cover image A Wealth of Pigeons

A Wealth of Pigeons

Steve Martin and Harry Bliss. Celadon, $28 (272p) ISBN 978-1-250-26289-9

Light, urbane, and frequently silly, this cartoon collaboration between actor Martin and the New Yorker’s Bliss combines the former’s dry wit and the latter’s whimsical drawing style. Started as a series of ideas batted back and forth between the duo—a working process charmingly lampooned in a few drawings scattered throughout—the book’s one-page cartoons hit typical New Yorker themes. That means wry animals (one sloth saying to another, “I wish I had your energy”), dog gags (one canine begs on the street with a sign reading “I have no thumbs”), and referencing artists from Van Gogh to Rauschenberg, with word play that feels like the start of an improv comedy sketch (under the label “Really Popular Mechanics,” a woman asks two men in overalls, “Can you both sing at Jody’s bar mitzvah?”). Martin and Bliss stay up-to-date in their humor, and some cartoons land as cheekily pointed, as with one of a farm stand selling “square tomatoes” and “blue pumpkins” next to a Monsanto facility. This refreshing tonic of a collection feels perfect for flipping through on a Sunday after an especially trying crossword puzzle. [em]Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM & Holly McGhee, Pippin. (Nov.) [/em]