Barbara Shermund’s Last New Yorker Cartoon

After checking in on today’s Attempted Bloggery post about Barbara Shermund (it features some of Ms. Shermund’s post-New Yorker work — the look she honed in Esquire, among other publications), I began wondering when her style shifted from what it looked like in her peak New Yorker years to the Esquire look.

A quick dig into the New Yorker archives revealed that her Esquire look was barely present as Ms. Shermund’s work ended for the magazine. You can see a little of it developing in the definition of faces, but her command of a scene, of the page, of the drawing is all intact as she ends her run of 600 cartoons (plus 8 covers) with the issue of September 16, 1944. Her last New Yorker cartoon, shown above, may not be the very best example, but it’ll do. 

To refresh my recollection of Shermund’s New Yorker career I turned to the obvious source, Liza Donnelly’s Funny Ladies (Prometheus Books, 2005). It is a must-have New Yorker cartoon history book (and I would say that even if we weren’t husband and wife).  Ms. Donnelly’s section on Ms. Shermund is fascinating reading.  According to Donnelly, Shermund began at the New Yorker doing spot illustrations, but was soon encouraged to “write lines under [her] drawings.” Her first captioned drawing appeared in June of 1925, just five months after the New Yorker began publishing. After a stuttered beginning with her next three drawings (the three appeared over eight months time), her work then exploded in numbers, seemingly appearing every other week and sometimes every week. 600 drawings in less than twenty years is quite a feat — my bad math tells me her work appeared in more than half of all the issues from 1925 through 1944. 

Her style shifted over that time as you’d find with most cartoonists styles. She settled into perfection in the 1930s and 1940s, both in her captions (she wrote all of her own captions for the majority of her New Yorker work — “I used to eat and sleep ideas”) and the drawing itself.

Fascinating to me is her relationship to gag-writing. She is quoted in Donnelly’s book as saying she really wanted help after awhile — “I would beg them to give me an idea once in awhile” —  because of the editorial demand for her work (shades of Peter Arno there).  From the school of careful what you wish for, she had this to say once she began taking ideas from a particular gag-writer:

“Well, my downfall, in respect to ideas — he kept submitting ideas and I thought it was fun not to have to worry about them.”

 In the Fall of 1944, the New Yorker suddenly ceased publishing Shermund’s drawings. Esquire, with its editorial needs so different than the New Yorker‘s  became her main stage.  As Ms. Donnelly notes:

“When [Shermund] got to Esquire, her work became transparently sexual. and her women were transformed to sweet airheads.” 

With Esquire, Shermund’s work morphed in full to the kind of drawing style you see in today’s Attempted Bloggery post.  It would take access to Esquire’s archives to witness the change.  What we see in her last year of New Yorker work are just the faintest hints of what’s to come. 

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A Reminder:  There is currently a Barbara Shermund exhibit up and running at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, “Tell Me A Story Where The Bad Girl Wins: The Life And Art Of Barbara Shermund”Details here!

 

 

 

 

The Tilley Watch; Liza Donnelly’s Veterans Day Animation; Joe Farris’s Soldier’s Sketchbook

The Cover: this week’s cover (titled “Welcome to Congress”) by Barry Blitt was mentioned here last week (it was released early). It received a bit of media attention. One example: this Huffington Post piece. 

The Cartoonists, the Cartoons:

13 cartoons this week.  19 illustrations, with 5 of them full page.

Two items of note in the list of cartoonists: a joint effort by Mick Stevens and Jenny Allen.  And, unless I’m mistaken, Lonnie Millsap is making his debut in the magazine. If that’s accurate (someone please advise if it’s not) he is the 9th new cartoonist this year, and the 21st since Emma Allen was appointed the magazine’s cartoon editor in the Spring of 2017.

Update: Rea Irvin’s iconic Talk masthead is still a-missin (you can read about it here). This is what it looks like:

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And:

here’s Liza Donnelly’s Veterans Day animation for CBS News .

…this is a good day to recall A Soldier’s Sketchbook by the late New Yorker cartoonist Joe Farris.  Published in 2011 by National Geographic, the book is available online at the usual places. 

Here’s the Booklist review:

“Farris, best known postwar as a cartoonist for the New Yorker, offers this evocative memoir-album, with a scrapbook graphic design. Replete with faux-yellowed pages, it chronicles his tour of duty using his contemporary illustrations, his letters to his Connecticut family, and present-day reflections on the attitudes and fears of his innocent 19-year-old self. With meticulous National Geographic maps tracking his regiment’s advance through France and Germany, Ferris’ is an honestly written, visually captivating volume and a superb addition to the genre of WWII artwork.”

 

Event Of Interest: The Surreal McCoy’s Wolf Of Baghdad; Fave Photo Of The Day: Liza Donnelly & Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell

Event Of Interest: The Surreal McCoy’s Wolf Of Baghdad

Here’s the info about this upcoming audio-visual project based on The Surreal McCoy’s graphic novel, The Wolf of Baghdad.

…and here’s an interview with Ms. Isaacs (aka the Surreal McCoy) from Jewish Renaissance magazine (October 2018).

Ms. Isaacs began contributing to The New Yorker in August of 2014.

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Fave Photo Of The Day: Liza Donnelly And Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell

Taken at last night’s event, “Power Talk with Liza Donnelly” at Barnard College, New Yorker cartoonists Ms. Donnelly (on the left) and Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell.

And a bonus photo, courtesy of Marcie Jacobs-Cole:  Ms. Donnelly being interviewed by Jenna Freedman, Barnard’s Zine Librarian. 

Illustrated Interview Of Interest: Liana Finck; Two Events Tonight Of Interest: Bob Eckstein At Book Culture; “A Power Talk With Liza Donnelly” At Barnard College

From The Huffington Post, November 6, 2018, “A Visual Interview with Liana Finck”  — this illustrated interview with Ms. Finck, whose well received graphic memoir, Passing for Human was recently released.

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Bob Eckstein at Book Culture

A reminder that New Yorker cartoonist and world’s leading authority on the snowman will be at Book Culture this evening discussing his latest book, The Illustrated History of The Snowman.   All the info here.

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Liza Donnelly at Barnard College

Another reminder: “Power Talk with Liza Donnelly” is tonight at Barnard College — Ms. Donnelly was recently named by Barnard as a distinguished fellow. The interview will take place at 6:30 in the James Room of Barnard Hall.  — all the details here. 

Fave Photo Of The Day: Liza Donnelly & Carolita Johnson; The Tilley Watch Online

Fave Photo Of The Day: Liza Donnelly & Carolita Johnson

The maestro of Attempted Bloggery forwarded this photo from last night’s book event at Books Are Magic celebrating the publication of Liza Donnelly illustrated, Be The Person Your Dog Thinks You Are.  She was joined in conversation by New Yorker colleague, Carolita Johnson (on the left, with dog on lap). 

–My thanks to Stephen Nadler for the photo

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The Tilley Watch Online, The Week Of October 29 – November 2, 2018

A less Trumpian week on The Daily Cartoon (which isn’t to say it wasn’t political): The contributing New Yorker cartoonists were Bob Eckstein, Peter Kuper, Zach Kanin, Sophia Warren, and Brendan Loper.

And the contributing New Yorker cartoonists on Daily Shouts: Liana Finck, Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell (twice), Ali Fitzgerald, and Colin Stokes (the New Yorker‘s assistant cartoon editor) with Ellis Rosen.

See all the work above and more here.

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