Shit My New Yorker Cartoons

All about New Yorker Cartoons, in intelligent, unsparing detail.
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Mar 26

The mostly harmless, repetitive April 2, 2012 issue

Full links to The New Yorker Cartoons are found here: http://www.newyorker.com/humor
This week’s cartoons are found here

Now, The April 2, 2012 issue:

I swear I wanted to be good. I spent some of Sunday and Monday in a very reasonable state of mind, looking at old cartoons, trying to bring some level-headedness to the frequent problematic moods that make me throw magazines across the room. Then I opened to this week’s first cartoon, from Zeigler, and I stared at it for around 5 minutes. (I timed it.) What does this cartoon mean?


I like this cartoonist. But I do not know what I am supposed to get out of this cartoon. First: the double-breasted suits and scotch-shaped glasses and ornate trompe-l’oeil tell me these are upper-class guys. The “damn” tells me they are assertive, cocky. Good. The wash on the wall tells me the wall is separate from the rest of the environment. Fine, except the caption is exactly what I would expect from a pair of ordinary guys like this. “Except for that wall socket, the whole damn thing is a tromp-l’oeil.”

So… What? What does this mean? I look at the wall socket. Looks ordinary. Am I missing something, I ask. Maybe the lamp and the couches are tromp-loeil also? No, I don’t think so (a funny gag by the way- what if the visiting scotch man were facing inside the entire room, and not the wall.) So I still don’t get it. Is the wall socket also tromp-l’oeil? Wouldn’t that be funny? Plugging your lamp into a painting? None of these seem to be going on here. Seriously, please tell me what this cartoon means.

This Torb or Jorb one is good enough. It’s a psychiatrist’s couch joke, or if not, it’s an annoying baby brother joke. Not sure, but at least it’s odd, with a few different possible interpretations. I wish he didn’t draw these hummels. The running man’s foot is pretty badly drawn but we’ll move on.

Ok, a tree falling in the forest joke. Right?,This one suffers prolonged exposure (I’m not really sure what it’s about anymore, actually) but at least the oddness could mean something.

Oh WAIT! I Just realized, the GUY IS TALKING? If so, this gets an F. Totally unclear. I thought the tree was talking. I still don’t know.


Hmmm. The theater/drama of this could be tighter: is he being scolded? Is this an official scolding? If so, put the Sgt behind a desk. Put the victim in the office with them. Is it a sudden response? Then make it funnier and quicker: “Bring the suspect in for questioning next time, ok?” or “Good job on the evidence [note the tension between right and wrong here] but you brought the victim in for questioning.” 

Harmless and goofy enough. (But give me a cartoon that tells me what he sounds like when he HAS just woken up!)

Magazines need constant content to keep afloat, and as such, a lot of it gets repeated. I’m sure this joke has been used over and over. 

This image strikes me as an possible outtake from Allison Bechdel’s Fun Home

Cool. Weird. The signature has a nice echo with the lasso and counter balance with the strong vertical at left, and the cowboy is really alive.  Good!

This is a good Chast. That kid in the front is classic of hers. I think Chast is the most original new cartoonist you could put in the pantheon of other great New Yorker cartoonists, which sounds great except she started in the late 80s, I think. 

"Sure my parents completely accept you as family, but that doesn’t mean they like you." is much funnier. Bouncier and quicker. Sadly, after spending a day reading George Booth cartoons full of domestic accoutrements (see the previous post) the presence merely of a lackluster Kindle as prop is distressing. 

Good. I debated whether this needs the “heigh-ho” bit and I think it does. Plus, this is a very alive drawing. This week’s winner, I think.

I don’t know what this relates to. Sure, people like noise. But who are THESE people? Do THEY like noise? I don’t know. The guy on the right is clearly on Oxycontin and isn’t even listening. 

I laughed at this one. Great contrast of ideas (see the previous post) and the guy can compose a picture. Odd that this cartoonist credited a writer here (I’m presuming.) Maybe he’s trying to impress a girl.

PC Vey is reliable. This is funny.

BEK
"Let me take your coat. You can cast your pall in there." Or just add "your" to the above. I argue that both of those would be funnier. 

Farley Katz’ second frat boys at a trap cartoon in 3 weeks, maybe 2.  I would argue that they should spread these out a little more, but they don’t do it with their upperclass party scenes so why should they do it here? This is his least offensive composition in a long while or maybe ever, but he still uses cumbersome markers for his line and can’t draw people. “Bro, no!” is a good quick caption, but I ask you: does anyone even know about Tim Kreider? He did this joke in the 90s:


Why is this one funnier? Went farther to give us real characters (without even drawing them!) The REASON for the trap is evident and humorous. AND: real happenings, real theater. Kreider, who does “The Pain: When Will it End” for some paper in Baltimore is the best cartoonist no one has heard of.  If Kreider were in the New Yorker, I would say that he, along with Chast, and maybe PC Vey were the best they’ve had since Booth, Lorenz, etc. 

Very topical. This is fine.

"How about never? Is never good for you?" This is a charming enough cartoon. The empty space and the lonesome atmosphere make it better than the sum of its parts.

This one is good. Real characters, real relationships. Plus, Cotham knows how to compose a picture.

Caption Contest

A good set-up. Hard to walk an atypical line for this one, it will almost certainly be a battle-of-the-sexes joke. I’d like to see some other avenues explored: self-mutilation? 


One of the accepted tenets of humor, and the single-panel cartoon, is that humor or content comes from two disparate ideas. Those two ideas usually shock us into a surprise of insight, (and often the quicker the better, before the idea and insight suddenly becomes commonplace in our brains…)

The best cartoonists used all of their skills to get that insight or joke across. They realized the pictures were just as important as the gag or idea. Sometimes, as in the case of Peter Arno, he was so in control of his picture making, that it served the gag completely. In others, George Booth for instance, the style of picture is a major part of the delivery. By style I don’t mean only the affectation of types lines or dots and washes,  but the part of the drawing that is inherently the cartoonists’ own- unique, wild at first perhaps, but tamed by craft.  The difference between Philip Seymour Hoffman or Dustin Hoffman (are they related?) doing Death of a Salesman. Both are great actors with their own humanity, they bring that and their craft to a great role and you get two very different plays. 

So, the idea and the image are both tools of that delivery, and the more attention you can pay to both as a cartoonist the better. And you, dear reader, should know what you’re looking at.

A few historical examples from said George Price and George Booth:


Here’s a simple one by George Price that would fit in perfectly today, especially during this insanely long Republican primary. The joke here, that someone is flipping a coin in the voting booth is a simple and good one. It’s made better by the diligent nature of the two clerks at their desks. You can tell these two guys are doing their jobs out as a calling- democracy is important, and all that. In the back, someone is almost mocking their beliefs. Again, the coin flipping would be enough, but the characters (in part brought on by Price’s natural elegance) add to it and make it more.

Which brings us to George Booth. I’m quoting from Lee Lorenz’ introduction to The Essential George Booth: “Like all great cartoon humor, Booth’s springs from character.” It’s those characters, -whether they have names or not, whether they exist in other cartoons or not- which are so finely drawn and specific that we become interested.


The caption reads: "Last called for stuffed peppers or I feed them to the dog!" Everything about these characters is interesting: the woman doing the cooking and hollering, the guys doing the playing and ignoring, and the dog, on the tail end of an oddball chain he doesn’t even want to be a part of. You can talk about this cartoon, and Booth’s cartoons all day. Suffice it to say, without real character in the drawings, that caption would be almost useless. Here, they’re so intertwined it’s hard to even talk about it in a few short sentences.

Another Booth:


The caption reads: "Tony asked me to ask you, Mr. Bates- do you know off hand the whereabouts of your service manual?" And there is poor Tony in the bottom right, looking half-neanderthal, half shell-shocked warrior, with “Tony” proudly emblazoned on his back, at a stand still. The wording is perfect, starting with “Tony”, leading to “Mr. Bates” and ending with “the whereabouts of your service manual.” Everything is in constant dialogue here- lots of disparate elements cohering in that line alone but with the drawing which is so specific, and so full of character(s), it becomes a great cartoon.

Another George Price:

"Whew, ‘Taint a fit night out for man nor beast!" This one takes a simple phrase/adage and illustrates it in an unexpected way. The animals all come in, downtrodden and defeated, into the suburban home to dry off. A great idea, full of charm and pathos, and almost anyone could have drawn it and made it funny, but Price’s innate elegance makes the creatures feel so much more at a loss. This is the Wild Kingdom, and the Kingdom has been rained out. It’s sad. It’s a powerful loss. It’s funny. The idea and picture working so well together here.

As a post script, a couple from a George Price book show how the cartoonist’s mind must always be looking for that combination of disparate ideas:


Again, two wildly different and great cartoons. (Though I would argue the 2nd one is the real stunner here.)


Mar 25

More about this blog, in our reasonable voice

More about this blog

SMNYC is about looking at the current cartoons in The New Yorker magazine, which has owned the title of Standard-Bearer for Single Panel Cartoons in America for a good number of decades. I think The New Yorker, as standard-bearer, deserves some scrutiny now and then. I think they have allowed the art form - the particular art form of the single panel gag - to falter. They frequently publish sloppily considered and technically amateurish cartoons, something they would never ever do in any essay, story or journalism piece, or even an illustration elsewhere in the magazine. (I can’t speak about the poetry or Shouts and Murmurs, because of my lack of expertise and my disinterest, respectively.) The New Yorker, in terms of writing and illustration, is the best general interest magazine in the country. It rewards and celebrates intelligence and curiosity. 

For reasons I can’t understand, none of this is consistently true of the cartoons. They hit their high points now and then, but this is a standard 100% of the essays and illustrations are held to, not just some now and then.

I’m not advocating a return to the “good old days” of the magazine;  I suspect the good old days had their share of mediocre or half-witted cartoons as well, and I want to research this. If I find a similar proportion of badly drawn and mundane comics in issues going back 30 years, 50 years, 80 years, then I’ll admit defeat. But I suspect that on the level of craft: that is, succinctly writing jokes and combining them with witty drawings with originality and technical verve, that I will find my thesis correct: things were better than. Surely in those earlier decades there are bound to be topical gags that fall flat now, and heaven knows, sexist gags that are not only sexist but banal. 

But, at risk of sounding like an old crank, a whole cartooning culture is at risk of going down the tubes. Comic strips in the newspaper, for instance, are all but dead. A good number of popular webcomics have picked up the audience-slack, but these are often amateurish. What happens is that new generations of young artists think that these are what comic strips can be and then they copy bad copies of copies. They will never see a Pogo. They will never see a Krazy Kat.

I think this is happening in The New Yorker as well. If a young and funny single-panel cartoonist in his teens opens The New Yorker, he or she should see the best the form is capable of. He/she should aspire to that. If this cartoonist can’t tell what his or her options and tools are in creating this form, if he/she can’t tell what makes a good drawing from a bad, or a good gag from a bad, then we’re failing as culture-keepers. The culture WILL go down the tubes. Decades from now someone will find a Booth book or a Searle book or even a Chast book and be surprised that they’ve never seen cartoons so original. It’s already happening with Gary Larson, and most kids who would love a Charles Addams cartoon have never seen one. It would blow their minds! I digress.

Anecdotal and some empirical evidence tells me that today’s New Yorker cartoons are designed to fade into the background, to be invisible, to inspire a chuckle. A cartoonist friend believes the problem is that “The New Yorker believes humor can be genteel, but it cannot be.” He may be right. I’m not sure.

The word on the street is that the method of submitting cartoons to is so grueling that the best cartoonists are submitting the best they could do in the time they had. But I doubt they would allow that of Malcolm Gladwell.

Some of the empirical evidence that tells me that the magazine itself is shooting for middlebrow (again, something they do not do with their essays and journalism), is the abundance of cartoonists publishing their “rejected gags.” And good for them. These gags are often much funnier than the ones that are approved. Why? I don’t know. But with this blog, we’re trying to get at some of the issues.

I say “we” because I want your feedback. Though I can’t figure out how to get endless comments on  Tubmlr, click TALKBACK above and continue the conversation. Or have it elsewhere, reasonably.

Thanks

SMNYC


Mar 23

What Shit My New Yorker Cartoons Is

SMNYC details the good and bad about New Yorker cartoons, which we feel are woefully unspoken about, in an Emperor’s New Clothes sort of way. The New Yorker editors have a smug sort of pride about their own cartoons which is basically undeserved. (witness their hosting of meet-the-cartoonist events, and the promotion they put into their cartoons: the cartoon bank, farming them out to advertisers, etc.) (Many of the cartoonists have a better idea: printing their rejections.)
There are good cartoons in there, and they do have good cartoonists in there, but on the whole, their editorial policy at present veers towards pleasing rather than compelling, chuckle-worthy rather than funny. They applaud their own life-styles. And the cartoonists, maybe because of the machine-like nature which drives them to bring in 10 cartoons a week to beg at the editors of one of only 2  or 3 markets (Parade being another that comes to mind, but of course that is much more middle-brow) that pays well for single-panel gags, ultimately submit half-thought-out compositions, drawings, scenarios, and gags.
We’re trying to go into detail about the failures and successes of the cartoons on an issue-by-issue basis.

magicwhistle asked: The things on the reindeer's back are its spine. It wasn't necessary to draw them, especially if you have to think about what they are.

If those are its spine, why isn’t it coming from the center of its neck? Grrr.


The Ok-Ok Dec 19 2011 Christmas issue

This is the Chrismas 2011 issue and really isn’t bad but does have a lot of the usual missteps. Let’s look in detail.


This one by Shanahan is pretty ok. John Cage of course loved silence, loved noise, maybe didn’t love music. His famous piece of going up to a piano on stage and sitting still and staring at it for 4 and a half minutes is referenced here. My problem with this cartoon is that John Cage also loved life, and was pretty joyful. I think these carollers are maybe a bit too grumpy. I don’t think they need (particularly the older two) to be so darn grumpy. They should just be well… silent. But at least this is clever. Ok.


Barsotti has some style but I don’t care about this cartoon at all. I guess this about those horrible friends you have that call you up and cry about their lives when you’ve been over and over it again. Somehow I just don’t feel this one delivers that, though.


This is Roz Chast doing her best Roz Chast impression here. This is a little by-the-numbers. People who like to see Roz Chast and feel comfort rather than discomfort will like this one. Her work this spring has been much better. 

Weyant is another cartoonist with a decent style. He draws funny and his tones, while all over the place in this cartoon, still cohere into a single image. Not sure if I want to comment on a cop/donut gag at all though.

Wait- ok, let’s comment. First: Bad Cop/Good Cop, ok we can work with that. But we don’t have to immediately go to donuts. What if it were a falafel truck -would the gag be better? “Sorry, Bad Cop’s already been here and he took the last gyro.” Is that funnier? It at least makes you work a half a moment. I’m think the problem lies in Good Cop/Bad Cop as nemeses in food procuring. Is this even a good idea? Cause cops eat? I dunno. Again I go back to ideas from the stage: show me real characters, real relationships and real happenings. Who is Bad Cop? What is Good Cop’s relationship to him (always spurned/foiled.) Can I see that? That way, it’s not just a joke about a cliche of language.

I swear BEK has a rubber stamp for this artwork, like Jeff McNally did for Shoe in his later years. But as I’ve said before, at least there’s a charge to his drawings. The guy on the left looks and feels genuinely crabby. The joke/caption is amusing enough. I’m not exactly sure what he means, but let’s move on.


This isn’t spectacular by any stretch of the imagination, but the distance between sled and shadow is at least compositionally elegant. But the lack of specificity is disappointing here. The “guys” fell off the sled- big deal. It brings to mind another great use of a shadow in a New Yorker cartoon: 

That’s a cartoon. Specificity. A real relationship. A specific, real thing happening.

Don’t know Hafeez but suspect he/she worked in animation. Real good line control and balance of tones and strong, vibrant figures. The joke is a good one. It’s topical, which usually means it will feel dated in 5 or 10 years, but it’s ok. I think he/she could have added one more clause in the caption to make it a longer trail of touching, but whatever. 

This one by Torb or Jorb works at first then doesn’t. Yes, Jesus got all these gifts and this poor little nebbish gets a dreidel, but Jesus was Jewish, and ah well- it’s not that important. The main thing I don’t like about Torb or Jorb is just how “cute” all the drawings are. I find them ingratiating but that’s just me.

I think the winner (for the 2nd post in a row) this issue is Dd, whoever that is. Though I think the usual problem of the commenting bystander in these cartoons is that they really aren’t a part of the scene, this is still a pretty great cartoon. That table of football jocks is really great. Two toasting on the ends, the one in the middle with his gullet up, his hands up in laughter, the fact that they’re all still in their helmets, all terrific details. Great design-y blacks usage. 

Barsotti again. This one works. It’s a standard cartoon cliche but connected to the extremely topical so working within tradition. Charming enough.

A reader tells me this is Maslin, not Mueller. I can’t read the signature.  Again I usually like this cartoonist’s drawing but this gag is so uninspired it’s hard not to be angry at it. There are several better variations immediately come to mind for this. “10 one gallon hats, yes sir.” or “Good choice sir, 10 one gallon hats” or “You found our 10 best single gallon hats!” or anything. This caption is unbelievably timid and dull.

This one is what it is. Works well enough. New Yorker filler. Inoffensive. Ok.

Oh Crawford step on your markers, please please please get rid of them. It’s too bad, cause this line’s pretty funny. But his/her incredibly distracting cacophony of streaky grey tones force me to look away. (I think one reason I like this caption is cause it’s so surprising. Do people DO that? Have I been living in a bubble? I’ve never heard of stoned Christmas Carolling to be a thing…)  

E. Flake, always topical. This one isn’t bad. Flake is much better at jokes than she is drawing, and The New Yorker won’t use her good jokes (see Lulu Eightball or her book on smoking) so this so-so cartoon is all we get from her. The weird stiffness works well on the guy suddenly able to walk, but sadly continues in the other standing figures and the composition as well so it really can’t transcend so-so.

PC Vey is usually funny, slightly skewed and delivers here. This is good. He is one of the better NYer cartoonists younger than 50, assuming he is. 

I’m not sure why Sipress had to give us an entire family scene here. The father is distracting, the mother even more so. And the grandfather uninspired and limp. This is a good gag (absurd and accurate at the same time) but the staging is all wrong.

I identified with one, found it charming, but I personally, subjectively dislike CAJ’s drawing. That’s just me. They’re harmless. I don’t like the vacant eyes (don’t like ‘em in E. Flake either) but I’ll cop to it being a subjective dislike. Actually, what really bugs me is how differently each of those hands is drawn.

Why oh why do the New Yorker captions go on so long? “I’ve got a great idea for a balloon animal” is MUCH funnier than the two-sentence version above.  ”I know you probably hear this all the time” is a distracting waste. If it’s important, show it on the clown’s face (almost but not quite gotten here, but it still works without it.)

I should refuse to comment on the Farley Katz cartoons from here on in. They exhaust me.

A little palette cleanser from Thompson, whoever that is. This is cute and funny enough. (Although I can’t figure out what those semi-circles are running down the reindeer’s side are. )

Dator’s contribution to the cartoon caption contest is good. I wish the four smokes in the center were as elegant as the left-most one. It looks like those other four or five were scribbled in Photoshop whereas the left one looks deliberately drawn and molded with line. In fact, the more I look at this, the more a lot of it looks quickly sketched in Photoshop, to a blurry sort of detriment, but maybe it’s just the web reproduction. The left-most building in the foreground is quite lovely.


eunonia asked: I just wanted to say that I really like what you're at here. I enjoy your critique of the cartoons more than the cartoons themselves - a form of schadenfreude, in part - but also the camaraderie. What I mean is that the punch of most punchlines are lost on me, humor is particular after all so I'll shrug and move on - but missing the joke of a New Yorker cartoon leaves me with the sense of being either a member of the out crowd or the last sane man in the room - and It is so nice to have company.

Thank you.


magicwhistle asked: Please tell me who you are. I think I have an idea because I know someone who's written similar things under his own name. You can write me privately. I won't tell.

magicwhistle, I won’t tell people who you are either. But they should order your book of single-panel gags, “Free Ice Cream.”


Mar 20

The Not So Bad March 26, 2012 issue

The New Yorker’s in a bit of a upward curve this week. The thing that The New Yorker editors don’t realize is that the cartoon panel is (or can be or should be) a sort of stage. A lot of stage rules apply. Namely, Make something happen, Make real characters and Define the relationships. It is true that funny captions can carry a ordinary picture but it shouldn’t be a shortcut. Few people going to the theater would be just as happy if it were just a slightly longer radio play.


The editor kicks it off with a good one. I think I would have changed it to “this guy” or “Mel” or maybe “Mel asked me nicely to help him sink this putt” or something, but this is funny enough. 

Of course it continues the trend of rarely drawing anything funny in the New Yorker. There should be said epidemics, famines etc in the background. (I’m not implying those are inherently funny, but in context here, they would be.) Then, you don’t need the long laborious caption.


Does that mean he’s wearing girl’s clothes? Cause cross-dressing is always funny. IN 1954.  (By the way, I think this is PS Mueller (I can’t read that signature anymore), who draws funny at least.)


At least there’s something funny to look at, though I don’t exactly know who these gnomes in the back are. But again, wouldn’t having 3 or 5 women on his horse as he rides away be funnier? And is the woman a conquest? Have the gnomes been defeated? I don’t exactly get this one. Gotham (Cotham I think) is usually ok but I don’t know about this one.


This is everyone I know’s least favorite cartoonist in The New Yorker. Just in case you don’t know he’s talking about annoying, privileged, pompous Upper East Side Society Folk, he gives you this big swirly pompous lavish lines to drink it in with. But here, he’s toned that down and given us scratchy and even a bit ugly. That woman is properly hideous and a bit cross-eyed, I approve. But the caption doesn’t do anything but make sense. It’s not funny. Is it? Am I missing something? Can anyone instead write a caption about compensating. Can you, o cartoonist, peel this onion one more layer and tell us WHY the jewelry has to get bigger? I don’t have a doorman or a separate library/den/dog walker/standing brunch with Anna Wintour, so maybe I don’t get what this means. But I want to! I like to laugh at ugly people! You’re halfway there!


This is the best one in a while. Good for this Dd. This one has levels, and takes a few moments to reveal them all. Dd wins.


Another good one. I have friends who would argue that drawing “attentive” should be much more over the top, but I think this one works well. Good bomb.


I think I like this one. The pins are pretty great. I think the walking ball could have been a bit funnier, made to look like it’s moving, as the pins are, but whatever. This is three decent cartoons in a row. 


This is good enough. Sounds like some tweens I know. That’s the idea. It works. We should start a new tagging system: “Cartoons that put stupid human phrases into mouths of non-humans.” 


Another from Mankoff, the editor. This is perfectly charming, except why on earth do you need that goddamned key in the bottom left? It complicated and ruins the joy of the moment. See the theatric comments at the top of this post. No one needs a key at the beginning of Macbeth explaining the Meyers-Brigg breakdown of each character. 


This is the cartoonist whose markers I want to break. Though I like the striking series of verticals in this composition. Though I have no idea what the joke is (that they are unhealthy, sloppy and stupid like the “stupidest meadow” joke above?) I also can’t tell if they are inside or outside or what. I think that car is telling me they are outside. What are those poles? This cartoonist always clutters his/her drawings. 


This one is funny enough. 

 


The caption contest cartoon. This is always the funniest drawing in the book. Mueller again, who as I said before, draws from his own nervous system, which I think is crucial for just about anyone drawing. Possible lines of thought for this cartoon:

The Deep End of the Pool
More Lemonade
Fewer Swimmers with the New Lifeguard etc.
Floaties 

 I actually like the Caption Contest; I know people who think it’s awful, but I think the rest of the issue leaves a bad taste in their mouth. And there’s usually one very funny response, but the 2nd funniest one always, without fail, wins.


Mar 19

The Not So Bad Feb 13-20, 2012 issue

The double issue Feb 13-20, 2012 wasn’t so bad. Here’s a rundown:


A good Roz Chast bit. Funnier, a little more off the wall than usual. Good for her.


Barsotti again. At least he has a style with craft. This is silly and harmless.


This is an oddity in the New Yorker- the gag-less scene. There’s no leap my brain makes to some brand name or typical upscale situation that I then see in a new light, which is what 95% of NYer cartoons are. No, this is just a simple poetic/allegorical image, well drawn, and as such, works well. A surprise. 


I think the genuine weirdness of this camera angle and the abundance of worrisome hatching go a long way to make this banal gag not unpleasant. Good enough!

I guess this is funny. Whatever. I think Dorothy actually LIKED Kansas but we snobby New Yorkers know better, right?


I wish someone would take this cartoonist’s shitty markers away and teach him/her to use a wash. That streakiness is so shitty and distracting. I suppose this a funny mafia gag or something. Except I ‘m sure a high number of these guys do get busted in good suits. A better approach: the cops are walking ‘em out of a house or something, the guys complaining “would it kill you to let a guy put on his finery?” Or something. I dunno. Who gives a shit about criminals?


This issue’s loser is this one. First, EVERYONE KNOWS this is true. The cartoonist has not unearthed some surprising truth. Second, he/she bent over backwards to get the wording right instead of leaving it as “Those who can’t, comment.” 

But again, the thing with the Fucking New Yorker is the PICTURES CAN’T BE FUNNY. Wouldn’t this be funnier with a grandmother texting her son from the back seat of a car, commenting on his driving? Or a broken-winged bird commenting on some flying, or even just make this dork in the office a real gross hoarder or something. The girl in this picture is pointless, as is the man. In a real single-panel cartoon, say by Larson or Kliban or Booth, or most by Gahan Wilson or Addams, both the pictures and the text matter. If the guy were drawn funny you wouldn’t even need a pointless lady staring at him. 

By the way, this cartoonist, though I don’t like his style, can at least compose a picture and use black well. Good for him (I’m presuming a him, with the lavish way he drew the lady.)


I forget this cartoonist’s name, but I generally like him (I’m presuming it’s a since he’s been around a while. It’s  been a boy’s club for a long time.) His characters look like cartoons: they accentuate some twinge or feeling that comes right from the author’s body. In this case, there’s a stunned look in the woman and an nervous but aggressive energy in the man. Most of his cartoons feel like they were drawn but someone who felt something, which is saying something. This gag is mostly hairless and harmless. Shouldn’t his body be facing the street, if they were just meeting for coffee, showing him much more disinterested would have been funnier. 


Koren being Koren again. This isn’t a gut-buster, but has a sort of acceptance-of-fate charm to it. The New Yorker’s lucky to have him.


In one of the rare times you don’t get the same picture from BEK, you get a shitty gag like this. Yes, vegans are all the rage. Yes wouldn’t it be funny if birdlings wanted to be vegan. Har har. Next there will be jokes about heirloom tomatoes, festishized butcheries and crazy new cocktails. What a time to be alive.


PC Vey is reliably skewed sometimes, which is good thing for the NYer. I’m surprised they let this one in. “THE sex later” would have been funnier. 


Sipress is one of the more stable cartoonists who won’t offend your intelligence, except here. I don’t give a shit about TV. This is about TV, right? It’s CERTAINLY NOT ABOUT THE PEOPLE IN THE CARTOON.


Again, I like Noth’s drawing well enough usually. I think this gag is super flat. I don’t even know what I’m supposed to glean from this. Is the lawyer a great storyteller. Is he spinning a wild yarn about innocence here? Is there anything funny about this? There’s no reason for this pulled back shot of the courtroom. Nothing in the drawing is necessary for the gag. Not the lawyer, not the client, not the jury, not the judge. 


Our humble editor, who is usually ok, comes in with an ok one. Regarding his effected style, it at least IS something, demands a bit of attention, which is good. However, any time you read or hear “Explain to me again” or “Tell me again” it means the storyteller in question is being lazy. Here, simply changing it to “That’s why we pay him the big bucks” is funnier anyway. I think this is just an angry subconscious patricide of his own editor. Maybe the guy on the right has some actually funny cartoons in that folder.


I may have a soft spot for Barbara Smaller cause she uses real pens and her little nervous lines seem genuine. This is funny enough.


Certainly DD thought about whether “On your left” was funnier than “Still on your left.” I guess I disagree with his/her decision here. What about “On your left. On your left. On your left. On your left.”?  


God damn The Sopranos for bringing the mafia back into the public consciousness. At least this Bob knew where to put his blacks in this drawing.


I like this one. So sue me. Not sure if I need the angry squirrel on the right, but it’s a clear decision the cartoonist made. This cartoon is at least about the subjects in it. 


Will someone just make Farley Katz take some classes in drawing PLEASE? Gosh that woman is horribly drawn. You can tell when a young male artist or teen simply is crazy for women cause they draw breasts and lips so weirdly. Someone should also tell Katz that human hands fall down our mid-thigh, and that our elbows bend about at the waist. And maybe someday he will draw a hand actually doing something a hand does.


Dator again comes in with a does-not-offend. This is charming enough. But look at that guy on the right. Addams used a guy like that often, noticing something out of whack. The problem with the NYer cartoons these days is they’re so damn afraid to BE ANYTHING.


I like this one. Good energy, a surprising situation. Good composition, real drawings. 


And the caption contest is good old Farley Katz. Look, Katz might be a nice guy or something, but he can’t compose a picture to save his life. All the interesting stuff in this panel is cluttered and hard to get to. He uses thick crappy markers at inopportune times, his overlapping is amateurish and confusing, his use of tone too literal and clumsy. 

Good night, Gracie.