Despite the snow scene outside my window and the forecast for another wallopin’ of snow here in a few days, I know Spring is just around the corner. The latest New Yorker cover — the second by Jenny Kroik — is in the same realm of wishful thinking. Her cover is a welcome respite from politics, which are always just around the corner too.
Paging through the issue, I noticed a photo under the “Videos” heading at the bottom of the “Contributors” page. A new online feature: “The New Yorker Interview” — a swell idea. I’m hoping future interviews will include the magazine’s artists.
Moving quickly now through pet peeves: the use of a near full page photo leading off Goings On About Town; the absence of Rea Irvin’s iconic Talk of The Town masthead.
And now the cartoons: the first of the issue, a Frank Cotham drawing that on my tablet appeared to show a fellow running along a beach (I thought he was running near dune grass). On the laptop it’s quite clear he’s running in a field. The runner’s toned legs — a funny touch –are unexpected (in a Cotham drawing) but certainly do indicate this fellow’s been in training.
Seven pages later, a Carolita Johnson bar drawing. I think this just might be my favorite drawing of hers. The caption is textbook (New Yorker textbook, that is), from the use of the name “Jer” to the mid-caption set-up use of the word “empty” to last word, “peanut.”
Six pages later, another new favorite by a veteran cartoonist. Drew Dernavich‘s Batman drawing delivers: caption, the drawing itself. Wonderful (I would’ve loved to see the drawing occupy a larger space). Three pages later, Avi Steinberg gives us a turn-about on a favorite pastime for many: people watching. Mr. Steinberg has removed the generally accepted casualness of people-watching and turned it into people-staring. Awkward.
Three pages later, a moment with an aging couple via Emily Flake. A few pages following Ms. Flake’s drawing, a Roz Chast drawing which made me happily recall cartoonists’ lunches of yore (and even more recently than yore).
Four pages later, an Olivia de Recat drawing. As with her two previous drawings, this is text-driven (a Tina Brownism, I think) but not as text-driven as her previous efforts. If Ms. de Recat’s “Big City Sound Machine” was actually being produced I might spring for one if only for the “Dump Truck in Rain” sound — what poetry.
Three pages later a drawing by veteran cartoonist, Mike Twohy. I associate sack races with town picnics in summertime, but I suppose they’re not exclusive to a season (I played around with a sack race and a seasonal reference many years ago, It appeared in the New Yorker June 21, 1982, to be exact. See below). I’m also reminded of Robert Day’s 1945 collection, All Out For The Sack Race! I know there’ve been a few other sack race drawings in the magazine but not yet enough to fill up a New Yorker Book of Sack Race Cartoons.
Three pages later a Bob Eckstein game show drawing. Without diving into the piece (that’s what they do over on Cartoon Companion) I really enjoyed the well-situated and funny Tom & Mom contestants. We used to see game show drawings every so often; it would be great if we got to see more. They are silliness vehicles.
Directly opposite Mr. Eckstein’s drawing (and why it’s directly across is a puzzle — why not in the upper right hand corner?) is a beauty by Edward Koren. A lot to look at in this drawing, as is usually the case with Mr. Koren’s work.
The final drawing in the issue (not counting the Caption Contest drawings) is by Darrin Bell. Criminals on their way to a caper (there’s a word that’s been retired for at least 50 years). Two of the would-be robbers are masked. The driver — who’s quite a large fellow – is unmasked. This reminded me for some reason of that great scene in The Town, when the guys don rubber nun masks — even the driver. I guess in these situations it’s up to the individual would-be perpetrator to make the masked or unmasked call.