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January 7th, 2014

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06:52 pm - Favorite New Yorker covers of 2013

Jorge Columbo's artwork, drawn on an iPhone.

Their anniversary issue cover with Eustace Tilley reimagined as a Brooklyn hipster

One of Maira Kalman's covers.

The New Yorker used to run a cover every year marking the opening day of baseball season (back when the sport was much bigger culturally). It returns this year, commenting on the aging (and injured/disabled) players of the New York Yankees.

Erik Drooker's haunting observation of the bombing at the Boston Marathon -- this issue went on newsstands just one week after the event.

Their Mother's Day cover by Chris Ware featured two lesbian mothers.

NYC's bike share program rolls out, to this wry observation.

Your government is spying on you. Now who are you gonna call?

Their "welcome summer" cover, celebrating NYC's rooftop garden patios.

Less than a week after the Supreme Court's landmark rulings in support of gay marriage, this charming cover hits the stands, featuring one of our country's most beloved gay couples.

Anthony Weiner (aka Carlos Danger) embarrasses himself again with more sexting revelations, and refuses to withdraw from the mayoral race. He ended the race with less than 5% of the vote in the primary two months later, and flipped reporters off with his middle finger after his concession speech.

The New Yorker also traditionally does a goodbye-to-summer cover around Labor Day, this one of Coney Island.

Manhattan continues to lose middle-class families because of escalating housing costs.

The New Yorker loves coming up with mash-ups combining two topical references in the same cover. In this one, the final episode of Breaking Bad coincided with concerns about chemical weapons being used by Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Another Maira Kalman cover, also featuring dog clothing!

You can guess the title of this Bruce McCall cover, "New Money."

A bearded millenial hipster makes a second cover, this time carefully selecting the perfect pork pie hat.

For Hallowe'en, but commenting about something else. Along with the Bert and Ernie cover, this is my other favorite, since it's exactly how I feel when dining at many of NYC's fancy restaurants.

The federal government's healthcare website has a few launch issues.

Bloomberg exits the public spotlight after the mayoral election, with one of the extra-large sodas he tried to get banned. Bloomberg was known for riding the subway to work at City Hall most of the time, although he was driven to a subway entrance 22 blocks away to avoid reporters outside his home.

While it appears to be one of the magazine's purely artistic or seasonal covers, this subtly commemorates the Declaration Day of the Irish Free State on December 6 -- note the colors of the irish flag flagging above the roof. McSorley's, in the East Village, is one of one the city's oldest bars, in operation since 1854. Abraham Lincoln is said to have drank there (possibly when he made a speech at Cooper Union just around the corner). Not all of its history is illustrious -- women were banned until 1970, until the establishment was sufficiently pressured by the city and a lawsuit brought by two female attorneys. The bar only serves ale.

Observing the passing of Nelson Mandela. Appropriately, the magazine chose Kadir Nelson, a celebrated African-American artist, to do the portrait.

The new kinder, gentler pope gets the last cover of the year.

(4 comments | Leave a comment)


(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
Date:January 9th, 2014 12:16 am (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:January 9th, 2014 02:55 pm (UTC)
Thanks for this wonderful post. Some of these covers are amazing. I don't subscribe...maybe I should
[User Picture]
Date:January 11th, 2014 04:32 am (UTC)
these are an incredible crop of covers this time, Thor. I wonder if many overlooked the outdated technology in the ACA/Obamacare rollout cover...which made me literally LOL. simple pleasures.

forgive my ignorance, but has there ever been a formal exhibition of these covers/illustrations/artwork in a proper space and venue?

hope you're well...
[User Picture]
Date:January 11th, 2014 06:58 am (UTC)

Magazines like The Saturday Evening Post and Collier's and the original Vanity Fair are long gone from our culture, but thankfully we still have one magazine that respects the possibilities of illustration, and wit.

I imagine over the history of the magazine there have been exhibits of New Yorker covers, although I don't know if the originals are owned by the magazine or the artists.

There are several books available where you can appreciate them:
The Complete Book of Covers, through 1989
Covering the New Yorker, its recent history through 2000, under Francoise Mouly and Art Spiegelman (formerly of the alternative comics journal RAW)
The Complete New Yorker including a CD-rom of every issue through 2005 -- and currently available for as little as $1, although your computer will need a CD-rom drive
Blown Covers, stories about the creation of covers through 2012, including many commissioned or considered but never used.

The last one was compiled from the wonderful http://blowncovers.com/ blog, which has now been folded in to The New Yorker's own Culture Desk blog, http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/culture#slide_ss_0=1 (scroll down or serach for "cover story")

Here's next Monday's cover, commenting on a local scandal that unfolded just 48 hours ago!:

Edited at 2014-01-11 06:58 am (UTC)

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