The Tilley Watch: The New Yorker Issue Of April 1, 2019; MoCCA Fest Event Of Note: Mort Gerberg And Friends (Danny Shanahan, Marisa Acocella, Bob Eckstein, And Michael Maslin); Today’s New Yorker Daily Cartoonist: Christopher Weyant; Today’s Bonus Daily Cartoonist: Barry Blitt

The Cover: it’s a treat to have Bruce McCall’s work back on the cover. You can read about it here (and see an early version of the cover).

The Cartoonists:

The Cartoons:

And speaking of treats, here are some of this issue’s cartoons that especially caught my eye:

Chris Weyant’s plumbing drawing (p.52). It reminded me, in the best possible way, of Jack Ziegler’s classic 1980 drawing Plumbing Trouble of the Gods. Mr. Weyant has delivered a funny, perfectly handled drawing. 

And then there’s David Borchart’s terrific giraffe drawing (p. 66). Perhaps this is the start of something big? Giraffes have never been anywhere as popular as cats and dogs in the cartoon universe (Lars Kenseth has drawn a very funny pug(?) in his all-dog cartoon on page 35). 

Finally, what a blast to come upon George Booth’s drawing in this issue (it’s on page 59). It’s a sunny day when Mr. Booth’s work appears (it’s worth mentioning again here on the Spill that Mr. Booth is the subject of an in-progress documentary film).

Applause for all.

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There are several drawings in the issue that, for some, might require Googling. I’ve always been a believer in “getting” a drawing without assistance. If I don’t get it, I move on (or occasionally ask a friend for help).  Of course, not getting certain New Yorker cartoons is age-old.

A note: this week’s Talk section includes a Sketchpad (it features a color “illustration” by Emily Flake).  A usage reminiscent of the comic strips briefly brought in during the early 1990s under Tina Brown. The Brown era comic strips ran across the entire width of each page (i.e., 6 columns wide), whereas this Sketchpad is 4 columns wide. Below: an example of a strip from the past: a Victoria Roberts piece from the issue of March 28, 1994.

Finally, the beautiful Rea Irvin masthead continues to remain in storage — not even brought out  as some kind of tease for this April 1st issue.  Well, here it is below, as it will be weekly until it reappears in the magazine (I can dream, can’t I?). 

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MoCCA Fest Event Of Note: Mort Gerberg and Friends: Danny Shanahan, Marisa Acocella, and Bob Eckstein. Panel moderated by Michael Maslin

The upcoming Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (otherwise known as MoCCA) will begin its 2019 Festival on April 6th. A number of New Yorker folks will be participating (and I will note them as the information becomes available). Here’s the announcement of one that just came into the Spill:

 

Mort Gerberg and Friends

 

Mort Gerberg broke into print with irreverent drawings in The Realist in the early ’60s. His social-justice-minded—and bitingly funny—cartoons subsequently appeared in magazines including The New Yorker, Playboy, and the Saturday Evening Post. As a reporter, he’s sketched historic scenes including the women’s marches of the ’60s and the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

He is currently the subject of a retrospective exhibit at the New-York Historical Society, and Fantagraphics Underground Press has recently published the retrospective book Mort Gerberg On the Scene: A 50-Year Cartoon Chronicle. Gerberg will discuss his work in a conversation with friends and colleagues, led by Michael Maslin (Inkspill, The New Yorker) and including New Yorker cartoonists Marisa Acocella, Bob Eckstein and Danny Shanahan.

Garamond Room / 3:00 pm, Saturday, April 6th

Link to MoCCA’s website here for more general info.

Photos above, l-r: Danny Shanahan, Marisa Acocella, and Bob Eckstein

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Today’s New Yorker Daily Cartoon/Cartoonist & Bonus Daily Cartoon/Cartoonist

Christopher Weyant is today’s Daily Cartoonist.  You can see his (Trump) drawing here. 

Mr. Weyant began contributing to The New Yorker in 1998. Link to his website here.

And here’s Barry Blitt’s Bonus Daily cartoon  —  Trump-world-ish .

Mr. Blitt began contributing to The New Yorker in 1994.  Link to his website here.

 

 

 

Personal History: Holding

I happened upon a paper-clipped bunch of pages today in the Spill‘s archives that I’d completely forgotten about. The very first page, from late 1980, appears above.  It comes as news to me thirty-nine years later that I made a list of drawings that were being held by The New Yorker

This is what holding means:

When a cartoonist submitted a batch of drawings, and returned the following week to submit another batch, last week’s rejects would be waiting. Along with the returned drawings was the classic New Yorker rejection slip — and occasionally there would be, on the slip, a handwritten Holding 1 (sometimes more than one drawing was held). For whatever reason, or reasons, Lee Lorenz, the art editor at the time, had decided to hang onto a drawing for further consideration.  Held drawings were in limbo — not bought,  just held. And then they were either returned, or bought.  

Having a drawing held was always preferable to complete rejection: it was a glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe, that held drawing would be “OKed” (i.e., bought).  What’s interesting (to me) about the list was how many held drawings there were in that short period of time. Without this list as a reminder I would’ve guessed that one of my drawings was held every two or three months, at most.  Six held within a couple of months, and two bought seems like much better odds than memory allowed. The Calm Before The Coffee was Oked but I didn’t bother underlining it in red and placing an asterisk next to it — I must’ve forgotten I had started a holding list by the time it was OKed. 

 

The Tilley Watch, The New Yorker March 18, 2019

The Cover: This is Malika Favre’s seventh cover for The New Yorker (according to the Contributors info on page 4). An exceptionally decorative cover for “The Style Issue”… Read more here

The Cartoonists:

The Cartoons:

A very Charles Addamsy David Sipress drawing this week (that’s a compliment, of course).

Cartoon placement on the page has been mentioned here numerous times: happy to say that seven (i.e., half) of the  cartoons in the issue were given breathing room. They look great.

Tom Cheney’s Hell’s Auditors cartoon especially caught my eye (it’s on page 29). I believe that this is the fourth time New Yorker cartoonists have specifically word-played with the Hell’s Angels “colors.” Jack Ziegler had two, this beauty, published in The New Yorker, February 27, 1989:

And an earlier one, published in The New Yorker, December 17, 1984:

And then there was this one by yours truly in the December 25th, 1995 issue of The New Yorker:

A quick search of The New Yorker‘s database shows over a hundred of its cartoons have incorporated a motorcycle.  Sometimes the bike and biker are bit players, and other times they’re the focus of the drawing.  An awful lot of the cartoons concern folks getting speeding tickets from a motorcycle cop (and many of them show the cop in-wait behind a billboard). 

There are a small number of cartoons with motorcyclists wearing colors, but the usage doesn’t include mention of the Hell’s Angels. Ed Arno’s motorcycle gang wearing jackets that read “Inflation Fighters” (published April 2, 1979) is one example. 

To return to the great Jack Ziegler for a moment, he used the Hell’s Angels colors once again, but left their name intact in this fabulous drawing published in The New Yorker, November 13, 2000:

A long long way from the subject of Hell’s Angels, for those interested in trivia: the first mention of a motorcycle cartoon in the New Yorker‘s database is Al Frueh’s cartoon in the February 13, 1926 issue.  The  second cartoon with a motorcycle in the picture was published December 7, 1929.  It set off a bit of a in-house squabble, but that’s a story for another time (the artist was Peter Arno).

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Lastly, still no sight of Rea Irvin’s classic Talk masthead. Read about it here, and see it below:

 

Book On The Horizon…”A Mile And A Half Of Lines: The Art Of James Thurber”; Video Of Interest: Liza Donnelly; Audio Of Interest: Roz Chast; Audio Of Interest: Bob Eckstein: Chris Ware In School; Today’s New Yorker Daily Cartoonist: Farley Katz

Coming this July from Ohio State University Press,  A Mile And A Half of Lines: The Art Of James Thurber.

Edited by Michael Rosen, with contributions from Rosemary Thurber, Liza Donnelly, Seymour Chwast, Ian Frazier, and yours truly.

From the publisher:

Humorist, cartoonist, writer, playwright. James Thurber was to the twentieth century what Mark Twain was to the nineteenth. At one point, his books were the most read of any American in the world. His work could be found anywhere—from the pages of the New Yorker to the pages of children’s books, from illustrated advertisements to tea towels and dresses. Now, in celebration of the 125th anniversary of Thurber’s birth, A Mile and a Half of Lines: The Art of James Thurber is a long overdue introduction and reintroduction to James Thurber and the artwork that fundamentally changed American cartoons. Including some 260 drawings, this collection is the first comprehensive focus on his work as an artist, a cartoonist, and an illustrator.

Coinciding with the first major retrospective of Thurber’s art presented by the Columbus Museum of Art in 2019, A Mile and a Half of Lines showcases both classic Thurber as well as visual material never before seen in print.

 

Here’s James Thurber’s entry on Ink Spill‘s New Yorker Cartoonists A-Z:

James Thurber Born, Columbus, Ohio, December 8, 1894. Died 1961, New York City. New Yorker work: 1927 -1961, with several pieces run posthumously.  According to the New Yorker’s legendary editor, William Shawn, “In the early days, a small company of writers, artists, and editors — E.B. White, James Thurber, Peter Arno, and Katharine White among them — did more to make the magazine what it is than can be measured.”  

Key cartoon collection: The Seal in the Bedroom and Other Predicaments (Harper & Bros., 1932). Key anthology (writings & drawings): The Thurber Carnival (Harper & Row, 1945). There have been a number of Thurber biographies. Burton Bernstein’s Thurber (Dodd, Mead, 1975) and Harrison Kinney’s James Thurber: His Life and Times (Henry Holt & Co., 1995)  are essential. A short bio appears on the Thurber House website: http://www.thurberhouse.org/about-james-thurber/

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Video of Interest: Liza Donnelly

Liza Donnelly was just out in Silicon Valley live-drawing at the Global Women In Data Science Conference. A short video here about her work

Ms. Donnelly began contributing to The New Yorker in 1982.  Here’s her website.

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Radio Interview of Interest: Bob Eckstein

A lot of fun snowman talk in this half -hour radio interview with Mr. Eckstein, who has been contributing to The New Yorker since 2007. (scroll down to February 13, 2019).

Mr. Eckstein is also the editor of this upcoming cartoon anthology:

Link here to Bob Eckstein’s website.

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Radio Interview of Interest: Roz Chast

From WBAI (NYC), March 6, 2019, this hour-long interview with Roz Chast.

Ms. Chast began contributing to The New Yorker in 1978.  Here’s her website.

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Chris Ware In School

From Skidmore College, March 6, 2019, “Cartoonist Chris Ware Talks Art careers”  — Mr. Ware began contributing to The New Yorker in 1999.  

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Today’s Daily Cartoon

 Facebook is the subject of today’s Daily, courtesy of cartoonist Farley Katz.  Mr. Katz began contributing to The New Yorker in 2007.  Here’s his website.

 

 

Personal History: Ink Never Sleeps

The cartoonist working in the wee hours. 1978, New York City

There are probably as many different work habits among New Yorker cartoonists as there are New Yorker cartoonists. I’ve heard of colleagues who are nine-to-fivers, and those who’ve worked the night shift. There was even a rumor of a colleague, now long gone, who did his batch of cartoons on the train as he headed down from Connecticut to see the New Yorker‘s art editor. As there’s no clock to punch, we are left to working out/on our own schedule. Joe Dator‘s hysterical “How We Do It” published in The New Yorker Cartoon Issue of 2012 (September 24th to be exact) is the last word on the idealized life of cartoonists working for the magazine.

My own work habits migrated with the years, from childhood, passing the hours drawing in front of the television, to working during high school study halls (yes, that’s right, instead of studying) to working at any convenient time in college between all those required courses, to post-college when staying up all night resulted in a whole lot of drawing but few usable ideas. Post-college, living in Manhattan, inspired perhaps by my perceived notion of the work habits of my downstairs neighbor, the writer Donald Barthelme, I began an attempt at regular hours — vaguely bracketed by late morning and late afternoon. Years later, out of the city and with a family, the unthinkable happened: working very early in the morning for a defined amount of time (my wife and I split our work days: I worked in the morning while she was with our kids, and she worked in the afternoon while I was with the kids). Once the kids grew up and flew the nest, the entire day was wide open again, but the morning hours remained (and remain) as the best use of time. In the past decade, the mid-to-late afternoon around 4 o’clock — what William Shawn called the hour of hope — has become an opportune time to wait for the cartoon gods to toss me an idea or two.

Through all this time shifting, from childhood home through the home where our kids grew up, from working defined times to undefined, from working through the night to working early in the day to working whenever, there has remained a constant: making myself available, Rapidograph and paper at the ready, with the intention that something might happen.

My tool of choice from high school to the present: the Rapidograph.