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

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 beneath a cloud, died on Monday in a hospital in Charleston, S.C. He was 64.

The trigger was a number of system organ failure, his spouse, Janet Stetson, mentioned. He had been dwelling in Mount Pleasant, S.C.

From 1988 by means of final yr, Mr. Shanahan revealed about 1,000 cartoons in The New Yorker. Drawn with an informal model and an absurdist’s eye, they had been populated by a panoply of characters, together with clowns, snowmen, praying mantises, cats, canine, cave males, elves, monkeys, athletes, businessmen, politicians, Santa Claus and Elvis.

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

Michael Maslin, a fellow New Yorker cartoonist,said of Mr. Shanahan by phone: “He was like a human Pez dispenser of humor, his mind always working. He was funny, like his work. He was never off.”

He was invariably silly. In the first half of a two-panel cartoon, Mr. Shanahan depicted a drowning boy screaming to a famously helpful dog: “Lassie! Get help!” In the second panel, Lassie reclines on a therapist’s couch — getting help. In one of his many clown cartoons, Mr. Shanahan drew one clown giving advice to another, who is wearing a round nose as big as a bowling ball: “Ask yourself, ‘Does it make me a better clown?’”

Daniel Patrick Shanahan was born on July 11, 1956, in Brooklyn and raised in Northport, on Long Island, and Bethlehem, Conn. He was one of 11 children of Bernard Shanahan, a manager at the electronics company Perkin-Elmer, and Kathleen (Novosel) Shanahan, a homemaker.

“He was always drawing,” Ms. Stetson, his wife, said. “His parents had a large family with a modest income, but they always had lot of books and lots of paper on the table. And he was always funny. He had a unique way of looking at the world.”

Mr. Shanahan was largely self-taught; he took one or two courses at Paier College of Art in Hamden, Conn. He worked as a bartender while selling cartoons, mostly to small magazines but also to TV Guide.

He published several collections of cartoons and two children’s books: “The Bus Ride That Changed History” (2009, written by Pamela Duncan Edwards), about Rosa Parks’s refusal to surrender her seat to a white person on a bus in Montgomery, Ala., in 1955; and “Buckledown the Workhound” (1993), which he both wrote and illustrated. He also illustrated “More Weird and Wonderful Words” (2003), edited by Erin McKean.

Source link Nytimes.com

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