A Note To Readers: Due to the times we’re in the digital edition of the magazine appears later in the day than usual. Thus, instead of the usual look through the magazine, I’m working off of the slide show of cartoons on newyorker.com, as well as the cover Q&A found there. If any mistakes are made on my part I’ll correct them once the digital issue is posted.
Update: 1:00pm. Digital issue posted about an hour ago.
The Cover: Owen Smith gives us a tired worker (the piece is titled — and again, why do we need cover titles? — “After The Shift”)…four out of the last five covers have been corona virus themed. Read about the cover here.
I don’t know how others respond to an issue’s cartoons. For me, it’s always at least a two-level response:
1. How each drawing hits me — did a drawing stand out (for better or worse).
2. The feeling from all the drawings combined: was it a strong issue of work, or not.
This new issue feels strong, covering a wide range of territory in cartoonland, from aliens (courtesy of Charlie Hankin) to a PC Satyr (from Edward Koren), from dolphins in a swimming pool (McPhail), to what might be found on the other side of the mountaintop (Colin Tom)… and so much more.
The Rea Irvin Masthead Watch:
Rea Irvin, the fellow shown here, did so much to shape the look of The New Yorker (okay, I’ll say it — he was instrumental). One of his greatest lasting contributions was adapting Allen Lewis’s typeface; it eventually became known as the Irvin typeface, although these days I hear it referred to as the New Yorker typeface. Among Irvin’s many contributions other than art supervisor to Harold Ross (in itself a huge contribution!) was contributing covers, including, of course, the very first one, featuring Eustace Tilley. He also contributed cartoons, and headings for various departments. His design for Talk Of The Town stood in place (with a few adjustments in the magazine’s earliest days) for 92 years, until May of 2017 when his iconic design was mothballed and replaced by a redraw.
Am I wrong to think of Irvin’s typeface, his Tilley, his Talk masthead, and his “catholic” taste in cartoon selection as representing the graphic soul of the magazine? So many modern changes (or “tweaks” as they were referred to) were test ballooned in recent years and then withdrawn (layout, typography, headings, etc., etc.) — why not bring back this not insignificant bit of soul.