“The Style Issue” with a Kadir Nelson cover — the second Nelson cover in three weeks. It’s titled “Savoring Summer” (and again, I question why the New Yorker‘s covers need to be titled. Shouldn’t covers speak for themselves, so to speak? This cover certainly does).
Thinking there’d be a bevy of cartoonists in this mid-September issue (last week’s issue had fourteen), it was a surprise finding nine single panel cartoons this week (there’s a multi-panel “Sketchbook” by Roz Chast).
Lately the Monday Tilley Watch has moved away from looking at every cartoon in each issue, but that doesn’t mean each and every cartoon in each and every issue doesn’t receive my undivided attention. Often I look at a cartoon like I eat popcorn. But sometimes I linger on a particular drawing, savoring the art, or the caption (if there is a caption); in the best of times, I linger because I’m happy to be looking at something that works, that really works. Other times I linger out of puzzlement — wondering what I’ve missed about the drawing — how, to my eyes, it went awry (or how my cultural antenna have failed me). It is far more exciting to come across a drawing that soars than one that fails. Take for instance Joe Dator’s three part Beauty and the Beast cartoon in this new issue. I believe the drawing hits the high bar. It’s drawn well (it reminds me of Lee Lorenz’s confident energetic art), and it measures up to Peter Arno’s characterization of a good cartoon, landing a one-two punch. A Spill round of applause is in order.
Some impressions from the issue: Frank Cotham’s cartoon — it leads off the issue, sitting in a good-sized space following the Table Of Contents. I mentioned Mr. Lorenz’s confident drawing; in Mr. Cotham’s quarter century of contributing to the New Yorker, he’s shown no fear in taking on the big picture, and handling it well. Alex Gregory’s line (his drawing is on p.93) is always a welcome sight. Ed Steed’s bee-hive wielding doctor drawing (p.55) seems like a follow-up to Zach Kanin’s memorable “I can feel the baby kicking” cartoon from 2008.
The Caption Contest:
Cartoon caption contest drawings aren’t mentioned here much, but I did note that Mick Stevens’ drawing this week echoes one of mine (captioned as you see) published in The New Yorker, August 23, 1982.
Finally, let us not forget Rea Irvin’s missing classic Talk Of The Town masthead. I sometimes picture it propped up in a closest someplace in the magazine’s offices, waiting to be rediscovered and returned to its proper place. Until that time, if it ever comes, here it is:
Cartoon Happenings at The New Yorker Festival
Held October 5, 6, and 7th. So far, here’s what’s up at the festival, cartoon-wise:
Saturday, the 6th: Sh!t Show: A Parenting Comedy Revue (with, among others, Emily Flake, and Roz Chast).
Sunday, the 7th: Cartoons & Coffee (with Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell and Farley Katz)