Chast in Vermont; Interview of Interest: Carolita Johnson; Radio Interview of Interest: Liza Donnelly; Thurber’s 125th Birthday Fables; Price Slashed on New Yorker Encyclopedia of Cartoons

Chast in Vermont

Roz Chast will speak at Vermont’s Brattleboro Museum & Art Center August 11th.  Details here. According to promotional material:

Chast will speak about her work, life, and career, in connection with BMAC’s exhibition of 139 original drawings from her graphic novel, on display at the museum until Sept. 24.

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Interview of Interest: Carolita Johnson

From The Middle Ages (on Tumblr), Ladies’ Night: Carolita Johnson — an interview from April of this year, posted July 24th.

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Radio Interview of Interest: Liza Donnelly

When Ms. Donnelly was in Ireland a few weeks back, she sat down for a radio interview with Sean Boyle (Seaniebee).  Listen here.

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Thurber’s Fables

Thurberites are familiar with the above books. The one on the left published in 1940, and the one on the right (a follow-up!) in 1956. Come February of next year, HarperCollins, celebrating the 125th anniversary of Thurber’s birth,  will release a collection of Thurber’s fables illustrated by some of our better known illustrators.  Further details about the book, and also another Thurber birthday title will appear here in time.

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Price Slashed!

Amazon currently lists the forthcoming New Yorker Encyclopedia of Cartoons for three different prices: $800.00 (that’s the “deluxe” edition), $100.00, and and an eye-popping $55.23.

 

 

Chatfield Pencilled; From Dick Buchanan’s Files: Work by Gardner Rea; Splat! New Yorker Reveals Its Next Cover; Even More Cartoons; New Yorker Union Certified

Chatfield Pencilled

Jason Chatfield is up next on A Case For Pencils, Jane Mattimoe’s wonderful blog wherein New Yorker cartoonists show us their tools of the trade.  Read it here!

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 From Dick Buchanan’s files via Mike Lynch: Gardner Rea

Mike Lynch has posted another bevy of cartoons from Dick Buchanan’s Files.  This time it’s work from the underappreciated Gardner Rea.  See it all here

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

Gardner Rea (self portrait above from Collier’s Collects Its Wits. Photo from Rea’s NYTs obit, 1966.) Born, Ironton, Ohio 1892. Died, 1966. Collections: The Gentleman Says It’s Pixies / Collier’s Cartoons by Gardner Rea (Robert McBride & Co. 1944), Gardner Rea’s Sideshow (Robert McBride & Co, 1945). New Yorker work: 1st issue (February 21, 1925) – 1965.

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Splat! New Yorker Reveals Its Next Cover

Barry Blitt talks to Francoise Mouly about his cover (above) for next week’s issue. And here’s a Washington Post piece about it.

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Even More Cartoons

 12 more pages, showing 18 more cartoons have been released by the publisher of the upcoming (October) New Yorker Encyclopedia of Cartoons. See them here on the book’s Amazon listing.

With 3000 images promised, we’ve been shown a total of 25.  Only 2975 to go!

Note to tote bag afficionadoes: If you preorder either the $800.00 deluxe edition or the not-deluxe $100.00 edition, you’ll receive a tote bag.

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New Yorker Union Certified

The News Guild of New York posted this photo on Twitter congratulating the New Yorker Union’s certification. Keen-eyed observers will note a portion of James Thurber’s wall drawings on the extreme right. The drawings have moved with the magazine since it left its second home at 25 West 43rd Street in 1991.

This is what the drawings look like without company :

 

 

 

 

 

Firsts: Thurber’s First New Yorker Drawings

When you think of James Thurber’s drawings you probably think of one or two or three of his classics.  But before any of his cartoons appeared in the magazine (his first cartoon appeared in the issue of January 31, 1931), he illustrated and wrote something he called Our Pet Department.  It was, from the very first, intended to be a series; the first installment (shown above) appeared in the magazine’s fifth anniversary issue, February 22, 1930.  What’s fascinating (to me) is that the piece contains two elements that would go on to be forever associated with Thurber’s art: a dog, and a seal. 

It’s unclear when the two camps formed over whether Thurber’s art was or wasn’t art. Was it when the illustrations began appearing, or was it nearly a year later when the cartoons started turning up. Thurber’s simple line certainly wasn’t a shock. A trio of single line artists were already established at the magazine by the time Thurber’s first drawings appeared: Gardner Rea, Otto Soglow, and Gluyas Williams.  But it appeared that no little effort went into their finished pieces.

Thurber’s drawings seemed as casual as the effort he claimed to have put into them; their initial appearances in the New Yorker seemed to have dropped like graphic boulders in a placid pond. Thurber’s New Yorker colleague Wolcott Gibbs wrote (this from the Book-of-the-Month Club News, February, 1945):

“…for a good many years [Thurber’s drawings] were regarded by the rest of the staff, with the exception of E.B. White, as a hell of a way to waste good copy paper, since his usual output at a sitting was twenty or more, not to mention those he drew on the walls.”   

 New Yorker history books tell us that White was instrumental in bringing Thurber’s art to the world’s attention.  In 1962, a year after Thurber’s death, White told Thurber biographer, Harrison Kinney that “I think his art surpasses his writing” and “his drawing has a touch of genius.”

 

 

 

 

  

Well-Thumbed: Thurber. A Biography by Burton Bernstein

There are three New Yorker-related books that have stood the test of interest for me since the mid 1970s when the New Yorker became the place I wanted and had to be: The Thurber Carnival, Brendan Gill’s Here At The New Yorker, and Burton Bernstein’s Thurber.  A box-ful of New Yorker-related books have been published since (and a smaller box-ful were published before), but these three forever fascinate and educate. The Thurber Carnival came first — it was my entry point for his drawings and writing. Luckily for me, both Gill’s book and Bernstein’s were published soon after I first devoured Carnival — both, in fact,  came out in 1975 — coincidentally(?) the year the New Yorker celebrated its 50th anniversary) and not-so-coincidentally, exactly at the time I was ready for them to take over my world. Bernstein’s book, read while I was still in college, helped push me forward to living in the big city and going all out to break into the New Yorker.  I had already decided I needed to be part of what Thurber was part of — reading his biography only made it more imperative (as there was no plan “b”).

Luckily, I had a chance to meet Mr. Bernstein just a few years ago and tell him how important his book was/is to me. I explained how tattered my copy has become, and how, like Gill’s book and my first copy of Thurber Carnival, it is never far from where I work. True then, true today. 

I’m happy to say Thurber’s influence runs through me daily.  There are days I’m aware I’m trying to do something in the spirit of what he has done. A drawing recently published was an homage to Thurber’s Seal in the Bedroom. Even more recently I sold a drawing (not yet published) to the New Yorker that was heavily influenced by my all-time favorite Thurber drawing, “What have you done with Dr. Millmoss.”  I’ll note it here on the Spill when it is published. Now in my 41st year of contributing to the magazine, my debt to Thurber is never paid.  The same can be said about the other two authors who assisted in bringing me here.   

 

   

Profile of Interest: The “Sistine Chapel of Comic-Strip Art”; Liza Donnelly to Speak at Ireland’s Inspirefest; Cartoon Companion Rates the Latest New Yorker Cartoons

“The Sistine Chapel of Comic-Strip Art”

From the New York Times, May 11, 2018, “The Sistine Chapel of Comic-Strip Art” — this piece on a mural of various cartoon characters in a sports bar (James Thurber is mentioned here and there as the sports bar’s lineage includes Costello’s, where Thurber famously drew a mural in the mid 1930s. That mural, restored in 1972*, vanished in 1992**). 

*”Thurber Creatures Live Again in Bar Here,” NYTs,  April 9, 1972

**“Drawing Attention to Great Thurber Heist,” New York Post, November 9, 2005

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Liza Donnelly to Speak at Ireland’s Inspirefest

 “Liza Donnelly on art and activism: ‘Change Comes One Person At a Time'”

–this short piece on Ms. Donnelly as she prepares to head across the pond.

Link here to Liza Donnelly’s website.

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Cartoon Companion Rates the Latest New Yorker Cartoons

“Max” & “Simon” are back with their takes on the cartoons in this week’s New Yorker (the “Innovators Issue”).  The guys dig into drawings of snails, Death, Frankenstein, mice, a mime and more. Joe Dator is awarded Top Toon of the week.  See it all here.