About Jack (Ziegler); An Evergreen Cartoon From Dana Fradon

Ordinarily I’d rather not think too much about the end days of good friends.  But today I can’t quite shake thinking about my New Yorker cartoonist colleague and friend, Jack Ziegler, who passed away on this day three years ago. His unexpected finale was a shock; the aftershocks continue.

 

Photo:  Jack Ziegler with New Yorker cartoonist Dick Cline draped around his shoulders.

Beginning in 1974, when his first drawing was published in the magazine, Jack ‘s work was a ground-breaking force. Looks alone set it apart, never mind his cartoon concerns, his hamburger madness. The work disrupted the long held notion of what a New Yorker cartoon should be, and helped usher in the era of what it could be. Other cartoonists followed Jack into the art department (Roz Chast, Mick Stevens, Leo Cullum, to name but a few), but Jack was the point man for the magazine’s art editor, Lee Lorenz, when Lee decided to shake things up.

As March 2017 ended, in the days when it was time to speak to reporters about what Jack’s work meant to the magazine, I dubbed him the Godfather of Contemporary New Yorker Cartoonists. 2017 already seems like a long time ago, but the accolade stands. Without Jack, who knows if the magazine’s next generations of cartoonists would’ve taken the road less traveled. We’ll never know, and it doesn’t matter. We are where we are, in great part because of Jack.

 

Jack Ziegler’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:

Jack Ziegler (photo by Michael Maslin, taken at The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, NYC, 2008) Born, Brooklyn, NY July 13, 1942. Died, March  29, 2017.  New Yorker work: 1974 – 2017. Key collections: all of Ziegler’s collections are must-haves. Here’re some favorites: Hamburger Madness (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1978), Filthy Little Things ( Doubleday/Dolphin, 1981) and The Essential Jack Ziegler, Complied and Edited by Lee Lorenz ( Workman, 2000). Link here for Ink Spill’s Jack Ziegler interview from late 2016.

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An Evergreen Cartoon From Dana Fradon Cartoon

Daniel Borinsky, a good friend of the Spill, recently unearthed this Dana Fradon New Yorker drawing. It appeared in the issue of April 27, 1957. My thanks to Mr. Borinsky for passing it along.

Dan Fradon’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:

Dana Fradon (photo taken in 1978). Born, Chicago, Illinois, 1922. Died, October 3, 2019, Woodstock, NY.  Studied at the Art Institute of Chicago prior to service in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II. Following his service, he attended the Art Students League of New York, New Yorker work: May 1, 1948 – April 21, 2003. Collection: Insincerely Yours (Scribners, 1978) To read Ink Spill’s 2013 interview with Mr. Fradon, “Harold Ross’s Last Cartoonist” link here.

 

 

The Forever Fun Work By Nurit Karlin, Dana Fradon, and Gahan Wilson

2019 was an unusually rough year in the loss column for New Yorker cartoonists. We lost Nurit Karlin in April, Dana Fradon in October, and then Gahan Wilson in November.  Although we miss them, and mourn them, we have thousands of their cartoons at hand in anthologies, collections, and online.  A wonderful thing happened this morning when I began looking once again at Nurit’s, Dana’s and Gahan’s drawings in New Yorker anthologies: their work gave me a cartoonist jump-start into the new year — a fun boost as 2020 begins.

Ms. Karlin, the lone female cartoonist at the magazine during her first four years at the magazine, reinvigorated the school of Thurber:  simple clean lines delighting as much as a Reginald Marsh double-page extravaganza. Ms. Karlin found humor without captions — in my book a most difficult way to define one’s cartoon world.  She moved the captionless tradition into modern times; a  corner of the cartoonist’s universe notably practiced  by Sam Cobean and Otto Soglow in the magazine’s earlier years.

Dana Fradon, 97 at the time of his passing, was our last cartoonist link to the Harold Ross era. Mr. Fradon had excellent recall of the generations of New Yorker contributors he encountered during his more than half a century contributing his organically funny drawings. Good humor and high-bar artistry stayed with him throughout. Mr. Fradon, along with a number of his contemporaries, excelled at inverted tip-of-the-iceberg drawings: the point he wanted to make was just below the surface.

Gahan Wilson, affectionately and accurately dubbed the Wizard Of Weird, was the child who loved to draw monsters who grew up to be the adult who drew monsters. It was Mr. Wilson’s genuine love of that frightening world, and his gifted exploration of it throughout his life that caused us to cherish him and his work.

 

 

The Weekend Spill: Happy 125th James Thurber!; Three New Yorkers; New Cast Album For Arno’s 1930’s Musical “The New Yorkers”; The Tilley Watch Online, The Week Of December 2-6, 2019

Happy 125th James Thurber!

Anyone who follows the Spill knows that James Thurber is a mighty big deal around here. I’ve written numerous times over the years how seeing his drawing, “What have you done with Dr. Millmoss?” changed everything for me. Today marks the 125th anniversary of Thurber’s birth.  Michael Rosen’s recently published A Mile and a Half of Lines: The Art of James Thurber is an excellent book to throw yourself into today, or any day.

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Three New Yorkers

The three issues above unexpectedly arrived in the mail the other day, courtesy of a friend.  I immediately shoved my stack of drawing paper to the side and dove into the magazines. When I look through older copies of The New Yorker I focus on the art (so many cartoons to see, so little time).

So, what do these three issues have in common besides being three issues of The New Yorker and all published in the early 60s? Each has at least one drawing by Frank Modell, James Stevenson, and Dana Fradon. That trio, in their time, along with perhaps ten other cartoonists, anchored hundreds, if not thousands of issues of The New Yorker.

When I arrived at The New Yorker in the late 1970s, Messrs. Modell, Fradon, and Stevenson had already been contributing for decades, with Frank Modell the most veteran of the bunch, having begun at The New Yorker during the mid-1940s.  As I was beginning my New Yorker education by studying back issues of the magazine I was astounded to discover how long these artists had already been at the magazine. Even more astounding: there were cartoonists who’d been at The New Yorker even longer, and were still contributing — such greats as Al Ross, who began contributing in 1937, Whitney Darrow, Jr. (1933), George Price (1929), and William Steig (1930).

I was lucky enough to meet and get to know (if only a little) most of the cartoonists mentioned above. Of the three exceptions: Steig, Darrow, and Price, I communicated via a few letters with Steig — Whitney Darrow turned an idea of mine into a New Yorker drawing. I regret not walking over and meeting Whitney Darrow, and George Price at the only once-in-a-lifetime  opportunities I had with each. I’ve written before of the magazine’s artists family tree — the generations overlapping at the magazine. Just a few weeks ago I met several New Yorker cartoonists who’ve just started their careers in the past couple of years — one in just the past six months. Picking up almost any issue of the magazine, from the earliest years to the most recent is an instant reminder of the connectivity.

From the Spill‘s A-Z, the Modell, Fradon, and Stevenson entries:

Frank Modell ( photograph taken early 1990s) Born, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 6, 1917. Died, May 27, 2016, Guilford, Connecticut. New Yorker work: 1946 – 1997. Mr. Modell began his New Yorker career as assistant to the Art Editor, James Geraghty. He soon began contributing his cartoons (and cartoon ideas for others), with his first drawing appearing July 20, 1946. Besides his work for The New Yorker, he was a children’s book author and an actor (he appeared, most notably, in Woody Allen’s 1980 film, Stardust Memories). Key collection: Stop Trying To Cheer Me Up! (Dodd, Mead, 1978).

Dana Fradon (photo: 1978). Born, Chicago, Illinois, 1922. Died, October 3, 2019, Woodstock, NY.  Studied at the Art Institute of Chicago prior to service in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II. Following his service, he attended the Art Students League of New York, New Yorker work: May 1, 1948 – April 21, 2003. Collection: Insincerely Yours (Scribners, 1978) To read Ink Spill’s 2013 interview with Mr. Fradon, “Harold Ross’s Last Cartoonist” link here.

 

James Stevenson Born, NYC, 1929. Died, February 17, 2017, Cos Cob, Connecticut. New Yorker work: March 10, 1956 -. Stevenson interned as an office boy at The New Yorker in the mid 1940s when he began supplying ideas for other NYer artists. Nine years later he was hired a full-time ideaman, given an office at the magazine and instructed not to tell anyone what he did. He eventually began publishing his own cartoons and covers as well as a ground-breaking Talk of the Town pieces (ground breaking in that the pieces were illustrated). His contributions to the magazine number over 2000. Key collections: Sorry Lady — This Beach is Private! (MacMillan, 1963), Let’s Boogie ( Dodd, Mead, 1978). Stevenson has long been a children’s book author, with roughly one hundred titles to his credit. He is a frequent contributor to the Op-Ed page of The New York Times, under the heading Lost and Found New York. Stevenson’s recent book, published in 2013, The Life, Loves and Laughs of Frank Modell, is essential. “Stevenson Lost and Found,” a documentary film by Sally Williams, was released in 2019.

— The cover artists for The New Yorkers  shown at the top of this post: l-r: Robert Kraus, Garrett Price, and Arthur Getz

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New Cast Album For Cole Porter’s (and Peter Arno’s) 1930 Musical, The New Yorkers

From Broadway World, December 6th, 2019, “The New Cast Album of ‘The New Yorkers,’ the 1930 Cole Porter Musical, is Available today”

If you want to read a lot more about “The New Yorkers” I modestly suggest my Arno biography, specifically Chapter Seven:  Up Broadway and Down.

Above left: The cover of the new cast recording. To the right “The New Yorkers” original 1930 program, with art by Peter Arno.

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The Tilley Watch Online, The Week Of December 2-6, 2019

An end of the week listing of New Yorker artists who’ve contributed to newyorker.com

The Daily Cartoon: David Ostow, Tom Toro, Paul Karasik, Ali Solomon, Jon Adams.

Daily Shouts: Julia Wertz, Olivia de Recat.

…and Barry Blitt’s Kvetchbook.

To see all of the above, and much more, link here.

 

 

The Weekend Spill: A Memorial For New Yorker Artist Dana Fradon; The New Yorker Artists Who Contributed To Newyorker.com This Week; Meet The Artist (1943): Barbara Shermund

A Memorial For Dana Fradon

A Memorial is set for The New Yorker artist, Dana Fradon, who passed away this Fall.  The public is invited.

Photo: l-r, The New Yorker artist, Charles Saxon, The New Yorker‘s former Art Editor, James Geraghty, Mr. Fradon, and The New Yorker artist, Whitney Darrow, Jr..

Photo courtesy Sarah Geraghty Herndon

Memorial Info:

Where: the Bethel Library, Bethel CT

When: Sunday December 8th, from 2pm – 4pm.

Here’s Mr. Fradon’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:

Dana Fradon Born, Chicago, Illinois, 1922. Died, October 3, 2019, Woodstock, NY.  Studied at the Art Institute of Chicago prior to service in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II. Following his service, he attended the Art Students League of New York, New Yorker work: May 1, 1948 – April 21, 2003. Collection: Insincerely Yours (Scribners, 1978) To read Ink Spill’s 2013 interview with Mr. Fradon, “Harold Ross’s Last Cartoonist” link here.

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The Tilley Watch Online, November 25-29, 2019

A listing of the New Yorker artists who contributed to newyorker.com this week

The Daily Cartoon: Julia Suits, Pat Achilles, Christopher Weyant, Lila Ash, and Teresa Burns Parkhurst

Daily Shouts: Ali Fitzgerald, Emily Flake, Lars Kenseth, Eugenia Viti ( with Irving Ruan).

…and Barry Blitt’s Kvetchbook

…and Culture Desk pieces by Jenny Kroik, and Roz Chast.

See all the above and more here.

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Meet The Artist (1943): Barbara Shermund

Another in a series of self portraits of New Yorker artists included in the Meet The Artist catalog published by the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum in 1943.

Barbara Shermund’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:

Barbara Shermund (to the left: a Shermund self portrait) Born, San Francisco. 1899. Studied at The California School of Fine Arts. Died, 1978, New Jersey. New Yorker work: June 13, 1925 thru September 16, 1944. 8 covers and 599 cartoons. Shermund’s post-New Yorker work was featured in Esquire. (See Liza Donnelly’s book, Funny Ladies — a history of The New Yorker’s women cartoonists — for more on Shermund’s life and work)

 

Five Days Til “A New Yorker Cartoonists’ Tribute To James Thurber” At The Society Of Illustrators; The Tilley Watch Online: The Week Of October 14-18, 2019

At The Society of Illustrators this coming Friday, October 25th, New Yorker cartoonists Liza Donnelly, Danny Shanahan, and Michael Maslin will join Thurber expert Michael J. Rosen in celebrating The Art of James Thurber.  All the info here.

Thurber’s entry on The Spill‘s A-Z:

James Thurber Born, Columbus, Ohio, December 8, 1894. Died 1961, New York City. New Yorker work: 1927 -1961, with several pieces run posthumously.  According to the New Yorker’s legendary editor, William Shawn, “In the early days, a small company of writers, artists, and editors — E.B. White, James Thurber, Peter Arno, and Katharine White among them — did more to make the magazine what it is than can be measured.”  

Key cartoon collection: The Seal in the Bedroom and Other Predicaments (Harper & Bros., 1932). Key anthology (writings & drawings): The Thurber Carnival (Harper & Row, 1945). There have been a number of Thurber biographies. Burton Bernstein’s Thurber (Dodd, Mead, 1975) and Harrison Kinney’s James Thurber: His Life and Times (Henry Holt & Co., 1995)  are essential. A short bio appears on the Thurber House website: http://www.thurberhouse.org/about-james-thurber/

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An end of the week listing of New Yorker cartoonist online contributors

The Daily Cartoon: Maddie Dai, Joe Dator, Teresa Burns Parkhurst, Peter Kuper, and Tom Toro.

Daily Shouts: Eugenia Viti, and (cover artist) Jenny Kroik.

Also:

Barry Blitt’s  Kvetchbook…

and a Postscript by Edward Koren on the late Dana Fradon.