Thurber Thursday: Personal History… “To Catch A Book”

Back in late 2014, the cartoonist Mike Lynch kindly asked me if I’d like to contribute something to his publication, Raconteur, “a collection of true stories written and illustrated by cartoonists who usually specialize in other formats.”

My first (and only) thought was to put down on paper a graphic report of a nutty Thurber-centric non-event in my college life. The four page ( 100% guaranteed factual) piece ran in the Spring 2015 Ranconteur.  Seems like now’s a good time and place to let “To Catch A Book” surface again.

 

 

Thurber Thursday; Book On The Horizon: Tom Toro’s First Kids Book; Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon; Today’s Daily Shouts Cartoonist: Olivia de Recat…And Yesterday’s: Sara Lautman

Thurber Thursday

Above are all the (specifically) Thurber reference books in the Spill cartoon library. Thurber of course makes appearances in numerous New Yorker-centric books, such as Ross And The New Yorker; Genius In Disguise; Ross, The New Yorker & Me, etc., etc.), but these are the core group examining Thurber’s life.

Of the above, I use three on a regular basis: Bowden’s James Thurber: A Bibliography, Burton Bernstein’s Thurber: A Biography, and Harrison Kinney’s James Thurber: His Life and Times. Of the remaining titles, Helen Thurber & Edward Weeks’ Selected Letter of James Thurber has long been a favorite. The more recent volume of letters by Harrison Kinney & Rosemary Thurber is almost (for me) like Volume 2 to Mr. Kinney’s massive Thurber biography. It’s been incredibly helpful filling in some admittedly weedsy questions I come up with.

The book on the far left is part of Twayne’s United States Author Series (Thurber’s is #62). While this is a good bare-bones read, I’ve found other titles in the series helpful for biographical info needed on others in The New Yorkersphere. Peter DeVries volume is an example ((#448). Another is Philip Wylie’s (#285) — it came in handy during my Peter Arno research.

All of these books are within an arm’s reach from my work table on the chance there’s a Thurber emergency.

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News from Tom Toro of his first kids book, out May 12th, from Little, Brown.

This from the publisher:

Two children bring home a pet porcupine, but they can only keep her if she’s house-trained! After a whirlwind of increasingly zany approaches, the kids learn that sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to ask nicely. With Tom’s wit and dynamic artwork, this delightful story about learning to pee will bring joy and heart to young readers.

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

Tom Toro (self portrait  & bio courtesy of Mr. Toro) Born in Richmond, California on May 22, 1982. Graduated valedictorian from El Cerrito High School and matriculated to Yale. Edited cartoons for The Yale Herald and won a national championship in lightweight rowing in 2002, elected captain of the rowing team in 2004. Earned a degree cum laude in art history specializing in cinema studies. Attended NYU Film School for two years, shooting shorts and features that went to Sundance, Tribeca and Cannes. Began submitting cartoons to The New Yorker in 2007, first got published in 2010 – after the 610th try. Also a writer of literary fiction, short stories, screenplays and children’s picture books of the “unpublished” variety [Ed.: until now!]. New Yorker work: May 24, 2010 – . Visit his website here.

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Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

Paul Noth on time travel in the time of Trump.

Mr. Noth began contributing to The New Yorker in 2004. Visit his website here.

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Today’s Daily Shouts Cartoonist…

From Olivia de Recat, “My New Friends!”

— Ms. de Recat has been contributing her cartoons to The New Yorker since February of 2018. Visit her website here.

 

…and Yesterday’s 

From Sara Lautman, “P.S.A. Posters For Living Indoors”

— Ms. Lautman has been contributing to The New Yorker since March of 2016. Visit her website here.

Thurber Thursday: New Yorker Cartoonist Stamps; Article Of Interest: Steinberg; Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

I came across this block of Thurber stamps while looking through a bag of materials saved from an early 1990s trip to Columbus Ohio.  Liza Donnelly, Roz Chast, Danny Shanahan and yours truly attended an exhibit of cartoons at The Thurber House and gave a talk.

It made me wonder how many other New Yorker cartoonists have been honored with their own stamp.  A quick search turned up a Leo Cullum stamp and several Charles Barsotti stamps from the UK, issued in 1996 (one of the Barsotti’s is shown here)…surely there are more.

Updated April 10th:

And surely there are more. My colleague Tom Chitty forwarded a link to more of the 1996 UK cartoon stamp series, including the one below left by Jack Ziegler, and the aforementioned Leo Cullum stamp, below right right. It is kind of funny that there has not been a New Yorker cartoonist stamp series in this country. How great it would be to have an Addams stamp, and a Steinberg, a Hokinson, a Lorenz, Modell, Stevenson, Mary Petty, Saxon, a Nurit Karlin, and on and on and on:

Update April 9th: this addition,a John Held, Jr. stamp from the 2001 American Illustrators series. Courtesy of David Petruzelli:

From the Spill’s A-Z:

John Held Jr (Photo source: Sketchbook of American Humorists, 1938) Born, January 10, 1889, Salt Lake City, Utah. Died, 1958, Belmar, New Jersey. New Yorker work: April 11, 1925 – Sept. 17, 1932.

 

 

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Article Of Interest: Steinberg

From Curbed, April 9, 2020, “Saul Steinberg celebrated the home as a ‘cacoon for creativity'”

Steinberg’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:

Saul Steinberg Born, June 15, 1914, Ramnic-Sarat, Rumania. Died in 1999. New Yorker work: 1941 – (The New Yorker publishes his work posthumously). Steinberg is one of the giants of The New Yorker.  Go here to visit the saulsteinbergfoundation where you’ll find  much essential information and examples of his work.

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Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

David Sipress gets cartooney with a classic piece of art.

Mr. Sipress began contributing to The New Yorker in 1998.

Thurber Thursday; Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon; Yesterday’s Daily Shouts Cartoonist

Thurber Thursday

Of the many Thurber articles in Life magazine, I’ve always been partial to the one appearing in the March 14, 1960 issue (not too long before his death, in November of 1961). It includes a number of pages of great photos (one shown above, and one shown below) as well as a page of Thurber quotes (“Barbed Shafts Of A Veteran Wit”) on various topics, such as World Madness, Writing, and Drawing.  Here’s what he said about Drawing:

“My drawings have been described as pre-intentionalist, meaning they were finished before the ideas for them had occurred to me. I shall not argue the point.”

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Today’s Daily Cartoonist:

Shannon Wheeler on the part of the movie we’re in.  Mr. Wheeler began contributing to The New Yorker in 2009.

Visit his website here.

 

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Yesterday’s Daily Shouts Cartoonist: Jason Chatfield (with Ginny Hogan): “Wrong Ways To Meditate”

Mr. Chatfield began contributing to The New Yorker in 2017.  Visit his website here.

Happy 91st Birthday, Edward Sorel!; From Pat Achilles: A Cartoon In The Time Of The Coronavirus; Thurber Thursday: Hirschfeld On Thurber’s Drawings

Happy 91st Birthday, Edward Sorel!

Bronx-born Edward Sorel turns ninety-one today! The Spill wishes him a very very Happy Birthday. To see this modern master’s work  visit his website.

Above left: Mr. Sorel’s New Yorker cover of October 5, 1992 — the first cover under Tina Brown’s editorship of the magazine.

Above right: Mr. Sorel’s must-have Unauthorized Portraits, published by Knopf in 1997.

I’ve always enjoyed this passage from the May 14, 1978 New York Times review of Superpen: The Cartoons and Caricatures of Edward Sorel

“The satire is caustic, anti-authority and thought-provoking; it is also, miraculously, verbally and graphically funny.”

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From Pat Achilles: A Cartoon In The Time Of The Coronavirus

Pat Achilles began contributing to The New Yorker in October of 2018.  You can see more of her work here.  My thanks to her for sending in this drawing.

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Thurber Thursday: Hirschfeld on Thurber’s Drawings

I can’t quite remember how I ran across this short passage the other day. My treks through Thurber country often take unexpected paths. Anyway…while flipping through Neil Grauer’s 1994 Thurber biography, Remember Laughter, I spotted this passage quoting the late great Al Hirschfeld talking about Thurber’s drawings (Mr. Grauer interviewed Mr. Hirschfeld for the biography). It seemed well worth sharing:

“In the view of Al Hirschfeld, Thurber drew ‘like most writers’ draw. He cited other as examples the simple but captivating sketches of Edward Lear nonsense poet nonpareil, and Clarence Day whose memoirs of ‘life with father’ appeared in The New Yorker before they became a book and a play. ‘Lear and other writers who drew, they all seemed to draw the same way,’ Hirschfeld said. ‘They managed to keep that childlike creativity in their line.’

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