At a thrift store recently I scored The Art of the New Yorker by Lee Lorenz, which takes the venerable magazine from its inception in the '20s up to 1995. One of its crowning glories, of course, are the cartoons, and I was captivated by the inside scoop on George Price, whose raggle-taggle personages appeared for 62 years:
"George's repertory of crackpots and misfits may seem to be merely the product of a brilliant imagination, but in fact, with the possible exception of the sideshow freaks and the man floating above the bed in his early work, most of his human menagerie were drawn from his neighbors in Coytesville [NJ]. It was farm country and the population was mostly German and Irish. As George described them, they seemed to have been a remarkable group. There were the brothers Picky, Motsy, Rotsy, and Nuthin, who hung out at Gus Becker's saloon. What they had in common were heads the size and shape of grapefruits. There was also the eccentric down the road who moved fence posts around in the middle of the night, slowly slicing off bits of her neighbor's property. And there was the neighbor who stole the church steeple and added it to his own house."Ah yes, stealing ... a surefire way to get closer to the Divine!
You can view more of Price's priceless work, as well as that of legions of other humorists equally brilliant, satiric, and goofy, in The Complete Cartoons of The New Yorker.