Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Ed Fisher 1926-2013

Ed Fisher, whose cartoons appeared in The New Yorker from 1951 to 2000, died on April 3, 2013 in Canaan, CT. He was 86.

His son, Mark Fisher, said his father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2000.

Despite this, I saw Ed routinely on The New Yorker "look day" in the early 2000s. He would be sitting on the couch, in the cartoonists' waiting room, with his portfolio, ready to chat. I introduced myself and was really glad to meet him. More than once he pulled out his roughs and showed them to me. Ed treated me like an equal.

His style was stunning. Halfway between illustrative and cartoony, it relayed an assured knowledge of form and mass, and how to play with it. His writing was erudite as well.

Like Bob Mankoff wrote:

"Ed was also an inspiration to my generation of cartoonists, and his work will continue to inspire cartoonists for generations to come."

Born in the Bronx on October 26, 1926, to a chiropractor and a professional singer, Mr. Fisher sold his first cartoon while attending Antioch College. Interrupting his studies, he served in the Pacific Theater in the Army Air Force. Returning stateside, he completed his degree and came back to New York home with a new wife, Ann Sharp. The young couple settled in Upper Manhattan.

From the NY Times obituary by Bruce Weber:

"'He had the same phone number for 60 years,' his son [Mark Fisher] said. At first he tried to find work at graphic design studios, telling potential bosses that he’d sold cartoons to The New Yorker, after which, according to family lore, he wouldn’t be hired because, he was told, he was overqualified."

His cartoon collections include ED FISHER'S FIRST FOLIO, ED FISHER'S DOMESDAY BOOK and MAESTRO, PLEASE. He also wrote a satiric novel in 1960 about ancient Rome titled WINE, WOMEN AND WOAD.

If you look at the cartoons in the books, you'll see why I like him. It looks like he just picks up whatever drawing tool is closest to his board -- a brush, a ball point pen -- and goes at it with skill and energy.

From the NY Times obituary:

Mark Fisher said that years after his parents’ marriage ended in divorce, they remarried when his mother was ill with cancer; she died in 2000. In addition to his son, Mr. Fisher is survived by a daughter, Nancy Rupert; a sister, Carol Romano, and two granddaughters.

The cartoons reproduced here are from ED FISHER'S FIRST FOLIO and are copyright 1959 by Mr. Fisher.

Read: Michael Maslin on Ed Fisher.

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