The New Yorker’s First Football Cover…And A Few More

On this Super Bowl Sunday, thoughts turn to how football has intersected with my favorite magazine’s covers. Closing in on its fourth birthday,The New Yorker had run plenty of sports themed covers (baseball, tennis, horse racing, sculling, hockey…) but not anything football-related until I.G. Haupt‘s cover shown above. This was Mr. Haupt’s third cover for the magazine. He came on like gangbusters following his debut on the magazine’s September 3, 1927 issue — by year’s end, he’d had five. In all, there were forty-four Haupt covers, the last January 21, 1933.

The next football cover, published nearly a year later, was by an up and coming artist, Peter Arno (this was his eighth cover):

Looking through the magazine’s football covers you see a lot of huddles, like the Arno above and this one from the great Abe Birnbaum (which seems like an inspiration for a later cover):

Mr. Birnbaum was also the artist behind this somewhat unusual take from October 1950:

Here’s a great line of scrimmage cover by Harry Brown:

Finally, a personal favorite: this beauty by Alajolov, published in 1939:

The Tilley Watch Online, January 21-25, 2019; Cartoon Companion Rates The Latest New Yorker Drawings…And Interviews Roz Chast; More Arno And Shermund On Attempted Bloggery

New Yorker cartoonists contributing to Daily Shouts this past week were Bishakh Som, Liana Finck, and Ali Fitzgerald.

The week’s Daily Cartoons, if not outright Trumpian, were certainly Trump tinged. The contributing New Yorker cartoonists were Emily Flake and Lars Kenseth; the online-only contributors were Brooke Bourgeois and Ivan Ehlers.

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The CC‘s “Max” and “Simon” have assigned ratings to all the cartoons in the latest issue of The New Yorker (the issue of January 28th — with John Cuneo’s classic Trump wall cover). Read here. A bonus: Part 1 of the CC’s Roz Chast interview.

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More Arno and Shermund on Attempted Bloggery

Attempted Bloggery has posted its second cover comparison, showing us similarly themed magazine covers by Barara Shermund and Peter Arno (the first post also featured Peter Arno and Barbara Shermund art). I’m really hoping this becomes a series. What fun! Read here.

Marisa Acocella On List Of Comic Greats; Attempted Bloggery Looks At Cartoon Saber Arches

From Syfy Wire, January 23, 2019, “The Greatest Female Comic Book Creators of All Time” — On the list: Marisa Acocella, who began contributing to The New Yorker in 1998.

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Attempted Bloggery Looks At Saber Arches

The latest Attempted Bloggery post looks at two cartoons featuring the saber arch: one by Barbara Shermund (above) as well as a classic from Peter Arno. Link here!

Don’t forget, there’s a Barbara Shermund exhibit happening right now out at The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

Thanks For The High Bar, Peter Arno

An Arno anthology from 1930

From 1999 through 2016 I happily threw a good percentage of my days into digging up whatever I could about Peter Arno, who was born 115 years ago this very day. All of that hunting and gathering turned into a book (I will be forever grateful to my agent and publisher for making that happen).

One of the most helpful elements in my research was Arno’s unpublished scattershot memoir, titled I Reached For The Moon. The sixty-some pages of material is mostly disconnected pieces, a very loose attempt at a timeline, and jotted down thoughts about his work, or his parents, or television, or “names” he ran into during his adventures in the city that never sleeps. One passage of strung together thoughts stayed with me during my years writing the book and has continued to stay with me:

“What many don’t realize is that I’m primarily an artist – though I had a natural urge toward the comic from school days on.… I’ve spent hundreds of hours painting in oils and other media.  The black and white [cartoons] are a synthesis of all these efforts…To be a great cartoonist, a man should be first a first-class great artist.  He should be capable of producing a minor masterpiece in any medium.”

I suppose the passage has stuck with me because it neatly sums-up the high bar Arno demanded of himself and hoped for from his colleagues as the New Yorker was taking baby steps in its earliest days. That high bar was no small thing. Think about what people think about when they think of New Yorker cartoons. Think about the well-worn expression, The first thing people turn to in The New Yorker are the cartoons. If that is true (and I believe it has truth to it) Peter Arno deserves a Mack truck full of credit for driving the readership to the magazine and, no less a thing, driving his colleagues to excellence.

Look through any issue of The New Yorker from Arno’s run there during the magazine’s so-called Golden Age and you will see a magazine overjoyed with the cartoons it had to show the readership; cartoons played across the page; cartoons ran full page; cartoons ran in spreads that took up multiple pages; cartoonists provided the majority of cover art. Arno’s art, and Arno’s influence on the art was central to the magazine’s exuberance. He was, in the words of the New Yorker‘s founder, Harold Ross:

“The greatest artist in the world.”

“Our first pathfinder.”

“Our spark plug.”

Happy birthday, Arno — and thanks for the high bar.