Today’s Daily Cartoon & Daily Shouts Cartoonist; Recalling A New Yorker Giant: Charles Saxon

A Hamburglar cartoon by Farley Katz, who began contributing to The New Yorker in 2007. Mr. Katz has also contributed today’s Daily Shouts.

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Recalling A New Yorker Giant: Charles Saxon

Over this past weekend a number of visiting colleagues paused to look at a Charles Saxon original drawing that hangs on a wall here at Spill headquarters. The Saxon drawing is displayed because it amuses and inspires (the same goes for the several dozen others also on our walls by various New Yorker artists past and present; the earliest drawing, by Alice Harvey, was published October of 1925, the most recent, by Ed Steed, was published in April of 2019). Saxon’s drawings have long been considered a high bar by his peers — a reminder of how elegant (a word used by one of the visitors) cartoon art can be (I’ve always felt Thurber’s drawings to be another kind of high bar).

Looking closely at the originals in the Spill‘s archives, I see no under -drawing, no pencil marks. The work, in grease pencil(?), appears to be in the school of — as Edward Sorel would describe it — direct drawing.  The lines seem effortless, energetic, lovely, and of course, humorous; it’s an immediately identifiable style. As with so many of his contemporaries, including Robert Weber, Lee Lorenz, James Stevenson and Frank Modell, there’s a joy to the work.

Saxon’s world, both New Yorker covers and cartoons, published from the mid 1940s through the late 1980s, will forever be linked to Connecticut country club country, where he lived (Mr. Saxon, along with his colleague William Hamilton, had that upper-crusty world down). The New Yorker readership from that social strata apparently loved seeing themselves poked and prodded, just as they loved what Peter Arno had done with them and to them in the magazine’s earlier decades. 

Right: a Saxon New Yorker cover: effortless, energetic, humorous

I was fortunate enough to meet Saxon in February of 1986, when New Yorker cover artist Roxie Munro threw a small post-New Yorker anniversary party. Trudging downtown from the Pierre Hotel to Ms. Munro’s mid-town apartment on lower Park Avenue, I was one of the first to arrive. Walking into the living room I found a short man, in dark suit and tie, standing with his back against a living room wall. I introduced myself, not knowing who I was about to shake hands with. I had always imagined Saxon as quite tall — a powerhouse figure. In truth, he was perhaps a half-foot shorter than me. He was also remarkably soft spoken, and extremely polite. I’d always expected that he’d have one of those personalities that would roll right over me. It was quite a nice gift, to able to have perhaps fifteen minutes with this cartoon god, all to myself. 

 

Photo: Charles Saxon, center, with The New Yorker‘s Art Editor, James Geraghty at the magazine’s offices, 25 West 43rd Street, New York City, c.1960s.  Photo courtesy of Sarah Geraghty Herndon.

Book: Oh, happy, happy, happy!  The earliest Saxon collection, published in 1960 by Golden Press.

 

 

 

 

 

From The Archive: A Ross Perot New Yorker Cartoon; Today’s New Yorker Daily Cartoon & Cartoonist; The Village Voice & MAD

I haven’t done a whole lot of (obviously) political cartoons over the years. A Supreme Court drawing in the very early 1980s and a Bill Clinton drawing in the early 1990s come readily to mind.  Ross Perot, the two-time Presidential candidate who died today at age 89, was a humor magnet. Like so many other of the magazine’s cartoonists ( including Lee Lorenz, Liza Donnelly, James Stevenson, Peter Steiner, Arnie Levin, Mick Stevens, Dana Fradon, J.B. Handelsman, and Jack Ziegler) I couldn’t resist having a graphic go at him. The below appeared in The New Yorker issue of May 27, 1996.

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Today’s New Yorker Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

Beach reading by Ellis Rosen, who has been contributing to The New Yorker since 2016.  Visit his

website here.

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The Village Voice & Mad

 

From The Village Voice, July 9, 2019, “MAD Magazine: Eclipsed By Madness? Looking Back On The Publication That Endowed America With a B. S. Detector”  — this piece by Jeoffrey O’Brien on MAD in The Voice over the years.

Frank Modell’s Brendan Gill; Tom Chitty Has A Question; Today’s Daily Cartoonist: Christopher Weyant; More Steinberg; Today’s Daily Shouts By…Seth Fleishman

Frank Modell’s Brendan Gill

I came away from a recent visit to my favorite (used) book store, Rodgers Book Barn in Hillsdale, New York with the brochure handed out at Brendan Gill’s memorial back in 1998 (see the details of the tribute below). I’m indebted to one of my book store haunting friends, Mark Burns for digging the brochure out of a box of ephemera and placing it right in front of my face (for the record, my other co-haunters were Danny Shanahan and John Cuneo). Frank Modell’s drawing of an exuberant Brendan Gill was new to me, and an obvious must-have, must-buy. 

For more on Mr. Gill, I highly recommend his oft-reprinted Here At The New Yorker (the William Heinemann 1990 edition shown below)And for more on Mr. Modell there’s his collection Stop Trying To Cheer Me Up! as well as James Stevenson’s terrific The Life, Loves and Laughs of Frank Modell.

Further Reading: An earlier Spill piece on cartoonists and Rodgers Book Barn.

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Tom Chitty Has A Question

From Jane Mattimoe’s  fine Fine Case For Pencils, “Tom Chitty Has A Question About Dip Pens”

Mr. Chitty began contributing to The New Yorker in 2014.  Visit his website here.

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Today’s Daily Cartoonist/Cartoon

The lack of White House press briefings has been in the news. Chris Weyant comments via a castle cartoon.  Mr. Weyant has been contributing to The New Yorker since 1998. Visit his website here.

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More Steinberg

From The Brooklyn Rail, “Saul Steinberg: Untitled” 

Comments on the Steinberg exhibit currently showing at Totah (til April 28th — hurry!)

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Today’s Daily Shouts by…Seth Fleishman

A fish story from Seth Fleishman who began contributing to The New Yorker in 2016. See some of his work here on the New Yorker’s Cartoon Bank site.

 

 

James Stevenson Theater Prize Returns; Maira Kalman’s Work at Armory; I’m Emily Flake; Thurber’s Airedale, Muggs; Today’s New Yorker Daily Cartoonist: Ivan Ehlers

From Playing On Air, March 1, 2019, The Second Annual James Stevenson Prize For Comedic Short Plays. All the info here.

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

James Stevenson Born, NYC, 1929. Died, February 17, 2017, Cos Cob, Connecticut. New Yorker work: March 10, 1956 -. Stevenson interned as an office boy at The New Yorker in the mid 1940s when he began supplying ideas for other NYer artists. Nine years later he was hired a full-time ideaman, given an office at the magazine and instructed not to tell anyone what he did. He eventually began publishing his own cartoons and covers as well as a ground-breaking Talk of the Town pieces (ground breaking in that the pieces were illustrated). His contributions to the magazine number over 2000. Key collections: Sorry Lady — This Beach is Private! ( MacMillan, 1963), Let’s Boogie ( Dodd, Mead, 1978). Stevenson has long been a children’s book author, with roughly one hundred titles to his credit. He is a frequent contributor to the Op-Ed page of The New York Times, under the heading Lost and Found New York. Stevenson’s The Life, Loves and Laughs of Frank Modell, is essential.

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Suite of Maira Kalman’s Work at Park Avenue Art Show

From artnet, March 1, 2019, Six Dazzling Works at the ADAA’s Art Show, From Maira Kalman’s Gertrude Stein Portraits to Art Made Out of Saran Wrap” 

Ms. Kalman began contributing to The New Yorker in 1995. Link here to her website.

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I’m Emily Flake

From Offspring, February 25, 2019, “I’m New Yorker Cartoonist Emily Flake, And This Is How I Parent”

Ms. Flake began contributing to The New Yorker in 2008.  Link here to her website.

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Thurber’s Airedale

I may have posted this piece on Thurber’s airedale, Muggs once before a long while back,  but I can’t resist posting again.  Here’s the piece.

