New Yorker Caption Contest Friday

 

         This being the end of the traditionally news-less week (for New Yorker cartoons and cartoonists) leading up to the new year, I thought why not dedicate today’s post to the New Yorker‘s Caption Contest. Last time I checked, the contest had reached its 644th offering (with a windmill drawing by Bob Eckstein).  

Background: every time I’ve been involved in a New Yorker event (usually a panel discussion) the contest comes up in the Q&A. The most frequently asked multi-part question is: How does it work? Did the cartoon originally have a caption?  Do you (the cartoonists) get to judge?

Here’s how it works (from the cartoonists perspective).  The cartoons used in the contest are taken out of the weekly batches submitted by the magazine’s cartoonists.  Sometimes the selected cartoon has a caption that is (obviously) stripped from the cartoon.  Sometimes the submitted cartoon has no caption (I sometimes submit captionless cartoons just for the hell of it to see what  caption entrants might come up with. Here’s one example.). The cartoonists have no say in the process of selecting the winning captions. 

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News:

There’s a new celebrity video posted by The New Yorker featuring the actors John C. Reilly  and Will Ferrell trying their hands/minds at captioning a bunch of cartoons:

For the record, the cartoons are (in order of appearance) by P.C. Vey, Kaamran Hafeez, Tom Toro, Tom Cheney, a second by P.C. Vey, and the final two are by Liam Walsh.  I again encourage the folks in charge of these videos to have the celebs identify the cartoonists, or at least identify the cartoonists names in full somewhere on the screen. 

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Here’s a story about a fellow who won a recent contest (the drawing at issue is by yours truly…and ouch, the drawing takes a few hits). From the Wickedlocal.com, “‘It is I, Manbunzal’: Melrose Resident Alan Leo Wins The New Yorker Caption Contest”

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Here’s a Facebook group dedicated to the contest: New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest Rejects (and Enthusiasts). Enter all those bolded words in the search box and presto: you have an instant caption contest community.

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Very Old News: everyone interested in the contest probably already has or decided not to have this book that came out in 2008.

 

The Monday Tilley Watch, The New Yorker Issue of June 4 & 11, 2018

The Fiction/Childhood Issue? Well that’s what it says, in red and black on the Table of Contents:

First, the paperwork:

See that beautiful masthead just above?  It was drawn and designed by Rea Irvin.  It’s been missing since Spring of last year after appearing in the New Yorker for 92 years. It was replaced last year by a redrawn version (redrawn by Christoph Niemann). Here’s hoping that one day Mr. Irvin’s work will be returned and replace the replacement. If  you wish to read more on the original and the replacement and see their elements compared side-by-side, link here.

From the Dept. of Just Sayin’

There are 22 Illustrations in this week’s issue (that includes photographs, but does not include Tom Bachtell’s wonderful drawings appearing in the Talk of The Town, nor does it include the Spot drawings appearing throughout the issue).  6 of the illustrations are full page.  There are 14 cartoons (none full page).

And now to the issue’s cartoons. Here are the cartoonists whose work appears this week:

As is becoming customary, I’m going to mention just a few cartoons instead of looking at each in the issue. The first, by Robert Leighton, is a particular favorite. I won’t show it, but you can see it here among all the others just published  (just scroll down to the heading “Cartoons from the Issue”). Mr. Leighton, whose classic Escher drawing was profiled here awhile back, has given us a charming and delightful drawing somewhat reminiscent of Frank Modell‘s work with a bit of Nurit Karlin tossed in (I’d link you to Ms. Karlin’s fabulous work, but sad to say that the New Yorker‘s Cartoon Bank site does not seem to have archived it).

Mr. Leighton’s drawing deserves a hearty round of applause.

It was just last week that a co-credited drawing (Kaamran Hafeez and Al Batt) was mentioned here as being somewhat rare, and now the very next week is another co-credited cartoon. This time it’s a drawing by Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell and Ellis Rosen. Suddenly co-credits are not so rare.

