The latest New Yorker is the “Spring Style” issue (it says so right at the top of the Table of Contents). The huge feathered Carol Channing-esque hat on the cover (by Maira Kalman) sets the tone, or theme. There’s a lot of color in this issue (ads, illustrations, and one cartoon) — more so than usual, I think. Makes sense: Spring = color.
Was hoping Rea Irvin’s iconic masthead (below) would be reborn for Spring, but alas. Had it popped up in this issue, it would look exactly like this.
And now off to the cartoons. The first, on page thirty-three, is by Carolita Johnson. For those visiting New York, or living in New York, Ms. Johnson’s titled drawing, Dressing For the Manhattan Climate, will ring true any time of year. Six pages later a Harry Bliss drawing. Mr. Bliss’s single panel cartoons are instantly recognizable — they’re always in a box. I’ll be curious to see how the fellows at the Cartoon Companion dissect this drawing.
Five pages later, Joe Dator brings us a variation of pin the tail on the donkey. For me, Mr. Dator’s drawings belong in that category of cartoonists work that amuses at first sight, even before the caption is read. Four pages later, a Roz Chast drawing that drove me to a dictionary. The drawing is titled Deux Ex Caffeina. I recognized it as a play on deus ex machina — a phrase I know but never bothered (til now) to understand. Here’s how Mirriam -Webster defines it:
The New Latin term deus ex machina is a translation of a Greek phrase and means literally “a god from a machine.” “Machine,” in this case, refers to the crane that held a god over the stage in ancient Greek and Roman drama.
Got it now. Very nice drawing.
Opposite Ms. Chast’s drawing is a P.C. Vey drawing. With a caption that concerns paper shredding and includes the words “incriminating documents” there’s a heavy overtone of criminality. By the way, both Ms. Chast’s drawing and Mr. Vey’s sit well on their respective pages, sized and balanced well off each other.
The next two pages contain two cartoons as well. Mary Lawton’s, with a cat hogging a shaft of late afternoon sun and Paul Noth’s comment on gun control (or lack thereof). Following a few pages later is a drawing by relative-newbie Olivia de Recat with another in her series of word-based cartoons. Time will tell if this is her specialty.
Two pages later a Will McPhail bathroom drawing. I found the terror of the fellow in the tub very funny, but I do wonder why the text, in horror typeface, is within the drawing itself. This is the kind of big cartoon question that keep some of us awake at night.
Opposite Mr. McPhail’s tub terror is Bishakh Som‘s debut in the New Yorker. For those keeping track, Mr. Som is the fourteenth new cartoonist to make their debut since Emma Allen assumed the position of cartoon editor in May of 2017.
Three pages after Mr. Som’s drawing is one by this cartoonist, putting to use perspective I learned in a high school Mechanical Drawing class. Thank you, Mr. Minchin.
Two pages later Ed Steed employs a bit of color in a drawing featuring little identical gentlemen. At first I thought Mr. Steed had joined the cartoon tiny wind-up toy people club (Charles Addams did a lot of those drawings). But closer inspection reveals these tiny folk to be real cartoon people and not toy cartoon people (you can tell they’re not toys because they lack wind-up keys). It being an Ed Steed drawing I don’t suppose it makes any sense to wonder why these dapper miniature men are tiny and identical and appear to have some Snidely Whiplash characteristics (the hats and mustaches). Funny is funny.
Three pages later, an Emily Flake family in crisis drawing, followed thirteen pages later by a Liana Finck drawing. Ms. Finck’s style, like the aforementioned Mr. Dator’s style, is immediately welcoming (and, of course, humorous).
Eight pages later, the last drawing in the issue (not counting the Cartoon Caption Contest drawings) and the newest entry in the New Yorker‘s cartoon subway series. This one is by newbie (though not debut newbie) Sharon Levy. Having never been out west, I needed someone with left coast experience to explain it to me. Okay then.
Note: all of the above cartoons can be seen on the New Yorker‘s website here. Scroll down to Cartoons from the Issue
–See you next week