The New Yorker
To paraphrase Mary McCarthy, every word in Françoise Mouly’s interview with CBR’s Alex Dueben is fascinating, including “and” and “the.” It’s a marvelously insightful look at nearly every aspect of the legendary RAW, New Yorker, and Toon Books editor’s multifaceted career: The status of Toon Books, the challenges of producing educational books for children that are also fun to look at and read, her personal history with comics, the importance and legacy of her and husband Art Spiegelman’s seminal alternative-comics magazine RAW‘s production values, the shift among underground/alternative cartoonists’ careers from character-focused (a la Zippy, Jimbo, and Adele Blanc-sec) to creator-focused, her duties and work style as The New Yorker‘s art editor, working with visual artists from across the comics and illustration spectrum, her dream of an increased presence of actual comics in the magazine, R. Crumb’s apparent New Yorker beef, Toon Books’ upcoming slate…pure gold from one of comics’ most influential figures.
From deviantART to The New Yorker, artists and cartoonists keep dialing G for Gaga. In the wake of Jonas Åkerlund’s epic video for Gaga & Beyoncé’s duet “Telephone” a bumper crop of artistic tributes has blossomed. We’ve already rounded up a few early highlights; consider this the remix.
Heidi MacDonald and D&Q beat me to the punch, but just in case you missed the news, I thought I’d let you know that this week’s issue of The New Yorker magazine is sporting four swell covers by Chris Ware, Daniel Clowes, Adrian Tomine and Ivan Brunetti. Supposedly when you arrange the four covers together in a certain way, a super-secret picture forms. Alright, I’ll spoil it: It’s a picture of Eustace Tilly. It must be one of those “Magic Eye” type images though, because I’ve been staring at the bloody things for hours on end, and all I’m getting is a headache.
Eustace Tilley’s loss is our gain! Michael Kupperman, writer/artist of Tales Designed to Thrizzle and Twitterer extraordinaire, has posted a slew of comics that didn’t quite make it into the pages of The New Yorker.
His submissions, which can be viewed on his Twitpic account, include a look at Microscopic Goings-On About Town, Pigeons in Film, Slightly Cursed Merchandise, Other Species’ Currency, and the eternal question seen here, How Much Do You Know About Your Mutual Fund Manager? And because he’s that kinda guy, Kupperman has even shared a pair of strips that actually wound up in the mag.
Kupperman’s trip down memory lane was prompted by a request from The New Yorker to pitch them some comics again. The problem there, he tweeted, was that “after years of working for them and other magazines like them, I am in the wrong income bracket to adopt their worldview/sense of humor.” Here’s hoping that at some point soon, the likes of Hendrik Hertzberg and David Denby will once again be guarded by McGritte the Surrealist Crime Dog.
I recently caught up with seasoned industry veteran Shannon Wheeler for an email interview. This interview took place before Wheeler’s recent announcement that he was contemplating a project at ACT-I-VATE–I mention this only as an explanation as to why I ask no questions in that regard. As noted in this recent post, his work has frequently been picked up by The New Yorker as of late, while he continues his work on How to Be Happy. And, of course, we get in some discussion about his overall Too Much Coffee Man work. My thanks to Wheeler for his time.
Tim O’Shea: You are a creator with a long, proven track record, who covers a great many concepts in your work (judging by this tag cloud). This page offers me a wealth of topics to ask you about, but I’ll focus on one. In a down economy like this current one, does it make it easier (or even too easy) to tackle consumerism in the strip?
Shannon Wheeler: It makes it easier to criticize capitalism/materialism/consumerism when the economy is South in that you have specific things (like unemployment and poverty) to point at. Some of the humor becomes more poignant because the reality is more harsh. But that’s very external. To me it feels like the humor has stayed the same.
A lot of the cartoons are about my personal struggles. Consumerism is something I wrestle with. I love buying DVDs, collectibles, art. At the same time I think owning things, wanting things, is ridiculous.
In addition to that neat Chris Ware strip in this week’s New Yorker magazine (I should note he did the cover too), the venerable magazine is holding a do-it-yourself cartoon contest. Using the cartoon kit provided on the Web site (using art by Alex Gregory), simply create as many gags as you like and send them in by Nov. 22. The top five winners will be featured in a slide show. Yeah, I know, that’s not much of a prize, but still, it beats a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, as my father used to say. Oh, if you register the kit (which you have to do anyway to use it) you’ll enter a sweepstakes to win a trip to New York City. Now that’s more like it.
Dan Clowes graces the cover of this week’s new Yorker, as seen above, and in the video below, he and New Yorker Art Editor Francoise Mouly, along with several other contributing artists, talk about how the image came to be. (found via D&Q)
Thinking Big With Robert Mankoff is a series of video interviews with the New Yorker Cartoon Editor in which he talks about the role and history of humor in society. In the one below he talks about how he became a cartoonist and what makes things funny. (found via Drawn)
The New Yorker, or at least its Web site, has quickly become the go-to place for those eager to learn about Robert Crumb’s upcoming and much-anticipated adaptation of the Book of Genesis. Blogger Leigh Stein’s latest revelation comes courtesy of Crumb neighbor and fellow artist Peter Poplanski, who talks about how he helped Crumb do research for the book by taking photos of Biblical-themed movies:
“Robert would go over and over the costume folds, how the robes fit, the drapery. Once you know the gravity of fabric, you also have to light it, so the fabric has weight,” Poplaski said.
He scoured flea markets and discount bins for copies of Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments” (1923 and 1956), William Wyler’s “Ben Hur” (1959), and a made for TV Samson and Delilah starring Dennis Hopper as a Philistine general. He also turned to some less predictable Hollywood sources—Bernardo Bertolucci’s “The Sheltering Sky” (1990), Martin Scorsese’s “The Last Temptation of Christ” (1998), and Stephen Sommers’s “The Mummy “(1999) and “The Mummy Returns” (2001).
Update: I haven’t gotten my copy yet, but apparently the latest issue of the New Yorker contains an 11-page excerpt from the book. So be sure to run out to your local newsstand dealer post-haste.
In addition to providing a fantastic cover to this week’s issue of the New Yorker, Dan Clowes also gave Leigh Stein the briefest of hints about the graphic novel he’s currently working on:
“I don’t even have a title for it yet,” he told me, but hinted that the plot concerned “a guy whose father dies, and he’s completely alone, so he tries to reconstruct what he’s lost, to approximate a nuclear family by joining people together.” Each page of the book is an individual scene, a joke on the format of a Sunday cartoon strip, but cumulatively the scenes create a larger narrative that turns from comic to tragic.
If that doesn’t whet your appetite enough, Stein also posted a slide show of preliminary sketches from the upcoming book.