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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Danny Shanahan, Cartoonist With an Absurd Contact, Dies at 64

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Danny Shanahan, a mirthful cartoonist who had a stand-up comedian’s reward for one-liners however whose lengthy affiliation with The New Yorker ended final yr underneath a cloud, died on July 5 in a hospital in Charleston, S.C. He was 64.

The trigger was a number of system organ failure, his spouse, Janet Stetson, stated. He had been residing in Mount Nice, S.C.

From 1988 by way of final yr, Mr. Shanahan revealed about 1,000 cartoons in The New Yorker. Drawn with an off-the-cuff type and an absurdist’s eye, they have been populated by a panoply of characters, together with clowns, snowmen, praying mantises, cats, canines, cave males, elves, monkeys, athletes, businessmen, politicians, Santa Claus and Elvis.

In a single cartoon, a canine seems to be up from his menu in a restaurant, and asks the waiter, “Is the homework recent?” In one other, titled “Mr. October,” a headless New York Yankee reaches into his locker for his pumpkin head. In a 3rd, referred to as “Batmom,” Batman reads a message beamed to him within the sky that claims, “Your sister received one other promotion!”

However Mr. Shanahan’s long term at The New Yorker ended together with his arrest by the New York State Police in December on a cost of possession of kid pornography. Citing “deeply disturbing” accusations towards him, The New Yorker suspended his contract.

Mr. Shanahan pleaded not responsible. His lawyer, Phil Smallman, stated the case had not been resolved at his loss of life, including {that a} convention with the presiding choose was scheduled for Monday.

Michael Maslin, a fellow New Yorker cartoonist,stated of Mr. Shanahan by cellphone: “He was like a human Pez dispenser of humor, his thoughts all the time working. He was humorous, like his work. He was by no means off.”

He was invariably foolish. Within the first half of a two-panel cartoon, Mr. Shanahan depicted a drowning boy screaming to a famously useful canine: “Lassie! Get assist!” Within the second panel, Lassie reclines on a therapist’s sofa — getting assist. In one among his many clown cartoons, Mr. Shanahan drew one clown giving recommendation to a different, who’s carrying a spherical nostril as huge as a bowling ball: “Ask your self, ‘Does it make me a greater clown?’”

And in his 2018 parody of “Christina’s World,” Andrew Wyeth’s portray of a younger girl mendacity in a subject and looking at a distant farmhouse, Mr. Shanahan added a soccer purpose behind her and put crimson goalkeeper’s gloves on her fingers to create “Christina’s World Cup.”

Bob Mankoff, a former cartoon editor of The New Yorker, described Mr. Shanahan’s humor as common. “Individuals will probably be laughing at some cartoons in The New Yorker subsequent week and subsequent month, however they received’t be laughing at them 10 years from now,” he stated in an interview. “However 10 years from now, they’ll be laughing at Danny’s cartoons. He was a grasp of the cartoon joke.”

Daniel Patrick Shanahan was born on July 11, 1956, in Brooklyn and raised in Northport, on Lengthy Island, and Bethlehem, Conn. He was one among 11 kids of Bernard Shanahan, a supervisor on the electronics firm Perkin-Elmer, and Kathleen (Novosel) Shanahan, a homemaker.

“He was all the time drawing,” Ms. Stetson, his spouse, stated. “His mother and father had a big household with a modest revenue, however they all the time had lot of books and plenty of paper on the desk. And he was all the time humorous. He had a singular means of wanting on the world.”

Mr. Shanahan was largely self-taught; he took one or two programs at Paier Faculty of Artwork in Hamden, Conn. He labored as a bartender whereas promoting cartoons, principally to small magazines but in addition to TV Information.

“I’ve been cartooning for over 30 years,” he informed the web site A Case for Pencils in 2017. “I began, again within the ’80s, because the unofficial cartoonist for the US Tennis Affiliation, due to pal who was an editor for World Tennis journal. Fortunately he noticed a glimmer of chance on this Bleecker Road bartender’s Kliban and Larson knockoffs,” referring to B. Kliban, identified for his one-panel cat cartoons, and Gary Larson, the creator of “The Far Facet.”

By 1988, Mr. Shanahan and Ms. Stetson have been married and in search of a cheaper place to start out a household. They moved from Rhinebeck, N.Y., to Corrales, N.M. Quickly afterward, he bought his first cartoon to The New Yorker: a conspicuously musclebound little boy studying his essay, “What I Did on My Summer time Trip,” to his classmates. The household lived in New Mexico for seven years, time that Ms. Stetson referred to as “one of the best factor that would have occurred” to her husband “as a result of he was in a position to develop his type.”

Along with The New Yorker, Mr. Shanahan’s work appeared in Time, Esquire, Playboy, Fortune, Newsweek and The New York Occasions.

He revealed a number of collections of cartoons and two kids’s books: “The Bus Trip That Modified Historical past” (2009, written by Pamela Duncan Edwards), about Rosa Parks’s refusal to give up her seat to a white individual on a bus in Montgomery, Ala., in 1955; and “Buckledown the Workhound” (1993), which he each wrote and illustrated. He additionally illustrated “Extra Bizarre and Great Phrases” (2003), edited by Erin McKean.

Along with his spouse, Mr. Shanahan is survived by their sons, Finnegan Shanahan and Render Stetson-Shanahan; his sisters, Jane Petersen, Eileen Stevens, Kathryn DeAngelis, and Celia, Rita and Lillian Shanahan; and his brothers, Bernard Jr., Francis, Matthew and Terrence. (His son Render obtained notoriety when he was sentenced to jail on a manslaughter cost final yr within the stabbing loss of life of his feminine roommate in 2016.)

Mr. Shanahan’s ultimate cartoon for The New Yorker appeared in November. It exhibits one pilgrim girl holding a cooked turkey on a platter and telling one other pilgrim girl, “He says my eagle tastes fishy, so this yr I’m attempting one thing new.”

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