The Weekend Spill: A 1934 July 4th Moment By Steig; Bliss’s American Bystander Cover; The Tilley Watch Online, The Week Of June 29th-July 3rd, 2020; More Spills: Eckstein’s Beast Piece, A Hoff Mural, and More Henry Martin

William Steig’s 1934 New Yorker cover celebrating the 4th of July  seems to capture the mood of this particular 4th when we have been urged to stay at home, away from gatherings. It was, of course, published during another deeply troubled time in our history.

Here’s William Steig’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:

William Steig Born in Brooklyn, NY, Nov. 14, 1907, died in Boston, Mass., Oct. 3, 2003. In a New Yorker career that lasted well over half a century and a publishing history that contains more than a cart load of books, both children’s and otherwise, it’s impossible to sum up Steig’s influence here on Ink Spill. He was among the giants of the New Yorker cartoon world, along with James Thurber, Saul Steinberg, Charles Addams, Helen Hokinson and Peter Arno. Lee Lorenz’s World of William Steig (Artisan, 1998) is an excellent way to begin exploring Steig’s life and work. New Yorker work: 1930 -2003.


American Bystander‘s Michael Gerber has released the cover of his next issue (#15 for those keeping track). Cover by Harry Bliss. You can order your copy here. If this issue is anything like the previous 14 it’ll be worth the five bucks (Cheap!).

 Harry Bliss began contributing cartoons and covers to The New Yorker  in January of 1998.  A Wealth Of Pigeon: A Cartoon Collection (a collaboration with Steve Martin) will be out this November.


The Tilley Watch Online, The Week Of June 29th – July 3rd, 2020

An end of the week listing of New Yorker artists who contributed to features

The Daily Cartoon: Madeline Horwath, Peter Kuper, Julia Suits, Sara Lautman, Akeem Roberts.

Daily Shouts: Amy Kurzweil.

…and Barry Blitt’s Kvetchbook.

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


Bob Eckstein, who began contributing to The New Yorker in 2007, has begun writing for The Daily Beast. See his first post here.

…Prompted by a post in the Facebook Vintage Panel And Gag Cartoon Group about a Syd Hoff mural, I checked out this piece from The Orange County Register from July 6, 2007.

…More Henry Martin: it’s so great that Henry Martin is listed on this plaque at the old (but not the oldest!) New Yorker offices at 25 West 43rd Street.


Henry Martin: An Ink Spill Appreciation

Henry Martin: An Ink Spill Appreciation

Above: In 1985 Henry Martin, pictured front & center with his hand on the railing, brought together a bunch of his cartoonist colleagues for an exhibit of cartoons at Princeton’s McCarter Theater. Among those in the photo: Al Ross, Arnie Roth, Arnie Levin, Ed Arno, Bernie Schoenbaum, Stuart Leeds, Peter Porges, Sam Gross, Bill Woodman, John Jonik, Mort Gerberg, and Boris Drucker. George Booth is in the back row, nearly dead center — I’m to the right of him, partially obscured.

In the late 1970s, I was a freshly minted New Yorker cartoonist walking for the first time into the magazine’s cartoonists waiting room just outside the art editor’s office. It was not a comfortable entrance: I didn’t know a soul. I was in a very small room with some of the biggest stars in The New Yorker cartoon universe. They were drinking coffee, and chatting with each other. It was, of course, intimidating. One of the stars stepped away from his colleagues and introduced himself. It was Henry Martin. Fate couldn’t have chosen a better good will ambassador to welcome me. Even today, four decades later, thinking of Henry, who passed away on Tuesday, I think — to lightly paraphrase George Booth — good thoughts about one of the kindest friendliest cartoonists I ever met. In the pool of friendly faces at The New Yorker, Henry’s face, in the years to come, was among the friendliest.

I was a bit self-conscious about my signature in those first years — afraid others might think I was some kind of Henry Martin signature stealer — at a quick glance they might appear similar, but  Henry’s graphic stamp had that distinctive lovely right leaning “H” coupled with “Martin.” Yet there were a few times I’d receive his New Yorker mail: Martin mistaken for Maslin  — it would give us a chance to have a long distance laugh.

In the 1960s and 70s, when it seemed every magazine ran cartoons, Henry’s work seemed to be in just about every one of them; he was the everywhere cartoonist.  I’m not sure anyone else came close. My thinking was, then, that’s the way to do this — that the Henry Martin model was the model. Be everywhere. Turned out that Henry’s model was Henry’s model, not for everyone — it was the way for him to go in a career that lasted from the 1950s until the late 1990s.

Above: Henry Martin’s first New Yorker cartoon, in the issue of August 15th, 1964

There’s a good reason someone lasts so long at The New Yorker. When you look at any of Henry’s  691 New Yorker cartoons you’re immediately taken in, and then, of course (of course!) you’re rewarded with laughter. There’s no furrowing of the brow as you take your first look at one of his cartoons, there’s no wondering about peripherals, such as where you are (something important to the magazine’s founder and first editor, Harold Ross, who was known to ask, when looking at art up for consideration, “Where am I in this picture?”). With Henry’s drawings you knew where you were, and you were given a rock solid cartoon with a rock solid caption. Here’s an example from The New Yorker issue of April 23, 1979:

This cartoon is what is called an “evergreen” — we all understand it, we all always will, and it will always be funny. Henry once said to me, “Some cartoonists draw funny” putting into words something I’d felt but never defined. The definition has added to my understanding of one of the essential ingredients that makes for work that excels (I used his definition here on this site just a few days ago when referring to Dean Vietor’s drawings).

As for how Henry worked, his editor Lee Lorenz told me during an interview [Lee’s remark on Henry’s method begins at 59:47 during the interview] that Henry “would put a [blank] piece of paper down and he would stare at that piece until he had an idea. Then he would take another piece of paper.”

Henry’s other significant contribution to the magazine were his hundreds of “spot” drawings (his daughter, Jane Read wrote the other day that his first sale to The New Yorker, in 1950, was a spot drawing). These drawings would be familiar to anyone who read the magazine in the William Shawn era, when spots, drawn by a variety of contributors, were placed throughout the magazine, unrelated to each other, and not telling a story as they do these days. I’ve always thought of spots as little gifts to the reader; something unexpected to consider, if only for a few seconds (or, in the case of the one shown here, more than a few seconds).

The last time I corresponded with Henry I was pulling together quotes from colleagues about Peter Arno. Here’s Henry’s quote in the Arno biography:

Jim Geraghty [the New Yorker’s Art Editor from 1939 -1973] bought three ideas from me for Arno in 1964 and 1965. He was the master, but like so many of the greats the idea wells ran dry, but, lord, how they could create memorable drawings.

And now I say to you, Henry Martin, whose idea well never ran dry: lord, how you could create memorable drawings!


For more on Henry Martin:

Back in March of 2011,  Mike Lynch posted a 1972 CartoonistPROfiles interview with him. See it here.

“Henry Martin’s Spots” — an article from Princeton’s Firestone Library about Mr. Martin’s fabulous  “spot” drawings for The New Yorker: read it here.

A tribute from the Firestone Library can be found here.

The Cartoons: There are two collections of Henry Martin’s work (both published by Scribner, both published in 1977).  His work can be found in every New Yorker cartoon album, beginning with The New Yorker 1955-1965 Album. You can also see his work online by just adding “Henry Martin cartoon” into the search box, or go to The New Yorker‘s Cartoon Bank

Henry Martin: 1925- 2020

Sad news tonight (via David Pomerantz) of the passing of one of the great New Yorker cartoonists, Henry Martin. Mr. Martin contributed 691 drawings to The New Yorker from 1964 through 1999. (The Spill will post its appreciation of Mr. Martin tomorrow).

Above: a Henry Martin drawing, published in the The New Yorker, February 27, 1989.

His daughter, the celebrated author Ann M. Martin, posted (on FB) this piece written by her sister, Jane Read Martin.

My father, Henry Martin, passed away yesterday, June 30th, two weeks shy of his 95th birthday. I’d like to share what my sister Jane wrote, which I think he would have thoroughly enjoyed:

Longtime New Yorker cartoonist Henry Read Martin (who signed his cartoons H. Martin) died on June 30, 2020, just two weeks shy of his 95th birthday. For a man who had dealt with serious heart issues since he was fifteen, his sweet, loving, funny ticker sure gave him his money’s worth.

Also known as Hank, Martin was born in Louisville, KY, where he attended public schools until entering Texas Country Day School in Dallas, TX, now known as St. Mark’s School of Texas. He graduated from Princeton University in 1948, after which he attended the American Academy of Art in Chicago. Hank then headed back East and began his 45-year career with The New Yorker magazine. He sold his first drawing — known as a “spot” (the small drawing inside a story) — to The New Yorker in April 1950, though it was another 14 years before he sold his first cartoon there. He was also a longtime contributor to Punch magazine and The Spectator in England and for fifteen years had a daily syndicated newspaper cartoon called “Good News/Bad News.” Collections of his cartoons included Good News/Bad News and Yak! Yak! Yak! Blah! Blah! Blah!, both published by Charles Scribner’s Sons. Hank received the National Cartoonist’s Society’s Gag Cartoon Award in 1978 and also illustrated many books published by Peter Pauper Press.

In 1953 Hank married Edith (Edie) Matthews and they settled in Princeton, NJ, where they raised their two daughters and Edie taught pre-school. It was Edie who noticed a sign for a one-room office for rent across the street from the Princeton University Press that became Hank’s studio for close to forty years. For years he commuted to it on his bicycle and friends often stopped by his window to say hello. Despite working with pen and ink, Hank always wore a coat and tie to work “because you never know when someone is going to stop by and ask you to lunch.” In fact, every Thursday for over ten years, Hank and other Princeton cartoonists such as Arnold Roth, Clarence Brown and Mike Ramus met regularly for lunch at the (now defunct) Annex Restaurant on Nassau Street.

On Wednesdays Hank would take the bus into New York “to peddle his wares” at The New Yorker, Good Housekeeping, Ladies’ Home Journal and The Saturday Evening Post. Wednesday was “Look Day” at The New Yorker where the cartoon editor chose potential cartoons from each artist. Hank capped those days with lunch with the New Yorker cartoonists, a group often consisting of some combination of George Booth, Roz Chast, Sid Harris, Lee Lorenz, Nurit Karlin, Mort Gerberg, Sam Gross, Frank Modell, Jack Ziegler, Warren Miller and Peter Porges (who usually sold his drawings elsewhere but regularly joined the lunch). It was a long-held tradition: in the 1940’s the cartoonists’ lunch included such luminaries as Charles Addams, Charles Saxon, Barney Tobey, Whitney Darrow and William Steig.

In Princeton Hank served on the boards of several local Princeton organizations including SAVE, McCarter Theater and Friends of the Princeton Public Library. The Special Collections at Princeton University Library holds over 500 of his original cartoons published in the New Yorker and other publications along with 680 pen drawings for the famous New Yorker ‘spots.’ Also included in the collection is a complete set of his illustrated books and other archival materials. Hank also contributed cartoons and drawings to the Princeton Alumni Weekly as well as other Princeton University-themed mailings throughout his career and into retirement. In addition, the Morgan Library in New York City holds eight of his cartoons in its permanent collection.

Hank and Edie remained in Princeton until moving to Pennswood Village in Newtown, PA in 1998. Edie predeceased him in 2010. He is survived by his sister Adele Vinsel of Louisville, KY, two daughters, “The Baby-Sitters Club” author Ann M. Martin and Jane Read Martin, as well as son-in-law Douglas McGrath, grandson Henry, and eight nieces and nephews.




The Weekend Spill: Henry Martin’s New Yorker Spot Drawings; The Tilley Watch Online, The Week Of December 30, 2019 – January 3, 2020

                                       Henry Martin’s New Yorker Spot Drawings

From Princeton University’s Firestone Library Special Collections, “Henry Martin’s Spots” — this piece on Mr. Martin’s considerable Spot Drawing contribution to The New Yorker during his thirty-five year run at magazine. Here’s a fun photo from the article:

Henry Martin’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:

Henry Martin (Photo: 1984). Born 1925, Louisville, Kentucky. New Yorker work: 1964 – 1999 . Collections: Good News / Bad News ( Scribners, 1977), Yak! Yak! Yak! Blah! Blah! Blah! (Scribners, 1977). Martin has illustrated a number of books, as well as writing and illustrating children’s books. Besides over 1000 spot drawings, Mr. Martin contributed approximately 650 cartoons to the magazine.


A weekend round-up of New Yorker artists who’ve contributed to features.

The Daily Cartoon: Avi Steinberg, Jon Adams, Kim Warp, Ellie Black, Caitlin Cass.

Daily Shouts: Irving Ruan & Eugenia Viti, Julia Edelman & Olivia de Recat, Colin Stokes & Ellis Rosen, Matt Diffee.

And…Barry Blitt’s Kvetchbook.

See all of the above and more here.


New Yorker Cartoonists Holiday Party

Decades ago, in the William Shawn era, New Yorker cartoonists celebrated the holidays in-house (specifically, in-department).  They’d show up at the office and drink punch provided by the art editor Lee Lorenz and his assistant, Anne Hall. Cartoonists would sample rum balls brought in by their colleague, Henry Martin.  During the Tina Brown years the holiday party went big time, when all departments went out-of-office and co-mingled in (mostly) downtown establishments.  Coming full circle this year’s party for cartoonists came back home to the offices (yay!).  Last night’s shindig was hosted by the cartoon editor, Emma Allen, and the assistant cartoon editor, Colin Stokes (and, shades of Henry Martin, cartoonist David Borchart even brought in some homemade cookies).

Ink Spill‘s official photographer for the evening, cartoonist Liza Donnelly attended the festivities, and captured the scene. 

Below, left to right: Kendra Allenby, Ali Soloman, Farley Katz and Emma Allen.

Below: in the foreground, Robert Leighton (on the left) speaks with Ed Steed. In the back, left-to-right, with his back to the camera is Colin Stokes, Avi Steinberg (in the hat), and a partially obscured Ellis Rosen. Between Mr. Steinberg and Mr. Ellis is the fabulous Peter Arno New Yorker cover of June 5, 1954.

Below: a frieze of cartoonists. Will mention just a few: to the far left is Emma Hunsinger. To the far right, second in, is PC. Vey.


Below: Mort Gerberg (on the left) and George Booth.

Below, left-to-right: Avi Steinberg, Karen Sneider, Jason Adam Katzenstein, and, with her back to the camera, Gabrielle Bell.

Below: foreground, looking at the camera is Sophia Warren, then Robert Leighton, and (with eyepatch) Mort Gerberg. In the background: far left, is Ed Steed, then (with back to camera) David Sipress, Joe Dator (with scarf), and Kendra Allenby.

Below: on the far left is Joe Dator, and then Emily Flake and Marisa Acocella.


Below: a waving Jeremy Nguyen and Maggie Larson. Far left, in the back is Brendan Loper.

Below, left to right:  George Booth, Liza Donnelly, and David Borchart (this photo courtesy of  Mr. Borchart).

Below: Felipe Galindo and Drew Dernavich.


Below: The New Yorker‘s Jack-of-All Trades,Stanley Ledbetter, Johnny DiNapoli, Farley Katz, and Ellis Rosen.

Below, left to right: David Sipress and Ben Schwartz.

Below: Emma Allen and Farley Katz.

Below: the ever festive Rea Irvin type-faced logo!


— My thanks to Liza Donnelly, Colin Stokes, Emma Allen, and David Borchart for their assistance  with this post.