As usual, for those who want a critical take on all the cartoons, I’m pointing you to Cartoon Companion.  The site usually posts on Thursdays or Fridays.

Note:  The Monday Tilley Watch will return in two weeks as this current issue is a double.

 

 

The Monday Tilley Watch: The New Yorker Issue of May 28, 2018

Gayle Kabaker‘s charming cover kicks off summertime ’18 (you can read about the cover here).

Just for fun I’m showing the cover of every last issue of May from 1925 through 2015, one from each decade.

May 30, 1925: Ilonka Karasz; May 25, 1935: Constantin Alajalov; May 26, 1945: Constantin Alajalov; May 28, 1955: A. Birnbaum; May 29, 1965: Arthur Getz; May 26, 1975: Robert Tallon; May 27, 1985: Gretchen Dow Simpson; May 29, 1995: Mark Ulriksen; May 30, 2005: Peter de Seve; May 25, 2015: Carter Goodrich

And now to the new issue.

From the Department of Just Sayin’ : There are 18 cartoons and 17 illustrations (3 of the illustrations are full page)…  Rea Irvin’s classic  Talk of The Town Masthead is still a-missin’. It’s a thing of beauty. This is what it looks like:

I’m going to mention just one drawing from this issue (if you want critical writing on the cartoons I suggest you head over to Cartoon Companion, where each drawing is discussed and rated from 1 – 6).  Charlie Hankin’s drawing (it’s on page 61) reminded me of Jack Ziegler’s work. That of course is a very good thing. Mr. Hankin gives us a lovely (and large) drawing of the Metropolitan Opera House —  obviously there’s more to it than that; you can see it here, along with all the other drawings in the issue.  Mr. Ziegler’s was a cartoon world created to amuse himself; his way-out-there graphic and humorous takes on just about everything were his cartoon calling card. It’s good to see someone (Mr. Hankin in this case) give us such a fun drawing to look at and live with.

Finally, some paperwork.  A new cartoonist in this issue:  Jessica Olien.   If my record keeping is correct, Ms. Olien is the 15th new cartoonist — the 4th this year — brought on board since Emma Allen took charge of the magazine’s Cartoon Department in May of 2017.

Here’s the list of cartoonists in this week’s issue:

You might notice a co-credited cartoon: Kaamaran Hafeez and Al Batt.  It’s not the first time a cartoonist has shared credit with a gagwriter, but it’s still a rarity. 

— See you next week

Interviews of Interest: Roz Chast, Jason Adam Katzenstein; The Tilley Watch Online

Interview : Roz Chast

From The Rumpus, November 30, 2017, “The Rumpus Mini-Interview Project #122: Roz Chast”

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Interview: Jason Adam Katzenstein

From jewcy.com, December 1, 2017, “Cartooning’s Jewish Je Ne Sais Quoi”

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…This past week’s Daily featured a slightly animated cyber drawing by Sharon Levy; a media-centric drawing by Emily Flake, and lotsa politics, from David Sipress, Brendan Loper and Kaamran Hafeez.  Elsewhere (Daily Shouts, for instance): a piece by Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell, and Liana Finck (the second of her advice pieces).

I note that the New Yorker is up to at least five official Instagram accounts: newyorkerart, newyorkermag, newyorkercartoons, newyorkerphoto, newyorkerpromo…have fun!

…and don’t forget these official New Yorker Facebook pages: The New Yorker Magazine, The New Yorker Radio Hour, and The New Yorker Cartoons (the latter carries an icon by an illustrator, not a cartoonist…go figure). 

 

 

The Monday Tilley Watch: The New Yorker Issue of November 6, 2017

The Monday Tilley Watch is a meandering take on the cartoons in the current issue of The New Yorker.

 I think it’s safe to say we have in our hands this week the New Yorker’s official Fall issue what with John Cuneo‘s beautiful giant leaf descending cover. 

For a change, I looked through this week’s issue (the digital issue, of course) on my laptop instead of on my tablet. It’s helpful seeing everything in an immediately readable format instead of having to zoom in, but it also removes a layer of mystery I’ve come to enjoy: seeing the cartoons small, and trying to figure out (sometimes) who did them and guessing what the caption might be. Back to the tablet next week.

Skipping through the front of the magazine, I did pause to admire the illustration on page six by Roman Muradov. It sort of has a Arthur Getz and Eugene Mihaesco mash-up feel — a 1960-ish vibe.  Nice.

Passing by the “redraw” of Rea Irvin‘s  iconic never-shoulda-been-replaced Talk of The Town masthead (above) we get to the first cartoon on page 22, a couple of beavers, courtesy of Kaamran Hafeez.  One of the beavers suffers from an age-old problem that was used to great effect on The Mary Tyler Moore Show when  newsman Ted Baxter read, on air: “I’ve just been handed a bulletin: ‘You have something on your front tooth!'” Curious about whether there was any significance to running a beaver drawing now, I consulted Wikipedia for a snap education. The entry included this:“Maintenance work on the dam and lodges is particularly heavy in autumn.”

Here’s a photo of a beaver, just because:

 Five pages later is a Zach Kanin drawing of a fitting room. I like the louvered fitting room doors, which could easily double for those steel roll-down gates you see on storefronts. Below left: Kanin louvered door.  Right: steel roll-down gate.

Eight pages later a Paul Noth mobster-tinged bar scene based on  “if a tree falls in the forest…” Nice expression on the woodsman’s face.  Good caption. Four pages later an Ed Steed drawing (i.e., dark). Shades of Charles Addams’ kids home from camp drawing

On the very next page, Julia Suits takes us out west to the reliable compound of cowboys at a campfire plus modern technology (I’ve done it myself a few times — it’s an irresistible scenario). Can’t see a cowboy campfire without thinking about Mel Brooks’ classic scene. Three pages later an interesting garage drawing by Ellis Rosen. One of our grandmasters, George Booth did a number of memorable garage drawings. Here’s one (published in the issue of December 28, 1998):

Mr. Booth has had a lot of company over the years. Mr. Ellis gives us a lovely drawing with an excellent caption. And, bonus: it sits well on the page. An Amy Kurzweil drawing is on the very next page.  A chess scenario, perfectly timed for Halloween. I like this drawing, but did find myself pondering why the chess pieces have arms. Are these actual chess pieces dressed up for Halloween, or are they people dressed up in chess pieces for Halloween who have decided to further Halloween-ize their chess costumes? So many questions…

Five pages later a Roz Chast triptych (her preferred construct in recent years). The third panel is a gem.

Six pages later, a Sara Lautman drawing leaning heavily on a pun. Five pages later, appearing just a day after International Cat Day, is an Amy Hwang cat drawing. If you want even more cartoon cat drawings, find these somewhere online or in your favorite used book store:

Five pages later, veteran Mick Stevens brings us back to much earlier times. I’m aware of the cartoon takes of Moses passing by a burning bush (hmmm, that was him, wasn’t it?) and him famously getting hold of the tablets containing the Ten Commandments. But the Biblical-era press conference is new to me.  I note that Moses looks weary.

Three pages later another cartoonist trope: the wedding scene. This one’s by Emily Flake. Understanding the definition of the word “algorithm” as used in the caption is key to understanding this drawing.  Someone should really do a book of New Yorker  dating/mating/algorithm related drawings (there was a dating cartoon in the magazine two weeks ago).

Four pages later, the last drawing in the issue (not counting the caption contest work): a banana peel domestic situation via J.A.K. (Jason Adam Katzenstein). The only thing as funny as someone slipping on a banana peel is someone getting slapped with a pie in the face. Danny Shanahan gave us both:

To see a slideshow of all the cartoons in this week’s issue, go here to the Cartoons page of newyorker.com and scroll down past the Daily Cartoon, Caption Contest to Cartoons from the Issue.

–See you next Monday