I’ve always felt slightly uneasy about the old saying, “The more things change, the more they remain the same.” But for now it applies to my feelings about the Monday Tilley Watch. It began as an honest response to every new issue’s cartoons. And that was fun (for me)… for awhile. Lately it’s become more of a challenge to say what I want to say without actually saying it (If you can follow that, my hat is off to you). The Monday Tilley Watch was never meant to be a critical platform, but I’m afraid it’s become one. Biting the hand that feeds me (it’s also a hand I love) gives me no pleasure. And so, beginning today, I’m deconstructing the Monday Tilley Watch. On Mondays I’ll still chime in, from time-to-time, about the latest issue. But mostly, if not entirely, the day’s post will return to being, as are the posts every other day of the week, a catch-all of New Yorker cartoonists doings out there in the world. This does not mean that Ink Spill will lose its critical edge. It simply means I’ll choose my battles instead of battling on a regular basis every monday morning.
Having said all that, and in the spirit of the Monday Tilley Watch, there is one drawing from the new issue I’d like to mention. Lars Kenseth‘s genie drawing (p.41) is fresh, inventive, well-drawn and yes, funny. And so, to Mr. Kenseth, a hardy round of applause.
One constant of the Watch will continue weekly: a nod to Rea Irvin’s (sadly) still missing masthead. Read about it here, and see it below:
The Cover: What a beauty by Marcellus Hall! Read about it here. I was really surprised when the cover popped up on my screen this morning — was fully expecting a political cover.
The Illustrations: The New Yorker has certainly become a — if not the — mainstream magazine showcase for illustration. It’s become a blend of the best of Vanity Fair, The Atlantic, and Gourmet (remember Gourmet? What a good looking magazine that was). The 20 illustrations in the issue, including 5 1/2 full pages, far surpass the number and space afforded the 16 cartoons.
The Cartoons: A newbie this week: Pat Achilles. Ms. Achilles is the 6th new cartoonist introduced this year and the 18th new cartoonist to be introduced since Emma Allen was appointed cartoon editor in May of 2017.
Rea Irvin: In 1924, when the New Yorker was still in the development phase, Harold Ross, the magazine’s founder and first editor, hired Mr. Irvin as art supervisor. We can be thankful to Mr. Irvin for a quartet of fundamental graphic elements that scream New Yorker :
1. Eustace Tilley, the magazine’s mascot.
2. The so-called Irvin Typeface (adapted, with permission from Allen Lewis).
3. The quality of the art itself, including covers, cartoons and spot drawings.
4. The Talk Of The Town masthead (shown below).
Those four pillars of the magazine remained intact until last year when Mr. Irvin’s Talk masthead was replaced by a redraw. Read about it here.
— See you next week.
The Daily Cartoons were 4/5s in the realm of Trump this week. The contributing cartoonists: Kim Warp, Jason Chatfield (with Scott Dooley), Mike Twohy, Karl Stevens (not yet a print contributor), and Brendan Loper (who probably appears most regularly on the Daily).
The Daily Shouts contributing New Yorker cartoonists this week: Emily Flake, Liana Flake, and Olivia de Recat.
You can see all the work (and more) here.
Two favorite Spill blogs to visit!
…A New Yorker State Of Mind: Reading Every Issue Of The New Yorker takes a fascinating deep dive into the issue of September 14, 1929, with a cover by the great Rea Irvin. (also in the post: an appreciated shout-out to the Arno biography). Read here.
…And Attempted Bloggery tells us about a beautiful Steinberg piece (dated 1965) up for auction. I’ve yet to see anyone top Steinberg’s Chrysler Building drawings. Incredible. Take a look here.
Adriane Tomine returns with a cover steeped in dreams. Read about it here. The cover appears related, in color palette and style, to last week’s cover, by Chris Ware. They even share a large circular object hovering along the right side of the frame (Mr. Ware’s is a tree, Mr. Tomine’s a logo).
Two pieces of good news. There are 18 cartoons in the issue. We haven’t seen this many in an issue since May 14th, when there were 19. Perhaps the surge to 18 is a result of this being the “Entertainment Issue” –or maybe it’s just one of those things.
The other piece of good news is that many of the cartoons — more so than in any issue in recent memory — are given a lot of breathing room on the page. P.C. Vey’s cartoon is a good example, as is Zach Kanin’s, Seth Fleishman’s, Tom Chitty’s, and Barbara Smaller’s. Most of the other cartoons also seem to occupy more space than has been the case; just a few seem squeezed in.
If the Spill was in the business of handing out blue ribbons like they do over on the Cartoon Companion, one would be pinned on Bruce Eric Kaplan’s drawing (p. 61). Also of note: Lars Kenseth’s log flume ride drawing (p.78).
Update: Sadly, Rea Irvin’s classic masthead (below) is still in mothballs. Read about it here.
If you haven’t already seen the school busses on the road, or the signs posted everywhere advising that school is back in session, Chris Ware’s cover is yet another reminder that it’s back to school time.
Here, for the record, are the contributing cartoonists in the issue:
A quick survey of each drawing: Ms. Suits gives us a cactus drawing (are cactus the new crash test dummies — this being the second cactus drawing out of the past three issues); Mr. Dernavich provides us with an end of summer roller coaster drawing with some unintentional(?) graphic trickery concerning the track itself; Ms. McNair’s couple have neighborly dinner date issues; Farley Katz takes us to a sturdy cartoon scenario of parent reading to a child at bedtime; William Haefeli up next with his trademark drawing style and an excellent caption; an Edward Koren drawing — allowed a wonderful space on the page. Very nice all around!; Ben Schwartz plays with Rodin’s The Thinker; Ed Steed plays around with a clown and a banana peel (and it’s in color); Zach Kanin visits a game of spin the bottle (a scenario we rarely see); Frank Cotham allows us a peek into a room full of sweaty frock-coated gentlemen; Sara Lautman takes us up up and away to the sky god’s territory; Joe Dator’s drawing of a symphony hall is splendid; Kim Warp’s trash-in-the-sea drawing arrives with trash-in-the sea much in the news. And finally, a nod to the advent of Fall baseball with a meeting at the pitcher’s mound courtesy of Tom Toro.
The issue arrives sans Rea Irvin’s classic masthead. Here it is:
I can’t let mid-September slip by without mentioning the issue of September 11, 1925 (cover by the aforementioned Mr. Irvin).
New Yorker history buffs will recall that the magazine was nearly put to rest in the Spring of its first year of publication. If not for an overheard remark, the New Yorker would’ve been a magazine that lasted less than half a year. Instead of killing the magazine, it was decided to coast through the summer, putting renewed energy into the issue of September 12th. You can read about the specifics on content here courtesy of A New Yorker State of Mind.