Cartoonists are often asked which comes first: the pictures or the words. My answer has always been (for me): I dunno. But lately, as we near Fall and the publication of an updated edition of Liza Donnelly’s 2006 Funny Ladies: The New Yorker’s Greatest Women Cartoonists and Their Cartoons, words seem, if not first, then at least more plentiful around here at Spill headquarters (see above photo).
Who’d have thought I’d be back at it sixteen years later, re-working the Index for this new updated edition of the book, now re-titled Very Funny Ladies. Using two computers and my favorite method of communication: pen and paper, I’ve been hunting around the updated manuscript for new items of Indexing; after sixteen years there’s much to gather. The New Yorker’s stable of cartoonists looks very different than it did in 2006 (see Ms. Donnelly’s book for more on that), and of course, names have entered the Index that perhaps would’ve caused some head-scratching back then.
One of the many fun things about this new edition is the Roll Call of sorts at the end which lists every one of the women cartoonists (that we know of) who have contributed to The New Yorker since its first issue (Ethel Plummer!)* right up to the early issues of 2021. All of them appear on the Spill‘s A-Z, but seeing them listed year-by-year is an eye-opener.