June 20, 2014

Eustace Frankenstein

Not an actual cover, Peter Emmerich’s illustration is a witty variation on The New Yorker’s colorfully named cover mascot, Eustace Tilley. 

Originally painted by art director Rea Irvin in 1925, adorning the magazine’s first issue, Eustace appeared as a glorified dandy, a high-hat in a high hat, with a high collar and a large coat with vast lapels. He peers blithely through a monocle at a butterfly, begging the question: Which of us is more ephemeral?

Through the years, Eustace has returned to the magazine’s cover, usually to celebrate its February anniversary. From the mid 90’s on, various artists have been commissioned to interpret the character in new and often wildly original ways. More recently, readers were invited to contribute their own takes in an annual “Your Eustace” contest.

Cartoonist and character designer Peter Emmerich submitted this Frankenstein variation in 2008, landing a spot as a Top Twenty finalist. The Monster’s expression is properly conceited as he gazes upon a flower, his high forehead a perfect substitute for Eustace’s stovepipe.

Peter Emmerich’s blog.
The New Yorker’s Flickr page for the 2008 Eustace Tilley Contest.
Mystery Man, a New Yorker article about Eustace Tilley, by Louis Menand.


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