For the last few weeks, an anonymous (but knowledgeable) blogger has been picking apart each week’s New Yorker cartoons for their humor and artwork content at the tumblr Sh*t My New Yorker. Delivering insightful analyses of punchlines and surprise, the identity of the blogger was much speculated upon in certain circles.
Well, the blogger stands revealed: It was Tom Hart all along! The Hutch Owen creator (And Sequential Arts Workshop founder) has stepped from behind the curtain and discussed his reasons for the blog: to spread more light on what works and doesn’t work in the ephemeral yet vital artform known as The New Yorker Cartoon:
The drawing in a New Yorker cartoon should invite you in, surprise and leave you changed, (even if it merely leaves you a little lighter.) They create big little worlds. George Booth images do this. So do Gahan Wilson, B. Kliban, Charles Addams, Price, Arno, etc. And let me again say the visual can and should be unthinkably or rather, indescribably rich: describing it at the dinner table a night later should fall short, because the drawing isn’t there to pull you through the idea.
Every artist, every cartoonist is different. Gary Larson told jokes in a much more nerdy, stiff way than say Lee Lorenz, who draws with a great joie de vivre, but Larson, though minimal, cleared everything out of the way so you could get to the gag, and what surprising and smart gags they were. There are a few New Yorker cartoonists who draw in a simple, uninflected style that gets the joke across, but I would argue that right now they need much more surprise in the mental/verbal part of the game to make their cartoons great. Sam Gross is someone who fits this bill: his ideas funny and original, his drawing simple and it doesn’t get in the way. In the current stock of newcomers, I think Karen Sneider fits this. Her humor is terrifically original, and a stylistic push towards visual originality would help her cartoons soar.
Much more in the link.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.