New Yorker Caption Contest Friday

 

         This being the end of the traditionally news-less week (for New Yorker cartoons and cartoonists) leading up to the new year, I thought why not dedicate today’s post to the New Yorker‘s Caption Contest. Last time I checked, the contest had reached its 644th offering (with a windmill drawing by Bob Eckstein).  

Background: every time I’ve been involved in a New Yorker event (usually a panel discussion) the contest comes up in the Q&A. The most frequently asked multi-part question is: How does it work? Did the cartoon originally have a caption?  Do you (the cartoonists) get to judge?

Here’s how it works (from the cartoonists perspective).  The cartoons used in the contest are taken out of the weekly batches submitted by the magazine’s cartoonists.  Sometimes the selected cartoon has a caption that is (obviously) stripped from the cartoon.  Sometimes the submitted cartoon has no caption (I sometimes submit captionless cartoons just for the hell of it to see what  caption entrants might come up with. Here’s one example.). The cartoonists have no say in the process of selecting the winning captions. 

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News:

There’s a new celebrity video posted by The New Yorker featuring the actors John C. Reilly  and Will Ferrell trying their hands/minds at captioning a bunch of cartoons:

For the record, the cartoons are (in order of appearance) by P.C. Vey, Kaamran Hafeez, Tom Toro, Tom Cheney, a second by P.C. Vey, and the final two are by Liam Walsh.  I again encourage the folks in charge of these videos to have the celebs identify the cartoonists, or at least identify the cartoonists names in full somewhere on the screen. 

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Here’s a story about a fellow who won a recent contest (the drawing at issue is by yours truly…and ouch, the drawing takes a few hits). From the Wickedlocal.com, “‘It is I, Manbunzal’: Melrose Resident Alan Leo Wins The New Yorker Caption Contest”

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Here’s a Facebook group dedicated to the contest: New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest Rejects (and Enthusiasts). Enter all those bolded words in the search box and presto: you have an instant caption contest community.

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Very Old News: everyone interested in the contest probably already has or decided not to have this book that came out in 2008.

 

New Yorker Cartoonists Holiday Party

Decades ago, in the William Shawn era, New Yorker cartoonists celebrated the holidays in-house (specifically, in-department).  They’d show up at the office and drink punch provided by the art editor Lee Lorenz and his assistant, Anne Hall. Cartoonists would sample rum balls brought in by their colleague, Henry Martin.  During the Tina Brown years the holiday party went big time, when all departments went out-of-office and co-mingled in (mostly) downtown establishments.  Coming full circle this year’s party for cartoonists came back home to the offices (yay!).  Last night’s shindig was hosted by the cartoon editor, Emma Allen, and the assistant cartoon editor, Colin Stokes (and, shades of Henry Martin, cartoonist David Borchart even brought in some homemade cookies).

Ink Spill‘s official photographer for the evening, cartoonist Liza Donnelly attended the festivities, and captured the scene. 

Below, left to right: Kendra Allenby, Ali Soloman, Farley Katz and Emma Allen.

Below: in the foreground, Robert Leighton (on the left) speaks with Ed Steed. In the back, left-to-right, with his back to the camera is Colin Stokes, Avi Steinberg (in the hat), and a partially obscured Ellis Rosen. Between Mr. Steinberg and Mr. Ellis is the fabulous Peter Arno New Yorker cover of June 5, 1954.

Below: a frieze of cartoonists. Will mention just a few: to the far left is Emma Hunsinger. To the far right, second in, is PC. Vey.

 

Below: Mort Gerberg (on the left) and George Booth.

Below, left-to-right: Avi Steinberg, Karen Sneider, Jason Adam Katzenstein, and, with her back to the camera, Gabrielle Bell.

Below: foreground, looking at the camera is Sophia Warren, then Robert Leighton, and (with eyepatch) Mort Gerberg. In the background: far left, is Ed Steed, then (with back to camera) David Sipress, Joe Dator (with scarf), and Kendra Allenby.

Below: on the far left is Joe Dator, and then Emily Flake and Marisa Acocella.

 

Below: a waving Jeremy Nguyen and Maggie Larson. Far left, in the back is Brendan Loper.

Below, left to right:  George Booth, Liza Donnelly, and David Borchart (this photo courtesy of  Mr. Borchart).

Below: Felipe Galindo and Drew Dernavich.

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Below: The New Yorker‘s Jack-of-All Trades,Stanley Ledbetter, Johnny DiNapoli, Farley Katz, and Ellis Rosen.

Below, left to right: David Sipress and Ben Schwartz.

Below: Emma Allen and Farley Katz.

Below: the ever festive Rea Irvin type-faced logo!

 

— My thanks to Liza Donnelly, Colin Stokes, Emma Allen, and David Borchart for their assistance  with this post.

 

 

The Tilley Watch, Monday, November 19, 2018

The Cover:

It’s not just the Technology issue this week, but also the Thanksgiving issue; Roz Chast’s cover blends the two.

  It got me thinking about New Yorker Thanksgiving covers of the past, and looking through them I found this one, by Alajalov from 1949. As with Ms. Chast’s cover, it blends the Thanksgiving table scenario with (then) relatively new household technology (the television set).  What a great cover!

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

 

 

 

Constantin Alajalov (above) 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.

Link here for a n Alajalov profile from The Saturday Evening Post.

The Cartoons:

16 cartoons.  22 illustrations, including 5 1/2 full page illustrations.

Robots abound in this issue (on the cover, in a cartoon, in an illustration).

Here are the cartoonists whose work appears in the issue…

Among them are two Thanksgiving drawings, one by P.C. Vey (also blending technology and Thanksgiving), and David Borchart, who gives us a wonderful (Macy’s?) parade drawing.  My only wish is that it was run larger.

Also of note in the issue: the debut appearance of Ali Solomon. Ms. Soloman is the 10th new cartoonist introduced this year, and the 22nd new cartoonist introduced since Emma Allen became the New Yorker‘s cartoon editor in the Spring of 2017.

Still missing: Rea Irvin’s iconic (not to mention beautiful) Talk masthead (read about it here).  Missing since the Spring of 2017 — this is what it looks like:

 

 

 

 

 

Book Of Interest: I Think, Therefore I Draw

Published a couple of weeks ago, I Think, Therefore I Draw: Understanding Philosophy Through Cartoons (Penguin) includes enough New Yorker cartoons (among a number of non-New Yorker cartoons) to mention here. The New Yorker cartoonists represented (in order of their appearance): Paul Noth, John McNamee, Tom Cheney, Danny Shanahan, P.C. Vey, David Sipress, George Booth, Avi Steinberg, Amy Hwang, Leo Cullum, Mort Gerberg, P.S. Mueller, John Klossner, Aaron Bacall, Sam Gross, “Bud” Handelsman, Lee Lorenz, Michael Maslin, Jack Ziegler, Edward Koren, Matt Diffee, Eric Lewis, Edward Frascino, and Charles Barsotti.

The authors have this (in part) to say in their introduction: “Here, then, is a collection of our favorite philosophical cartoons and our annotations about what they teach us about the Big Questions in philosophy.”

You can sample the text by going to the Amazon listing and clicking on the “Look inside” feature.

 

The Tilley Watch: The New Yorker Issue Of October 29, 2018

It’s not a trick: this post about the October 29, 2018 New Yorker looks and feels and reads suspiciously like the Spill’s now defunct Monday Tilley Watch, but it’s not a Monday Tilley Watch…I think.

So often in the past 90+ years of The New Yorker ‘s existence, an issue dated October 29 (or 25, 26, 27, 28, 30, or 31) would bear a Halloween cover. Not this year, folks.  But who doesn’t like pastries.

Just for fun, here’s a cover submission of mine that combines pastries and Halloween — it was probably submitted, and definitely rejected, in the late 1980s or early 1990s:

 You’ll find more than twenty illustrations in this issue (not including the seven photographs accompanying the piece by Janet Malcolm). Four-and-a-half full pages are given over to illustration.  You’ll find ten cartoons. There’s a Halloween cartoon (by a modern Spill fave cartoonist, Seth Fleishman) squeezed in at the top of page 32.

If you’re a leaf-peeper, or just like leaves in general, you’re sure to fall for Joe Dator’s brilliant desert island drawing (on page 41). There have been, of course, other brilliant New Yorker cartoons in the not-so-distant past; two that I can’t resist mentioning whenever I have the chance:  Bob Eckstein’s 3-D Thanksgiving drawing and Robert Leighton’s Escher drawing. If you link to C-Span’s coverage of the recent Milford Readers & Writers Festival you’ll see a few more candidates by panelists, Christopher Weyant and David Borchart. This current drawing by Mr. Dator sits squarely in the Charles Addams branch of New Yorker cartooning (a branch notably climbed by P.C. Vey, Gahan Wilson, Zach Kanin…and Ed Steed, sort of). I would go as far as suggesting that if Mr. Addams was still with us, the magazine would’ve wanted to purchase Mr. Dator’s idea to hand over to Mr. Addams to execute. Yes, pun intended.  (Here’s a Spill piece about the magazine’s history of buying ideas).

For the record (your honor), here are the ten cartoonists in the issue:

 

— Finally, still in the Halloween spirit, here’s a Boo!

Below: the missing Rea Irvin iconic Talk masthead switched out for a re-drawn version early last year. Read about that here: