…Bob Eckstein‘s new book, The Ultimate Cartoon Book of Book Cartoons will be out soon. Several of the events on his book tour will include guests. The first event, in NYC on April 9th at Rizzoli will include New Yorker cartoonists Robert Leighton, Marisa Acocella, and Barbara Smaller. The day after, Mr. Eckstein will travel north to Oblong Books in Rhinebeck, New York, where he’ll be joined by fellow cartoonists Danny Shanahan, Liza Donnelly, and yours truly. On April 23rd he’ll be at word Bookstore in Brooklyn, where he’ll be joined by David Borchart and Nick Downes.
Two weeks in to the new year without a Trump cover! Anna Parini makes her cover debut (it’s titled “A New Leaf”; not for the last time, I wonder why we need titles for the covers.
Viewed online, various elements of the cover are animated. Snow blows, wind blows the woman’s hair and ruffles a few pages of her book. Silhouetted figures walk by in the background. It’s a lovely image but I found myself wondering if people really stand on city streets reading books on cold snowy windy wintry days.
The only image I can readily conjure up that incorporates a similar situation is of holiday carolers holding up their song books as they stand singing on street corners.
I’m at a disadvantage this morning as the digital issue has yet to appear. That means we’ll dispense with counting illustrations as well as even beginning to think about how the cartoons are placed on the pages. A pity. Instead I’m relying on the slideshow of cartoons provided on newyorker.com.
The cartoonists in this issue: David Sipress, Will McPhail, Jason Adam Katzenstein, Pia Guerra, Zach Kanin, Roz Chast, Mike Twohy, P.C. Vey, Tom Cheney, Carolita Johnson, Sophia Warren, Frank Cotham, Trevor Spaulding, Danny Shanahan, Ben Schwartz, Liana Finck, Tom Toro.
Some thoughts on the cartoons:
Graphically, Frank Cotham’s drawing of the soldiers atop a castle tower is quite striking. As one who has studied the castle work of the master, Charles Addams, and as one who has drawn many a castle myself, I was taken by the dramatic angle Mr. Cotham has given us. Bravo!.
Of note is Danny Shanahan’s desert island drawing. It made me think about the resurgence of what once seemed a played-out scenario. Nothing could be further from the truth. In the recent past we’ve seen a number of desert island drawings, all clever as can be, and all proving that anything works in the cartoon universe if it works well. Mr. Shanahan’s works well (and lest we forget, a few years ago he had a cover of…a desert island). Here’s a quick look at some desert island cartoons courtesy of the BBC.
I really enjoyed Liana Finck’s damsel in distress tied to railroad tracks. Ms. Finck’s heavy use of black recalls Charles Barsotti’s expert use of contrast, and more recently, Seth Fleishman’s. I particularly like that she didn’t get involved in a detailed drawing of the tracks. She’s given us what looks like a ladder on the ground, and it works! Best of all: the eye contact she’s captured between the villain and the woman. Excellent.
— Finally, here’s to Rea Irvin’s beautiful missing masthead, replaced in May of 2017. Read about it here, and see it below:
A Charles Addams Birthday Tribute
To celebrate Charles Addams birthday, here’s a lovely piece by Steve Stoliar. My thanks to him for allowing it to appear here.
this day in 1912, Charles Samuel Addams was born in Westfield, New
Jersey – and I think we’re all more than a little better off because of
it. Chas Addams’ delightfully dark cartoons brightened up innumerable
issues of ‘The New Yorker” from 1932 (!) until his death in 1988 – a
more than fifty-five-year run. And, of course, his family of macabre
relatives was the basis for “The Addams Family” TV series and later
films (though the characters had no names before the TV series, which was produced by Groucho’s longtime friend, writer Nat Perrin).
I first met Addams in 1978 – on the same day I first met Dick Cavett
– backstage at the PBS Cavett show, when the subject of the show was
“New Yorker” cartoonists. Addams signed a copy of “Addams and Evil”
that I “happened to have” brought along in the event our paths crossed.
About five years later, when I was living in New York and writing for Cavett at HBO, I spotted Chas striding in my direction up Sixth Avenue. Another path-crossing! I stopped him and asked, “Excuse me – aren’t you Charles Addams?” He smiled and replied, “Yes, but how did you recognize me? Most people think I’m Walter Matthau!” [see photo below] I tossed off some sort of compliment and off we went in our separate directions.
Not long thereafter, I picked up this delightful original ink-and-wash Chas Addams drawing – for a whopping $300 – because some guy with a bunch of vintage original “New Yorker” cartoons was remarrying and his wife didn’t like “all those old cartoons” on their walls. His loss; my gain. I wrote to Addams about the drawing c/o “The New Yorker” and received this lovely note in return. He is missed – but at least we have his prolific outpouring of drawings to remember him by.
We’ll have to wait til April for it, but judging by the “Look Inside” available on Amazon, The Ultimate Cartoon Book of Book Cartoons will be well worth the wait. Published by Princeton Architectural Press, the anthology was edited by New Yorker cartoonist, Bob Eckstein.
Mr. Eckstein has packed the pages with New Yorker contributors such as Sam Gross (whose drawing graces the cover), Danny Shanahan, Liza Donnelly, Peter Steiner, Roz Chast, Arnie Levin, George Booth, David Borchart, Ed Steed, John O’Brien, and many more (the full list is below).
If you love cartoons, books and bookstores, this is most definitely the collection for you.
Complete List of Contributors:
Marisa Acocella, George Booth, David Borchart, Pat Byrnes, Roz Chast, Frank Cotham, Liza Donnelly, Nick Downes, Bob Eckstein, Liana Finck, Alex Gregory, Sam Gross, William Haefeli, Sid Harris, Bruce Eric Kaplan, Robert Leighton, Arnie Levin, Bob Mankoff, Michael Maslin, Paul Noth, John O’Brien, Danny Shanahan, Michael Shaw, Barbara Smaller, Ed Steed, Peter Steiner, Mick Stevens, Julia Suits, P.C. Vey, Kim Warp, Christopher Weyant, Jack Ziegler.
Published a couple of weeks ago, I Think, Therefore I Draw: Understanding Philosophy Through Cartoons (Penguin) includes enough New Yorker cartoons (among a number of non-New Yorker cartoons) to mention here. The New Yorker cartoonists represented (in order of their appearance): Paul Noth, John McNamee, Tom Cheney, Danny Shanahan, P.C. Vey, David Sipress, George Booth, Avi Steinberg, Amy Hwang, Leo Cullum, Mort Gerberg, P.S. Mueller, John Klossner, Aaron Bacall, Sam Gross, “Bud” Handelsman, Lee Lorenz, Michael Maslin, Jack Ziegler, Edward Koren, Matt Diffee, Eric Lewis, Edward Frascino, and Charles Barsotti.
The authors have this (in part) to say in their introduction: “Here, then, is a collection of our favorite philosophical cartoons and our annotations about what they teach us about the Big Questions in philosophy.”
You can sample the text by going to the Amazon listing and clicking on the “Look inside” feature.
Last week in this spot I noted and silently wondered about the latest issue of The New Yorker (dated October 29) barely touching on Halloween (other than a witches and broomstick drawing by Seth Fleishman). This week’s issue, dated November 5, solves the mystery with its trick-or-treating Trumpian cover. I think we’ve now seen enough of him on the cover to expect a New Yorker Book of Trump Covers. I believe his first appearance was on the double issue of Dec. 28, 1992/Jan. 4, 1993. Artist: Robert Risko.
New Yorker history aficionados will note that what’s inside that issue (produced during Tina Brown’s era as editor) is of great interest: a lengthy piece, “Remembering Mr. Shawn: friends and colleagues recall the years with Shawn” — it’s essential reading, and includes photographs of Shawn taken by James Stevenson.
Sidenote: the 1992/1993 issue contains the work of 35 cartoonists It also contains an Artist’s Notebook by Benoit van Innes (full page, color), An Artist At Large spread by Philip Burke (4 1/4 pages, color), another Artist At Large, with Ronald Searle (a full page), an Artist’s Sketchbook by Gerald Scarfe (3 1/2 pages, color), a full page cartoon by Roz Chast and a color column by Danny Shanahan. Most of the single panel cartoons were placed in a space greater than a quarter page, with many running a half-page. There are 22 illustrations, with three full page. One of the things you’ll hear from colleagues who worked at The New Yorker during Tina Brown’s era (I was one of them) was that she knew how to throw a great party (and she did). I’d like to expand that to: …and she knew how to throw a great graphic party.
And now back to the future…
This new issue contains the work of 11 cartoonists (a bump up from last week’s ten) and 21 illustrations ( 6 1/2 pages of those are full pages). Of the 11 cartoons, one, by the wonderful Victoria Roberts, could be said to be nearly exclusively a Halloween drawing. There is another drawing — it features a ghost — but as it’s a telling scary stories around a campfire scenario, it could’ve been published at other times during the year.
For the record, here are the contributing cartoonists in this issue:
I believe — but could well be mistaken — that the last on the list, Sarah Ransohoff, is making her New Yorker cartoonist debut in this issue. People who know better: please advise if this is incorrect. If this is correct, then Ms. Ransohoff is the 7th new cartoonist this year and the 19th cartoonist overall to be brought in under the cartoon editorship of Emma Allen since she took over in May of 2017.