Survival of the Fittest by Dan Clowes
Eustace Tilley, the monocled dandy who has graced every cover of The New Yorker since 1925, is reinterpreted by comic artists Chris Ware, Adrian Tomine, Dan Clowes, and Ivan Brunetti to celebrate the magazine’s 85th birthday…
This week’s issue of The New Yorker (February 15-22) features a four-part cover, essentially a collaborative take on the evolution of Eustace Tilley, the New Yorker’s mascot created by the original art director, Rea Irvin, in 1925.
In Irvin’s first cover (shown below), Tilley is depicted in top hat and stiff collar examining a pink and green butterfly – a motif that each of the current artists has picked up on in their own covers.
In each of the new covers, the cartoonists look at how the image of Tilley and the butterfly may, or may not, have come about.
On The New Yorker site, Ware writes about the difficulties involved in drawing Irvin in mid-conception, particularly as there is so little photography around of the man himself. Of the Tilley character, Ware states that the basis for Irvin’s design was “a nineteenth-century image of the gadfly Comte D’Orsay.”
Natural Selection by Chris Ware
Adaptation by Adrian Tomine
Biodiversity by Ivan Brunetti
Issue one of The New Yorker, February 21, 1925. Cover by Rea Irvin
And here’s that nineteenth-century French gadfly: