Friday, June 7, 2013

New Yorker cartoonists take the spotlight; Gahan Wilson's 800+ gags for Playboy

One of my pleasures in flipping through the several volumes of the New Yorker's Rejection Collection books has been in getting to know the faces and the quirky personalities of the cartoonists whose occasionally outrĂ© work ended up there. 
"If a couch from the Real Housewives Reunion show set could talk" by one of the New Yorker's mainstays, Bruce Eric Kaplan (aka BEK). He tweets cartoons virtually daily (@BruceEricKaplan).
Now there's a Quickstarter campaign to make a documentary about New Yorker cartoonists, and the teaser is a gas for diehard aficionados of the magazine. It even shows cartoons being rejected en masse! As the trailer bemoans, outlets for witty cartoons are almost extinct. One artist who straddled two major publications was Gahan Wilson, whose voluminous work for Playboy (800-plus one-panel gags) is collected in 50 Years of Playboy Cartoons. Wilson's macabre imagination and panels populated by freaks, monsters, and aliens paralleled the work of Charles Addams (who was under exclusive contract to the New Yorker back when Wilson hooked up with Hef), but one difference is that Wilson's were often overtly political. One reviewer of the three-volume compendium remarked how few of them featured unclad women, given their setting: three in fact. Below is a mini Gahan Wilson gallery.


 Do you have any favorite New Yorker cartoonists? I think Roz Chast is always a hoot.
Further risible reading: Bon Mots, Wisecracks, and Gags: The Wit of Robert Benchley, Dorothy Parker, and the Algonquin Round Table; Gahan Wilson's Nuts, a graphic autobiography of sorts culled from the pages of the National Lampoon; and NPR Laughter Therapy: A Comedy Collection for the Chronically Serious.

11 comments:

  1. I knew very little about Wilson's work. These are fantastic, very "Far Side." As wonderful as it would be for this documentary to see the light of day, I can't get behind Kickstarter campaigns. I'm sure New Yorker has the bank account to support it, haha!

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    1. I also dig the 'toons.

      I can't get behind a Kickstarter campaign either. It's like Zach Braff starting one for a sequel to Garden State. I think that Kickstarter campaigns should start giving back.

      For example: I contribute to Zach Braff's campaign - he makes the sequel - it makes 200 million at the box office - I get some of that money. The details need some hammering out, and maybe my idea defeats the whole noble purpose of the Kickstart: to give something you love, or think you might eventually love, a chance.

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    2. WF - i don't think it's the New Yorker that's sponsoring the campaign, but I get your drift. I'm pretty parsimonious also about this stuff too.

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  2. The link at "the trailer" wouldn't load (404 not found)..maybe my computer needs a kick start!
    The cartoons are hilarious, and very welcome on this gloomy day. I especially like the Iced Drink Antidote!
    I see part of a frame on the Daedalus site, and can't imagine what the green monster is saying. I'll never be able to come up with anything as funny as these, though!

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    1. I TOO would love to know what that green monster has to say to his buddy.

      For me, when it comes to kickstarter campaigns, I would have to evaluate the individual campaign to know if I would be supportive or not. Interesting idea, and this one doesn't seem half bad!

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    2. Gio-- here you go:

      http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_S8omJXZ4ltk/TRC3zu8nUeI/AAAAAAAAKQI/8_NsLIDuUic/s640/Gahan+WIlson%252C+Smaller+Than+It+Seemed.jpg

      in case you can't read it because of the small font:

      "The whole thing's much smaller than it seemed on TV."

      :-)

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    3. Thanks! (Service with a :-) smile!)

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  3. Super cool Daedalus is carrying Gahan Wilson's work for Playboy. I had no idea he created Nuts!!!

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  4. Peeved as heck I didn't know about Gahan Wilson sooner. I coulda told my (disbelieving) girlfriend I only read Playboy for the comics.

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  5. The Kickstarter incentives (including autographed New Yorker magazines with Gahan Wilson cover) are excellent compensation for pledges. Check out the Kickstarter page and you'll see.
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1151104290/gahan-wilson-born-dead-still-weird

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