Bob Eckstein’s Book Tour Diary; More Rare Rea Irvin!

Something fun: Bob Eckstein’s “Tragical Mystery Book Tour” (Pt.1).  In this Writer’s Digest piece the world’s greatest snowman expert (and New Yorker cartoonist) shares his experiences on the book tour circuit.  

___________________________________________________________

More Rea Irvin

Here, courtesy of Steve Stoliar, is another Rea Irvin illustration from the rare 1929 Robert Benchley pamphlet, Busy In Conference :

And speaking of rare, here’s a site I visited for the very first time just this morning. The Neglected Books Page features not one but two obscure books illustrated by New Yorker artists: Ralph Barton, and the aforementioned Rea Irvin. Link to the Neglected Books site to read all about each title and see examples of the art. Just below is the cover for the Ralph Barton illustrated Heart In A Hurricane.  How great is that!

 

And here’s The Ritz Carletons cover, illustrated by Rea Irvin.

The Spill’s Ralph Barton A-Z entry:

Ralph Barton (photo above) Born August 14, 1891, Kansas City, Mo. Committed suicide on May 2oth, 1931 in NYC. New Yorker work: 3rd issue of The New Yorker, March 7, 1925 — May 23, 1931. Key book: Ralph Barton: The Last Dandy (University of Missouri Press, 1991) by
Bruce Kellner

The Spill’s Rea Irvin A-Z entry:

Rea Irvin (pictured above. Self portrait above from Meet the Artist). Born, San Francisco, 1881; died in the Virgin Islands,1972. Irvin was the cover artist for the New Yorker’s first issue, February 21, 1925. He was the magazine’s first art editor (referred to as “art supervisor”) holding the position from 1925 until 1939 when James Geraghty assumed the title. Irvin became art director and remained in that position until William Shawn succeeded Harold Ross. Irvin’s last original work for the magazine was the magazine’s cover of July 12, 1958. The February 21, 1925 Eustace Tilley cover had been reproduced every year on the magazine’s anniversary until 1994, when R. Crumb’s Tilley-inspired cover appeared. Tilley has since reappeared, with other artists substituting from time-to-time.

_________________________________________________

 

 

The Monday Tilley Watch, The New Yorker (Double) Issue Of December 24 & 31, 2018

The Cover: The last issue of the year is also the “Power Issue” (the fellows depicted on the cover certainly reflect various measures of power).  Read what the cover artist Barry Blitt had to say about his Sherlocklike cover.

The Cartoonists in the issue:

As it’s the end of the year, I’ll dispense with counting the number of illustrations.  Let’s just say the ratio of illustrations to cartoons remains the same as it’s been in recent times.

Two cartoon items of note:

  1.  Couldn’t help but think of the famous Saturday Night Live Christopher Walken More Cowbell skit when I came to Charlie Hankin’s very funny drawing, “I’m gonna need even less tuba.”  A nod to Mr. Walken’s hilarious classic perhaps?
  2. I believe that this is the New Yorker print debut for cartoonist Christine Mi. If true, she is the 12th new cartoonist to appear this year and the 24th since Emma Allen became cartoon editor in May of 2017.

As we head off to the flickering bright lights of 2019, let us not forget Rea Irvin’s iconic Talk masthead.  It disappeared in the Spring of 2017. Read about it here.

 

 

 

 

 

A Robert Benchley / Rea Irvin Rarity

Here’s something fun for a rainy, snowy, icy Sunday (at least that’s what it’s like outside here at Spill central). A rare Robert Benchley title from 1929,  with illustrations by the (then) New Yorker art supervisor, Rea Irvin.

A brief bio of Mr. Irvin from the Spill‘s A-Z:

Rea Irvin (pictured above).  Born, San Francisco, 1881; died in the Virgin Islands,1972. Irvin was the cover artist for the New Yorker’s first issue, February 21, 1925. He was the magazine’s first art editor, holding the position from 1925 until 1939 when James Geraghty assumed the title. Irvin became art director and remained in that position until William Shawn succeeded Harold Ross. Irvin’s last original work for the magazine was the magazine’s cover of July 12, 1958. The February 21, 1925 Eustace Tilley cover had been reproduced every year on the magazine’s anniversary until 1994, when R. Crumb’s Tilley-inspired cover appeared. Tilley has since reappeared, with other artists substituting from time-to-time.

A few scans below. 

Busy In Conference appears here courtesy of David Pomerantz and Steve Stoliar, the author of Raised Eyebrows: My Years Inside Groucho’s House (Mr. Stoliar worked there as a secretary and personal archivist).

The Tilley Watch, The New Yorker Issue Of December 10, 2018

The Issue: Ah, the Edward Gorey special issue! Juuuust kidding, folks. It’s not a “special” issue of any kind. I’m going to go out on a limb though and suggest that this may be the very first cover story issue of The New Yorker.* [and within minutes of posting this, Stephen Nadler of Attempted Bloggery, has corrected me, thankfully!].  If I’m wrong, let me know (it’s possible this may have happened in the Tina Brown era, but I cannot recall the issue). Historically the magazine’s cover has not reflected content (think especially of the famous issue of August 31, 1946 — the issue containing all of John Hersey’s Hiroshima. Charles E. Martin’s  birds eye view cover of folks going about summertime leisure activities offers no hint of what reading awaits inside the magazine. 

Although that tradition has been eased at times in recent years, usually due to the so-called special issues, or a very big story in the news, the reading inside (and/or the cartoons) is in relatively small parcels.  So to be clear, here is what I mean by “first cover story issue”:  the cover (by Edward Gorey) is mirrored by a significant article on Mr. Gorey inside the magazine (the piece is by Joan Acocella, the magazine’s dance critic). I do not recall ever seeing a New Yorker cover by an artist, or about an individual, carrying over inside the magazine in a significant way.  “Significant” is the key word here (you can tell it’s significant because I’ve now used the word four times). Six pages on Gorey, including a full page photograph, and an example of his work — 2 examples, if you include the cover — qualify as, well, you know… significant (now used five times).  As always, I welcome corrections, amplification, disagreements, denials.

This week’s cartoonists:

This week’s illustrations: there are 22 illustrations (that includes photos) with 4 1/2 full pages, and a six page spread with each page half given over to illustrations by Bill Bragg (so six half pages = 3 full).  So really 7 1/2 full pages of illustration.

Still missing: Rea Irvin’s iconic Talk masthead (shown below) hasn’t been seen for quite some time now in the magazine (since the issue of May 22, 2017 to be exact). For a small recap of its disappearance, link here.

*Stephen Nadler has pointed out the Tina Brown era issue of October 22, 1992 as the first cover story.  Josh Gosfield’s cover of Malcolm X, is followed inside by a lengthy piece by Marshall Frady. My thanks to Mr. Nadler.

 

 

The Tilley Watch, Monday, November 19, 2018

The Cover:

It’s not just the Technology issue this week, but also the Thanksgiving issue; Roz Chast’s cover blends the two.

  It got me thinking about New Yorker Thanksgiving covers of the past, and looking through them I found this one, by Alajalov from 1949. As with Ms. Chast’s cover, it blends the Thanksgiving table scenario with (then) relatively new household technology (the television set).  What a great cover!

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

 

 

 

Constantin Alajalov (above) Born Constantin Aladjalov, 1900, Rostov-on-the-Don, Russia. Died Oct., 1987, Amenia, New York. New Yorker work: 1926 -1960. Perhaps best known for his New Yorker covers ( he also supplied cover art to other publications). Key collection: Conversation Pieces (The Studio Publications Inc., 1942) w/ commentary by Janet Flanner.

Link here for a n Alajalov profile from The Saturday Evening Post.

The Cartoons:

16 cartoons.  22 illustrations, including 5 1/2 full page illustrations.

Robots abound in this issue (on the cover, in a cartoon, in an illustration).

Here are the cartoonists whose work appears in the issue…

Among them are two Thanksgiving drawings, one by P.C. Vey (also blending technology and Thanksgiving), and David Borchart, who gives us a wonderful (Macy’s?) parade drawing.  My only wish is that it was run larger.

Also of note in the issue: the debut appearance of Ali Solomon. Ms. Soloman is the 10th new cartoonist introduced this year, and the 22nd new cartoonist introduced since Emma Allen became the New Yorker‘s cartoon editor in the Spring of 2017.

Still missing: Rea Irvin’s iconic (not to mention beautiful) Talk masthead (read about it here).  Missing since the Spring of 2017 — this is what it looks like: