Hooray for Hollywood? This week’s cover (artist: Chris Ware) reminds us — not that we need reminding –that Tinsel Town is a troubled town.
Shout out to the Cartier folks for the pretty street lamp that greets you as you open the magazine. Nice also to see the photo of David Bowie (however much I disagree with this current usage of the Goings On About Town opening page, i.e., with a nearly full page photo. It never fails to trick me into thinking I’m seeing an ad).
Speaking of being in disagreement, the stand-in remains in place for Rea Irvin’s iconic design for the Talk Of The Town.
Here’s what the original looks like:
And here’s the stand-in:
Alrighty then, on to the issue’s cartoons.
The very first cartoon is by David Sipress. A somewhat retired theme (torture) returns. Torture rack drawings popped up more ages ago, replaced (if my unscientific memory search is slightly accurate) with another kind of torture: prisoners hanging by handcuffs up on dungeon walls. I feel for the fellow in Mr. Sipress’s drawing who is about to undergo the “procedure.”
Five pages later a couple of “Casablanca”-era Humphrey Bogart-like fellas at the end of a pier, courtesy of Carolita Johnson. As discussed last week (Frank Cotham’s drawing of thugs planning just such a pier push) this is a standard situation a lot of cartoonists are attracted to (including this one). Here’s one more — a personal favorite of mine.
On the very next page, a robot drawing by Navied Mahdavian, whose debut drawing was last week. I recall Zach Kanin bringing robots back into usage a few years ago (or maybe it was Roz Chast…or was it someone else. New Yorker cartoon robot aficionados please advise). In this particular case I was a bit worried that the scientists had their backs to the dancing duo. Perhaps it was this portion of the caption: “They [the robots] don’t appear to want to take over…” [bolded words mine]. Hmmm, if there’s any doubt, any doubt at all as to the robots’ intentions, perhaps it’s best to observe them in an fortified isolation booth or something.
Three pages later a Danny Shanahan drawing. Fun drawing perfectly synced with a wonderful Shanahan-esque caption. If I was awarding ribbons as they do over on the Cartoon Companion, I’d pin one on this drawing (and on the P. C. Vey drawing that we’ll get to in a minute).
Eight pages later, a Roz Chast NYC-centered alien “take us to your leader”-type drawing. I enjoyed examining the screens on the aliens’ chests. Would love to see Chastian aliens in color.
On the very next page (and I should say, very nicely sized and placed on the page) is a terrif Chris Weyant drawing. The caption’s sterling construction reminds me of captions once written by the likes of James Stevenson, Donald Reilly, and Charles Saxon. Applause applause!
Two pages later, a real gem by P.C. Vey. A cave couple. Mr. Vey’s world is such a fun treat (and isn’t that why we love cartoons?). I find it hysterical that:
1. The cave woman looks nothing like a cave woman (her hair’s perfect and she’s wearing a somewhat stylish shift).
2. The cave man is so well-groomed (both hair and beard).
The next two drawings (the first by newbie Pia Guerra, and the next by veteran-newbie Will McPhail) reminded me, in their construction (not style) of ancient friezes:
If you placed a ruler along the base of the feet in each drawing, you’d see that every foot (and one paw) touches the edge of the ruler (with the exception of Ms. Guerra’s wolf’s right paw, and a kicked-up foot on the person to the extreme right of Mr. McPhail’s drawing). There is no reason to note this other than that I don’t recall ever seeing two frieze-like drawings back-to-back before.
Four pages following the second frieze cartoon is a Maggie Dai Atlas drawing that sent me to the search box. Now I know what “leg day” refers to. On the very next page, the instantly recognizable style of Drew Dernavich, who delivers an Oscars drawing.
Three pages later a delightful Barbara Smaller drawing. Nice to see bigger picture work by her. On the very next page, an Ed Steed sports drawing (basketball). Five pages later Paul Noth references fine art. I recall that Roz Chast handled Venus on a cover not too very long ago. My memory is that Addams liked to work with Venus too. Am I wrong, but aren’t bathtubs the preferred bathroom fixture for home births rather than sinks? Of course, it being cartoonland and all, anything’s possible.
Case in point: the last drawing of the issue, by JAK (otherwise known as Jason Adam Katzenstein). We see a card game with a Wolf Blizter-like guy in an open collared rumpled shirt, a well dressed woman (she’s wearing pearls), and a wolf(?) in a tuxedo.
The popped eyes and slack jaw suggest animation as inspiration, like so:
Cover Update: The New Yorker Encyclopedia of Cartoons
If you’ve been following the Spill ‘s coverage of cover art (or lack of) for The New Yorker Encyclopedia of Cartoons (due in October from Black Dog & Leventhal) you might find it interesting that we now have the below image to contemplate: