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.'”

 

 

 

 

A Charles Addams Biopic In The Works!; A Daily Shouts By Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell

Well this is exciting news…

From Indiewire, June 22, 2019, “Sara Driver Is Back: After ‘The Dead Don’t Die,’ A Charles Addams Project, And Much More”

A snippet from Eric Kohn’s article: The project is especially personal to Driver since, like Addams, she was born in Westfield, New Jersey; the cartoonist did much of his work there. “Westfield is a particularly odd place,” Driver said. “A lot of the buildings he drew are still standing, and he was such a beautiful draftsman.”

 

My thanks to Stephen Nadler of Attempted Bloggery for bringing this article to the Spill‘s attention.  One of the Spill‘s fave blogs, it is now celebrating its 8th anniversary.  Check it out!

 

While we’re waiting for the film, it might be time to re-visit Linda Davis’s  biography of Addams, as well as Addams work  — any of his collections will do (I’ve shown just three above).  

Right: Davis’s Chas Addams: A Cartoonist’s Life  (Random House, 2006)

 

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A Daily Shouts By…

Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell, who has been contributing to The New Yorker since 2017. See the piece here.

Winter, Spring, Summer, Addams

My friend over at Attempted Bloggery recently emailed me: “It’s that time of year.”  I knew exactly what he was talking about before I opened the link he attached. In this New Yorker cartoon-centric world of the Spill, “that time of year,” mid-way through October, could only belong to Charles Addams.

Addams is one of a dozen New Yorker cartoonists I place in the Cartoon God category.  We are so fortunate his work has been well collected — all of his anthologies are easily available (Abebooks is an excellent place to search for them.  Chris Wheeler’s site is a good place to see the covers all at once).

    

We are also fortunate that Linda Davis gave us a biography of Addams: Charles Addams: A Cartoonist’s Life (also easily found online).

When I began contributing to The New Yorker in the late 1970s, Addams was very much a presence in the office. (Ms. Davis’s book includes my account of riding the elevator with him. Comparable, I suppose, to a rookie ballplayer walking into the clubhouse and spotting Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays).  But of course it was Addams’s work that really inspired. It was a gift to open the magazine in those days and turn to a full page Addams drawing.  Not only did it entertain, but it inspired. I learned more than I’ll ever know from examining his drawings — the care put into details; his characters’ perfect expressions; the obvious joy he took drawing whatever he was drawing; the drawing as a whole, caption — if there was one — and art, scoring a near perfect 10 every time. Yes, he had help in the idea department (and here again, I intersected with him, supplying an idea, as did a number of colleagues), but the supplied ideas were elevated through his art.  

As we close in on Halloween there will definitely be an increased Addamsy feel around here; I’ll miss not seeing one of his covers grace the magazine as they often did around now, but the work remains available 24/7. Pounce on it. 

Link here to the official Addams website.   

Here’s Mr. Addams’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:

 

 

 

 

Charles Addams (above) Born in Westfield, New Jersey, January  7, 1912. Died September 29, 1988, New York City. New Yorker work: 1932 – 1988 * the New Yorker has published his work posthumously. One of the giants of The New Yorker’s  stable of artists.  Key cartoon collections: While all of Addams’ collections are worthwhile, here are three that are particular favorites; Homebodies (Simon & Schuster, 1954), The Groaning Board (Simon & Schuster, 1964), Creature Comforts (Simon & Schuster, 1981). In 1991 Knopf published The World of Chas Addams, a retrospective collection.

 

Fairfield County (CT) Cartoonists; E.B. and Katharine White’s Home for Sale; Lots of Peter Arno on Pinterest; William Steig’s Connecticut Home For Sale

Fairfield County Connecticut’s Cartoonists

Here’s a really nice article in Vanity Fair, “When Fairfield County Was the Comic-Strip Capital of The World” written by Cullen Murphy, whose father drew “Prince Valiant” — a number of New Yorker artists show up (as you might expect as the county also had a large concentration of  cartoonists from the magazine…see this link for more on that).

 

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E.B. and Katharine White’s Home For Sale

From Town & Country, this article  — with photos — on the home previously owned by E.B. and Katharine White, now up for sale.

Why is this on Ink Spill, you might ask?  The White’s were major figures in the development of the New Yorker; both intersected with the magazine’s cartoons. One of Mr. White’s many duties at the New Yorker  was tinkering with cartoon captions. The most famous tinkering resulted in the Carl Rose drawing that appeared in the December 8, 1928 New Yorker:spinach

“It’s broccoli, dear.”

“I say it’s spinach, and I say the hell with it.” 

To read a little more about that particular caption, go here.

In the earliest decades of the New Yorker, Katharine White headed the fiction department. The cartoons fell under the fiction department’s umbrella until James Geraghty was appointed in 1939, when a stand alone art department was created.  In his book, The Art of The New Yorker: 1925-1995,  the magazine’s former Art Editor, Lee Lorenz wrote of Ms. White: “She remained a powerful voice in the selection of the magazine’s art even after she and her second husband, E. B. White, moved to Maine in the mid-thirties.”

Two recommended biographies: Scott Elledge’s E.B. White: A Biography (Norton, 1984)

and Linda Davis’s Onward and Upward: A Biography of Katharine S. White (Harper & Row, 1987)

And for a wonderful read on that era of the New Yorker: Thomas Vinciguerra’s Cast of Characters: Wolcott Gibbs, E.B. White, James Thurber, And the Golden Age of The New Yorker (W.W. Norton & Co.,  2016)

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A lot of Peter Arno on Pinterest

Billed as “182 Best Peter Arno Images on Pinterest” — it doesn’t disappoint. The post even includes the dummy cover for my Arno biography.

Anyway, it’s fun to see so much Arno in one place. New Yorker cartoons, New Yorker covers, advertisements — all kinds of wonderful art by the master.

 

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William Steig’s Kent Connecticut Home For Sale

Fear not — Ink Spill is not pushing real estate.  It’s just coincidence (or as Curly of the Three Stooges would say, “a coinkydink”) that two homes by three major New Yorker figures are up for sale. This is William Steig’s home in Kent, Connecticut. Read all about the home here.

Mr. Steig’s entry on the Spill’s A-Z:

William Steig Born in Brooklyn, NY, Nov. 14, 1907, died in Boston, Mass., Oct. 3, 2003. In a New Yorker career that lasted well over half a century and a publishing history that contains more than a cart load of books, both children’s and otherwise, it’s impossible to sum up Steig’s influence here on Ink Spill. He was among the giants of the New Yorker cartoon world, along with James Thurber, Saul Steinberg, Charles Addams, Helen Hokinson and Peter Arno. Lee Lorenz’s World of William Steig (Artisan, 1998) is an excellent way to begin exploring Steig’s life and work. NYer work: 1930 -2003.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Long Island Connection: Wolcott Gibbs, John O’Hara, and Charles Addams

Photo, left-right: John O’Hara, Elinor & Wolcott Gibbs, Charles Addams

Here are three stellar New Yorker contributors whose private lives intertwined with their professional lives — i.e., they were friends. Curiously, or maybe not so curiously, they all at one time  called Long Island home (Gibbs on Fire Island, O’Hara in Quogue, Addams in Westhampton Beach).  Here’s a quick look at their professional intersections (not including within the pages of The New Yorker itself).  Let’s begin with Charles Addams’s wonderful cover art for Brendan Gill’s 1975 Here At The New Yorker, in which all three of these fellows appear:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top left, John O’Hara by Addams; top right: Wolcott Gibbs by Addams; bottom: Charles Addams by Addams

 

 

 

 

Gibbs wrote the Introduction to Addams’s 1947 collection, Addams and Evil. Here’s a portion of it:

“Altogether, if you have to have the dismal facts, I’m embarrassed to say that as far as I can tell he is just a hell of a nice guy, whose habits are probably a good deal less sinister than yours or, for that matter, even mine.”

 

Jonh O’Hara wrote the foreword to Addams’s 1950 collection, Monster Rally.  It reads, in part:

“Addams is a big man, about 6’1″ and around 195, a toxophilist who can handle a sixty-pound pull, but I don’t think he’d hurt a fly. I never have seen him lose his temper, although that is not to say he doesn’t get mad. He happens to be what is called easy-going, and has a decent contempt for the opinions of mankind.”

 

 

 

Addams provided the book jacket art for Gibbs on several occasions:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more on Wolcott Gibbs and his role in The New Yorker‘s Art Department, here’s an Ink Spill piece from a few years back.

For much much more on Gibbs I highly recommend Thomas Vinciguerra’s recent book, Cast Of Characters: Wolcott Gibbs, E.B. White, James Thurber and the Golden Age of The New Yorker (W.W. Norton & Co., 2015)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And as for Charles Addams, there’s no better place to go than Linda Davis’s Charles Addams: A Cartoonist’s Life (Random House, 2006)

 

 

For Addams’s work:  any of his cartoon collections will do just fine.

 

 

 

 

Mr. O’Hara has been the subject of a number of biographies. Here’s one: The Life of John O’Hara by Frank MacShane (E.P. Dutton, 1980).  There’s a mountain of work by Mr. O’Hara available and another mountain of information available online.

 

 

 

 

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