Confused by this week’s cover? Feel like you saw it before? Well if you were reading The New Yorker in 1927, you did see it before.
Below: the cover as published this week, and how it originally appeared. The 2018 cover seems to have been ever-so-slightly cropped along the left and right edges, with the artist’s signature moved closer to the red tail lights (but hey, the magazine is not the same size as it was in 1927, so…).
If you have the Complete Book Of Covers From The New Yorker you’ll notice that the thumbnail cover shown has a blue sky, with a dark to light gradation as it nears the horizon. Without the original issue in hand, it’s difficult to know which 1927 version is truer (and even then, original print covers can differ in quality, cropping and coloring).
A small miracle: it looks as if the original type face from 1927 has been retained (but the 2018 date and price are in the modernized type-face).
This is an unusual issue of the New Yorker — its very first “Archival Issue”…there have been nods to the past before, with cartoons and covers re-run inside the magazine, but never an issue dedicated to the past. It is not, of course, the first time the magazine has reprinted a cover as a cover. The cover of the very first New Yorker, featuring Rea Irvin’s Eustace Tilley, was brought back, uninterrupted, for 67 years and then made some curtain calls (you can read more about that here).
Here are the cartoonists appearing in this special issue (A Roz Chast full page appears where the caption contest usually appears):
From the Department of Does Size Matter, I’m showing a few of the cartoons in this issue, and how they originally appeared in the magazine. Regular Spill readers may have picked up on how much importance I place on the size of the magazine’s cartoons and how they sit on the page. Looking through this new special issue it was immediately apparent that some of the archival drawings were being run much smaller than they originally appeared. This is an excellent opportunity to compare/contrast. It’s not always the case that a cartoon run bigger is better. Sometimes a cartoon that’s been run big really amplifies its graphic issues. But that’s not the case for any of these fabulous drawings shown below.
The first cartoon in the magazine is by Mary Petty. On the left is the cartoon as run in this 2018 issue. On the right is how it appeared in the issue of March 12, 1932.
Next up, a Charles Addams classic, with the 2018 appearance on the left and on the right, its original appearance in the issue of October 29, 1960.
Below, a beauty from James Stevenson. The 2018 appearance on the left, and the original appearance in the issue of August 16, 1976.
Below: a beautiful Nancy Fay drawing. On the left as seen in this new issue. On the right its original appearance in the issue of October 20, 1928.
Finally, a drawing by the master, Peter Arno. The odds favor any Arno drawing run as a full page in the New Yorker, and so it was with this classic (caption by the late great idea man, Herb Valen).
The 2018 appearance on the left and the original appearance in the issue of May 10, 1947 (the 2018 credit line mistakenly attributes the drawing to the June 10, 1947 issue).
Bookkeeping: Inaccurate New Yorkery-factoids pop-up like turkey timers when I see them. This following passage in the new issue’s Comment, “The City Of Dreams” popped-up:
The trouble is that James Thurber did not make his debut (with a short piece, “Villanelle Of Horatio Street”) until the issue of February 26, 1927. His drawings didn’t begin appearing until January of 1931 (January 31, 1931. The caption: “Take a good look at these fellows, Tony, so you’ll remember ’em next time.”)
I admit that when I heard there was to be an archival issue of the magazine I first thought of Rea Irvin’s Talk masthead. If ever there was a moment to return it to its natural habitat, this would be it. But, alas, it’s still a-missin’. Here’s what it looks like (and here’s where you can read more about it):
Peter Kuper & Ricky Jay
From PBS, January 21, 2015, “Comic: Waiting For Ricky Jay, by Peter Kuper”
From The New York Times, Nov. 25, 2018, “Ricky Jay , Gifted Magician, Actor and Author, is Dead at 70”