The Weekend Spill: Peter Kuper’s NYT’s Book Review Back Page; The Tilley Watch Online, October 28 – November 1, 2019; Karasik Speaks; A Mary Petty Exhibit In Maryland

Peter Kuper’s New York Times Book Review  “Graphic Review”

Be sure to check out Peter Kuper’s “Graphic Review” (featured in tomorrow’s New York Times Book Review). His new book, Heart Of Darkness is out November 5th. He’ll be appearing to sign and speak about the book twice in New York next week (see yesterday’s Spill for links to venues).

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The Tilley Watch Online, October 28 – November 1, 2019: an end of the week listing of New Yorker artists that contributed online to newyorker.com features

The Daily Cartoon: Ali Solomon, Karen Sneider, Johnny DiNapoli, Barbara Smaller, Kim Warp, Ellis Rosen.

Daily Shouts: Sara Lautman, Ellis Rosen & Colin Stokes, Ali Fitzgerald.

and…the stand alone feature,  Barry Blitt’s Kvetchbook.

Go here to see all of the above and more (including Lynda Barry’s Daily Shouts piece, “Making Comics: The Face-Jam Excercise”), 

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Karasik Speaks

See the poster for all the info, and/or go here. Mr. Karasik began contributing to The New Yorker in 1999.

His most recent book, co-authored with Mark Newgarden, was How to Read Nancy: The Elements Of Comics In Three Easy Panels, published by Fantagraphics  in 2017.

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A Mary Petty Exhibit In Maryland

A Mary Petty exhibit is about to open at St. John’s Mitchell Gallery.  All the info here.

Ms. Petty’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:

 

 

 

 

Mary Petty Born, Hampton, New Jersey, April 29, 1899. Died, Paramus, New Jersey, March, 1976. New Yorker work: October 22, 1927 – March 19, 1966. Collection: This Petty Place ( Knopf, 1945) with a Preface by James Thurber.

 

 

Some Favorite Summertime New Yorker Covers

This hot and humid long 4th of July weekend makes me think of specific favorite summertime New Yorker covers. The choices are good and plenty when one decides to select a few favorites from the magazine’s 94 years; for every one shown here, there are at least five more that fall into the fave category — these half dozen are but a fraction of the magazine’s superb summertime covers.

It’s perhaps worth noting that each of the artists below contributed both cartoons and covers to The New Yorker. They all hail from the pre-Tina Brown days when more than 60% of the magazine’s covers were contributed by its cartoonists (a reasonable guess would be that the % now of the magazine’s cartoonists contributing covers is somewhere in the low single digits).

This August 4th 1945 Mary Petty cover has always been a first thought when summer arrives.  The simple quiet moment Ms. Petty gives us during a particularly horrendous moment in history has always fascinated me. This scan doesn’t do justice to Ms. Petty’s watercolors.

Whenever I think of summertime and beaches I think of this Ludwig Bemelmans July 13, 1946  cover. Most will think of Mr. Bemelmans and immediately recall his Madeline books, but his contribution of 32 New Yorker covers was substantial

Here’s a beauty by Anatol Kovarsky from August 2, 1969. If you look through Mr. Kovarsky’s New Yorker covers you’ll see he often returned to aerial views. I’ve always found it amusing that he focused here on the parking lot, with the beach and ocean as supporting players.

Charles Addams’s cover shown below was published the very next week after Mr. Kovarsky’s. It reminds me of the summers during the years I lived in Manhattan, especially the days I headed up to The New Yorker‘s office to drop off my weekly batch of cartoons. The city never seemed hotter, the sidewalks never stickier, the non-air conditioned subway cars never sootier, than on those trips between my apartment in Greenwich Village and 25 West 43rd Street.

 

There are so many wonderful New Yorker baseball covers, but this one by Garrett Price is a particular favorite. 

Finally, this spectacular July 4th 1953 cover by Alajalov.

Here are the Spill’s A-Z entries for each of the above artists. 

 

 

 

 

Mary Petty  Born, Hampton, New Jersey, April 29, 1899. Died, Paramus, New Jersey, March, 1976. New Yorker work: October 22, 1927 – March 19, 1966. Collection: This Petty Place ( Knopf, 1945) with a Preface by James Thurber.

 

Ludwig Bemelmans  Born, April 27, 1898. Died, October 1, 1962. New Yorker work: contributed six cartoons and thirty-two covers as well written pieces in a New Yorker career that began in October of 1937 and lasted until August 1962. He achieved lasting fame with his Madeline childrens books.

 

 

Anatol Kovarsky (photo: NYC, 2013. By Liza Donnelly) Born, Moscow. Died, June 1, 2016, NYC. Collection: Kovarsky’s World (Knopf, 1956) New Yorker work: 1947 -1969. Link to Ink Spill’s  2013 piece, “Anatol Kovarsky at 94: Still Drawing After All These Years”

 

 

Charles Addams  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. Visit the Addams Foundation website for far more information : http://www.charlesaddams.com/

 

Garrett Price ( Photo Source: Esquire Cartoon Album, 1957) Born, 1897, Bucyrus, Kansas. Died, April, 1979, Norwalk, Conn. Collection: Drawing Room Only / A Book of Cartoons (Coward -McCann, 1946). New Yorker work: 1925 -1974.

 

 

Constantin Alajalov  Born Constantin Aladjalov, 1900, Rostov-on-the-Don, Russia. Died Oct., 1987, Amenia, New York. New Yorker work: 1926 -1960. Perhaps best known for his New Yorker covers ( he also supplied cover art to other publications). Key collection: Conversation Pieces (The Studio Publications Inc., 1942) w/ commentary by Janet Flanner. A profile from The Saturday Evening Post.

Society Of Illustrators Names Hall Of Fame Inductees; Today’s New Yorker Daily Cartoonist: Shannon Wheeler; More Gerberg; Event Of Interest: Chris Ware; Even More Shermund; Interviews Of Interest: Bob Eckstein, Gahan Wilson

From The Daily Cartoonist, February 14, 2019, “Society Of illustrators 2019 Hall of Fame” — Read here! (Spoiler: Two New Yorker folks named!)

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Today’s Daily Cartoon

Today’s Daily cartoon, tuned in to today’s heart-shaped celebration, is by Shannon Wheeler, who began contributing to The New Yorker in 2009.

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More Gerberg

Mr. Gerberg’s first New Yorker cartoon, published in the issue of April 10, 1965.

From amNewYork, February 14, 2019, “Mort Gerberg retrospective spotlights cartoonnist’s witty views of NY life”

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From The Albany Times-Union, February 12, 2019, Cartoonist Chris Ware Speaks, Signs Books.

Mr. Ware’s Monograph, published in 2017

Mr. Ware began contributing to The New Yorker in 1999.

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Even More Shermund

A Shermund self-portrait

From Columbus Monthly, “Burying Barbara Shermund, A Forgotten Cartoonist” — more on the late great Ms. Shermund. Read here.

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Interview of Interest: Bob Eckstein

Bob Eckstein’s fabulous Snowman book

A radio interview with a lot of snowman talk (as you’d expect when the World’s Greatest Snowman Expert is the interviewee), and some cartoon talk as well at the close. Listen here.

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Interview of Interest: Gahan Wilson

Jason Sacks interviews Gahan Wilson. Listen here.

Mr. Wilson began contributing to The New Yorker in 1976. Link here to his website.

The Tilley Watch, The New Yorker Issue Of December 3, 2018; Peter Kuper & Ricky Jay

Confused by this week’s cover?  Feel like you saw it before? Well if you were reading The New Yorker in 1927, you did see it before. 

 Below: the cover as published this week, and how it originally appeared. The 2018 cover seems to have been ever-so-slightly cropped along the left and right edges, with the artist’s signature moved closer to the red tail lights (but hey, the magazine is not the same size as it was in 1927, so…).

If you have the Complete Book Of Covers From The New Yorker you’ll notice that the thumbnail cover shown has a blue sky, with a dark to light gradation as it nears the horizon. Without the original issue in hand, it’s difficult to know which 1927 version is truer (and even then, original print covers can differ in quality, cropping and coloring).

A small miracle: it looks as if the original type face from 1927 has been retained (but the 2018 date and price are in the modernized type-face).

This is an unusual issue of the New Yorker —  its very first “Archival Issue”…there have been nods to the past before, with cartoons and covers re-run inside the magazine, but never an issue dedicated to the past.  It is not, of course, the first time the magazine has reprinted a cover as a cover.  The cover of the very first New Yorker, featuring Rea Irvin’s Eustace Tilley, was brought back, uninterrupted, for 67 years and then made some curtain calls (you can read more about that here).

The cartoons

Here are the cartoonists appearing in this special issue (A Roz Chast full page appears where the caption contest usually appears):

From the Department of Does Size Matter, I’m showing a few of the cartoons in this issue, and how they originally appeared in the magazine. Regular Spill readers may have picked up on how much importance I place on the size of the magazine’s cartoons and how they sit on the page.  Looking through this new special issue it was immediately apparent that some of the archival drawings were being run much smaller than they originally appeared. This is an excellent opportunity to compare/contrast. It’s not always the case that a cartoon run bigger is better.  Sometimes a cartoon that’s been run big really amplifies its graphic issues. But that’s not the case for any of these fabulous drawings shown below.

The first cartoon in the magazine is by Mary Petty.  On the left is the cartoon as run in this 2018 issue. On the right is how it appeared in the issue of March 12, 1932.

 

Next up, a Charles Addams classic, with the 2018 appearance on the left and on the right, its original appearance in the issue of October 29, 1960.

Below, a beauty from James Stevenson.  The 2018 appearance on the left, and the original appearance in the issue of August 16, 1976.

Below: a beautiful Nancy Fay drawing. On the left as seen in this new issue.  On the right its original appearance in the issue of October 20, 1928.

Finally, a drawing by the master, Peter Arno. The odds favor any Arno drawing run as a full page in the New Yorker, and so it was with this classic (caption by the late great idea man, Herb Valen).

The 2018 appearance on the left and the original appearance in the issue of May 10, 1947 (the 2018 credit line mistakenly attributes the drawing to the June 10, 1947 issue).

Bookkeeping: Inaccurate New Yorkery-factoids pop-up like turkey timers when I see them. This following passage in the new issue’s Comment, “The City Of Dreams” popped-up:

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The trouble is that James Thurber did not make his debut (with a short piece, “Villanelle Of Horatio Street”) until the issue of February 26, 1927.  His drawings didn’t begin appearing until January of 1931 (January 31, 1931. The caption: “Take a good look at these fellows, Tony, so you’ll remember ’em next time.”)

I admit that when I heard there was to be an archival issue of the magazine I first thought of Rea Irvin’s Talk masthead.  If ever there was a moment to return it to its natural habitat, this would be it.  But, alas, it’s still a-missin’. Here’s what it looks like (and here’s where you can read more about it):

 

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Peter Kuper & Ricky Jay

From PBS, January 21, 2015, “Comic: Waiting For Ricky Jay, by Peter Kuper”

From The New York Times, Nov. 25, 2018,  “Ricky Jay , Gifted Magician, Actor and Author, is Dead at 70”

First Look: The New Yorker Encyclopedia Of Cartoons

A review copy of the slip-cased two volume New Yorker Encyclopedia of Cartoons has landed here at the Spill. After sitting with it a day I’ve some initial thoughts:

The very first impression, before the shrink wrap was removed, was how heavy the set is ( 14.9 pounds).  An earlier tome, 2004’s Complete New Yorker Cartoons of The New Yorker  weighed in at 7 pounds. Of course, there are two volumes, so we’re back to about 7 pounds per volume. I found the books themselves attractive: the design, the binding, the paper quality, typography.  Once a volume is set down on a flat surface, it opens well, affording a pleasant thumbing through experience. 

The placement of cartoons is two per page (but not exclusively — there are times a drawing is full page, or takes up more than 50% of a page).  Chapter headings are each letter of the alphabet. On those introductory chapter pages, printed on a red base, a full page drawing appears. A nice touch: each drawing’s original publication date is noted.  Occasionally there is what is called a “commentary” (an example: “Banana Peels”). These are unsigned, but a blanket credit, for assisting in the writing is given in the introduction to cartoonists Emily Flake, Pat Byrnes, Tom Toro, Paul Karasik, and the New Yorker’s Assistant Cartoon Editor, Colin Stokes [full disclosure: I was asked to audition for the opportunity to write a number of these commentaries. I declined after learning my efforts, if used, would appear uncredited]. I’ve yet to read these commentaries, so I won’t comment on them, other than to say I wish each was signed, or co-signed.

On to the content of the book itself. The New Yorker has a long history of issuing themed pamphlets (for advertising purposes) and themed anthologies. The New Yorker War Album (published in 1942) was the first themed anthology. The next was The New Yorker Album of Art and Artists (published in 1970). The New Yorker Book of Cat Cartoons, published in 1991, was the first of many themed anthologies issued in a square format. The theme of this new anthology are cartoon themes themselves, from Accounting to Zorro.

As a cartoonist, I’ve always found themed collections amusing additions to the classic anthologies that began with The New Yorker Album, published in 1928, and continued through to the aforementioned 2004 Complete Cartoons. The classic anthologies are the next best thing to seeing the cartoons in their natural habitat: the New Yorker magazine itself. Mr. Remnick has this to say in his foreword:

A caution to the reader: The usual way to come across New Yorker cartoons is in the magazine or, more recently, on newyorker.com and on social media. There’s something distinctive, maybe even perverse, about the experience of glancing away from a long piece about, say, a particularly dusty province in the Middle East to drink quietly from the oasis of a good cartoon. 

 Leafing through an issue of The New Yorker affords the reader the joy of complete surprise when coming upon a new cartoon. The reader has, at first glance,  no clue as to what the drawing will deliver.  I often mention Peter Arno’s definition of a good cartoon — that is, one that delivers a one-two punch.  The reader looks at the drawing and then, the second punch: reading the caption. If the drawing is successful, the second punch really delivers. In themed anthologies the reader is already  somewhat informed. For instance, in the New Yorker Book of Dogs, you already know that the next cartoon, and the next, and the next, and so on, will concern dogs. The element of complete surprise is gone. But of course, if you are looking through the New Yorker Book Of Dogs, that’s what you want: cartoons about dogs. In the classic anthologies the reader is still afforded complete surprise: you have zero idea what the next page will bring. You may, of course, immediately recognize a favorite drawing first published in an issue of the magazine, but that’s akin to rounding a corner and running into an old friend. What I’m getting at here is that if you’re a person who enjoys some advance notice of what you’re in for, then this encyclopedia, with some 3000 categorized cartoons (in 300 categories) spread out over two volumes, is for you. 

 The contributing cartoonists are listed on Indexes found in each volume. Jack Ziegler’s work is most represented (103 drawings), followed by the encyclopedia’s editor (88).  Some of the cartoon gods of the magazine’s golden age are well represented (James Stevenson, for example, with 55 cartoons), while others less so (Mary Petty is represented by one cartoon, Helen Hokinson, the magazine’s marquee cartoonist, along with Peter Arno, for nearly forty years, is represented by five). To be clear, this encyclopedia is not advertised as some sort of all-encompassing anthology celebrating the magazine’s 93 year history.  Let’s hope the New Yorker has just that kind of collection in mind for its 100th anniversary in 2025.

The cartoons in this heavyweight encyclopedia, some gold, some silver, speak for themselves.