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Posted on Mon, Dec 6, 2010 : 10:57 a.m.

New Yorker cartoon winks at the Ann Arbor area

By Bob Needham

There's a little bit of extra humor in one of the cartoons in the current issue of The New Yorker magazine — at least to people who live in Ann Arbor or metro Detroit.

Without spoiling the joke, we'll just say the cartoon — by Ann Arbor's Dave Coverly — makes reference to shopping malls — and specifically, several we're very familiar with, including Briarwood Mall, Westgate Plaza and Jackson Plaza. Troy's Somerset Mall and Oakland Mall also get a shout-out.

The cartoon can be seen on The New Yorker's website.

Dave Coverly grew up in Plainwell, near Kalamazoo, and graduated from Eastern Michigan University. He lives in Ann Arbor and is best known for his syndicated panel cartoon, "Speed Bump."

In an email to, Coverly explained some background on the New Yorker cartoon: "I actually drew it a couple of years ago, back when I had my first cartoon published in The New Yorker and was submitting on a regular basis. As they told me then, sometimes they buy a cartoon and run it right away, and sometimes they hold onto them for awhile until the designer sees a good fit for the joke. To be honest, I'd kinda given up on seeing this elf cartoon ever run, it had been so long! So it was a nice surprise for me as well.

"The mall names are a combination of ones around here and ones I made up as filler. Mainly I wanted to get Westgate and Briarwood in there — we practically live at Westgate, and our favorite book store is there as well."

Coverly's "Speed Bump" runs in more than 400 outlets including the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune and the Detroit Free Press. The National Cartoonists Society has twice named "Speed Bump" the "Best Newspaper Panel," and last year the group gave Coverly its highest honor, the Reuben Award.

Coverly also works regularly for Parade magazine, and he is the coauthor of "Sue MacDonald Had a Book." He's working on a four-book deal for children's books for Henry Holt.



Mon, Dec 6, 2010 : 6:28 p.m.

Now that's the holiday spirit!


Mon, Dec 6, 2010 : 5:39 p.m.

I wondered about that, too. I thought..."How could New Yorker have customized that for my zipcode?" Turns out there is a much better explanation...a Michigan artist!


Mon, Dec 6, 2010 : 3:08 p.m.

It always makles me smile when I see something far away from home that is about home...

Tom Teague

Mon, Dec 6, 2010 : 11:26 a.m.

Thanks for clearing up the mystery, Bob. When I saw the cartoon I knew it couldn't be a coincidence but was too distracted by Christmas prep to do the research and find the local connection.