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Today’s Daily Cartoon

Today’s Daily cartoon is by Ivan Ehlers (the subject is… ta-da! Trump).

The Tilley Watch, The New Yorker Issue Of December 3, 2018; Peter Kuper & Ricky Jay

Confused by this week’s cover?  Feel like you saw it before? Well if you were reading The New Yorker in 1927, you did see it before. 

 Below: the cover as published this week, and how it originally appeared. The 2018 cover seems to have been ever-so-slightly cropped along the left and right edges, with the artist’s signature moved closer to the red tail lights (but hey, the magazine is not the same size as it was in 1927, so…).

If you have the Complete Book Of Covers From The New Yorker you’ll notice that the thumbnail cover shown has a blue sky, with a dark to light gradation as it nears the horizon. Without the original issue in hand, it’s difficult to know which 1927 version is truer (and even then, original print covers can differ in quality, cropping and coloring).

A small miracle: it looks as if the original type face from 1927 has been retained (but the 2018 date and price are in the modernized type-face).

This is an unusual issue of the New Yorker —  its very first “Archival Issue”…there have been nods to the past before, with cartoons and covers re-run inside the magazine, but never an issue dedicated to the past.  It is not, of course, the first time the magazine has reprinted a cover as a cover.  The cover of the very first New Yorker, featuring Rea Irvin’s Eustace Tilley, was brought back, uninterrupted, for 67 years and then made some curtain calls (you can read more about that here).

The cartoons

Here are the cartoonists appearing in this special issue (A Roz Chast full page appears where the caption contest usually appears):

From the Department of Does Size Matter, I’m showing a few of the cartoons in this issue, and how they originally appeared in the magazine. Regular Spill readers may have picked up on how much importance I place on the size of the magazine’s cartoons and how they sit on the page.  Looking through this new special issue it was immediately apparent that some of the archival drawings were being run much smaller than they originally appeared. This is an excellent opportunity to compare/contrast. It’s not always the case that a cartoon run bigger is better.  Sometimes a cartoon that’s been run big really amplifies its graphic issues. But that’s not the case for any of these fabulous drawings shown below.

The first cartoon in the magazine is by Mary Petty.  On the left is the cartoon as run in this 2018 issue. On the right is how it appeared in the issue of March 12, 1932.

 

Next up, a Charles Addams classic, with the 2018 appearance on the left and on the right, its original appearance in the issue of October 29, 1960.

Below, a beauty from James Stevenson.  The 2018 appearance on the left, and the original appearance in the issue of August 16, 1976.

Below: a beautiful Nancy Fay drawing. On the left as seen in this new issue.  On the right its original appearance in the issue of October 20, 1928.

Finally, a drawing by the master, Peter Arno. The odds favor any Arno drawing run as a full page in the New Yorker, and so it was with this classic (caption by the late great idea man, Herb Valen).

The 2018 appearance on the left and the original appearance in the issue of May 10, 1947 (the 2018 credit line mistakenly attributes the drawing to the June 10, 1947 issue).

Bookkeeping: Inaccurate New Yorkery-factoids pop-up like turkey timers when I see them. This following passage in the new issue’s Comment, “The City Of Dreams” popped-up:

: ”

The trouble is that James Thurber did not make his debut (with a short piece, “Villanelle Of Horatio Street”) until the issue of February 26, 1927.  His drawings didn’t begin appearing until January of 1931 (January 31, 1931. The caption: “Take a good look at these fellows, Tony, so you’ll remember ’em next time.”)

I admit that when I heard there was to be an archival issue of the magazine I first thought of Rea Irvin’s Talk masthead.  If ever there was a moment to return it to its natural habitat, this would be it.  But, alas, it’s still a-missin’. Here’s what it looks like (and here’s where you can read more about it):

 

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Peter Kuper & Ricky Jay

From PBS, January 21, 2015, “Comic: Waiting For Ricky Jay, by Peter Kuper”

From The New York Times, Nov. 25, 2018,  “Ricky Jay , Gifted Magician, Actor and Author, is Dead at 70”