Jerry Dumas Profiled; Peter Steiner’s “Hopeless But Not Serious” Returns; Gerberg Talks Cartoons

dumasFrom The Comics Journal, January 6, 2017, “Jerry Dumas, Cartoonist and Poet” — Mr. Dumas, who died this past November, is profiled by a comics writer, R.C. Harvey.

Ink Spill’s notice of Jerry Dumas’s passing.



Peter Steiner, author of the classic New Yorker cartoon, “On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog”  has a new post on his Hopeless but not Serious site.  Go see.


the-art-in-cartooningMort Gerberg will give a talk, “The Magazine Cartoon: Telling a Story in Only One Panel” at the New School in late February.

Left: The Art of Cartooning, published by Scribner in 1975, edited by Ron Wolin, Mr. Gerberg, and the late New Yorker cartoonist, Ed Fisher.

See Ink Spill‘s notice of Ed Fisher’s passing here.

Jerry Dumas: 1930 – 2016




Detroit native, Jerry Dumas, who began contributing spot drawings and cartoons to The New Yorker in 1959, has died at age 86 according to The National Cartoonists Society (the NCS). Mr. Dumas’s cartoons for the New Yorker were few but plentiful.  Not a one of them were single panel; all were spreads or multi-panel. The snippet above is from a two-page spread in the issue of July 12 1976, “Little Known Moments in the History of Baseball”; Mr. Dumas’s first cartoon in the magazine (August 27, 1960), a thirteen part drawing,  took up nearly two pages. His friendly, easy-going line (for his New Yorker work) was in the school of Gardner Rea and George Booth.

In a notice from the NCS, Mr. Dumas is quoted as saying this about his earliest cartooning days: “I used to get on the bus and go into downtown Detroit and sell cartoons to Teen magazine for $2,” he remembered. “I really thought I had made it. I was aiming for The New Yorker and The Saturday Evening Post.”

The NCS notice continued:

He finally was published in the The Saturday Evening Post at age twenty-six and The New Yorker at twenty-nine.After finishing high school, he joined the Air Force and was stationed in Arizona. He remained in the Grand Canyon State to attend Arizona State University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in English literature in 1955. Fifty years later, he was invited back to speak at commencement.In 1956, Dumas decided he wanted to be a writer, a cartoonist or both. He went to New York, where he eventually met Mort Walker through a mutual friend. They have worked together for more than sixty years on both Beetle Bailey and Hi and Lois.Dumas co-created Sam’s Strip with Mort Walker in 1961, which was resurrected as Sam and Silo in 1977, and has continued that strip on his own ever since. In addition, he collaborated on Benchley with Mort Drucker and Rabbits Rafferty and McCall of the Wild with Mel Crawford. Dumas, who wrote a regular column for his local newspaper The Greenwich Time, also published “An Afternoon in Waterloo Park,” a memoir, and “Rabbits Rafferty,” a children’s novel. His prose and poetry have appeared in The Atlantic, Smithsonian, The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Link here to Mike Lynch’s blog for more about Mr. Dumas

Link here to an Ink Spill post from last month about an exhibit that included work by Mr. Dumas




Exhibit of Interest with Jerry Dumas



An exhibit of cartoon art in Wilton, Connecticut includes work by New Yorker cartoonist Jerry Dumas. The exhibit also includes work by Chance Browne, Brian Walker, Greg Walker, Mary Anne Case, Bob Englehart, Dick Hodgins, Bill Janocha, Sean Kelly, Maria Scrivan, and Rick Stromoski.  Above is Mr. Dumas’s National Cartoonists Society profile, and below is his Ink Spill “New Yorker Cartoonists A-Z” entry:

Gerald Dumas  Born, Detroit, Michigan, 1930. NYer work: August 27, 1960 – July 12, 1976

Steinberg reviewed by Maslin, Mankoff, and Dumas; from the Ink Spill archive “On a Bench with Steinberg”


Janet Maslin (no relation) reviews Deirdre Bair’s  Saul Steinberg: A Biography  in today’s New York Times:

“No Reading Between the Lines”


In his weekly blog post, The New Yorker’s Cartoon Editor, Bob Mankoff looks at and shows us some of Steinberg’s work:

“Saul Steinberg, Gag Man”


A New Yorker cartoonist, Jerry Dumas, writing for the Greenwich Time, December 12, 2012, focuses on Debrah Solomon’s New York Times Book Review of November 25, 2012, specifically Soloman’s assertion that Steinberg was “…the pre-eminent cartoonist of the 20th century…”

“Most Agree, One Cartoonist was King”


Finally, if you’re in the mood for a little more Steinberg-related reading after reading the above reviews,  here’s something from Ink Spill’s archives:  A Posted Note I wrote in 2008:

On a Bench with Steinberg

In the fall of 1978 I was fresh out of college, living in a two room walk-up apartment in Greenwich Village just a few doors west of Ray’s Pizza. I’d recently moved to the city with the dream of becoming a New Yorker cartoonist. After receiving an avalanche of rejection slips my work was finally accepted, and by November of 1978 the magazine had published four of my cartoons.

My apartment was in a four story building loaded with talented neighbors: writers, an editor, a graphic designer, an artist, an historian. Among this crowd was the celebrated New Yorker writer, Donald Barthelme; he lived just below me, on the second floor. The day I moved into the building, Donald was the first person I ran into. At the time I’d no idea who he was, and that he wrote for The New Yorker ( my focus then was mainly on the magazine’s artists ). All I remember from our meeting was that Donald’s last name seemed oddly fascinating. Bar- thel – may – it rolled off the tongue.

On a Fall afternoon – I believe it was a Sunday – I was in my apartment when I heard Donald yelling up to me from the building’s courtyard. I raised one of the large old windows overlooking the garden below, stuck my head outside, and looked down. Donald was looking up. “Michael, Steinberg is coming over for dinner tonight – would you like to join us for drinks afterward?”

“Steinberg” was, of course, Saul Steinberg, the legendary New Yorker artist. A retrospective of his work had just completed its run at The Whitney Museum. In April of that year, he was the subject of a Time cover story – this was certainly one of, if not the most celebrated years of Steinberg’s career. He was now 65, into his thirty-seventh year at The New Yorker. The idea of meeting Steinberg was at once impossibly unsettling and electrifying. Although I’d been taking my weekly batch of cartoons to the magazine’s offices in mid-town for nearly a year, I’d never run into any of The New Yorker’s cartoonists: Steinberg would be my first.

Evening came, and from my apartment I could hear the sounds of dinner conversation in the courtyard. Eventually I made my way down to the garden apartment belonging to my ground floor neighbors, the Sales ( Faith, the editor, and Kirk, the historian and biographer).

Steinberg was out in the courtyard, sitting on a bench at an old wooden picnic table. Donald made the introductions, and directed me to sit next to Steinberg. Steinberg spoke “ with his hands” – a lot of arm movement, his hands fairly drawing in the air. It wasn’t difficult to imagine his drawings floating all around us, like bubbles.

After some time, he turned to me and asked what I did. I told him I was a cartoonist, for The New Yorker. “My latest drawing appears right before yours in this week’s issue.” (my drawing was on page 50, his illustration for The Sporting Scene was on page 51). Hearing this, he fell silent for a moment. I couldn’t tell if he was pleased, annoyed, or just didn’t care. It was, well, awkward.

Soon he was back to where he’d left off before speaking to me. He held the spotlight the rest of the evening. I admit I can’t recall a single thing he said that evening, other than his asking what I did. In truth, I don’t think anyone in his company really wanted to do anything but listen, and watch. Sitting to his side for those few hours, turned slightly to my right, seeing his profile, watching him draw in the air, was like watching the sun rise over and over and over again.

September 11, 2008