Weekend Spill: “I Played Ping-Pong” With Thurber…The New Yorker’s Roger Angell Interview; John Cuneo Sketches A Cover On A Napkin; The Tilley Watch Online: February 10-14, 2020

Interview Of Interest: Roger Angell

From The New Yorker, this terrif interview of Roger Angell by Willing Davidson, a senior editor at the magazine: “Baseball, Fiction, And Life: Roger Angell’s Era-spanning Career At The New Yorker”

Left: Mr. Angell, wearing the hat, with another New Yorker era-spanner, Edward Koren

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John Cuneo Sketches A Cover On A Napkin

When I meet up with cartoonists here in the Hudson Valley it’s a rare thing for any drawing to be done. Most of the time — 99.999% of the time — is spent jabbering about all kinds of things. But — there’s always a but, right? — yesterday while sitting in a bakery/coffee joint with New Yorker colleagues, Danny Shanahan and John Cuneo, John began to describe a cover he’s working on for Michael Gerber’s fab American Bystander. As the fine tip Uniball pen often cuts to the chase quicker than the spoken word, John grabbed a napkin and within seconds ( a minute at most) drew the above. Hoarder that I am, I asked him if I could have it just as he was about to crumple it up, and then asked if he would sign it. Luckily, he was  agreeable-enough to both requests. I’ll run his sketch again side-by-side the finished piece once it appears on The American Bystander.

—My thanks to John Cuneo for sharing his napkin with the Spill. 

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The Tilley Watch Online

An end of week listing of New Yorker artists who contributed to newyorker.com features,  February 10-14, 2020.

The Daily Cartoon: Amy Hwang, Ivan Ehlers, Kim Warp, Brendan Loper, Lila Ash.

Daily Shouts:  Olivia de Recat (with Julia Edelman), J.A.K. (with Harris Mayersohn),

…And:

Barry Blitt’s Kvetchbook.

“Dinner Party” — A video with Marc Philippe Eskenazi, who was at one time an assistant in the cartoon department.

 

 

A Go-To New Yorker Cartoon Book: The New Yorker Album Of Drawings 1925 – 1975

With a new entry in the New Yorker cartoon collection in the market place, the weighty and curious New Yorker Encyclopedia of Cartoons, I thought it might be time to swing the spotlight another way — to a favorite New Yorker cartoon-related anthology, The New Yorker Album Of Drawings 1925 – 1975; a proven time-tested book that never ever fails to thrill and inform  — I learn something whenever I look through it. 

 My collection of New Yorker cartoon anthologies began with this book, given to me the year it was published, two years before I began contributing to the magazine. I’ve spent more time with it than any book I ever had in school. If I was teaching a class about New Yorker cartoons, this would be  required reading/viewing.  As you’d expect, the book is a greatest cartoon hits from the magazine’s first 50 years, but it also thoughtfully digs into the archives for what could be the best representative work by the non-hits artists.

It’s not just the selection of work that lifts this anthology to a higher plane, it’s the balance of the work as well. All credit for that balance goes to The New Yorker‘s Carmine Peppe, (“the fabled Carmine Peppe” as Roger Angell tagged him). Mr. Peppe is credited with the book’s “design and layout.”  That makes sense as he was head of the magazine’s editorial make-up department since 1932. He was also credited with design and layout of every anthology beginning with the 25th Anniversary Album, published in 1950 (I think it’s safe to assume he also designed, uncredited, the Albums that were published since 1932). Mr. Peppe’s roots ran as deep as anyone’s at the magazine, having joined the New Yorker a few months into its run in 1925. Mr. Peppe will forever be linked to Jack Ziegler as it was Peppe who famously held up running Mr. Ziegler’s first drawings when he broke into the magazine in 1974. Mr. Ziegler told Richard Gehr in I Only Read It For the Cartoons, “He [Peppe] didn’t like my work, apparently…”

In the magazine’s obit for Mr. Peppe in 1985, William Shawn had this to say (in part) about Mr. Peppe’s substantial contribution to the magazine:

Carmine Peppe had the hands of a master craftsman, and he had the eye and the soul of an artist. He lived with love at home, and he worked with love at his demanding job…

His aesthetic instinct for what drawing should appear on what page and what its size on the page should ideally be was faultless. If, say, a drawing was an eighth of an inch too wide, he saw it as jumping off the page, and he was right. His meticulousness, his precision, his attention to detail were fanatical.  In the last analysis, it was Carmine who determined, early in our history, how the pages of The New Yorker should look, how the magazine as a whole should look. Since what he designed for us was appropriate to our intentions and was classic, we stayed with what he gave us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The First New Yorker Cartoon Issue…and the Last

From 1997 through 2012, the New Yorker published a “Cartoon Issue”; that there was a special issue wasn’t news — the magazine had started publishing them in its new era of ownership under Conde Nast (purists might argue that the issue of August 31, 1946 was the magazine’s first special issue. Beyond the Goings On About Town section, the entire issue was devoted to John Hersey’s Hiroshima. There were no cartoons, and no illustrations — just spot drawings).  The first Cartoon Issue came in the year of more change: the cartoon editorship passed from Lee Lorenz, who had held that position for 24 years, to one of the magazine’s cartoonists, Bob Mankoff, who had been contributing to the magazine for 20. [The Spill will take a look at the How and Why of that change in editorship in a future post].

The very first Cartoon Issue, dated December 15, 1997 was a celebratory explosion of the magazine’s signature art.  From the fold-out cover collage to the wonderful Jack Ziegler cartoon, “No comment” appearing where the “Comment” section would normally appear, it set the bar very high.  Also in this issue, the three section (originally planned as two section)  fold-out photograph of cartoonists taken by the acclaimed Arnold Newman, the mini bios of each cartoonist in the issue, Roger Angell’s Onward and Upward With the Arts piece (“Congratulations! It’s a baby”), Roz Chast’s graphic ode to Charles Addams, a double page photograph of George Price, a special feature by Richard Cline, Lee Lorenz’s “Cover Stories” …and more. 

In that first issue, the cartoons nearly took over the magazine. The majority of the pieces on the Table of Contents were cartoon-themed; 51 cartoonists were given brief bios.  In  the last Cartoon Issue,  28 cartoonists contributed and the issue’s special cartoon features were bundled together in the middle of the book, from page 60 to 76, with a smattering of single panel cartoons (16 cartoons to be exact) 5 multi-page spreads and 2 full page spreads, one of which, Joe Dator’s, “How We Do It: A Week In the Life of a New Yorker Cartoonist” is a classic piece of work.   As I wrote in 2012 when the issue appeared, “this Cartoon Issue veers from its predecessors in that its cover, cartoons and cartoon spreads are predominantly politically themed.”  

 Although all of the Cartoon Issues had elements that were exciting and fun — for instance, the Charles Barsotti cover on the second Cartoon Issue in 1998, and covers by New Yorker cartoonists such as George Booth, Ms. Chast, Harry Bliss, Edward Koren, Bruce Eric Kaplan, etc. —  that first Cartoon Issue, with its electric zeitgeist, remained the one to beat.  By October of 2011, when I mentioned to Jack Ziegler that the latest Cartoon Issue was probably due any week, he responded to me (via email) that it was “the moment we all dread.” By that time, the so-called “bookazine” Cartoons of The Year had already appeared and would shortly supplant the Cartoon Issue. On June 13, 2013, the magazine’s cartoonists received an email from the cartoon editor saying: “there definitely is not going to be a cartoon issue this year.” And that, as they say, was that.

(Below: the last Cartoon Issue, cover by Roz Chast)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

James Stevenson’s Life & Work Celebrated

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friends, relatives, and colleagues gathered yesterday morning at the Century Association in Manhattan to honor the late New Yorker Artist & Writer, James Stevenson. Among those from The New Yorker were Danny Shanahan, Arnie Levin, Anne Hall Elser, Roger Angell, Kennedy Fraser, Susan Morrison, Anthony Hiss, Mark SingerThe New Yorker’s “Jack-of-All-Trades” Stanley Ledbetter, the New Yorker‘s former Television Critic, Nancy Franklin and the magazine’s former Art Editor/Cartoon Editor, Lee Lorenz.

A blow-up of one of Mr. Stevenson’s color pieces hung behind a podium where guests made their way to recall movingly and often hilariously, Mr. Stevenson.

On our way out, we were offered a jar of  Creamy Skippy Peanut Butter (a Stevenson favorite), as well as the booklet of drawings shown above, and partially below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mr. Stevenson’s entry on Ink Spill’s New Yorker Cartoonists A-Z:

James Stevenson Born, NYC, 1929. Died, February 17, 2017, Cos Cob, Connecticut.  New Yorker work: March 10, 1956 -.   Stevenson interned as an office boy at The New Yorker in the mid 1940s when he began  supplying ideas for other NYer artists. Nine years later he was hired a full-time ideaman, given an office at the magazine and instructed not to tell anyone what he did. He eventually began publishing his own cartoons and covers as well as a ground-breaking Talk of the Town pieces (ground breaking in that the pieces were illustrated). His contributions to the magazine number over 2000.   Key collections: Sorry Lady — This Beach is Private! (MacMillan, 1963), Let’s Boogie (Dodd, Mead, 1978).  Stevenson has long been a children’s book author, with roughly one hundred titles to his credit.  He is a frequent contributor to the Op-Ed page of The New York Times, under the heading Lost and Found New York. Stevenson’s recent book, published in 2013, The Life, Loves and Laughs of Frank Modell, is essential.

A 2013 Ink Spill piece of interest: James Stevenson’s Secret Job

 

Being Eustace Tilley; Roger Angell Remembers James Stevenson; Oscar Time! Liza Donnelly Back on the Red Carpet Live Drawing the Oscars, Drooker’s Oscar Cover, Eckstein’s Oscar Wielding Eustace

 

 

Eustace Tilley is of course a fictional character — commonly referred to as The New Yorker‘s mascot.  There is a suggested backstory to Tilley himself in Lee Lorenz’s Art of The New Yorker: 1925-1995; there are best guesses elsewhere as to why Rea Irvin (see below) decided to submit the cover to Harold Ross to adorn Ross’s inaugural issue and there are probably just as many best guesses as to why Ross chose to use Irvin’s submission.

Following the advent of the New Yorker, it didn’t take long for a Tilley stand-in to show up; a New Yorker in-house publication featured Harold Ross as Tilley and Alexander Woollcott as the butterfly hovering at Tilley’s eye-level.  Over the years there have been innumerable parody New Yorkers (Ink Spill has a selection here).  But how many real people, after Harold Ross, have stood in for Tilley on a New Yorker cover or on another magazine’s cover.

If you search online you’ll see perhaps hundreds of Tilley stand-ins, some on the cover of The New Yorker itself, many submitted to the New Yorker as part of a contest, many just for personal amusement (Tilley as Disney’s Goofy, or Mad’s Alfred E. Neuman, Dr. Seuss’s Cat In The Hat, etc., etc.)    But here I’m concentrating on published covers featuring real people (and one real dog) as Tilley.   I’ve found just a few (please let me know of others that fit this category…update: my thanks to Attempted Bloggery for reminding me about the Eustace Clinton/Obama cover ):

 

First the real deal: Rea Irvin’s classic cover:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The New Yorker‘s in-house issue featuring Harold Ross.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Renata Adler as Tilley on Manhattan, Inc. November 1986

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York magazine, July 20, 1992,  with Tina Brown as Tilley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The New Yorker’s 75th anniversary issue, February 21, 2000, with a William Wegman dog as Tilley (and one of his dogs standing in for the butterfly)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Eustace Tillarobama” (credited to Rea Irvin and Seth) February 11, 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And that brings us to the March 6, 2017  The New Yorker, with Barry Blitt’s  “Eustace Vladimirovich Tilley” and Donald J. Trump as the butterfly

Image result for eustace tilley putin

 

Rea Irvin’s entry on Ink Spill‘s “New Yorker Cartoonists A-Z”:

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, 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.

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…From the New Yorker‘s Culture Desk, February 25, 2017, “Looking At The Field” Roger Angell on James Stevenson’s art and writing.

photo: Mr. Stevenson in Westport, Connecticut in 2015

 

 

 

 

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Oscar Time!

…Liza Donnelly has been out in Hollywood all week drawing  the scene as the Academy Awards prepares for its big night. Following her historic appearance last year as the first ever cartoonist live drawing on the Red Carpet, she will be back again tomorrow night drawing the stars and the hooplah.

Check out her drawings @lizadonnelly  and  @CBSThisMorning

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The New Yorker’s  Oscar cover, February 27, 2017 by Eric Drooker (titled “#OscarsNotSoWhite”)

 

 

 

 

 

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…I’ll wrap up this post appropriately enough with Bob Eckstein’s Eustace holding an Oscar. Be sure to follow Mr. Ecksteins coverage of the big event on newyorker.com