heroes, Andrew Wyeth. Once, on a book tour, I had the chance to meet Andrew and Betsy Wyeth in 2008, spent 2 1/2 hours at their home in Chadds Ford Pennsylvania in front of a massive stone fireplace, laughing and talking about art and life. Andy was genuinely charmed by the crude sincerity of some of my cartoon drawings…I’ll never forget this.

 

This gorgeous Sunday original Pogo page is by Walt Kelly, arguably one of the greatest cartoonists of all time. He’s a cartoonists cartoonist. I don’t know any cartoonist who doesn’t marvel at Kelly’s brush work. Even more remarkable is all of the hand-lettering, all done by Kelly. Who can forget Pogo’s great line spoken as he looks out at his polluted swamp, “I have met the enemy, and he is us.” Sobering words that still resonate.

 

For further information on the exhibit, visit the library website here.

Again, my thanks to Harry Bliss for allowing us to take the tour.