Rewind Wednesday: Thurber On The Cover Of Newsweek

           Newsweek’s Thurber Cover Story

In July of 1951, TIME  put Thurber on its cover — it’s the cover most Thurber biographies mention.  Newsweek’s Thurber cover, out six years later, is rarely mentioned. Thinking about it this morning,  I dug out the sole bound volume of Newsweek in the Spill‘s library (acquired, obviously, because it contains the Thurber issue) and took another look at this lost feature.

The piece was an old-fashioned tie-in with his new book The Wonderful ‘O’ . Like all profiles it’s a mini-biography. If you’re familiar with the broad strokes of Thurber’s story, there isn’t much new here —  it’s simply a fun refresher course. There is however this Thurber gem tossed in: 

“I have never understood how Americans got the reputation for having a sense of humor. Actually we are a nation of slapstick people. We invented  the gag, the belly-laugh, and the hotfoot. We are not a nation who chuckles…”

Along with the now familiar late-in-life photo of Thurber drawing while wearing a Zeiss loupe (he was close to completely blind — the magnifying device allowed him to continue drawing) and a photo of him with his second wife, Helen, and their dog, there are plenty of Thurber drawings, many of them playfully bordering the text.  It’s a lovely intro to a New Yorker  giant.  

If this puts you in the mood for more Thurber, be sure to check out Michael Rosen’s A Mile and a Half of Lines: The Art of James Thurber (Trillium/Ohio State University Press, 2019), a wonderful addition to your library. It’s out August 23rd.  [Full disclosure: my wife, Liza Donnelly, and I contributed to the book]

 

 

The Wednesday Watch: Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon; New Market Watch…Air Mail; Donnelly Live-Draws Dem’s Debate; A Susanne Suba Re-Issue

Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

Desert drinks by Lila Ash, who began contributing to The New Yorker in 2018.

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New Market Watch

Considering the narrowing avenues for cartoonists , it’s always a brighter day when a cartoon-carrying publication is launched.  We now have two (online-only) issues of former Vanity Fair editor, Graydon Carter’s Air Mail to peruse. You’ll find cartoons under the heading “Small Talk” (not an exclusive-to-cartoons-heading). Many, if not all of the cartoonists in these first two issues seem to have caravanned over from the recently de-cartooned Esquire, where Air Mail‘s cartoon editor was formerly (and briefly) the cartoon editor.  New Yorker readers will recognize most of Air Mail‘s cartoonists appearing in these first two issues; they include Alex Gregory, Maddie Dai, Joe Dator, Drew Dernavich, Chris Weyant, Seth Fleishman, David Borchart, and Charlie Hankin.

Two other New Yorker artists (primarily contributors of New Yorker covers ) are given their own “Sketchbook” slots: Barry Blitt, and the legendary Edward Sorel (casually referred to under the heading, “Ed Sorel’s Sketchbook”).

The one nit-picky thing I’ll say about Air Mail‘s cartoon slot is that I wish the space allotted each cartoon wasn’t so compressed (the bright red Small Talk banner actually looks to be weighing down on a number of the cartoons,  invading the cartoon’s space).  I’ve always believed cartoons are better off with breathing room surrounding them (i.e., shown graphic respect).  You’ll notice that a number of text features ( Science, Tech Lab, But First…, Highlight, Crime) all have a horizontal line placed below their heading, cleanly separating the feature’s title from the article.

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Liza Donnelly Live-Draws Dem’s Debate

Check out Liza Donnelly’s graphic take on last night’s debate. 

Ms. Donnelly has been contributing to The New Yorker since 1982.

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A Susanne Suba Re-Issue

Originally published in 1951 by Rand McNally (cover on the left), The Theatre Cat by Noel Streatfeild, with illustrations by New Yorker artist Susanne Suba will be re-issued this September by Scholastic. 

Susanne Suba’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:

Born Budapest, Hungary 1913. Died February, 2012, NYC. Ms. Suba contributed numerous “spot” drawings to The New Yorker, as well as five covers and one cartoon, published September 18, 1948. Her first cover appeared October 21, 1939, and her last, March 2, 1963. Besides her work for the magazine she was a prolific illustrator of children’s books. A collection of her spot drawings was published in 1944, Spots By Suba: From The New Yorker (E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc, NY).

Link to the Spill‘s appreciation of Ms. Suba here.

 

 

 

The Monday Tilley Watch, The New Yorker Issue Of July 29, 2019; Today’s Daily Cartoonist And Cartoon; A Julia Wertz Daily Shouts; Fave Photo Of The Day

The Cover:  I see destructive tourists at the core of this cover, yet destruction doesn’t come up in Joost Swarte’s interview with The New Yorker‘s art director, Francoise Mouly.  Odd?

The Cartoonists:

The Cartoons:

Almost a theme issue, of sorts:  Amy Hwang (cats), Roz Chast (dogs), Farley Katz (flamingos), Joe Duffy (pigs), Kendra Allenby (deer), Frank Cotham (a snake), Shannon Wheeler (snails), Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell (a rat).

Steering briefly away from the Spill‘s focus, I have to note that Salman Rushdie’s piece in the issue  is titled “The Little King” and the accompanying illustration (by Nico Schweitzer) is a play on Otto Soglow‘s famous character. The illustration seems even closer to the toy Little King than the drawing of the King :

 

 

Applause for Bob Eckstein‘s shuttlecock drawing on page 48, and Ellis Rosen‘s heralded fellow drawing on page 42.

 

From the Department of fun coincidences. Liana Finck’s lifeguard drawing (p. 33) immediately reminded me of an obscure original Lee Lorenz drawing hanging here at Spill headquarters. The Lorenz drawing (its barely legible caption: “Help!”) was not in The New Yorker.  I’ve yet to figure out where it was published, or how old it is.  Mr. Lorenz, visiting here and seeing the drawing, could not recall where it had appeared or its vintage. It appears to be in an earlier Lorenz style (but not the earliest), so we can at least place in an early-to-mid 1960s time frame.

Ms. Finck’s drawing and Mr. Lorenz’s are in some ways opposites of each other. Mr. Lorenz’s beach is overcrowded, while Ms. Finck’s beach is empty.  Ms. Finck’s life guard offers help (if helped); Mr. Lorenz’s life guard is crying out for help. What ties them together, at least for me, is the graphic core of each drawing: the exceptionally tall life guard stand. Fine fun work by both. 

Rea Irvin: Mr. Irvin’s iconic Talk masthead (below) left us in the Spring of 2017 after 92 years of service — it was replaced by a redraw.  Let’s hope the real thing returns before long.  Read about it here.

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Today’s Daily Cartoonist And Cartoon

Brendan Loper makes good use of oven mitts. Mr. Loper began contributing to The New Yorker in 2016.

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A Julia Wertz Daily Shouts

“Conversations With Ma: Paint The Toenails And Board-Game Gripes” 

— A series? by Julia Wertz who began contributing to The New Yorker in 2015.

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Fave Photo Of The Day

A crowd of folks who draw got together yesterday in Rhinebeck, New York.  Left to right: myself, Peter Steiner, John Cuneo, R.O. Blechman, Liza Donnelly, Bill Plympton, Danny Shanahan and Elwood Smith.

 

 

 

Thurber’s “Mile And A Half Of Lines” Launched; Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon: More Spills: …Graphic Mueller Reports…Liza Donnelly On Compassion

Thurber’s “Mile And A Half Of Lines” Launched

This must-have book takes wing today with an event in Thurber’s hometown of Columbus, Ohio. Read about it here.

Related: A Thurber piece in the CSM, July 11, 2019, “The not-so-secret life of James Thurber”

[full disclosure: both my wife, Liza Donnelly, and I contributed to A Mile and a Half of Lines]

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Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

Politics & money by Mort Gerberg, who began contributing to The New Yorker in 1965.

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…From Salon, July 11, 2019, “Will more people read the Mueller Report if it’s a comic book?”

— with Shannon Wheeler content. Mr. Wheeler began contributing to The New Yorker in 2009.

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…From Medium, July 12, 2019, by Liza Donnelly: “What It Means To Be An American: Compassion”

Ms. Donnelly began contributing to The New Yorker in 1982.

 

 

From The Archive: A Ross Perot New Yorker Cartoon; Today’s New Yorker Daily Cartoon & Cartoonist; The Village Voice & MAD

I haven’t done a whole lot of (obviously) political cartoons over the years. A Supreme Court drawing in the very early 1980s and a Bill Clinton drawing in the early 1990s come readily to mind.  Ross Perot, the two-time Presidential candidate who died today at age 89, was a humor magnet. Like so many other of the magazine’s cartoonists ( including Lee Lorenz, Liza Donnelly, James Stevenson, Peter Steiner, Arnie Levin, Mick Stevens, Dana Fradon, J.B. Handelsman, and Jack Ziegler) I couldn’t resist having a graphic go at him. The below appeared in The New Yorker issue of May 27, 1996.

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Today’s New Yorker Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

Beach reading by Ellis Rosen, who has been contributing to The New Yorker since 2016.  Visit his

website here.

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The Village Voice & Mad

 

From The Village Voice, July 9, 2019, “MAD Magazine: Eclipsed By Madness? Looking Back On The Publication That Endowed America With a B. S. Detector”  — this piece by Jeoffrey O’Brien on MAD in The Voice over the years.