Late Notice: A Launch Party Tonight With Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell Live-Drawing; Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon; The Monday Tilley Watch, The New Yorker Issue Of November 18, 2019; Some Thoughts After Seeing The Documentary Film, “Stevenson Lost And Found”

Late Notice: A Launch Party Tonight With Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell Live-Drawing

From the Facebook Invite:

Come celebrate the release of Sarah Dooley’s new book ‘Are You My Uber?’ which is a parody of the P.D. Eastman classic ‘Are You My Mother?’ Listen to comedians Sydnee Washington, Eva Victor, Larry Owens, Pat Regan, Marcia Belsky, Gabe Gonzalez, and Taylor Ortega tell hilarious stories of wild cab experiences while Hilary Campbell, the book’s illustrator, does live drawings.

Ms. Campbell began contributing to The New Yorker in 2017. Visit her website here.

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Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

A leafy Daily from Chris Weyant, who began contributing to The New Yorker in 1998. Visit his website here.

 

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The Cover: I see leaves. The fifth cover (below right) by Brigit Schossow.  Read a Q&A with her here.

There’ve been a lot, a whole lot, of leafy New Yorker covers, but this current one by Ms. Schossow  brought to mind (courtesy of a helpful New Yorker colleague) the beauty below left by the magazine’s former art & cartoon editor, Lee Lorenz.

 

The Cartoonists:

The Cartoons:

A scattering of thoughts about just a few of the cartoons in this issue:

P.C. Vey’s bear and couple in the woods (on page 33) made my day.

Something totally unexpected cartoon-wise is usually always good, and so it was coming upon a Jack Ziegler cartoon. Especially nice that the drawing is set in one of his favorite cartoon scenarios: a bar.

A fun Pete Mueller drawing (p.27).  Two Mueller drawings in two issues. Yay!

Ellis Rosen’s friend’s shower (p.56) is different. Like the choices of warm/cold and cold/warm.

Needed a ten second Googled refresher course with Liana Finck’s drawing (p. 60).  Not so much what her drawing means, but the meme’s origin (just curious, y’know).

The Rea Irvin Talk Masthead Watch:

Am hoping to open the issue one day and see Mr. Irvin’s iconic design has returned. No dice this week. For now, there’s that re-draw. Read about the classic Irvin Talk masthead here.

Here’s the real deal:

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Some Thoughts After Seeing The James Stevenson Documentary Film, Stevenson Lost And Found

A few random thoughts after attending last night’s premiere of Sally Williams’ fab documentary film, Stevenson Lost And Found.  There are are so many moments in the film — too many to go into here — that cartoonists and people who love New Yorker cartoons will treasure.

One instance I found particularly fascinating: the animated sequence showing what might go through cartoonists brains as they sit down and begin the day’s work. We’re shown a series of cartoons covering a wide variety of subject matter. It is, for this cartoonist, a relatable experience, as the mind careens through unlimited places every morning.

Another instance: in some eye-popping sequences we’re shown images of Mr. Stevenson’s children’s books lined-up, as well as Mr. Stevenson’s New Yorker  black scrap books (shown above) kept in the magazine’s library. These books contain every single signed New Yorker contribution by Stevenson, whether it’s his writing or drawing (including covers of course).*  Most of The New Yorker’s nearly 650 cartoonists (from 1925- present) have not had their work collected in one scrap book, let alone five. **

At the screening, I was lucky enough to be seated next to the legendary artist, Edward Sorel. During one of the sequences in the film where we are grasping the enormous amount of work Stevenson did (both published and unpublished) Mr. Sorel leaned over and said to me, “Do you feel as much like an underachiever as I do?”

In a perfect cartoon world, there’d be films such as Lost And Found for a number of the magazine’s artists. It’s heartening that there is already a Thurber film out there, and an Addams documentary in the works, as well as a film about George Booth.  But how about a Steinberg documentary, and one about Steig***?  I can dream, can’t I.  For now, we are quite fortunate to have this gem on Stevenson showing on the big screen. Go see.

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* I say “signed” because The New Yorker  did not and does not scrap book cartoon ideas handled by other artists. Mr. Stevenson, early in his New Yorker career, wrote a large number of captions for some of the magazine’s artists (read about his “secret job” here).

**Artists (and writers) without an enormous amount of work are scrap booked in alphabetically  cataloged books, along with other contributors.

***A short video accompanied the Steig exhibit that ran at The Norman Rockwell exhibit.

There is a 20 minute film about Edward Sorel available here.

A 40 minute Eldon Dedini film here, 

And a short film about C.E.M. (Charles E. Martin) here.

 

 

One Of The Ones To Watch At DOC NYC Fest: “Stevenson Lost And Found”; Reminder! Peter Kuper Tonight At Greenlight; A Liana Finck Exhibit; Andy Friedman (aka Larry Hat) On Panel With Billy Joel; Today’s Daily Cartoonist: Ward Sutton; Review Of Interest: “Screwball! The Cartoonists Who Made The Funnies Funny”

James Stevenson Film One Of Ones To Watch At Doc NYC Fest

From Bedford + Bowery, November 6, 2019, “What To Watch At This Year’s Doc NYC Festival”

James Stevenson’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:

James Stevenson Born, NYC, 1929. Died, February 17, 2017, Cos Cob, Connecticut. New Yorker work: March 10, 1956 -. Stevenson interned as an office boy at The New Yorker in the mid 1940s when he began supplying ideas for other New Yorker artists. Nine years later he was hired a full-time ideaman, given an office at the magazine and instructed not to tell anyone what he did. He eventually began publishing his own cartoons and covers as well as a ground-breaking Talk of the Town pieces (ground breaking in that the pieces were illustrated). His contributions to the magazine number over 2000. Key collections: Sorry Lady — This Beach is Private! (MacMillan, 1963), Let’s Boogie ( Dodd, Mead, 1978). Stevenson has long been a children’s book author, with roughly one hundred titles to his credit. He was a frequent contributor to the Op-Ed page of The New York Times, under the heading Lost and Found New York. Stevenson’s 2013 book, The Life, Loves and Laughs of Frank Modell, is essential.

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Mr. Kuper’s just published Heart Of Darkness is receiving rave reviews (like this one for instance).  Help him celebrate the book’s publication this evening. Info here on tonight’s appearance.

Mr. Kuper began contributing to The New Yorker in 2011.  Visit his website here.

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A Liana Finck Exhibit

The above posted this afternoon on Facebook. Ms. Finck began contributing to The New Yorker in 2013.  Visit her website here.

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Andy Friedman (aka Larry Hat) On Panel With Billy Joel

From Newsday, November 7, 2019, “Billy Joel to be panelist on LI arts- education forum”

Andy Friedman is part of a panel including Mr. Joel. Mr. Friedman, who at times has been published as “Larry Hat,”  began contributing to The New Yorker in 2001. Visit his website here.

 

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Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

Political Bingo! by the one and only Ward Sutton. Mr. Sutton began contributing to The New Yorker in 2007.  Visit his website here.

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Review Of Interest: “Screwball! The Cartoonists Who Made The Funnies Funny”

Posted today: Eddie Campbell’s Comics Journal review of Paul Tumey’s fun book.  Read here.

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.

 

Editor Of The New Cartoon Collection “Everyone’s A Critic” Talks To The Spill; Today’s Daily Cartoonist: Peter Kuper… And Yesterday’s:Teresa Burns Parkhurst; Podcast Of Interest With Emily Flake

Today’s pub day for Everyone’s A Critic (Princeton Architectural Press), the second in what will be a series of cartoon anthologies edited by Bob Eckstein, New Yorker cartoonist, best-selling author, and world’s leading snowman expert.

Here at the Spill, the arrival of a cartoon collection is always cause for a cartoonist hoo-rah.  This second book in the series features thirty-seven cartoonists, thirty-five of them New Yorker cartoonists (including this cartoonist, and the late great Jack Ziegler, whose “Critic” multi-panel  drawing appears here).  As with the first book in the series, The Ultimate Cartoon Book of Book Cartoons, Everyone’s A Critic is hardcover with the drawings printed on heavy stock (so no annoying bleed through images). An introduction by Mr. Eckstein is bookended by contributors bios. The cover drawing is by one of The New Yorker‘s modern masters, Danny Shanahan.

Over the course of a few days last week Mr. Eckstein and I had the following email exchange about his new book.

Michael Maslin: I’m holding in my hand your latest cartoon anthology, Everyone’s A Critic.  Size-wise it’s similar to the fleet of New Yorker anthologies that have come out over the years (The New Yorker Book of Cat Cartoons, The New Yorker Book of Dog Cartoons, and the like). Were those New Yorker anthologies a kind of inspiration for this series of yours?  If not, what was the inspiration?

