New Yorker 8/24/20

Two cartoons from the latest issue of the magazine. One has the winning caption for an absurdist Lonnie Millsap drawing, from the New Yorker‘s captioning contest; the other is a Karl Stevens bit of gender comedy. Both artists appear with some regularity in the magazine, but haven’t been featured on this blog before; their styles are strikingly different, in both form and content. But they gave me pleasure on a very difficult morning (after the afflictions reported in my last posting, breathing became terribly painful for me; eventually I slept it off and now at 11am it’s just an ache, one among a great many.)

The Millsap:

(#1) “I know it’s not an elephant, but we still need to talk about it.” (winning caption by Tim Elliott, Juno Beach FL)

The allusion is to the metaphorical idiom the elephant in the room, referring to an obvious truth that is going unaddressed or an obvious problem or risk no one wants to discuss (see my 7/5/16 posting “The 31-room elephant in the room”). The couple in the cartoon in #1 are indeed confronted with an obvious problem, that giraffe (well, a giraffe from about half its neck up).

Millsap is especially given to gag cartoons, some of them on the raunchy side. One nice feature of his work is that Millsap, who’s black, depicts almost all his human characters as being black — just as a matter of course, not worked into a joke or commentary.

Another of his recent New Yorker cartoons (1/13/20), this time with dogs rather than people:

(#2) “Wow! From up here you can see everything.”

And, from his website, this self-portrait (and some publication information:

(#3) He released his first book of single panel cartoons titled My Washcloth Stinks! in 2010; then I Hate My Job! (2012), I Stepped On A Duck! (2013), My Pickle Tastes Funny! (2014), I Asked For A Fork! (2015), Next Time I’ll Drive! (2016), They Taste Like Bacon! (2017), My Mother Was Human! (2018)

The Stevens.

(#4) “I just want a man who will make me laugh as we count his family’s money on his his rock-hard abs.”

[A side note: I no longer, alas, have regular easy conversations with my straight female friends about their relationships with men, but my recollection was that very few found men’s hard abs a significantly attractive feature of their bodies; most picked their buttocks instead (after their faces, of course);  opinions were wildly divergent on package size. Now, men (of all sexualities) tend to value muscular abs (and, at least in America, package size) as symbols of masculinity, so amazing abs are a regular feature of sexualized depictions of men intended to appeal to gay men, as in my posting yesterday — “Hard-cruisin’ Daddy”, in which the first image shows

an abstastic Daddy type, displaying a Cruise of Death face … while modeling a remarkable suit from a high-fashion designer]

But on Stevens the cartoonist. His cartoons are notable for their detailed, realistic drawing (as above). From Wikipedia:

Karl Stevens (born November 21, 1978 in Concord, Massachusetts) is a graphic novelist and painter. His first book, Guilty, was published in 2004 … He is also the author of Whatever (2008) and The Lodger (2010). His comic strips have appeared since 2005 in the alternative newsweekly the Boston Phoenix.

… Since 2018 his gag cartoons have been appearing in The New Yorker magazine and website.

And then a wonderful Stevens bonus — he’s a fascinating artist — in this grotesque drawing I have only from his Twitter account on 3/14/20:


And who is that guy?

That would be Saturn.

From Wikipedia:


Saturn Devouring His Son [Saturno devorando a su hijo] [c.1819-23] is the name given to a painting by Spanish artist Francisco Goya. According to the traditional interpretation, it depicts the Greek myth of the Titan Cronus (in the title Romanized to Saturn), who, fearing that he would be overthrown by one of his children, ate each one upon their birth.


2 Responses to “New Yorker 8/24/20”

  1. Robert Coren Says:

    Of course the people in the apartment below also have a problem, which they’re probably not talking about either.

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