The mostly harmless, repetitive April 2, 2012 issue
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.
"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.
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?