More Gahan Wilson; A Peter Arno Rarity From The Bloom Vault; Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon; Humor Mag Of Interest: American Bystander #12; Today’s Daily Shouts…By Amy Kurzweil; Preview Of Interest on Salon: Shannon Wheeler’s “Mueller Report”

More Gahan Wilson

From 27East.com, October 24, 2019, “Cartoonist Gahan Wilson Is Looking To Find His Way”  — this piece by Annette Hinkle on one of the modern masters of the form.

…and this Chicago Sun-Times column from Neil Steinberg, October 24, 2019, “‘Lucky to be alive’ — morbid cartoonist faces dementia”

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A Peter Arno Rarity From The Bloom Vault

The illustrator Tom Bloom is surely one of our cartoon world’s great collectors.  Some years back  I naively thought I’d found most everything New Yorker cartoon-related that could be found. Then Mr. Bloom began sending me scans of items in his collection. It was as if someone had just opened the door to a New Yorker materials filled annex the size of Macy’s.

He’s been kind enough over the years to share some of the more obscure pieces from his collection with the Spill.  Here’s another: a four page promotional brochure for Peter Arno’s first book,Whoops Dearie!, published in 1927 by Simon & Schuster.* If you read my bio of Arno you might remember how important the Whoops Sisters were to the resuscitation of The  New Yorker in its infancy. I’d never seen this brochure until yesterday (and this after nearly 20 years of making it my business to find Arno material).

*While Arno provided the drawings for the book it was actually written by Philip Wylie. Much more on him and his place in The New Yorker‘s early years can be found in the Arno biography.

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

Peter Arno (Photo source: Look, 1938) Born Curtis Arnoux Peters, Jr., January 8, 1904, New York City. Died February 22, 1968, Port Chester, NY. New Yorker work: 1925 -1968. Key collection: Ladies & Gentlemen (Simon & Schuster, 1951) The Foreword is by Arno.

 

 

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Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

Barging Republicans, by Ellis Rosen, who has been contributing to The New Yorker since 2016.  Visit his website here.

 

 

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Humor Mag Of Interest: American Bystander #12

American Bystander #12 just arrived at the Spill. Not sure how often I’ve said this, but here goes again: if you love cartoons, especially those we associate with New Yorker artists, you’ll find  bushels-full in the Bystander. Three cheers for Michael Gerber, the Bystander‘s editor and publisher.

Here are the New Yorker contributors found in this latest issue:  Joe Ciardiello (the issue’s cover artist), Edward Sorel, Tom Chitty, P.S. Mueller, Rich Sparks, Lars Kenseth, Lila Ash, Roz Chast, John Cuneo, Mort Gerberg, Barry Blitt, George Booth, Joe Dator, Nick Downes, Bob Eckstein, Emily Flake, David Ostow, Jeremy Nguyen, Sara Lautman, Farley Katz, John Jonik, and Sam Gross.

Link here to subscribe.

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Today’s Daily Shouts…By Amy Kurzweil

“A Subway Tableau” by Amy Kurzweil, who has been contributing to The New Yorker since 2016. Visit her website here.

 

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Preview Of Interest From Salon: Wheeler’s “Mueller Report”

From Salon, “Exclusive: ‘Mueller Report’ Graphic Novel Sneak Preview From New Yorker Cartoonist Shannon Wheeler”

— and…there’s a Q&A with Mr. Wheeler within the piece.

 

The Monday Tilley Watch, The New Yorker Issue of September 9, 2019

The Cover:

It’s the Style Issue this week….thus the bountiful polka dots on Malika Favre’s eighth cover for the magazine. A Q&A with the artist here. If you link to the Q&A you’ll see the polka dot dress swirl.

I can’t see that many polka dots (and red) on the cover without thinking of Peter Arno’s March 23, 1935 New Yorker cover. It was also used as the cover for The Seventh New Yorker Album.

The dalmatians cover is perhaps overly familiar to me because it’s the front endpaper of my biography of Arno. Hey, what can I say? I like dogs…and Arno.

 

The Cartoonists and Cartoons

With the appearance of another team effort (third? fourth?) by Pia Guerra and Ian Boothby I think we’re in new territory as far as crediting a writing team goes for single panel cartoons in the magazine. Someone please correct me if there has been another duo credited beyond one or two appearances (Robert Crumb and Aline Kominsky-Crumb come to mind, but their work is in a different realm, i.e., their “thing” is not single panel cartoons). The duo of Guerra & Boothby have given us a slightly different take on the usual cartoonist’s representation of Noah’s Ark (the drawing appears on page 78). Instead of the long ramp leading up to the ark, it’s more of a tailgate.  It works well here.

Of note: Elisabeth McNair’s drawing of the tortoise and the hare (p. 72). If you remove the art hanging on the wall, and the door frame, the cartoon could easily be seen as descended from the school of (Charles) Barsotti minimalism. Love the turtle’s expression.

Also of note: Hilary Fitzgerald Cambell’s spooky “campfire” story-time drawing (p.49). At first glance I thought the scene was outdoors, but then saw the light sockets in the background with a charging electronic device (a phone?) connected to one of them. That it plays a trick on the eyes — intended or not — is pleasing, as is the drawing itself.

Further of note: Ed Steed adds another drawing to the cartoon canon of mounted something (in this case, someone) or others on the wall (p. 25).

Being the great grandson of bakers, and a fan of baked goods in general, it was a nice surprise  seeing pastries as a focus in Amy Hwang’s drawing (p. 43). Also a nice surprise: seeing Glen Baxter’s drawing (p.68). While a number of cartoonists box in their drawings, Baxter’s boxes somehow seem part of the drawing within, if that makes any sense (is the word “integral” — maybe, maybe not).

Rea Irvin’s Talk Masthead: Still not home. Read about it here.

 

 

 

 

 

Sutton’s Bonus Daily Cartoon; A Deep Dive Into The New Yorker Issue Of July 26,1930; Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon; A Day Late Daily Shouts

A bonus Daily yesterday — Dems Debate-centric– by Ward Sutton, who began contributing to The New Yorker in 2007.  Visit his website here.

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Deep Dive Into The New Yorker Issue Of July 26, 1930

A New Yorker State of Mind: Reading Every Issue of The New Yorker does its usual fab job.  A fun read!

I wish I could provide the entire issue here on the Spill for you to look through. It’s only 60 pages long ( it was, after all,  published during the Great Depression). If you can see it online (as a subscriber) or own a copy you’ll notice that within the first 50 of those 60 pages the cartoons run amuck — they are gloriously present.  Two full- page cartoons (Rea Irvin, and Peter Arno), two multi-panels (Gardner Rea, and Otto Soglow), half-page cartoons, three-quarter page cartoons.

The cover artist for the issue is the great Helen Hokinson. Here’s her entry on the A-Z:

Born, Illinois,1893; died, Washington, D.C., 1949. New Yorker work: 1925 -1949, with some work published posthumously. All of Hokinson’s collections are wonderful, but here are two favorites. Her first collection: So You’re Going To Buy A Book! (Minton, Balch & Co, 1931) and what was billed as “the final Hokinson collection”: The Hokinson Festival (Dutton & Co., 1956). According to a New Yorker document  produced during Harold Ross’s editorship (1925-1951) rating their artists, Ms. Hokinson and Peter Arno occupied a special category unto themselves above all others.

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Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

Beating Trump, by Ali Soloman, who began contributing to The New Yorker in 2018.

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A Day Late Daily Shouts

Evan Lian’s “Eternal Damnations For The Twenty-First Century” (posted yesterday). Mr. Lian began contributing to The New Yorker in May of this year.

Today’s Daily Cartoon & Daily Shouts Cartoonist; Recalling A New Yorker Giant: Charles Saxon

A Hamburglar cartoon by Farley Katz, who began contributing to The New Yorker in 2007. Mr. Katz has also contributed today’s Daily Shouts.

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Recalling A New Yorker Giant: Charles Saxon

Over this past weekend a number of visiting colleagues paused to look at a Charles Saxon original drawing that hangs on a wall here at Spill headquarters. The Saxon drawing is displayed because it amuses and inspires (the same goes for the several dozen others also on our walls by various New Yorker artists past and present; the earliest drawing, by Alice Harvey, was published October of 1925, the most recent, by Ed Steed, was published in April of 2019). Saxon’s drawings have long been considered a high bar by his peers — a reminder of how elegant (a word used by one of the visitors) cartoon art can be (I’ve always felt Thurber’s drawings to be another kind of high bar).

Looking closely at the originals in the Spill‘s archives, I see no under -drawing, no pencil marks. The work, in grease pencil(?), appears to be in the school of — as Edward Sorel would describe it — direct drawing.  The lines seem effortless, energetic, lovely, and of course, humorous; it’s an immediately identifiable style. As with so many of his contemporaries, including Robert Weber, Lee Lorenz, James Stevenson and Frank Modell, there’s a joy to the work.

Saxon’s world, both New Yorker covers and cartoons, published from the mid 1940s through the late 1980s, will forever be linked to Connecticut country club country, where he lived (Mr. Saxon, along with his colleague William Hamilton, had that upper-crusty world down). The New Yorker readership from that social strata apparently loved seeing themselves poked and prodded, just as they loved what Peter Arno had done with them and to them in the magazine’s earlier decades. 

Right: a Saxon New Yorker cover: effortless, energetic, humorous

I was fortunate enough to meet Saxon in February of 1986, when New Yorker cover artist Roxie Munro threw a small post-New Yorker anniversary party. Trudging downtown from the Pierre Hotel to Ms. Munro’s mid-town apartment on lower Park Avenue, I was one of the first to arrive. Walking into the living room I found a short man, in dark suit and tie, standing with his back against a living room wall. I introduced myself, not knowing who I was about to shake hands with. I had always imagined Saxon as quite tall — a powerhouse figure. In truth, he was perhaps a half-foot shorter than me. He was also remarkably soft spoken, and extremely polite. I’d always expected that he’d have one of those personalities that would roll right over me. It was quite a nice gift, to able to have perhaps fifteen minutes with this cartoon god, all to myself. 

 

Photo: Charles Saxon, center, with The New Yorker‘s Art Editor, James Geraghty at the magazine’s offices, 25 West 43rd Street, New York City, c.1960s.  Photo courtesy of Sarah Geraghty Herndon.

Book: Oh, happy, happy, happy!  The earliest Saxon collection, published in 1960 by Golden Press.

 

 

 

 

 

Helen Hokinson’s Silent Partner: James Reid Parker; Attempted Bloggery: Peter Arno Uncovered

While reading James Reid Parker’s brief New York Times obit, (published January 31, 1984) I was anticipating at least a mention of his work with one of The New Yorker‘s earliest superstars, Helen Hokinson. In the magazine’s first decades, according to an in-house memo, Ms. Hokinson, along with Peter Arno, was in a special category above all other contributing artists. As you can see for yourself below, the Times obit does mention Mr. Parker’s “humorous pieces and light sketches” he contributed to the magazine, but not a word about his eighteen year sideline as a writer for Ms. Hokinson.  And that’s a shame. 

There’s not a mountain of material to sift through regarding the Hokinson-Reid working relationship, but what we do have allows us a feel for how their collaboration worked.  The best reading is found in Reid’s “memoir” included in the Hokinson collection, The Ladies God Bless ’em! published a year after Hokinson was killed in a spectacular plane crash over the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. 

Mr. Parker fills us in on how he met Hokinson, and how it came to be that he became her main supplier of ideas (The New Yorker sometimes passed along an idea they felt was right for her — a practice begun in 1925, the year she joined the magazine’s brand new stable).  A mutual friend made the introduction; it was during that first meeting that ordinary conversation occasioned a spark.  Here’s Parker talking about the moment:

I happened to mention that in a story on which I was working there were two suburban matrons who talked, it seemed to me, the way some of her women might. Miss Hokinson asked what sort of things I was having them say, and I quoted a few lines of dialogue. She stopped twisting her handkerchief.  With a sigh she remarked that one of the lines in particular would have made a good caption for a drawing and that the situation was exactly the kind of thing she liked to do. I told her to go right ahead because my women could just as easily be saying something else.

About a week later, The New Yorker bought the Hokinson drawing using Parker’s idea. In a year’s time they had officially set aside all of every Friday to look at each other’s work with an eye to finding “acceptable” material.  An interesting revelation by Parker is that in 1933 he “devised” Hokinson’s women’s lunch club scenario. 

Below: a Hokinson women’s lunch club New Yorker drawing, published April 24, 1948

When the relationship between cartoonist and idea person works well, the seams don’t show — the reader believes they’re visiting a singular world (ala Jack Ziegler or Steinberg — neither of whom used outside ideas). The seams never showed in Hokinson’s drawings; looking through her work you won’t see an awkward fit. Some of the best New Yorker artists have done wonders with some outside help (Addams, Hoff, George Price, to name a few) but the Hokinson/Parker relationship was different in that she was fully dependent on provided ideas (George Price is the only other New Yorker artist known to completely rely on provided ideas).*  More than that, Parker was much involved in Hokinson’s world. In their first year of collaborating they went to dinner and then the theater once or twice a week (in his memoir he describes how much fun it was being with her on outings in Manhattan, watching her draw, sharing  her joy in discovering wondrous New York City things). When Hokinson moved up to Connecticut, Parker eventually rented a place close by her home. 

Parker on the scene there:

Thereafter Helen’s guests and mine mingled amicably, often joining forces for picnic lunches, and whenever it was necessary Helen and I could confer about a drawing on very short notice.

It’s not clear how many of Ms. Hokinson’s roughly 1,800 New Yorker drawings were the product of working with Parker, but no matter. We have a great body of work they had a grand time finding acceptable — maybe that’s plenty enough.

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*Ms. Hokinson’s  New Yorker cover ideas were her own. George Price had one New Yorker cover — it was his own idea.  

For further reading on Ms. Hokinson the place to go is Liza Donnelly’s Funny Ladies: The New Yorker’s Greatest Women Cartoons and Their Cartoons (Prometheus, 2005)

You’ll have to find a copy of Hokinson’s Ladies God Bless ’em! for James Reid Parker’s nine page Hokinson “memoir” (It can be had for a buck on AbeBooks.com). You can also find it at the end of  The Hokinson Festival  (Dutton, 1956). The bonus in that anthology: some of Hokinson’s New Yorker covers are reproduced in color. 

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Attempted Bloggery: Peter Arno Uncovered

Attempted Bloggery discusses the 1931 Arno collection, covered and not.  Read here!

Above left: an early version (or “rough”) of a New Yorker drawing in the book. “I want you to meet my bosom friend”  appeared in The New Yorker issue of October 10, 1931.