Wednesday, September 30, 2020

The Cartoon Collections Caption Contest #94

The Cartoon Collections Caption Contest #94 presents us with a dog at an information window. This week there is no question as to who is speaking. My entries are below. The drawing is by Kaamran Hafeez.

"Do you have a squirrel department?"
"Who can give me a belly rub?"
"Do you need a floorwalker?"
"You'll have to walk me through this."

October 8, 2020 Update:  The Winner


Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Robert Day Procrastinates

In 1945, New Yorker cartoonist Robert Day responded to a request for an autograph... about thirteen months after receiving it. One hopes the recipient, James A. Bowman, thought it was worth the wait. He made the request at age 19 and received the signed card complete with a "rush" drawing at age 20. At that impatient age and while serving in the Army during the war, a year could seem an awfully long time.

Robert Day
AbeBooks listing accessed September 28, 2020

The recipient's obituary:
James A. Bowman's obituary


Monday, September 28, 2020

My Entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #726

I tried not to get carried away with my entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #726 for September 28, 2020. The stinging drawing is by Ali Solomon.

"I told you we should stockpile hydroxychloroquine."

October 5, 2020 Update:  The Finalists 

October 12, 2020 Update:  I'm afraid I didn't vote this week—well, I did, just not in the caption contest—but for me it's Encinitas all the way.

October 19, 2020 Update:
  The Winner


Sunday, September 27, 2020

Seven Drawings by Virgil Partch

Illustrator and collagist Stephen Kroninger has submitted images of seven original drawings by cartoonist Virgil Partch, Vip if you like. The first was published in Vip: The Mad World of Virgil Partch in 2013 and no doubt elsewhere during Partch's lifetime (1916-1984).

Vip:  The Mad World of Virgil Partch (2013)

I don't know where the next four drawings were published but they can very likely be found somewhere in Vip's many book collections.
"You've heard of sleepers who roll and toss? Shorty there just rolls."

"But he's buying"

Partch may have recycled the above gag in 1977 in Big George, setting the gag in a restaurant instead of a bar. Sorry for the poor image quality:
Big George, Detroit Free Press, May 4, 1977, p. 57

"I wonder if you'd check the right rear."

"Now there's a guy who's really traveling light."

Two of Stephen's drawings are from Partch's gag panel strip Big George:
"No skis in the bar!"
Big George,
January 27, 1976

Again, sorry for not subscribing to, but you get the idea, if not the whole picture: 
Detroit Free Press, January 27, 1976, p. 37

"Don't you recognize the Australian Open champion when you see him?"
Big George, 
June 1, 1976

Cedar Rapids Gazette, June 1, 1976, p. 35

Note:  I want to thank Stephen Kroninger for these scans of Partch's original art. This is Stephen's thirty-fourth contribution to Attempted Bloggery and they've all been truly great.

This blog, by the way, is the place to have other original art by Virgil Partch posted. Just submit your scans and tell me what you know about them. I suppose it's obvious that I could also use better scans of the above newspaper panels.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Warren Miller's Crossing

One of my less enviable tasks on this blog is to document the low prices for which some original New Yorker art sells on the auction market. My position, of course, is that a New Yorker original—any original—represents an extraordinary achievement. Of the thousand or more gag cartoon submissions the magazine receives each week from professional and amateur cartoonists alike, perhaps one or two dozen appear in each issue. The issue of September 8, 1975, for example, in which Warren Miller's uncaptioned cartoon of a crossroad was published, contained only seventeen cartoons in total. Miller's cartoon, framed and matted, sold on eBay last month for only $24.99.

Warren Miller
The New Yorker, September 8, 1975, page 43

Such low selling prices can be attributed in part to a general lack of appreciation. Humor in the arts tends to be undervalued; academic scrutiny, for example, is largely reserved for more serious subjects. The single-panel gag cartoon is especially poorly-appreciated. It has disappeared from practically every publication other than The New Yorker. Even among that magazine's readers, many don't think or care all that much about cartoons that appeared prior the current issue. The public may still esteem the work of Charles Addams, and rightly so, but how many have even heard of W. Miller? 

Detail of Miller's Crossing

Yet much of the reason for the poor showing of the Miller cartoon on eBay has absolutely nothing to do with Miller, his cartoon, the public, or institutions of higher learning. The eBay seller has failed to describe his item accurately. He did look up that W. Miller's first name is Warren, a good start, but Miller is described as a New York cartoonist, and that is simply the wrong magazine. Those searching for New Yorker work on eBay would have a very hard time finding this. The eBay seller clearly has no idea whether this gag cartoon was ever published and, to be fair, there is no caption to Google.

Warren Miller's signature

After publishing this post earlier today, a friend who enjoys proving others wrong wrote to point out that the halftone seen in the images above has an offset printing dot pattern, which would indicate this is an inexpensively-produced print rather than an original. It's not always so easy to tell a print from an original in a photo, although the caption can often be a giveaway. This cartoon, as already mentioned, doesn't have a printed caption and the eBay seller described it as a "Small Original Warren Miller Cartoon," which it now seems not to be. So this probably wasn't the right day to get on my high horse about prices. For a framed print, the $24.99 price is just fine, thank you. I could still say a thing or two about print quality but I'll save it for another day.

Warren Miller
eBay listing ended August 19, 2020

Warren Miller
eBay item description

Warren Miller
eBay bid history
One bid in the final hour

[End of eBay listing]

Warren Miller
The New Yorker, September 8, 1975
Page 43

Spot drawing by R. MacM. (Robert MacMillan) and cartoon by Warren Miller

Spot drawing
R. MacM (probably Robert MacMillan)

Note:  My thanks to cartoonist and author Michael Maslin for identifiying New Yorker writer Robert MacMillan as the probable spot artist. I am not at all familiar with MacMillan's art and would like to hear from readers who know of other examples.

Thanks also to the friend who spotted that this small work is actually a print.

Images of true original art by Warren Miller are still in demand here on the blog.


Friday, September 25, 2020

Newton Brand, Jr.,'s Copy of Prince and Mrs. Charming by Warren Miller

Our friend David from Manhattan writes about his copy of a 1970 book personalized by New Yorker cartoonist Warren Miller with a very nice drawing and an inscription on the front free endpaper. The title cartoon is based on one originally published in The New Yorker of April 13, 1968. David writes:

Prince and Mrs. Charming has remained my favorite book title for a cartoon collection, so it was a happy surprise to see this on eBay. Newton Brand, Jr., a Texas banker who died in 2011, must have had some persuasive powers to get Mr. Miller to draw this, then mail it back with an apology for taking so long. The price of $30.45 incl. tax and shipping didn't hurt of course.

I assumed that Miller is like most cartoonists—happy to oblige with a drawing and/or a signature, but no. A search of the BookFinder website yielded not a single signed book by him. Curious. I guess that Texan really was persuasive. 

Agreed. I would only add that a search through the archives of Attempted Bloggery finds Miller's signature only in two copies of The New Yorker Album of Drawings 1925-1975, each signed by a total of five cartoonists. Could that have been the only book signing he attended?

Scan by David from Manhattan

Scan by David from Manhattan

Scan by David from Manhattan

The New Yorker, April 13, 1968
Scan by David from Manhattan

The eBay listing has similar images:

Warren Miller
eBay listing ended August 14, 2020

Warren Miller
eBay item description

[End of eBay listing]

Note:  Thanks to David from Manhattan for today's contribution, his 40th. I knew him back when.

As they're apparently so uncommon, Attempted Bloggery seeks images of other books signed by Warren Miller. And if there should happen to be an interesting story behind the book, or a drawing in the book, let me know that too.

Quick Linkds to the Attempted Bloggery Archives:

Warren Miller 

Signed Books witOriginal Drawings

David from Manhattan

Attempted Bloggery's Unheralded Index


Thursday, September 24, 2020

Warren Miller: Not So Far-Out Any More

A 1975 New Yorker cartoon by Warren Miller reflects an era when once-radical ideas eventually had come to seem mainstream. In other words, that time was not entirely unlike our own day.

Then as now, it has never been typical for a cartoonist to place major characters at the far right and left edges of a scene, but Miller certainly knows the way to do it, both compositionally and politically. (Understand, however, that if one wishes to have the "engaging conversationalist" on the left, that can only work if one is seated on the patron's side of the bar.)
"Poor fellow—he used to be an engaging conversationalist, but all the wild, far-out
things he used to talk about are painfully obvious to everybody nowadays."
Warren Miller
Original art
The New Yorker, February 17, 1975, page 37

"Poor fellow—he used to be an engaging conversationalist, but all the wild, far-out
things he used to talk about are painfully obvious to everybody nowadays."

Warren Miller
Original art
The New Yorker, February 17, 1975, page 37






Warren Miller
eBay listing ended June 26, 2020

Warren Miller
eBay Item Description

Warren Miller
eBay bid history
One Best Offer

[End of eBay listing]

"Poor fellow—he used to be an engaging conversationalist, but all the wild, far-out
things he used to talk about are painfully obvious to everybody nowadays."

Warren Miller
Original art
The New Yorker, February 17, 1975, page 37

Cartoon by Warren Miller

Note:  Attempted Bloggery seeks images of original art by Warren Miller.

Quick Links to the Attempted Bloggery Archives: