George Booth’s New Yorker Golden Anniversary!

Let us raise our cartoon glasses and toast to the great New Yorker artist, George Booth. His very first New Yorker drawing appeared in the issue dated this day in 1969. His most recent drawing appeared in the magazine’s issue of June 10, 2019. My math tells me that he has now been contributing to The New Yorker for half a century.

I’ve always felt that Mr. Booth’s arrival at The New Yorker  was part of a transitional moment for the magazine’s art, helping it move from its mid-1950s Eisenhower-ish slumber to the excitement right around the bend in the late 1960s and 1970s. In the decade Mr. Booth’s work appeared, The New Yorker had lost two of its giants: James Thurber in 1961, and Peter Arno in 1968. Tremendous losses, but also a decade of tremendous gain for the magazine when the art editor, James Geraghty brought in a number of artists who would also become giants in their field: Edward Koren in 1964, Charles Barsotti, Sam Gross, and George Booth in 1969.  How fortunate we are that three of these artists continue showering us with their work right up to today (Charles Barsotti passed away five years ago this week).

By the time I was making a serious effort to get into The New Yorker in the mid 1970s (my work rejected a mountain of times by Mr. Geraghty), Booth, Koren, Barsotti and Gross had already been added to the New Yorker’s  Mt. Rushmore of cartoonists; their work impossibly inspiring. I felt (and still feel) about Booth’s drawings as I felt about work by Thurber and Hokinson and Steig and Saxon, and Peter Arno and Steinberg (and many more): it cannot get any better than this

(above: A Booth New Yorker cartoon from the issue of March 25, 1991)

As with so many, if not all of the New Yorker great artists, there is an education for aspiring cartoonists, and published cartoonists as well, in every single one of their drawings. Even this morning looking through Booth’s work, I find my electrical cartoon current even buzzier than usual. There’s beauty and excitement in Booth’s art, and of course, there’s that signature Boothian barrel of fun.

For those wanting more of his work, Omnibooth is a great place to dive in.  Find Lee Lorenz’s The Essential George Booth (Workman Publishing Company, 1998) and you’ll be treated to a mini-bio of Booth as well as samples of pre-New Yorker work. There is also his classic 1975 collection, Think Good Thoughts About A Pussycat (Dodd, Mead & Co.).

And very luckily for us all, Nathan Fitch’s documentary film on Booth, Drawing Life  is well on its way.

I  leave you with a small sample of Mr. Booth’s cover work, and with hearty applause for George Booth — a fine person, and an exceptional artist.

 

Note: Here’s what Fred Taraba of Taraba Illustration Art had to say about the Skittish Dog drawing shown at the head of this post: Not published, rather a version of one of Booth’s most recognized cartoons. The published version appeared in The New Yorker on August 15th, 1977. A third version appears in the book, Omnibooth: The Best of George Booth.

 

 

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.

 

 

Today’s Daily Cartoonist: John Cuneo; Cover Revealed For Marisa Acocella’s “The Big She-Bang”; A Graphic Novel By Robert Grossman; Christopher Weyant’s New Book; Article Of Interest: Liam Walsh; Today’s Daily Shouts… By Ellie Black; More Spills…Ken Krimstein, Edward Koren

Today’s Daily Cartoonist/Cartoon

John Cuneo, who has this week’s New Yorker cover, gets toady.  Visit Mr. Cuneo’s website here.

_____________________

Cover Revealed For Marisa Acocella’s “Big She Bang”

And now we have a cover for The Big She-Bang: The Herstory of the Universe According to God the Mother as Told to Marisa Acocella.  Out November 19, 2019, from Harper Wave.  Ms. Acocella began contributing to The New Yorker in 1998. She is the author of the New York Times best seller, Ann Tenna, and Cancer Vixen (named one of The Times top ten graphic memoirs).  Visit her website here.

___________________

A Graphic Novel By Robert Grossman

Out May 21 from the late great Robert Grossman (he died in 2018), Life On The Moon (Yoe Books). Read all about it here.

Mr. Grossman began contributing to The New Yorker in 1962.  Not only a cartoonist at the magazine, he was also for a short time, assistant to James Geraghty, the New Yorker’s art editor. Visit Mr. Grossman’s website here.

__________________________

Another Form  Christopher Weyant and Anna Kang Weyant

We Are (Not) Friends is the fourth in the series from Chris Weyant and Anna Kang.  Published May 1, 2019 (Two Lions).  Mr. Weyant began contributing to The New Yorker in 1998.  Visit his website here.

___________________________

Article of Interest: Liam Walsh

From weheartwriting, April 30, 2109, “It Started at the Library — Liam Francis Walsh”

A brief article by Mr. Walsh, who began contributing to The New Yorker in 2011.  His new book,  Make A Wish, Henry Bear, is out this week. Visit his website here.

(my thanks to Bob Eckstein for sending this piece to the Spill)

_________________________

Today’s Daily Shouts…

...ridesharing by Ellie Black. Ms. Black began contributing to The New Yorker this year.

_________________________

 

…Edward Koren’s latest book, In The Wild wins gold at the 2019 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards (“celebrating excellence in book editorial and design, the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards are sponsored by the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA).” Read about it here

Mr. Koren began contributing to The New Yorker in 1964.  Visit his website here.

 

 

…Ken Krimstein’s Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt has been named a finalist for the 2019 Chautauqua Prize (the first graphic novel to be named a finalist for this award). Read all about it here.

Mr. Krimstein began contributing to The New Yorker in 2000.  Visit his website here.

Out Today: Ultimate Cartoon Book Of Book Cartoons; Interview Of Interest: Ed Steed; Podcast Of Interest: Mark Alan Stamaty Talks With Gil Roth; Flake’s Daily Shouts Piece; Today’s Daily Cartoonist: Brendan Loper

It’s always a good day when a cartoon anthology is published. Today’s one of those days. The Ultimate Cartoon Book of Book Cartoons, edited By Bob Eckstein and published by Princeton Architectural Press, is officially out today. Cover art by the great Sam Gross and cartoons by some of the New Yorker‘s greatest artists, including George Booth, Edward Koren and Jack Ziegler.  Here’s a brief interview with Mr. Eckstein about the collection.

                                           Below: the back cover, listing the contributors.

____________________________

Interview Of Interest: Ed Steed

  Richard Gehr, who gave us I Only Read It For The Cartoons (New Harvest, 2014) interviews Ed Steed (one of the contributors to the Ultimate Cartoon Book mentioned above). Mr. Steed began contributing to The New Yorker in 2013.  See some of his work here.

__________________________

Podcast Of Interest: Mark Alan Stamaty Talks With Gil Roth

From Gil Roth’s Virtual Memories Podcast, this conversation mostly centered around the 40th anniversary reissue of Mr. Stamaty’s MacDoodle Street, but there is a fleeting mention about his New Yorker work. Listen here.

________________________

Today’s Daily Shouts

Beginning today, The Spill will note Daily Shouts pieces when the contributor is a New Yorker cartoonist.  First up: Emily Flake’s The Real Florida Man, posted early this morning.

Ms. Flake has been contributing to The New Yorker since 2008.  Link here to her website.

_______________________

Today’s Daily Cartoonist/Cartoon

Today’s Daily: keeping secrets, Washington, D.C. style, courtesy of Brendan Loper. Mr. Loper has been contributing to The New Yorker since 2016. You can see more of his work here.

A Kovarsky Scarf; Checking In On A New Yorker State Of Mind; Video Interview Of Interest: Edward Koren; Event Of Interest In Chicago: Ken Krimstein’s “Three Escapes Of Hannah Arendt”; Today’s New Yorker Daily Cartoonist: Brendan Loper

A detail from Attempted Bloggery

Attempted Bloggery looks at an Anatol Kovarsky scarf (perhaps the beginning of a cartoon clothing and accessories series?). Read here!

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

Anatol Kovarsky (photo above, 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”

____________________________

Checking In On A New Yorker State Of Mind

With the Westminster Dog Show champion recently named, what better time to head over to A New Yorker State of Mind’s fascinating post covering the above issue of February 8, 1930. The cover artist: TheodoreHaupt.

_____________________________

Video Interview of Interest: Edward Koren

From PBS Vermont, this video interview with Edward Koren, first aired April 13, 2003.

Mr. Koren began contributing to The New Yorker in 1962. Link here to his website.

________________________

Event of Interest in Chicago: Ken Krimstein’s “Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt”

Opening in March, an exhibit of work from Ken Krimstein’s excellent Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt. All the info here.

Mr. Krimstein began contributing to The New Yorker in 2000. Link here to his website.

_________________________

Today’s Daily Cartoon

Trump today, of course. Brendan Loper handles the national emergency. Mr. Loper began contributing to The New Yorker in 2016.