New Yorker Cartoon Calendar Man, Jerry McCanna

Last week at a cartoonists lunch (noted here on the Spill), my colleagues Robert Leighton and John O’Brien brought up the subject of Jerry McCanna and his New Yorker cartoon calendars. When they told me that Jerry had recently passed away I asked Robert and John if they would care to write a piece about him. What follows is Robert and John’s wonderful contribution about a fellow who, in his unique way, expressed his love of New Yorker cartoons on a daily basis for three decades. 

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Many people consider themselves New Yorker cartoon fans, but few have expressed their fandom more enthusiastically or more unflaggingly (less flaggingly?) than Jerry McCanna, who died December 17.

Each year for the past thirty years, McCanna, not a cartoonist but a lover of the form, clipped all the cartoons and assembled a charmingly homemade page-a-day calendar, painstakingly attaching day and date to each cartoon wherever it would fit (and across the least objectionable area when it wouldn’t). Then he copied them, glued them, trimmed them and sent them out, gratis, to family and friends, some of them New Yorker cartoonists whom he met simply by seeking them out and sending them a bit of fan mail.

In his lighthearted correspondence with those cartoonists, who included John O’Brien since 1998 and Robert Leighton since 2004 (but perhaps many others over the years?) he expressed a thirsty curiosity about the workings of the cartoon caption contest, the change in Cartoon Department editorship, and the mystical process by which some cartoons are chosen and others are rejected. He was proud of the small collection of original sketches sent to him as thanks over the years (from the aforementioned, as well as David Sipress, among others), but his friendship came with no ulterior motives. He was a cheerleader of our talents,  never once asking for anything in return.

He’d been sick for a couple of years, but in early December, facing a grim prognosis, he signed off and promised that the new calendar would be finished and sent out by his wife and kids. The 2020 calendar, with the title “Final Edition,” arrived just a few days after the ball dropped and contains a year’s worth of cartoons that he will not get to tear off with the rest of us. He was 70.

 

Fave Photo Of The Day: A Dozen New Yorker Cartoonists At Lunch; Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon (And Yesterday’s); Today’s Daily Shouts Cartoonist; Roz Chast & Patricia Marx’s 2020 Book Tour Schedule

Fave Photo Of The Day: New Yorker Cartoonists At Lunch

New Yorker cartoonists get together all the time, usually in groups of two or three. Every so often there’s a larger crowd, like today’s gathering of a dozen on Manhattan’s upper east side. They’re pictured above (the year each cartoonist began contributing to the magazine appears beside their name).

Seated, left to right: Warren Miller (1961), Nick Downes (1998), and Bob Eckstein (2007). Standing, left to right: John O’Brien (1987), Mort Gerberg (1965), Sam Gross (1969), Robert Leighton (2002), David Borchart (2007), Danny Shanahan (1988), Roz Chast (1978), Liza Donnelly (1982), and yours truly (1977).

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Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon:

David Sipress on tonight’s Democratic Presidential debate. Mr. Sipress has been contributing to The New Yorker since 1998. __________________________________

Yesterday’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon:

J.A.K. on Best Picture nominees. Mr. K. has been contributing to The New Yorker since 2014. His latest book is Everything Is An Emergency: An OCD Story in Words & Pictures (HarperCollins).

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Today’s Daily Shouts:

“Introducing Meghan And Harry’s Etsy Shop” by Emily Flake, who began contributing her cartoons to The New Yorker in 2008.

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Roz Chast & Patricia Marx’s 2020 Book Tour Schedule

Roz Chast’s Book Tour Began yesterday. Tonight she’s at The Strand. Her latest book is You Can Only Yell At Me For One Thing At A Time: Rules For Couples, co-authored with Patricia Marx.

(This image found on Stephen Nadler’s Facebook page (he of Attempted Bloggery). Thanks, Mr. N.)

 

New Yorker Cartoons On The Empire State Building’s Walls; Jimmy Kimmel’s Cartoon Rejected By The New Yorker; Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

New Yorker Cartoons On The Empire State Building Walls

The iconic Empire State Building now boasts half-a-dozen New Yorker cartoons on its walls.  One each by Robert Leighton, Liana Finck, John O’Brien, Tom Cheney, Jason Patterson,  and Frank Modell.

Through the courtesy of Mr. Leighton (who is shown below, at The Empire State Building, with his drawing*) the Spill shows you three of the six cartoons in situ, and tell you a little about their installation and how their installation came to be.

Left: Frank Modell’s drawing, published in The New Yorker, 1975

Mr. Leighton has shared the information he received when the project was first proposed to him:

“As part of ongoing upgrades to the Empire State Building Observatory experience, we’re looking into the idea of installing certain New Yorker cartoons in the stairwells between the 80th floor and the 86th floor.

When visitors come to the Observatory of the Empire State Building, they take the elevator to the 80th floor and transfer to another set of elevators to arrive at the 86th floor open-air Observatory deck. Guests have the option to take the stairs between 80 and 86 instead of the elevator to avoid the lines. We’d like to reward the stair-takers with a whimsical display of New Yorker cartoons in the stairwells. The cartoons would all be thematically appropriate – either relating to the Empire State Building/high rise construction, general unique New York moments or stairs. We think this will be a great “hidden New York” feature that will help guests feel like insiders.”

Asked how the drawings were applied to the walls Mr. Leighton was told:

The design firm, Thinc, used a company called Applied Image. Thinc prepared the graphic image including the title block. They printed the image on a durable, graffiti-resistant, wide format wall vinyl. The vinyl extends to the edges of the available space to avoid picked edges. Then they apply it with adhesive.Here are the official specs: Printed and installed by Applied Image.   Production Method: 3M Envision Print Wrap Film with Avery Anti-Graffiti overlaminate. Anti-Graffiti protects image from scratches, chemicals, solvents or graffiti paint.

—  Above: John O’Brien’s drawing on the wall. Published in The New Yorker 2018.

I asked Mr. Leighton what it meant to him having his drawing chosen:

“When we’re thinking up our cartoons, the most we imagine is that they’ll be printed, saving them from a lifetime of obscurity. For those that see print, our hope is that they’ll be re-printed somewhere, maybe becoming part of a book. To be reprinted like this–becoming a permanent part of the iconic skyscraper of all time–is just a pure undiluted thrill.”

*Mr. Leighton’s drawing, published in The New Yorker February 4, 2013, carried the caption “Escher! Get your ass up here!”  The caption, edited by Mr. Leighton, appearing in the Empire State Building: “Escher! Get back up here!”

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Jimmy Kimmel’s Cartoon Rejected By The New Yorker

Here’s a fun segment from last night’s Jimmy Kimmel program. It features The New Yorker‘s cartoon editor, Emma Allen, in magazine’s offices, as well as on stage in Brooklyn with The New Yorker‘s editor, David Remnick.

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Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

NYC Basketball by Johnny DiNapoli, who began contributing to The New Yorker in 2019. Visit his website here.

 

The Monday Tilley Watch, The New Yorker Issue Of October 21, 2019; Head-Scratching Quote Of The Year; Addams’s Wednesday

The Cover: a somewhat menacing image by Mark Ulriksen that could’ve easily been used for Halloween (all it needs is a witch riding through the sky on a broom). But its title “Towering Wealth” heavily suggests a tie-in to this special Money Issue. Read a Q&A with Mr. Ulriksen about his cover here.

The Cartoonists:

The Cartoons:

Random thoughts after a few tours through the the issue…

Was much fun immediately running into Robert Leighton’s observatory cartoon (page 25). We don’t see too many observatory cartoons anymore.  One that will forever stick in my mind is John O’Brien’s fabulous Coca-Cola bottle telescope from October 9, 2000.

Any issue of The New Yorker with a George Booth cartoon (p.38) is an issue off to an excellent start. It is simply a delight seeing his work in the magazine.

As enjoyable as seeing a Booth cartoon is seeing a Koren cartoon. He is this issue’s most veteran artist, having begun contributing to The New Yorker in 1962 (Mr. Booth began contributing in 1969).  To my eye, Both Mr. Booth’s drawing and Mr. Koren’s sit perfectly on the page, the better for us to enjoy them.

Bruce Kaplan’s dishtowel drawing (p.55) wins the award for most unexpected cartoon of the issue. There is nothing more fun in The New Yorker cartoon universe than the unexpected; it’s a cartoon moment.

Liana Finck’s drawing (p.46) is another solid cartoon moment.  Drawing + perfect caption = job well done.

The Rea Irvin Talk Masthead Watch:

Mr. Irvin’s wonderful design (below) was removed in the Spring of 2017 and replaced by a redrawn version. Further reading here. It remains puzzling (to me anyway) how something so perfect can be mothballed.

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Head-Scratching Quote Of The Year

This from Francoise Mouly, The New Yorker’s art editor in an October 11th Washington Post piece on Charles Addams.

“Addams is one of the few New Yorker cartoonists who was consistently laugh-out funny,” says Francoise Mouly, the magazine’s art editor since 1993.”

 

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Addams’s Wednesday

From The New York Times, October 14, 2019, “The Many Shades Of Wednesday Addams”

Miss Addams is shown above sitting on her father’s shoulder. According to Linda Davis’s wonderful biography of Charles Addams, Addams wrote in his production notes for the television series that “he found [Wednesday] ‘secretive and imaginative, and  poetic.'”

 

 

 

 

Article Of Interest: John O’Brien; Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

Article Of Interest: John O’Brien

From Adweek360, September 17, 2109, “The Stories Behind the #AWNewYork 2019 Guide Cover Presented By Hulu”

The cover is by long-time New Yorker cover artist and cartoonist, John O’Brien (he began contributing to The New Yorker in 1987).

Visit his website here.

 

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Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon…

...is by Maddie Dai, who began contributing to The New Yorker in 2017.