Victoria Roberts Pencilled; Attempted Bloggery on Cuneo’s Art; Seth’s Commencement Address; Philip Roth Jaywalking on West 79th St.

Jane Mattimoe’s Case For Pencils returns with a look at Victoria Roberts’ tools of the trade. See it here!

Ms. Roberts began contributing to The New Yorker in 1988.

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Attempted Bloggery on Cuneo’s Art

This week Stephen Nadler’s Attempted Bloggery looks at items acquired at the MoCCA Fest.  Today it’s John Cuneo‘s Not Waving But Drawing. Read it here. Above right: Mr. Cuneo’s most recent New Yorker cover.

Photo above: Mr. Cuneo in the foreground seated next to Anelle Miller, the Director of The Society of Illustrators.  In the back, from left to right: Cartoonist Felipe Galindo, Stephen Nadler, and cartoonist Marc Bilgrey  (photo courtesy of Liza Donnelly).

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Seth’s Commencement Address

From The Comics Journal, May 22, 2018, “Seth’s 2018 Center For Cartoon Studies Commencement Speech” — read the entire address here.

Seth began contributing to The New Yorker in 2002.

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A Split-Second Encounter With Philip Roth

Back in the Fall of 2014, driving on Columbus Avenue, I made a right turn onto West 79th Street. As my wife and I once had an apartment on 79th I often made a point of driving past the address on the way back upstate. For some reason on this particular day, after rounding the corner, and well short of our old apartment building, I immediately pulled over on the north side of the street and illegally parked for a moment. Just then a taxi pulled right in front of me, and parked. The right side back door of the taxi opened and a fellow holding a cane gingerly got out. He started to make his way to the rear of the cab and then began to negotiate between the cab’s rear bumper and my front bumper. I wanted the guy to know I wasn’t going to move my car while he was there — a simple courtesy — so I looked right at him, and he looked right at me (I suppose to make sure I wasn’t going to move my car): it was Philip Roth. I waited til he’d crossed diagonally southwest on 79th before taking the picture you see above.  A nice split-second encounter with a favorite writer. 

 

 

Happy Birthday, Mr. Roth

Philip Roth, who celebrates his 80th birthday today, was first published in The New Yorker the issue of March 14, 1959, with his story, “Defender of the Faith” causing an immediate stir (see the upcoming PBS American Masters profile “Philip Roth: Unmasked”  for, among so many other things,  Mr. Roth’s recollection of buying, opening up, reading and rereading his story in this particular issue — jokingly(?) saying he even read it “upside down”).

 

The issue featured a cover by the wonderful Abe Birnbaum, who contributed nine cartoons and nearly a hundred and fifty covers to The New Yorker.  His New York Times obit (June 20, 1966) contains this quote by Mr. Birnbaum: “Nothing is ugly. Everything is what it is.”

 

Brendan Gill reprinted the robin cover in his book,  Here At The New Yorker, writing of it:

 

“Nobody was satisfied with the ‘rough’ of this giant robin as it was first seen at the weekly art meeting. At the time, the background consisted merely of landscape. Geraghty [the New Yorker’s Art Editor from 1939 thru 1973] suggested the addition of birdwatchers. That simple change changed everything.”

 

When Philip Roth read, reread, and read his first New Yorker story upside down, he ran across cartoons by the following cartoonists — a roster that’s just about as good a snapshot of The New Yorker cartoon universe late 1950s as any:

William O’Brian, Frank Modell, Robert Kraus, Saul Steinberg, Everett Opie, Barney Tobey, William Steig, Ed Fisher, Robert Day (whose cartoon appeared on the first page of Roth’s story), James Stevenson, Otto Soglow, Syd Hoff, Whitney Darrow, Jr., Charles Saxon, Anatol Kovarsky, Dana Fradon, Eldon Dedini,  and Lee Lorenz