Bob Eckstein: There are more cartoonists and cartoons than ever, and quite frankly too many to support in shrinking real estate for the work, in part to do with the departure of Harvard Business Review, MAD magazine, Barron’s and many others. And right now I’m not going to concede that the internet is infinite space and exposure because that’s just fragmented eyeballs. Part of a successful cartoon (or article or illustration) is it has to be seen, right? And that’s certainly Problem #1 in our field. So creating the book was creating a new, admittedly tiny, space.

The New Yorker anthologies of the past have nothing to do with this series, per se. The selection process is totally different. But the packaging, the size, the quality of the binding, etc., was 1) dictated by current market concerns (the books you referenced are mostly two decades ago, on a different playing field, publishing-wise) and 2) based on my first goal when I do any book—what would I want to buy? Am I getting my money’s worth?

Now, I do realize that the New Yorker itself has EVERYTHING to do with these books. They made the single gag cartoon an art form that didn’t exist before. And plus I’m indebted and grateful to the magazine for any leverage I had. The publisher, Princeton Architectural Press, liked my cartoons and liked my track record in book sales. That all goes back to the New Yorker and it happened in a very short time (I started gag cartooning in 2007 and began writing for them shortly afterwards). But I didn’t use the specific New Yorker BOOKS of yesteryear as a template in any way except to make sure we (the editor and I) avoided any blatant similarities. Unavoidable would be that we used many cartoonists who have appeared in the New Yorker because the ultimate criteria for inclusion into the books was it’s a very funny cartoon. But to address your question specifically about size, that was decided by what size the cartoons liked best, what was too big for production costs, bookshelf space, shipping weight, gravitas to be competitive in the Gift book arena and other sales factors I took into account with my marketing team.

The inspiration for the series was independent bookstores. I wanted to create a thank you card to them for making my World’s Greatest Bookstores a bestseller (which they made happen) and also they asked me what was next. So what better than to do a fun light book about them, again. I thought I could tap into a resource I had. I personally knew and became friends with the funniest cartoonists in the world. The book would at the same time pay small tribute to them for the inspiration they gave me. Again, this is not like the New Yorker and not an open call but a pet project where I would have to be asking favors of the contributors yet I wanted to have fun doing this. Everyone in the book I sincerely like. So after that initial group, a core group of friends who could arguably be placed in the category of world’s greatest cartoonists—almost all the contributors in the book have been published over a 1,000 times in different publications!—work was chosen by merit alone. I had thousands of submissions to choose from and I did my best to pick the funniest. I admittedly have more in the book than I deserve. But I didn’t pick my own cartoons, my editor did.

MM: Here’s a nuts and bolts question.  You decide you want to do this second book, and the publisher agrees to do it, then what?  What’s your decision-making process at that point? Do you send out a mass email?

BE: Yep, a mass email. I begged the contributors to be a part of it. I know collectively they and the publisher did a great job on the first book and wanted to keep it going. Only one or two people declined. I’m doing the third book now and again only one or two people didn’t reply that they were willing to be on board.

When I met with the editors and publisher the first time we both knew that a goal would be to produce more than one book. It was understood. It’s the new landscape of publishing. Very few successful authors are one and out. You must produce a series, a following. Each book theoretically supports the other. Unfortunately, the working business model is all about exposure. And I’m doing everything I can to get momentum. Book trailers, making trades with magazines for ad space, special promotions with bookstores (placing them within cartoons)…oh, anything to get the word out. I believe in these books. I believe in books. I have given this a lot of thought: that it took man 4,500 years before he produced books. One hundred years to devise the gag cartoon. I’m not onboard for phasing out either and want to do my part keeping the art form going. Cartoons in magazines, great. Cartoons in physical hardcover books, even better. I like giving cartoons the weight they deserve.

MM: Looking through the book — looking through any cartoon collection — it’s always the drawings that make me pause that I’ll remember days, weeks, sometimes years later.  In this case, let’s talk about a few of many that caught my attention:

Sam Gross‘s “What riles me is that he got a genius grant and I didn’t.”  Absolutely love this drawing. Of course Sam’s a cartoon god, so it isn’t surprising that he’s struck gold (again). How was it selecting drawings from Sam?

BE: I was just trying to give this kid a break.

Actually, for those who don’t know, Sam just celebrated his 50th anniversary of being in the New Yorker. Probably working for them earlier, when he sold jokes to Charles Addams. Yeah, great drawing, nice caption. Coincidentally, he summed up the whole psychological make-up of a good chunk of cartoonists in this one cartoon. Anyhoo, I picked this cartoon along with six other Sam Gross cartoons on one of my visits to his studio on the Upper East Side. For the first book we went through together almost 800 prospective cartoons he had on books and bookstores. He has over 30,000 cartoons total. But no bed, couch or a place to relax in that apartment. Just a place for coming up with ideas and cranking out cartoons. I wish I had his engine for work.

I learned a lot from him since I started gag cartooning in ’07. Never would have started if he didn’t dare me to try––we met not through cartooning but from using him in my first book about the history of snowmen. Don’t think I would have even done these books if not for him. I would have quit cartooning years ago if not for his encouragement. When I see him, I always blame him for being in this mess.

Photo Bob Eckstein, on the left, in work mode with Sam Gross

MM: Michael Shaw‘s drawings have always fascinated me. Perhaps it’s the bit of Thurber DNA I see in his work. His drawing “Minimalism folks. Nothing to see here” just seems to work every which way. Was this a shoe-in drawing?

BE: Yeah, he’s got a little Thurberism with his drawings but his lines underneath are laugh out loud funny. He is, I think, one of the most underrated living cartoonists there is. Although he often has a cartoon in any Top Ten Cartoons of All Time lists. This is a very good cartoon but typical for him. He often shares with me his weekly batch, now being sent over the airwaves from Green Bay. Which is a real shame because I’m convinced if we lived in the same town we would work on pitching TV shows together or something. That, and if I could understand what he says. I have to look up half the words he uses. I don’t want to call him genius because he may read this but he is smarter than the average bear. I actually think I’m a good editor for him because when if his cartoons miss, it’s because they go over everyone’s head. Being an idiot, I’m a good test for comprehensibility.

MM: . Speaking of minimalism, Liana Finck‘s Swim Critic drawing looks great on the page. Any thoughts on her work, or this particular drawing?

BE: It’s good to see Liana’s work given a full page and see the lines bigger. Liana is one of the few new people in the book, because one motive for the book was to share work not always readily seen nowadays from artists with a deep backlog. But I made an exception for Liana (and Ed Steed) who are now both already accomplished and blazing a trail for a new wave of cartoonists––creating cartoons that are confessional vignettes. I see that as the new agenda across a bunch of disciplines from podcasts (like Allison Rosen’s My New Best Friend; as I’m answering this question I learned that Liana was just her guest –- a weird triangle I’m compelled to point out: Ms. Rosen was my old editor at Time Out NY and Adam Carolla’s ex-cohost. I did a New Yorker cartoon with Mr. Carolla. It’s goes further than that but I’ll stop)…I forgot where I was…yes, to Presidential debates. Candidates have to share a confessional response to keep up in this age of  full disclosure.

I actually think Liana does it better than a number of stand-ups and is a true pioneer like comedian Maria Bradford, although Liana would probably not appreciate me bestowing these accolades on her. She’s too modest and hasn’t changed much from when I first met her and had yet to be published. Her style was different and I remember her telling me that each time she did a cartoon she wasn’t sure what style to use. Well, she not only found her voice but she’s the voice for the generation her work resonates with.  I look forward to seeing her soon at the Miami Book Fair. We’re going to be in conversation together, each talking our new books. Her new book is a survey of her beloved Instagram output called Excuse Me: Cartoons, Complaints, and Note to Self.

MM: Alex Gregory‘s “You’re right. Things are funnier in threes”  is such a great drawing. Anything to add here about Alex’s work, and/or this particular drawing? 

BE: Alex is the consummate cartoonist. I’m not even sure what that means, but it sounds good. This is maybe my favorite all-time cartoon. In my brain, which, granted, is like a pea rattling in a soda can, there’s a part reserved for a handful of cartoons that I wish I had thought up first.This cartoon is one of them. At the risk of being totally wrong, I think Alex’s style is so simple so that it allows the idea and caption to be as unobstructed as possible since they are so strong.This cartoon helped me decide that the next book could have three themes: love, marriage and divorce. 

Above: the Everyone’s A Critic  contributors.

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Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon…and Yesterday’s

Other G-7 Venues, by Peter Kuper, who began contributing to The New Yorker in 2011. Visit his website here.

Yesterday’s Daily: a beet maze, by Teresa Burns Parkhurst, who has been contributing to The New Yorker since 2017.

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Podcast Of Interest with Emily Flake

A 49 minute podcast from Write About Now with Emily Flake, whose new book The Art and Etiquette of the Awkward Hug is just out. Ms. Flake began contributing to The New Yorker in 2008.

 

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.'”