The Wednesday Tilley Watch: Parker, Gerberg, Chast, Donnelly & More…

Items of interest this mid-week:

Two reminders of upcoming events.

On January 29, the great illustrator Robert Andrew Parker (shown below), whose work has appeared numerous times in The New Yorker, will be featured at The New York Comics & Picture-story Symposium. Details here.

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On January 30th, Long-time cartoonist Mort Gerberg will be in conversation with The New Yorker‘s cartoon editor, Emma Allen. The event is a celebration of Mr. Gerberg’s new book, On The Scene. Details here.





…From the west coast, news that a television series in in the works based on Roz Chast‘s highly acclaimed book, Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant?

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…and from the east coast here’s a CNN piece by Liza Donnelly on her recent live-drawing assignment at the Women’s March in Washington, D.C.

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…there’s a new installment in the New Yorker‘s celebrity cartoon caption video series, Caption That Cartoon. This time it’s Adam Conover putting the caption marker to paper (I urge the magazine to ID the cartoonists whose work appears on these videos. Until they do I’ll provide IDs). In this episode the cartoonists are (in order of appearance):

Mick Stevens, Victoria Roberts, Jack Ziegler, Michael Crawford, Drew Dernavich, yours truly, Will McPhail, Frank Cotham, and Tom Cheney.

Above: Adam Conover looks over a Mick Stevens drawing in this screen grab from the video

Beginning To Take It Personally: The New Yorker Cartoon Album 1975- 1985

The other day I wrote about the New Yorker Anniversary album: 1925-1975.  Following up on that, here’s a little something about the Album that immediately followed it, The New Yorker Cartoon Album 1975- 1985.  In the entire run of Albums, this one would have to rank #1 in understated covers. A bit of trivia (or maybe it’s not so trivial): this is just the second time an Album title referred to the magazine’s drawings as “cartoons” —  (the first was 1958’s New Yorker Album of Sports & Games: Cartoons of Three Decades. Non-purists might argue that the special issue Armed Services New Yorker War Cartoons with The Talk of the Town, published in 1945 was the first instance, but it was not an Album, nor was it, as you see in the title, purely cartoons).

Of note: 1975-1985 is the first Album since the early 1930s not designed by Carmine Peppe.  The design and layout is credited to a trio of New Yorker staffers: John Murphy, Bernard McAteer, and Joseph Carroll (who succeeded Mr. Peppe as head of the make-up department. Mr. Carroll was also a published New Yorker cartoonist, with one drawing, in the issue of January 16, 1984. That one and only appearance qualified him as a member of the Spill‘s One Club).

Of further note: this was the last Album published during William Shawn’s long tenure as editor of the New Yorker. It was published the year The New Yorker‘s ownership changed hands from the original owners, the Fleischmann family, to the Newhouse family. Mr. Shawn, who was appointed editor in 1952, was replaced in 1987 by Robert Gottlieb.

 

Admittedly, I have affection for this Album out of some self-interest: it was the first that included my work.  But it also included, for the first time in an Album, work by the wave I came in with — that included, among others, cartoonists such as Mick Stevens, Thomas Cheney, Peter Steiner, Richard Cline, Leo Cullum, Roz Chast, and Liza Donnelly. 

Truly exciting were the number of established cartoonists we kids found ourselves in the company of. To be included in this volume (and later Albums) with them was, and still is somewhat unbelievable. 

As with previous Albums, the cartoon choices are excellent.  The Album begins with an exquisite Robert Weber full page drawing (full page in the Album, and run as a full page in the magazine in the issue of July 2, 1984)…

…and ends with a classic Charles Addams drawing (a fellow is installing yet another of many locks — and bolts — on his door. At his feet is a semi-circle made by an active saw blade coming up through the floor). In between these two cartoon gems is an accurate reflection of the state of the magazine’s cartoon world in that decade.  As with previous Albums, the balance of work placement and selection is superior. There’s enough work by Booth, Steinberg, Koren, Saxon, Steig, George Price, Addams, Stevenson, Levin, Modell, Lorenz, both Martins (Henry, and Charles) to please anybody, but also well-represented are the large number of artists who flourished just out of range of the spotlight. 

Along with the publication of the Album was a touring exhibit of work.  I wrote about this Album and that exhibit a year ago, but in a slightly different context. You can see that earlier post here

 There was no official album a decade later (instead we were gifted Lee Lorenz’s Art of The New Yorker), and ten years after that was the The New Yorker 75th Cartoon Collection, which bears a cover opposite the understated cover of the 1975-1985 album.   

A Go-To New Yorker Cartoon Book: The New Yorker Album Of Drawings 1925 – 1975

With a new entry in the New Yorker cartoon collection in the market place, the weighty and curious New Yorker Encyclopedia of Cartoons, I thought it might be time to swing the spotlight another way — to a favorite New Yorker cartoon-related anthology, The New Yorker Album Of Drawings 1925 – 1975; a proven time-tested book that never ever fails to thrill and inform  — I learn something whenever I look through it. 

 My collection of New Yorker cartoon anthologies began with this book, given to me the year it was published, two years before I began contributing to the magazine. I’ve spent more time with it than any book I ever had in school. If I was teaching a class about New Yorker cartoons, this would be  required reading/viewing.  As you’d expect, the book is a greatest cartoon hits from the magazine’s first 50 years, but it also thoughtfully digs into the archives for what could be the best representative work by the non-hits artists.

It’s not just the selection of work that lifts this anthology to a higher plane, it’s the balance of the work as well. All credit for that balance goes to The New Yorker‘s Carmine Peppe, (“the fabled Carmine Peppe” as Roger Angell tagged him). Mr. Peppe is credited with the book’s “design and layout.”  That makes sense as he was head of the magazine’s editorial make-up department since 1932. He was also credited with design and layout of every anthology beginning with the 25th Anniversary Album, published in 1950 (I think it’s safe to assume he also designed, uncredited, the Albums that were published since 1932). Mr. Peppe’s roots ran as deep as anyone’s at the magazine, having joined the New Yorker a few months into its run in 1925. Mr. Peppe will forever be linked to Jack Ziegler as it was Peppe who famously held up running Mr. Ziegler’s first drawings when he broke into the magazine in 1974. Mr. Ziegler told Richard Gehr in I Only Read It For the Cartoons, “He [Peppe] didn’t like my work, apparently…”

In the magazine’s obit for Mr. Peppe in 1985, William Shawn had this to say (in part) about Mr. Peppe’s substantial contribution to the magazine:

Carmine Peppe had the hands of a master craftsman, and he had the eye and the soul of an artist. He lived with love at home, and he worked with love at his demanding job…

His aesthetic instinct for what drawing should appear on what page and what its size on the page should ideally be was faultless. If, say, a drawing was an eighth of an inch too wide, he saw it as jumping off the page, and he was right. His meticulousness, his precision, his attention to detail were fanatical.  In the last analysis, it was Carmine who determined, early in our history, how the pages of The New Yorker should look, how the magazine as a whole should look. Since what he designed for us was appropriate to our intentions and was classic, we stayed with what he gave us.