Henry Martin’s New York Times Obit; Personal History: Cartoonist Correspondence; Article Of Interest: New Yorker Cover Artist Gayle Kabaker; Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

Henry Martin’s New York Times Obit

From The New York Times, July 7, 2020, “Henry Martin, Wry New Yorker Cartoonist, Dead at 94″

Here’s Richard Sandomir’s obit for the wonderful Henry Martin, who passed away a week ago today, just two weeks shy of his 95th birthday.


Personal History: Cartoonist Correspondence

One of the many pleasures of being a New Yorker cartoonist has been, and continues to be communicating with so many other cartoonists, both new and veteran. I opened my binder of cartoonist correspondence this afternoon to remind myself of the content of the half-dozen letters I exchanged with Henry Martin. One, dated March 10, 2000, was in response to a letter I had written him asking about his Spot work for the magazine (you’ll see a link in The N.Y. Times obit for more on his Spots). Here’s how he replied:

“…almost no one is [interested in Spots] but I loved them and they helped me get my foot in the door at The New Yorker. Most of them were done on scratch board — not much in use anymore — and nearly all were done exact size.

I did that so that I knew just how they would look in the magazine and didn’t have to worry about how they would look enlarged or reduced. In many ways they were more fun to do than cartoons, but of course, they didn’t pay as well and had no reprint value except for The New Yorker…at some point around 1965 I quit doing spots, thinking I’d return to them later. When I did, sometime after Lee took over [Lee Lorenz, The New Yorker‘s art editor, who succeeded James Geraghty in 1973] I found my eyes could no longer adjust to the small size, and I was having trouble finding good scratch board. The best I found was made in Austria and the manufacturer went out of business!…There were many great artists doing Spots…I thought they added so much to the magazine.” 


Article Of Interest: New Yorker Cover Artist, Gayle Kabaker

From The Washington Post, July 6, 2020, “Sketching My Way Through Crisis”

–this second piece in a series by Ms. Kabaker.

Visit her website here.

Left: Ms. Kabaker’s January 30, 2017 New Yorker cover


Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

Amy Kurzweil on no more funding for the arts.

Ms. Kurzweil began contributing to The New Yorker in 2016.

Visit her website here.

Henry Martin: An Ink Spill Appreciation

Henry Martin: An Ink Spill Appreciation

Above: In 1985 Henry Martin, pictured front & center with his hand on the railing, brought together a bunch of his cartoonist colleagues for an exhibit of cartoons at Princeton’s McCarter Theater. Among those in the photo: Al Ross, Arnie Roth, Arnie Levin, Ed Arno, Bernie Schoenbaum, Stuart Leeds, Peter Porges, Sam Gross, Bill Woodman, John Jonik, Mort Gerberg, and Boris Drucker. George Booth is in the back row, nearly dead center — I’m to the right of him, partially obscured.

In the late 1970s, I was a freshly minted New Yorker cartoonist walking for the first time into the magazine’s cartoonists waiting room just outside the art editor’s office. It was not a comfortable entrance: I didn’t know a soul. I was in a very small room with some of the biggest stars in The New Yorker cartoon universe. They were drinking coffee, and chatting with each other. It was, of course, intimidating. One of the stars stepped away from his colleagues and introduced himself. It was Henry Martin. Fate couldn’t have chosen a better good will ambassador to welcome me. Even today, four decades later, thinking of Henry, who passed away on Tuesday, I think — to lightly paraphrase George Booth — good thoughts about one of the kindest friendliest cartoonists I ever met. In the pool of friendly faces at The New Yorker, Henry’s face, in the years to come, was among the friendliest.

I was a bit self-conscious about my signature in those first years — afraid others might think I was some kind of Henry Martin signature stealer — at a quick glance they might appear similar, but  Henry’s graphic stamp had that distinctive lovely right leaning “H” coupled with “Martin.” Yet there were a few times I’d receive his New Yorker mail: Martin mistaken for Maslin  — it would give us a chance to have a long distance laugh.

In the 1960s and 70s, when it seemed every magazine ran cartoons, Henry’s work seemed to be in just about every one of them; he was the everywhere cartoonist.  I’m not sure anyone else came close. My thinking was, then, that’s the way to do this — that the Henry Martin model was the model. Be everywhere. Turned out that Henry’s model was Henry’s model, not for everyone — it was the way for him to go in a career that lasted from the 1950s until the late 1990s.

Above: Henry Martin’s first New Yorker cartoon, in the issue of August 15th, 1964

There’s a good reason someone lasts so long at The New Yorker. When you look at any of Henry’s  691 New Yorker cartoons you’re immediately taken in, and then, of course (of course!) you’re rewarded with laughter. There’s no furrowing of the brow as you take your first look at one of his cartoons, there’s no wondering about peripherals, such as where you are (something important to the magazine’s founder and first editor, Harold Ross, who was known to ask, when looking at art up for consideration, “Where am I in this picture?”). With Henry’s drawings you knew where you were, and you were given a rock solid cartoon with a rock solid caption. Here’s an example from The New Yorker issue of April 23, 1979:

This cartoon is what is called an “evergreen” — we all understand it, we all always will, and it will always be funny. Henry once said to me, “Some cartoonists draw funny” putting into words something I’d felt but never defined. The definition has added to my understanding of one of the essential ingredients that makes for work that excels (I used his definition here on this site just a few days ago when referring to Dean Vietor’s drawings).

As for how Henry worked, his editor Lee Lorenz told me during an interview [Lee’s remark on Henry’s method begins at 59:47 during the interview] that Henry “would put a [blank] piece of paper down and he would stare at that piece until he had an idea. Then he would take another piece of paper.”

Henry’s other significant contribution to the magazine were his hundreds of “spot” drawings (his daughter, Jane Read wrote the other day that his first sale to The New Yorker, in 1950, was a spot drawing). These drawings would be familiar to anyone who read the magazine in the William Shawn era, when spots, drawn by a variety of contributors, were placed throughout the magazine, unrelated to each other, and not telling a story as they do these days. I’ve always thought of spots as little gifts to the reader; something unexpected to consider, if only for a few seconds (or, in the case of the one shown here, more than a few seconds).

The last time I corresponded with Henry I was pulling together quotes from colleagues about Peter Arno. Here’s Henry’s quote in the Arno biography:

Jim Geraghty [the New Yorker’s Art Editor from 1939 -1973] bought three ideas from me for Arno in 1964 and 1965. He was the master, but like so many of the greats the idea wells ran dry, but, lord, how they could create memorable drawings.

And now I say to you, Henry Martin, whose idea well never ran dry: lord, how you could create memorable drawings!


For more on Henry Martin:

Back in March of 2011,  Mike Lynch posted a 1972 CartoonistPROfiles interview with him. See it here.

“Henry Martin’s Spots” — an article from Princeton’s Firestone Library about Mr. Martin’s fabulous  “spot” drawings for The New Yorker: read it here.

A tribute from the Firestone Library can be found here.

The Cartoons: There are two collections of Henry Martin’s work (both published by Scribner, both published in 1977).  His work can be found in every New Yorker cartoon album, beginning with The New Yorker 1955-1965 Album. You can also see his work online by just adding “Henry Martin cartoon” into the search box, or go to The New Yorker‘s Cartoon Bank

The Swann Cartoon Auction Is Back!; Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

The Swann Illustration Auction, postponed because of you-know-what, is now on for July 16th. The catalog isn’t online as of this morning, but you can see what’s up for grabs, including original work by some of the masters: Helen Hokinson, Charles Addams, William Steig, Barbara Shermund, Frank Modell (whose Don’t Trust Anyone Over 10 drawing appears here), Edward Sorel, Lee Lorenz, Charles Martin (C.E.M), Gahan Wilson, George Booth (see below), Richard Taylor, and more.  Go here to see for yourself.

(Work by New Yorker artists begins in earnest in the lot #200 range, but there are New Yorker artist pieces sprinkled elsewhere. For instance, if you go to lot #121 you’ll find a non-New Yorker piece by the great Rea Irvin).

Left: original George Booth cover art (published April 19, 1993) Lot #213


— My thanks to Stephen Nadler of Attempted Bloggery for passing along word of the auction.




Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

Farley Katz on going back out there.

Mr. Katz has been contributing to The New Yorker since

2007. Visit his website here.

Lee Lorenz’s Essential Essentials; Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

Lee Lorenz’s Essential Essentials

Here are three essential books for any and every New Yorker cartoon library. All were compiled and edited by the former New Yorker  art/cartoon editor, Lee Lorenz.  My understanding is that there were to be more in the series, but we all know how fickle the publishing biz is (wouldn’t it have been just incredibly wonderful to have had an Essential Robert Weber!). What you’ll find in each book is a compact history of the subject, with early work, and interviews, bibliographies, favorite cartoon topics, and plenty of cartoons. The first two in the series came out in 1998 (Booth & Barsotti), followed by the Essential Ziegler in 2000.  Mr. Lorenz also gave us a great book on William Steig, as well as an overall look at The New Yorker‘s art and art department from its beginning.  Those titles are essential too — they just don’t include the word “essential”  in their titles.

From the Spill‘s A-Z, the entries for those mentioned above:

Lee Lorenz ( Photograph taken 1995 by Liza Donnelly) *Born 1932, Hackensack, NJ. Lorenz was the art editor of The New Yorker from 1973 to 1993 and its cartoon editor until 1997. During his tenure, a new wave of New Yorker cartoonists began appearing in the magazine — cartoonists who no longer depended on idea men. Cartoon collections: Here It Comes (Bobbs-Merrrill Co., Inc. 1968) ; Now Look What You’ve Done! (Pantheon, 1977) ; The Golden Age of Trash ( Chronicle Books, 1987); The Essential series, all published by Workman: : Booth (pub: 1998), Barsotti ( pub: 1998), Ziegler (pub: 2001), The Art of The New Yorker 1925 -1995, (Knopf, 1995), The World of William Steig (Artisan, 1998). New Yorker work: 1958 –.

Charles Barsotti Born, San Marcos, Texas, September 28, 1933.  Died, Kansas City, Mo., June 16, 2014. Mr. Barsotti was briefly the cartoon editor of The Saturday Evening Post ( from 1968 until its demise in 1969). The New York Times review of his 1981 collection “Kings Don’t Carry Money” led with the following:”Thurber lives, in Kansas City under the name of Charles Barsotti.” His deceptively simple line drawings of pups and kings, and businessmen have been a presence in The New Yorker for over fifty years. It is likely that Mr. Barsotti is the only New Yorker cartoonist to have ever run for Congress (an unsuccessful bid, in 1972, in Kansas). New Yorker work: 1962 – . Key collections: Kings Don’t Carry Money (Dodd, Mead, 1981), and The Essential Charles Barsotti, Compiled and Edited by Lee Lorenz (Workman, 1998). Website: http://www.barsotti.com/ ……Link to Ink Spill’s Charles Barsotti appreciation.


George Booth (photo above taken in NYC 2016, courtesy of Liza Donnelly) Born June 28, 1926, Cainesville, MO. New Yorker work: June 14, 1969 – . Key collections: Think Good Thoughts About A Pussycat (Dodd, Mead, 1975), Rehearsal’s Off! (Dodd, Mead, 1976), Omnibooth: The Best of George Booth ( Congdon & Weed, 1984), The Essential George Booth, Compiled and Edited by Lee Lorenz ( Workman, 1998).

Jack Ziegler (photo by Michael Maslin, taken at The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, NYC, 2008) Born, Brooklyn, NY July 13, 1942.  Died, March  29, 2017.  New Yorker work: 1974 – 2017. Key collections: all of Ziegler’s collections are must-haves. Here’re some favorites: Hamburger Madness (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1978), Filthy Little Things ( Doubleday/Dolphin, 1981) and The Essential Jack Ziegler, Complied and Edited by Lee Lorenz ( Workman, 2000)….. Link here for Ink Spill’s Jack Ziegler interview from late 2016.

Robert Weber (Pictured mid 1980s. Photograph by Liza Donnelly) Born April 22, 1924, Los Angeles, California. Died, October 20, 2016, Branford Connecticut. NYer work: nearly 1500 cartoons, and close to a dozen covers since 1962…. Read Ink Spill’s November 2016 Appreciation of Mr. Weber here.


The terrif cartoonist Kim Warp has today’s Daily Cartoon.  See it here.

Ms. Warp has been contributing to The New Yorker since 1999.

Visit her website here.

Steve Stoliar On Meeting Charles Addams; Gil Roth Interviews Emily Flake; Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon (And Yesterday’s)

Steve Stoliar On Meeting Charles Addams

Mr. Stoliar, the author of Raised Eyebrows: My Years Inside Groucho’s House (BearManor Media, 2015), posted the following birthday tribute to Charles Addams on Facebook. My thanks to Mr. Stoliar for allowing it to appear here.

Note: Dick Cavett’s New Yorker Cartoonists episodes were broadcast in March of 1978 (one taping, broken up into two programs). Besides Mr. Addams, the panel included Frank Modell, George Booth, and Lee Lorenz. ________________________________________________________________________

Gil Roth Interviews Emily Flake

Gil Roth, who has interviewed many many cartoonists over the years on his Virtual Memories podcast, speaks with Emily Flake in this podcast.

Ms. Flake began contributing to The New Yorker in 2008. Her latest book is That Was Awkward: The Art and Etiquette of the Awkward Hug (Viking).


Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

John Klossner on longer days. Mr. Klossner began contributing to The New Yorker in 2008.  Visit his website here.

…and Yesterday’s

Lila Ash on keeping Christmas lights up. Ms. Ash began contributing to The New Yorker in December of 2018.  Visit her website here.