Posted Note: Happy 87th

With The New Yorker’s 87th birthday just around the corner (the very first issue was dated February 21, 1925) I thought it would be fun to muse about the magazine’s present cartoon universe.

What New Yorker cartoonists do so well and have done so well over eight decades is knee-jerk to their time. The New Yorker’s hands-off system, begun by its founder, Harold Ross, of encouraging contributing cartoonists to explore their creative bent, wherever it may lead them, remains very much in place to this day.  This was a spectacular editorial decision, providing a home for those (of us) who have trouble taking direction, but no trouble at all staring into space or messing around on paper awaiting the pulsating light bulb of inspiration to strike. It’s a freedom that’s produced tens of thousands of great cartoons and scores of great cartoonists, from Addams to Ziegler. I’d venture to say — without the research to back it up — that the magazine’s current crop of cartoonists, more than any in the past, has taken this freedom and run like hell with it, graphically and otherwise.

Part of the genius of Harold Ross, was his decision to encourage his artists to run amuck creatively, insuring that the magazine does not hand the readership formula.  As each issue arrives (either in our mailbox or electronically), I, like many of the magazine’s million other readers, look at the cartoons first. The 87th anniversary issue, now in hand, with its fuzzy “loading” Eustace Tilley cover, was no exception; the excitement of flipping through looking at the cartoons came not from what was expected, but, as always, from the unexpected.

 

Mick Stevens’ Illustrated song; Peter Steiner’s blog Hopeless but not Serious; New Yorker’s Cartoon Issue out

From Mick Stevens’ site mickstevens.com, October 24, 2011,  this illustrated song

 

And a reminder that Peter Steiner has a brand new blog, Hopeless but not Serious, wherein he posts daily energetic graphic swipes at politics, politicians, etc..

 

Finally:  The 15th annual New Yorker Cartoon Issue hits the stands today.  It features a wonderful cover by George Booth, and includes color work by the likes of Mark Alan Stamaty, Emily Flake, Zach Kanin, and Roz Chast.   There’s a b&w spread of work by the late Leo Cullum, and The Funnies, where you’ll find drawings by Jack Ziegler, Lee Lorenz, Bruce Eric Kaplan, and more.  There’re a handful of cartoonists sprinkled among the ads as well (Marisa Acocella Marchetto, Danny Shanahan, and Liza Donnelly).