The Monday Tilley Watch, The New Yorker Issue Of July 6, 2020; A Spill Cartoonist List: Fun At First Sight

The Cover Artist: Kadir Nelson returns just two weeks after his stunning cover of June 22nd.

The Cartoonists:

The Cartoons:

A double issue with eighteen cartoons by eighteen cartoonists (with two duo efforts: Bliss & Martin, Guerra & Boothby). There’s also a Sketchpad drawing from J.A.K., and a newbie in the midst: Patrick McKelvie. Mr. McKelvie is the tenth new cartoonist to join The New Yorker’s stable this year and the sixty-third brought in by cartoon editor Emma Allen since she was appointed in the Spring of 2017.

Here are some of the cartoons in this week’s issue that caught my eye: a classic  lighthouse light bulb drawing by great Sam Gross, and then perhaps my favorite Ellis Rosen drawing ever (so far!) — his cave people drawing (much like Mr. Gross’s lighthouse drawing) proves that there is plenty of humor to unearth in these favorite cartoon scenarios. Liana Finck’s tent basement is terrif, as is Amy Hwang’s great ice cream on the beach scene. Enjoyed Roz Chast’s six-squares (the way she uses language here reminds me of Bizarro Superman).  Lars Kenseth’s superhero is so much fun. Repeating myself here, but Mr. Kenseth’s drawings never fail to amuse me upon first sighting — I’m sold before I get to the caption.

Fun At First Sight:

Thinking of that kind of reaction has caused me to think about (and mention) some other New Yorker cartoonists whose styles alone have won me over at first glance. I’m going to list only those who’ve passed into the great beyond so as not to offend anyone still around who I might inadvertently forget to mention.

Each of the following had a “theirs alone” style unlike any other being published in the magazine. That’s a wonderful thing, and difficult to do in a crowded cartoonist universe; each brought something else to the drawing paper as well — sometimes easily defined (see Dean Vietor’s work, for example: I’ve mentioned his thrilling wild energetic drawings before on the Spill), and sometimes not.

So here, in alphabetical order are some (not all!) of those fun at first sight New Yorker artists …Addams, Arno (Peter & Ed), Charles Barsotti, Whitney Darrow, Chon Day, Alan Dunn, Dana Fradon, Helen Hokinson, Nurit Karlin, Anatol Kovarsky, Robert Kraus, Frank Modell, Mary Petty, Price (George & Garrett), Gardner Rea, Donald Reilly, Carl Rose, Al Ross, Charles Saxon, Bernie Schoenbaum, Barbara Shermund, Otto Soglow, Steig, Steinberg, James Stevenson, Richard Taylor, Thurber, Dean Vietor, Robert Weber, Gluyas Williams, Gahan Wilson, and Jack Ziegler.

The Rea Irvin Talk Masthead Watch:

Would love to report that Rea Irvin’s iconic design had returned (it’s been collecting dust since it was replaced by a redraw(!) in the Spring of 2017). But such is not the case. Bah, humbug.

Read about it here.

Here’s what we’re missing:

 

 

 

The Wednesday Watch: Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon; Time Capsule: The New Yorker Issue Of March 21, 1931 Via A New Yorker State Of Mind

Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

Mort Gerberg  on Zoom(ing) this day.  In just two days Mr. Gerberg will celebrate the 55th anniversary of his first published New Yorker cartoon, shown below.

Visit his website here.

Mort Gerberg’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:

Mort Gerberg  Born, March 11, 1931, New York, NY. New Yorker work: April 10, 1965 – . Co-edited, with Ron Wolin & Ed Fisher, The Art in Cartooning: Seventy-five Years of American Magazine Cartoons ( Charles Scribner & Son, 1975). Essential reading… Mort Gerberg On The Scene: A 50-Year Cartoon Chronicle (Fantagraphics, 2019).

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Time Capsule: The New Yorker Issue Of March 21, 1931 Via A New Yorker State Of Mind

A New Yorker State Of Mind: Reading Every Issue Of The New Yorker Magazine   dives deep into the issue of March 21, 1931. Some of the names you’ll run across: Dorothy Parker, E.B. White, FDR, Charles Lindbergh. And cartoons by, among others, Otto Soglow, Mary Petty (and her husband, Alan Dunn), Barbara Shermund, and Helen Hokinson (the cover artist for the issue as well).

 

 

 

The Forever Fun Work By Nurit Karlin, Dana Fradon, and Gahan Wilson

2019 was an unusually rough year in the loss column for New Yorker cartoonists. We lost Nurit Karlin in April, Dana Fradon in October, and then Gahan Wilson in November.  Although we miss them, and mourn them, we have thousands of their cartoons at hand in anthologies, collections, and online.  A wonderful thing happened this morning when I began looking once again at Nurit’s, Dana’s and Gahan’s drawings in New Yorker anthologies: their work gave me a cartoonist jump-start into the new year — a fun boost as 2020 begins.

Ms. Karlin, the lone female cartoonist at the magazine during her first four years at the magazine, reinvigorated the school of Thurber:  simple clean lines delighting as much as a Reginald Marsh double-page extravaganza. Ms. Karlin found humor without captions — in my book a most difficult way to define one’s cartoon world.  She moved the captionless tradition into modern times; a  corner of the cartoonist’s universe notably practiced  by Sam Cobean and Otto Soglow in the magazine’s earlier years.

Dana Fradon, 97 at the time of his passing, was our last cartoonist link to the Harold Ross era. Mr. Fradon had excellent recall of the generations of New Yorker contributors he encountered during his more than half a century contributing his organically funny drawings. Good humor and high-bar artistry stayed with him throughout. Mr. Fradon, along with a number of his contemporaries, excelled at inverted tip-of-the-iceberg drawings: the point he wanted to make was just below the surface.

Gahan Wilson, affectionately and accurately dubbed the Wizard Of Weird, was the child who loved to draw monsters who grew up to be the adult who drew monsters. It was Mr. Wilson’s genuine love of that frightening world, and his gifted exploration of it throughout his life that caused us to cherish him and his work.

 

 

Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon; Nurit Karlin Archive To Columbia University; Meet The Artist (1943): Otto Soglow

Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

Compared to Baby Yoda, by Lila Ash. Ms. Ash has been contributing to The New Yorker since 2018. Visit her website here.

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Nurit Karlin’s Archive To Columbia University

A Facebook announcement from Columbia University’s Karen Green:

Here’s Nurit Karlin’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:

Nurit Karlin (above. Photo taken at a Playboy holiday party, NYC, early 1990s). Born in Jerusalem, 1940.  Died, Tel Aviv, April, 2019.  New Yorker work: 1974 – 1988. Collection: No Comment (Scribner, 1978). For more on Karlin see pp 124 -130 of Liza Donnelly’s Funny Ladies: The New Yorker’s Greatest Women Cartoonists and Their Cartoons (Prometheus Books, 2005).

 

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Meet The Artist (1943): Otto Soglow

Another in a series of self portraits of New Yorker artists included in the Meet The Artist catalog published by the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum in 1943.

Mr. Soglow’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:

Otto Soglow Born, Yorkville, NY, December 23, 1900. Died in NYC, April 1975. New Yorker work: 1925 -1974. Key collections: Pretty Pictures (Farrar & Rinehart, 1931) and for fans of Soglow’s Little King: The Little King (Farrar & Rinehart, 1933) and The Little King ( John Martin’s House, Inc., 1945). The latter Little King is an illustrated storybook. Cartoon Monarch / Otto Soglow & The Little King (IDW, 2012) is an excellent compendium.

 

 

 

 

Celebrating Sam Gross’s 50th New Yorker Anniversary

The most recent Sam Gross cartoon in The New Yorker appeared August 5th, 2019.  Mr. Gross’s very first New Yorker cartoon appeared August 23, 1969. Do the math and you’ll find we are in the year, month, and exact day of Mr. Gross’s New Yorker golden anniversary. With today being the date of publication of his debut New Yorker cartoon, I thought I’d check in with Mr. Gross and ask him about that very first sale to the magazine. My call caught him during his morning exercise routine, but he was gracious enough to pause and chat with me for a few minutes.

When I asked him if he recalled the moment when he learned he’d sold to the magazine, he replied, as I knew he would, “Of course I do.” I haven’t met a cartoonist yet who doesn’t remember their first OK (“OK” is New Yorker cartoon lingo for a sold cartoon); in this cartoon world, that moment is a life-changer.  Before telling me of his first OK, he said that he’d actually been selling ideas to The New Yorker for Charles Addams since about 1963. He also sold an idea for Otto Soglow, of Little King fame, but mostly the ideas were for Addams.

And now the story:

It begins with a lunch that included the renowned French artist J.J. Sempe. Mr. Sempe, not yet a New Yorker contributor, had come to town to do a piece on behalf of L’Express.  While in the city, Mr. Sempe was asked to lunch with James Geraghty, then The New Yorker‘s art editor. Mr. Geraghty was interested in having Mr. Sempe submit work to The New Yorker. Originally, Mr. Geraghty’s art assistant, Barbara Nicholls, was to accompany them to lunch as the interpreter, but she had to cancel. In her stead Mr. Geraghty asked the multi-lingual cartoonist Peter Porges to come along. Mr. Porges told Mr. Geraghty he would only go if his friend, Mr. Gross could accompany him.

And so, at lunch, Mr. Gross found himself seated to the left of Mr. Geraghty. Mr. Geraghty asked Mr. Porges to ask Sempe if he would submit work to The New Yorker.  Sempe, through Mr. Porges, replied “he says he’s too busy — has too much work to do.”  Mr. Geraghty then asked Mr. Porges to ask Sempe “if he would consider submitting rejects.”  To which Sempe replied, through Mr. Porges, “What are rejects.”

Shortly, after sipping some wine, Mr. Geraghty leaned over to Mr. Gross (also drinking wine) and said, “Instead of buying the idea [of a recent submission by Mr. Gross] we’re going to buy the whole drawing.” And Mr. Gross replied, “That’s great, thanks.”  Mr. Gross went on to say, “And then, after Geraghty had had another glass of wine, and I had had another glass of wine, he leaned over and said, ‘Oh, and we’re going to buy another one too.'” 

Above: The first Sam Gross New Yorker cartoon

Mr. Gross had heard from Mr. Porges that Mr. Geraghty would “drive cartoonists crazy” with editorial changes to cartoons. Back at the New Yorker’s art department following lunch, Mr. Geraghty handed Mr. Gross the rough drawings of the two bought cartoons [most cartoonists submit “rough” drawings.  If bought, the cartoonist will then do a “finish” — the drawing that will be published].  Mr. Gross tells us what happened next:

“So with that particular drawing [the first published cartoon], he gave me the drawing, and I stood there with it, and said,I’m not going, Mr. Geraghty until you specifically tell me what you want in the drawing.’ So he said, ‘put the kid here, dispense with the awning’ and he was very specific on what I had to do.  Afterwards, with all the other drawings I sold, I never had any problem with him. Every time I sold something he told me exactly what he wanted.” 

I said to Mr. Gross, “That’s a big deal, selling two your first time.” to which Mr. Gross replied, “I can credit the wine for it.”

So here’s to one of The New Yorker‘s cartoon giants. It is quite a feat to sell just one drawing to The New Yorker.  To continue on for fifty years (and counting) is another kind of feat. Mr. Gross is one of a select group of cartoonists with a thumbprint style — i.e., no one else has drawn like him, and he draws like no one else (true, as well, of George Booth, also celebrating his New Yorker golden anniversary this year). Feeling in a oh-what-the-hell Grossian spirit, I’ll say too that no other cartoonist even comes close to thinking like him.

 

Further reading:

For an extended interview with Mr. Gross I highly recommend Richard Gehr’s I Only Read It For The Cartoons, published in 2014, by New Harvest. Mr. Gross is one of a dozen New Yorker cartoonists interviewed.

If you want to listen to Sam Gross being interviewed, there’s this wonderful podcast from Gil Roth’s Virtual Memories Show.

All of Mr. Gross’s cartoon anthologies are must-haves in any cartoon library.  A quartet of them are shown:

An Elephant Is Soft And Mushy (Dodd, Mead & Co. , 1980)

More Gross (Congdon & Weed, 1982)

I Am Blind And My Dog Is Dead (Dodd, Mead & Co., 1977.  Reissued by Harry N. Abrams, 2007)

No More Mr. Nice Guy (Perigee, 1987)