George Booth’s New Yorker Golden Anniversary!

Let us raise our cartoon glasses and toast to the great New Yorker artist, George Booth. His very first New Yorker drawing appeared in the issue dated this day in 1969. His most recent drawing appeared in the magazine’s issue of June 10, 2019. My math tells me that he has now been contributing to The New Yorker for half a century.

I’ve always felt that Mr. Booth’s arrival at The New Yorker  was part of a transitional moment for the magazine’s art, helping it move from its mid-1950s Eisenhower-ish slumber to the excitement right around the bend in the late 1960s and 1970s. In the decade Mr. Booth’s work appeared, The New Yorker had lost two of its giants: James Thurber in 1961, and Peter Arno in 1968. Tremendous losses, but also a decade of tremendous gain for the magazine when the art editor, James Geraghty brought in a number of artists who would also become giants in their field: Edward Koren in 1964, Charles Barsotti, Sam Gross, and George Booth in 1969.  How fortunate we are that three of these artists continue showering us with their work right up to today (Charles Barsotti passed away five years ago this week).

By the time I was making a serious effort to get into The New Yorker in the mid 1970s (my work rejected a mountain of times by Mr. Geraghty), Booth, Koren, Barsotti and Gross had already been added to the New Yorker’s  Mt. Rushmore of cartoonists; their work impossibly inspiring. I felt (and still feel) about Booth’s drawings as I felt about work by Thurber and Hokinson and Steig and Saxon, and Peter Arno and Steinberg (and many more): it cannot get any better than this

(above: A Booth New Yorker cartoon from the issue of March 25, 1991)

As with so many, if not all of the New Yorker great artists, there is an education for aspiring cartoonists, and published cartoonists as well, in every single one of their drawings. Even this morning looking through Booth’s work, I find my electrical cartoon current even buzzier than usual. There’s beauty and excitement in Booth’s art, and of course, there’s that signature Boothian barrel of fun.

For those wanting more of his work, Omnibooth is a great place to dive in.  Find Lee Lorenz’s The Essential George Booth (Workman Publishing Company, 1998) and you’ll be treated to a mini-bio of Booth as well as samples of pre-New Yorker work. There is also his classic 1975 collection, Think Good Thoughts About A Pussycat (Dodd, Mead & Co.).

And very luckily for us all, Nathan Fitch’s documentary film on Booth, Drawing Life  is well on its way.

I  leave you with a small sample of Mr. Booth’s cover work, and with hearty applause for George Booth — a fine person, and an exceptional artist.

 

Note: Here’s what Fred Taraba of Taraba Illustration Art had to say about the Skittish Dog drawing shown at the head of this post: Not published, rather a version of one of Booth’s most recognized cartoons. The published version appeared in The New Yorker on August 15th, 1977. A third version appears in the book, Omnibooth: The Best of George Booth.

 

 

Peter Arno’s Nakedly Serious Drawing; The Tilley Watch, The New Yorker Issue of June 3, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The above drawing by Peter Arno that appeared in The New Yorker in the issue of October 7, 1939 was a significant departure for an artist who is mostly remembered for his drawings of cafe society types.  As I wrote in Arno’s biography, “Though Arno’s drawings would revisit the subject of war in the coming years, his work would never again be so nakedly serious.”

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The Cover: Barry Blitt’s shoe shine cover, addressed here last week, has made media waves.  I’m re-posting a link to the brief piece wherein Mr. Blitt talks about his cover.

The Cartoonists:

Record Keeping: 14 of the 21 issues of The New Yorker published thus far this year have contained a debut drawing. This week Johnny DiNapoli enters the stable of artists. The record for new cartoonists was 2016, when 15 were brought in. As we’re still in May, that record will no doubt fall. Mr. DiNapoli is the 40th new cartoonist to debut since Emma Allen became cartoon editor in May of 2017. 

For those who like numbers it’s interesting to recognize the remarkable increase in the number of cartoonists in the magazine’s stable. During Lee Lorenz’s 24 year tenure (1973 – 1997) as Art/Cartoon editor he brought in approximately 50 new cartoonists (or roughly 2 a year).  His successor (1997-April of 2017) brought in approximately 130 in 20 years (or approximately 6-7 a year). The current pace (40 cartoonists in 2 years) means the average has leaped to 20 new cartoonists a year.

Still Missing: Rea Irvin’s classic Talk masthead (below) was removed in the Spring of 2017. Read about it here.

 

The Tilley Watch, The New Yorker Issue Of May 20, 2019; Today’s Daily Cartoonist: Joe Dator

The Cover: It’s the Innovators Issue, hence the use of some headings floating in yellow-orangey color fields, like so:

 

  Let’s hope these color fields aren’t permanent innovations.

On the cover: robots by Tom Gauld.  Read what he has to say about his work here. The cover reminded me ever-so-slightly of Peter Arno’s meeting-of-the-dogs cover from the ancient times. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cartoonists:

The Cartoons:  Another week with a cartoonist making their print debut (11 out of 19 issues thus far in 2019).  Kasia Babis is the 11th new cartoonist brought into the magazine’s stable this year, and the 37th cartoonist brought in by Emma Allen since she took the cartoon editor reins in May of 2017.

If the Spill handed out blue ribbons like the now dormant Cartoon Companion once did, I’d pin one on Sam Gross’s snail mail cartoon in the issue (p.30).

Rea Irvin:  A fun innovation this issue would’ve been bringing back something in the magazine that never should’ve gone away: Rea Irvin’s classic Talk masthead. But not this week. Anyway, it appears below in its usual Monday Spill spot.  Read about it here.

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Today’s Daily Cartoonist/Cartoon

Joe Dator on  fiction and/or/or not fiction.  Visit his website here.

Mr. Dator began contributing to The New Yorker in 2006. 

Note: Mr. Dator, along with several other New Yorker cartoonists (Lars Kenseth and Mort Gerberg among them) will be appearing at this week’s National Cartoonists Society Fest in California. The Daily Cartoonist has all the info here.

 

 

Happy 90th Edward Sorel!; Interview Of Interest: Ken Krimstein; Article Of Interest: Paul Karasik; Today’s Daily Cartoonist: Emily Flake & Yesterday’s: J.A.K.; Cast Recording In The Works For Peter Arno’s Hit B’Way Play, The New Yorkers

The great Edward Sorel celebrated his 90th birthday yesterday.  Mr. Sorel’s first cover for The New Yorker (below) made headlines when Tina Brown selected it as the debut cover of her editorship at the magazine.

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Interview Of Interest: Ken Krimstein

From The Grinnell Magazine, – “I Think Therefore I Draw” — this piece on Ken Krimstein.  Mr. Krimstein began contributing to The New Yorker in 2000.  (this piece found via The Daily Cartoonist)

Link here to Mr. Krimstein’s website.

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From The Vineyard Gazette, “A Brief Sketch Of A Life As A Cartoonist”  — this piece on Paul Karasik, co-author of How To Read Nancy, and New Yorker cartoonist since 1999.

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Today’s Daily Cartoon/Cartoonist…and Yesterday’s

Today’s Daily cartoon, Mueller with a a big pinch of Trump, is by Emily Flake.  Ms. Flake began contributing to The New Yorker in 2008.  Visit her website here.

Yesterday’s Daily, 100% Mitch McConnell,  was by J.A.K. (aka Jason Adam Katzenstein).  Mr. K. began contributing to The New Yorker in 2014. See some of his work here

And speaking of J.A.K., the cover for an upcoming book he’s illustrated has been posted. The White Man’s Guide To White Male Writers of the Western Canon by Dana Schwartz, will be out November 5th, from Harper Perennial.

 

 

 

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Cast Recording In The Works For Peter Arno’s Hit Play, The New Yorkers

From the Never Saw This Comin’ Dept.: Playbill reports that a recording of the music from the  1930 Peter Arno play, The New Yorkers is in the works. The music was written by an up and coming composer, Cole Porter. If you want to know much much more about the play and Arno, there’s always this. Listen here to a 1939 version of “Love For Sale” — the infamous song from the play.

The Tilley Watch, The New Yorker March 18, 2019

The Cover: This is Malika Favre’s seventh cover for The New Yorker (according to the Contributors info on page 4). An exceptionally decorative cover for “The Style Issue”… Read more here

The Cartoonists:

The Cartoons:

A very Charles Addamsy David Sipress drawing this week (that’s a compliment, of course).

Cartoon placement on the page has been mentioned here numerous times: happy to say that seven (i.e., half) of the  cartoons in the issue were given breathing room. They look great.

Tom Cheney’s Hell’s Auditors cartoon especially caught my eye (it’s on page 29). I believe that this is the fourth time New Yorker cartoonists have specifically word-played with the Hell’s Angels “colors.” Jack Ziegler had two, this beauty, published in The New Yorker, February 27, 1989:

And an earlier one, published in The New Yorker, December 17, 1984:

And then there was this one by yours truly in the December 25th, 1995 issue of The New Yorker:

A quick search of The New Yorker‘s database shows over a hundred of its cartoons have incorporated a motorcycle.  Sometimes the bike and biker are bit players, and other times they’re the focus of the drawing.  An awful lot of the cartoons concern folks getting speeding tickets from a motorcycle cop (and many of them show the cop in-wait behind a billboard). 

There are a small number of cartoons with motorcyclists wearing colors, but the usage doesn’t include mention of the Hell’s Angels. Ed Arno’s motorcycle gang wearing jackets that read “Inflation Fighters” (published April 2, 1979) is one example. 

To return to the great Jack Ziegler for a moment, he used the Hell’s Angels colors once again, but left their name intact in this fabulous drawing published in The New Yorker, November 13, 2000:

A long long way from the subject of Hell’s Angels, for those interested in trivia: the first mention of a motorcycle cartoon in the New Yorker‘s database is Al Frueh’s cartoon in the February 13, 1926 issue.  The  second cartoon with a motorcycle in the picture was published December 7, 1929.  It set off a bit of a in-house squabble, but that’s a story for another time (the artist was Peter Arno).

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Lastly, still no sight of Rea Irvin’s classic Talk masthead. Read about it here, and see it below: