Two and a cover

From the December 4th New Yorker, two cartoons (by Jon Adams and Liana Finck) that make demands on your cultural knowledge, plus a seasonally atmospheric cover (by Kim DeMarco):

(#1) “I don’t care if you’re a food critic – you’re not coming back in my restaurant wearing only a sash.”

(#2) “Don’t worry! I just came to tell you I’m not like other grizzly bears.”

(#3) “Special Delivery”

The two cartoons can be appreciated, at some level, as being funny, or at least absurd: an inflated toy-creature expecting to get into a restaurant by posing as a restaurant critic, a horrifically fierce bear telling a woman not to be afraid, he’s not like the other bears. But truly appreciating them demands cultural knowledge: for #1, you need to recognize the Michelin Man and know about the Guides Michelin; for #2, you need to draw the parallel between the pair in the cartoon and a large powerful man telling a woman not to be afraid, he’s not like the other guys, he’s not a sexual predator.

As for the cover, here’s the artist’s take on the scene:

“I miss winters in New York; in Los Angeles, where I now live, we celebrate Thanksgiving in ninety-degree weather, and you risk getting arrested if you try to walk the streets,” Kim DeMarco, the artist behind this week’s cover, says. “I saw this on one of my frequent trips back to the city. A bundled-up guy passed me on a deserted street of the Village, where I used to live. I don’t think he was delivering — more likely he was going home with a fresh, hot pie, late at night, just when it was starting to snow. I love these New York moments.”

(As it happens, I have a black friend who’s between real jobs and doing food deliveries for DoorDash, sometimes on a bicycle. But here on the snow-free SF peninsula, and not in the dark (or on a black bicycle, for that matter; his is white).)

The critic Bibendum fails the dress code. First, you need to recognize the Michelin Man. From Wikipedia:

(#4) Note the sash; otherwise, Bibendum has no clothes

Bibendum, commonly referred to in English as the Michelin Man, is the symbol of the Michelin tire company. Introduced at the Lyon Exhibition of 1894 where the Michelin brothers had a stand, Bibendum is one of the world’s oldest trademarks. The slogan Nunc est bibendum (Drink up) is taken from Horace’s Odes (book I, ode xxxvii, line 1). He is also referred to as Bib or Bibelobis.

Michelin dominated the French tire industry and was one of the leading advertisers; to this day its famous guidebooks are widely used by travellers. Bibendum was depicted visually as a lord of industry, a master of all he surveyed, and a patriotic expounder of the French spirit.

And those guides, again from Wikipedia:


Michelin Guides (French: Guide Michelin) are a series of guide books published by the French tire company Michelin for more than a century. The term normally refers to the annually published Michelin Red Guide, the oldest European hotel and restaurant reference guide, which awards Michelin stars for excellence to a select few establishments. The acquisition or loss of a star can have dramatic effects on the success of a restaurant. Michelin also publishes a series of general guides to countries [the Green Guides].

(Previously on this blog: a 1/3/13 posting “Paternity”, a Bizarro cartoon with the Michelin Man as the father of Poppin’ Fresh, the Pillsbury Doughboy.)

Jon Adams. A new cartoonist on this blog. On his City Cyclops site, a droll life history, “The Most Popular Boy in America”, that begins:

If there’s one thing you should know about Jon Adams, it’s that he never quits. If there are two things you should know about Jon Adams, the second is that the first is the result of a rare neurological disorder that literally prevents him from quitting.

This very affliction, while often the source of great humiliation and regretful life choices, is what kept Jon alive after he was stranded on an uninhabited island when his parent’s yacht accidentally set sail without him. He was six. Fortunately, Jon’s parents had also accidentally left behind a crate of Spaghettios, some water, a gun with a single bullet, and a note that read, “just in case.”

Adams’s brand of humor tends to deadpan sadness and the grotesque. But sometimes based on absurdity, as here:

(#6) Concern about sexual harassment absurdly makes the Ku Klux Klan invisible

(#7) An Adams sad Desert Island cartoon

(#8) An Adams sad Grim Reaper cartoon

Liana Finck has a Page on this blog.

Kim DeMarco is new to this blog. Her website provides a business-like description of her work:

Kim DeMarco is an artist and designer.

Select clients include The New Yorker, The New York Times, Harrod’s, Barney’s New York, Simon and Schuster, Rizzoli, The New York Public Library and Pentagram.

Kim is an Assistant Professor of drawing and design, and has taught at Rhode Island School of Design, Parsons School of Design, and Philadelphia University.

She currently teaches at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles.

Some of her work is decidedly more sharp-edged than her cover in #3 — for instance, this OppArt piece in The Nation on 10/31/17 (note: Halloween):

(#9) “Boo! Trick or Trick”

Yes, a KKK theme today.

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