Thurber Thursday; Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon; Article Of Interest: Sipress’s Appropriated Cartoon

A weekly time-out with something Thurber.

In this first installment of Thurber Thursday I thought I’d show my copy of Burton Bernstein’s Thurber: A Biography. It’s in rough shape now, as you can see; I bought it new in 1975, the year it was published. I was in college, in the beginning years of being totally gaga about everything Thurber, everything New Yorker. The publication of Mr. Bernstein’s book was a dream come true. It is, with the exception of Thurber’s own Thurber Carnival (known around here as “the bible”) the book I’ve re-read the most. When I finally met Mr. Bernstein a few years ago, I was so pleased to be able to tell him what his book meant and still means to me.

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Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon 

Ivan Ehlers on politics getting us down.

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Article Of Interest: Sipress’s Appropriated Cartoon

A post from artnet about David Sipress’s recent newyorker.com piece, “Stop Thief! My Cartoon Gets Appropriated” — Mr. Sipress began contributing to The New Yorker in 1998.

 

Liza Donnelly Returns To Oscar’s Red Carpet; A New Yorker State Of Mind: Thurber’s First New Yorker Drawing; The Tilley Watch Online, The Week Of February 3-7, 2020

Liza Donnelly Returns To Oscar’s Red Carpet

Liza Donnelly will be back on Oscar’s Red Carpet tomorrow night for her fifth year of live-drawing.  Five years ago she made Oscar history by being the very first cartoonist to draw while on the Red Carpet. She began posting drawings yesterday, and will continue posting today, leading up to her coverage of tomorrow night’s big shindig. Follow her on Instagram & Twitter: @lizadonnelly

Above: Ms. Donnelly yesterday on the mostly still-covered red carpet.

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Thurber’s First New Yorker Drawing

A Spill fave blog, A New Yorker State Of Mind: Reading Every Issue Of The New Yorker, takes a close look at the issue of January 31, 1931, which boasts James Thurber’s inaugural New Yorker cartoon appearance. Read it here.

According to Edwin T. Bowden’s James Thurber: A Bibliography (Ohio State University Press, 1968), Thurber’s previous published drawing appeared in his college’s magazine,Ohio State’s Sun-Dial, March 1918.

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A listing of New Yorker artists who contributed to newyorker.com features during the week

The Daily Cartoon:

Ellis Rosen, Jon Adams, J.A.K., Chris Weyant, Trevor Spaulding

Daily Shouts: Ali Fitzgerald, J.A.K., Olivia de Recat (with Sarah Vollman)

...and Barry Blitt’s Kvetchbook.

 

 

Harold Ross’s “R”

The arrival of a New Yorker original here at Spill headquarters is always a “moment.”  Yesterday’s  addition to the Spill collection — an I. Klein original published in the June 19, 1926 issue — instantly became the second oldest New Yorker drawing in the house (the earliest is an Alice Harvey cartoon, published October 25, 1925). Here’s how Mr. Klein’s drawing looked as published (below left):

Here’s what the original looks like:

When the drawing arrived — when any pre-1952* New Yorker original drawing arrives — the first thing my eyes go to is the “R” usually found on either the upper right hand corner of a drawing or on the back of the drawing.  The “R” was The New Yorker‘s founder and first editor, Harold Ross’s  way of noting a bought drawing.  You can clearly see the “R’ on the upper right hand corner of Mr. Klein’s drawing:

Ross’s “R” is mentioned in a memorable passage on page 61 of James Thurber’s must read, The Years With Ross. Here’s Thurber talking about a drawing** he loved enough to resubmit despite Ross’s initial rejection:

“I’ll send that drawing in to every meeting until it’s bought and printed,”  I told him [Ross]. I think it was bought on the third resubmission. Some of my drawings were held up much longer than that, and one night I got into Ross’s office with a passkey, faked his R on three drawings I especially liked, and sent them through the works the next day.

Ross’s “R” appeared elsewhere, as on this New Yorker reprint of a Joseph Mitchell piece.  We perhaps should assume that the initial indicated approval of this special issue.

 

*Ross died in December of 1951. His successor William Shawn, did not seem to initial bought drawings.

**The drawing of “a would-be woman purchaser” of a dog at a pet shop, being told by the proprietor, “I’m very sorry, madam, but the one in the middle is stuffed, poor fellow” was published March 7, 1936.

Here’s I. Klein’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:

I. (“Izzy”) Klein  Born Isidore Klein, Newark, New Jersey, October 12, 1897. Died, 1986. His papers can be found at Syracuse University. New Yorker work, over 200 drawings from 1925 through 1937.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Forever Fun Work By Nurit Karlin, Dana Fradon, and Gahan Wilson

2019 was an unusually rough year in the loss column for New Yorker cartoonists. We lost Nurit Karlin in April, Dana Fradon in October, and then Gahan Wilson in November.  Although we miss them, and mourn them, we have thousands of their cartoons at hand in anthologies, collections, and online.  A wonderful thing happened this morning when I began looking once again at Nurit’s, Dana’s and Gahan’s drawings in New Yorker anthologies: their work gave me a cartoonist jump-start into the new year — a fun boost as 2020 begins.

Ms. Karlin, the lone female cartoonist at the magazine during her first four years at the magazine, reinvigorated the school of Thurber:  simple clean lines delighting as much as a Reginald Marsh double-page extravaganza. Ms. Karlin found humor without captions — in my book a most difficult way to define one’s cartoon world.  She moved the captionless tradition into modern times; a  corner of the cartoonist’s universe notably practiced  by Sam Cobean and Otto Soglow in the magazine’s earlier years.

Dana Fradon, 97 at the time of his passing, was our last cartoonist link to the Harold Ross era. Mr. Fradon had excellent recall of the generations of New Yorker contributors he encountered during his more than half a century contributing his organically funny drawings. Good humor and high-bar artistry stayed with him throughout. Mr. Fradon, along with a number of his contemporaries, excelled at inverted tip-of-the-iceberg drawings: the point he wanted to make was just below the surface.

Gahan Wilson, affectionately and accurately dubbed the Wizard Of Weird, was the child who loved to draw monsters who grew up to be the adult who drew monsters. It was Mr. Wilson’s genuine love of that frightening world, and his gifted exploration of it throughout his life that caused us to cherish him and his work.

 

 

The Monday Tilley Watch, The New Yorker “Cartoon Takeover” Issue Of December 30, 2019

The Cover: The “Cartoon Takeover” theme begins on Robert Sikoryak’s cover as cartoon characters whitewash text. Read a Q&A with the cover artist here.

The Cartoonists:

The Cartoons:

Right off the bat, it should be noted that this issue is unlike the “Cartoon Issue” once produced this time of the year beginning in 1997; that series ended after a fifteen year run. It is also unlike the “Best Cartoons Of The Year” series begun in 2011, and ended five years later. This Cartoon Takeover is unlike those in that it contains a ton of archival material (the issue carries the descriptive “A Semi-Archival Issue” on the Table of Contents). While elements from the Cartoon Issues, and Best Of series are here: the graphic spreads for instance, and a profile of a cartoonist — the old tropes features thankfully haven’t resurfaced. This Takeover is a new and welcome creature, with a pulse I associate with the very oldest issues of The New Yorker.  As befits the issue’s theme, The New Yorker‘s cartoon editor, Emma Allen, has taken over Talk’s “Comments” section, leading us into the action.

As you see from the number of cartoonists listed above, this new issue is packed with cartoons from a wide swath of the New Yorker‘s history, with work by such luminaries as Helen Hokinson, Barbara Shermund, James Thurber, William Steig, Gahan Wilson, and Steinberg represented. Nice to see Peter Arno’s ultra-famous, “Well, back to the old drawing board” included! Many cartoons from the archives are here as “favorites” selected by cartoonists and non-cartoonists. Free standing cartoons — what you normally see in every issue of The New Yorker — are also from the archives. I was very happy to see one of my favorite semi-modern cartoons included: Joe Duffy’s meta Care to join me in panel #3? (originally published, October 31, 2011).

Not whitewashed over by cartoon characters is a personal favorite John Updike piece (originally published in 1997) on his cartoonist roots, and terrif archival pieces, including two by two late-greats, Veronica Geng and Dorothy Parker. It’s an issue of a little something, and often a lot of something, for just about everyone who loves New Yorker cartoons.

The Rea Irvin Masthead Watch: Normally on the Monday Tilley Watch I woefully acknowledge another issue gone by without the return of Rea Irvin’s iconic masthead.  Since the Spring of 2017, a redrawn version has stood awkwardly in its place. This special Cartoon Takeover issue thankfully replaces the redraw with an Ed Steed take on the Irvin masthead. Mr. Steed’s playfulness is a refreshing delight, incorporating, to my eye, some Steigian/Steinberg elements.

With next week’s issue of The New Yorker the first of 2020, this would be the perfect opportunity to use Mr.Steed’s comic break as the moment to bring back Mr. Irvin’s classic masthead — and really now, why not bring it back?

Below, Mr. Irvin’s beautiful, now moth-balled masthead, and Mr. Steed’s fun take below it.