Back in late 2014, the cartoonist Mike Lynch kindly asked me if I’d like to contribute something to his publication, Raconteur, “a collection of true stories written and illustrated by cartoonists who usually specialize in other formats.”
My first (and only) thought was to put down on paper a graphic report of a nutty Thurber-centric non-event in my college life. The four page ( 100% guaranteed factual) piece ran in the Spring 2015 Ranconteur. Seems like now’s a good time and place to let “To Catch A Book” surface again.
Pardon this little trip down memory lane.
In 1975 I printed this first book of mine on a creaky noisy offset press in the basement of the Print Shop at The University of Connecticut in Storrs (the Print Shop, a little paradise on campus, is no more, torn down and replaced — a la Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” — by a parking lot).
Somewhere Above the Jugglers And Dogs might have been my senior project — or it may have just been something I wanted to do for fun. I’m fairly certain the hat on the cover is some kind of tribute to the hat on the ground in Thurber’s classic drawing, “What have you done with Dr. Millmoss?” — the drawing I place highest on a pedestal.
After printing all the pages (enough for 50 copies of the book) I drove them to be bound at a printing plant in Hartford (each copy has three staples covered by protective black cloth). I remember showing the completed work to a dear friend who promptly told me he hated the title. Everyone’s a critic.
By the time I put this together I’d already been submitting work to the New Yorker for three or four years; all of it rejected by the magazine’s legendary art editor, James Geraghty. I can’t blame him one bit. Here’s one of the drawings, Tom Inventing Spit. Not exactly the kind of thing the New Yorker was publishing in 1975 (in hindsight, I wish I’d called the book Tom Inventing Spit).
In the next two years, post-college, I honed the kind of work I’d included in this book and collected even more of it in another self-published book, 115 Drawings. By the time 115 Drawings was produced in early 1977, I’d abandoned drawings like this and moved on to dutifully submitting work edging closer to single panel cartoons. By then Lee Lorenz, who succeeded Geraghty, was routinely rejecting my New Yorker submissions. He finally caved in mid-1977 when the magazine bought an idea of mine (drawn up by the great Whitney Darrow, Jr., and published in the New Yorker, December 26, 1977). As far as the New Yorker’s concerned, my words came first.
The above from The New York Times. Congratulations to Ms. Pond!
From the Daily Campus, “UConn to Award over 7000 degrees” — this piece which includes the news that Liza Donnelly, who is being given an honorary degree (congratulations to Ms. Donnelly!), will speak at the Graduate ceremony.
From the blog, David-Wasting-Paper, December 31, 2012,
“A Little Cartoonist Eye Candy for New Year’s Eve”
— photographs of cartoonist’s work spaces. A fun post.
From The University of Connecticut’s Art & History site,
“Two Exhibitions will feature work by Professor Emeritus Gus Mazzocca and His Students”
I was honored to be selected as one of Professor Mazzocca’s students exhibiting work.
Danny Shanahan recently announced through Facebook that he’s next in line for The New Yorker’s Daily Cartoon online feature. David Sipress has been supplying work since the feature began (sorry, no link. Just go to newyorker.com. Danny’s work will begin appearing any day now). And speaking of Danny: now you can find him on Facebook at Danny Shanahan — New Yorker Cartoonist. You’ll find photographs of cartoonists, unpublished Shanahan cartoons and more.
And finally: A note of thanks to all of you who dropped by this year. Ink Spill attracted close to a million-and-a-half hits in 2012 — an encouraging number for a site that elects to cover such a tiny sliver (i.e., New Yorker cartoonists) of a very large field (all cartoonists).
2013 should be chock full of fun posts as The New Yorker’s 88th anniversary arrives in February and the 109th anniversary of Peter Arno’s birth in just about a week. Ink Spill will increase its interviews this coming year, including a talk this summer with Peter Steiner on the occasion of the 16th anniversary of the publication of his famous New Yorker cartoon, “On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.”
Happy New Year to all!