December 2006

Selling Power, May 1993

selpow0593.JPG Another of my personal favorite gags -- good ol' Archie Andrews, the perennial high school student.

I was surprised that this cartoon didn't sell higher up in the publication chain (okay, maybe it's not New Yorker caliber, but both The Wall Street Journal and National Business Employment Weekly had a crack at it, and one of them really should have claimed it).

This drawing appears in a continuous cycle as "Cartoon of the Day" on Selling Power's website But, unfortunately, somebody completely changed the caption on the site, thereby ruining a perfectly good laugh. The caption on the website has some silly reference to Jughead. I alerted Selling Power's webmaster about this, but to my knowledge the caption has never been corrected.

Why James Bowman should be the Cartoon Editor of The New Yorker

On May 12, 2000 The Wall Street Journal printed an article about the sad state of book publishing at that particular time. It was written by James Bowman, who WSJ identified as the "American editor of the (London) Times Literary Supplement". The opening sentence of Mr. Bowman's treatise was "A recent New Yorker cartoon portrayed a man asking a bookstore clerk: 'Do you have anything that's not for dummies?' "

I never noticed the article, but apparently someone at The New Yorker did. Probably one of those famous fact-checkers we always hear about. I can imagine the conversations that ensued: "Oh, yeah, in what issue was that cartoon again? . . . Hey, wait a minute! . . . Was there ever such a cartoon in The New Yorker?" And before you could say "Oops", the following correction appeared in The Wall Street Journal: wsjcorr051600.JPG

I felt very flattered that Mr. Bowman thought that my cartoon was NewYorkerish.

I've posted the original cartoon under The Wall Street Journal, dated March 31, 2000. You can also find it under the topic of "Books" and in the 2000 decade.

Fifty Plus, May 1979


CAPTION: "Don't you have any adult games for clods?"

Stock Market, August 1978


The prices of both those commodities were soaring in 1978. Things haven't changed that much. I could re-do this cartoon right now, leave off "and coffee", and it would work very well.

The Wall Street Journal, March 15, 1962


My caption for this cartoon didn't have the word "rules". Somebody at WSJ must have decided it was necessary, but I don't know . . .

Stock Market, March 1981

stkmkt0381.JPG Am I the only person who saw any humor in the name of the securities firm "Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner and Beane"? And then, many years ago, they abruptly changed the name to "Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner and Smith", which really raised my gag antennae. The firm is now called simply "Merrill Lynch" -- a ho-hum name if I ever heard one.

Anyhow, I came up with this "OUT TO LYNCH" gag and Stock Market magazine was good enough to print it. Please don't go looking for any deep-South racial undertones in the cartoon -- this was simply a take-off on the countless "Out to Lunch" door sign cartoons that every cartoonist liked to draw, probably because they were so easy. Eventually it became such a hackneyed subject that no cartoonist would touch it anymore (also, for some reason, business people no longer seemed inclined to hang "Out to Lunch" signs on their doorknobs).

So these three partners, with their darkened offices, were simply out to visit with good ol' Merrill Lynch, whose office is still lit up.

One more historical note, for the sake of honesty in cartooning: there is no such person as Merrill Lynch, and there never has been. The firm was started as a partnership of Charles Merrill and Edmund Lynch, and the comma between the names was dropped in 1938 when Mr. Lynch passed away. Now you sticklers for the truth won't have to Google it.

The real question is, why in the world did I think this simple cartoon needed such a long explanation?