As I posted earlier, this week’s New Yorker magazine features four unique covers, one each by Alt Comics giants Chris Ware, Dan Clowes, Adrian Tomine, and Ivan Brunetti (You can view them all here). According to The Beat, New Yorker Art Director Fran├žoise Mouly let slip that there is a secret message hidden amongst the covers.

I spent a few minutes Googling the fragments of an address that appear in Tomine’s panels before giving up and checking the comments to see if anyone had figured it out (The address is that of The New Yorker’s Offices). An eagle-eyed reader of The Beat almost immediately identified that placing the four covers together creates a large image of New Yorker mascot Eustace Tilley, but even knowing that the image is there, it’s very subtle.

I’ve rigged an image of Eustace Tilley to overlay the four covers whenever you mouseover the image below. Switching back and forth between the overlay and the covers reveals some of the finer details of the disguised image: I particularly like how the scattered papers in Ware’s cover become fingers.

All told, we get a nice double fake:

  • An apparent break from the anniversary tradition of a reimagined Tilley illustration, instead offering an imagined ‘origin story’ for the first Tilley cover.
  • The whole of the story itself ends up being the Tilley cover.

Ware wrote up a nice appreciation of Rea Irvin (Creator of the original Eustace Tilley image) here.

Update: I’ve created a higher res version with opacity capability here.