ICAF 2014 at OSU!

November 13-15, 2014


We are so excited to announce that The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum will be this year’s host for the International Comic Arts Forum!

Since its inception at Georgetown University in 1995, ICAF has been held nearly every year at prestigious universities and centers for comics scholarship throughout the country. This November, marking one-year exactly since our Grand Opening Festival of Cartoon Art, ICAF will grace the auditoriums and lecture halls of The Ohio State University for their three day, star-studded conference weekend.

All panels and lectures are FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
To find out more about hotel rooms and registering as an academic, visit here: http://www.internationalcomicartsforum.org/2014-conference-info.html


Thursday November 13th


9:00 AM: Welcome from Jenny Robb, Curator of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum

9:15 AM: Opening Remarks: José Alaniz, ICAF Executive Committee Chair

9:30 – 10:30 AM: Plenary Speaker: Bart Beaty

10:30 AM: Coffee Break 

11:00 AM – 12:45 PM: Concurrent Panel Session One

1A: Comics Form and Fine Art
Moderator: Bill Kartalopoulos

  • “Huntsman Descending a Staircase with His Dog”: Cartooning as Method in American Modern Art 1910-1920, Ben Owen, Ohio State University
  • Quasi-­Comic Elements in the Art of Paul Klee, Adrielle Anna Mitchell, Nazareth College
  • Third Stream Art: William Steig’s Symbolic Drawings, Andrei Molotiu, Indiana University
  • Andy Warhol’s Grids: Comicity and The Comics Art World, Colin Beineke, University of Missouri

1B: Resolving Cultural Identity in Comics
Moderator: José Alaniz

  • Aleksandar Zograf’s Polovni Svet and the Invention of a Post-­‐Yugoslavian Identity, Paul Morton, University of Washington
  • Post-unification German Comics and the Legacy of East German Culture, Elizabeth Nijdam, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • Into the Present, by Way of a Non-Existent Past: Trillo, Breccia, and Alvar Mayor, Héctor Fernández L’Hoeste, Georgia State University
  • Propaganda and memory in Li Kunwu and Philippe Ôtié’s graphic novel A Chinese Life, Nick Stember, University of British Columbia

12:45-2:15 PM: Lunch Break

Optional behind the scenes tour of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum for registered presenters and guests (sign-up instructions to be provided)

2:15 – 3:15 PM:  Concurrent Panel Session Two

2A: Fictional Faultlines
Moderator: Rebecca Wanzo

  • A Cosmonaut in Palomar: Seeing, Showing, and Imagining In Gilbert Hernandez’s Heartbreak Soup, Josh Kopin, University of Texas At Austin
  • “The Death of Mike Albergo: Ideology, Culture, and The ‘Nam“, Robert Loss, Columbus College of Art and Design

2B: Breaking Boundaries Across Media Forms
Moderator: Brittany Tullis

  • Webcomics as Collaborative Spaces: The Practice of Guest Authorship, Leah Misemer, University of Wisconsin Madison
  • Comics between Art and the Underground in India, Jeremy Stoll, Chicago, IL

3:15  - 4:45 PM: Comics and Institutions Roundtable 

Participants: Ben Saunders, Jenny Robb, Charles Hatfield, Jared Gardner and Toph Marshall

5:00-6:30: Reception at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum

6:30 PM: Dinner Break 

8:00-9:30 PM: Justin Green and Carol Tyler in conversation 

Friday November 14th


9:00 – 10:30 AM: Concurrent Panel Session 

3A: “Good” and “Bad” Comics
Moderator: Mark Heimermann

  • “If Not Actually Evil… Vulgarizing”: Contextualizing the Moral Panic Around Comics Circa 1909, Tad Suiter, George Mason University
  • “Always Gettin’ in Trouble”: The Li’l Tomboy Comic Book Series, the Good Female Consumer, and the 1950s Bad Girl, Michelle Ann Abate, Ohio State University
  • “Slaughtering Innocence: the 1950s Comic Book Controversy and the Crisis in the Meanings of Childhood”, Andrew O’Malley, Ryerson University

3B: Metafiction and Archival Practice in Comics
Moderator: José Alaniz

  • (Re)Posting the 1893 Chicago Columbian Exposition: Postcards and Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth, Nhora Lucía Serrano, Harvard University
  • One Day at a Time: Fabula, Syuzhet, and the Storyworld in For Better or For Worse, Susan Kirtley, Portland State University
  • Metafictional archive: Mise en Abîme and Identity in Miguelanxo Prado’s Ardalén (2012), Arturo Meijide Lapido, Ambrose University

10:30AM: Coffee Break

11:00 AM – 12:45 PM: Concurrent Panel Session 

4A: Examining Underground Comix
Moderator: Toph Marshall

  • From the Georgia Straight to Tijuana: The Changing “Adventures” of Rand Holmes’s Harold Hedd, Sean Rogers, York University, Canada
  • “My Fantastic Inimitable Mental Machinations!”: Richard “Grass” Green’s Minicomics and African American Comedy, Brian Cremins, Harper College
  • Comics Come Out: Lesbian Feminism, Gay Liberation and Underground Comix, Corey K. Creekmur, University of Iowa

4B: Positioning Comics Within Contested Cultural Spheres
Moderator: Bill Kartalopoulos

  • “Advantages in Cartoon and Caricature Work:” Comics and the Art World in Cleveland (1930-­‐1938), Brad Ricca, Case Western Reserve University
  • [Before] Manga Theory: The Manga Emaki (Manga Handscrolls) of Okamoto Ippei et al., Nicholas Theisen, Iowa City
  • Persepolis without comics: Satrapi in Critical Context,  Marc Singer, Howard University
  • The Ambivalent Recognition of the Exhibition: Comic Exhibitions in France in the 2000’s, Jean-Matthieu Méon, Université de Lorraine

12:45 PM: Lunch Break

Optional behind the scenes tour of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum for registered presenters and guests (sign-up instructions to be provided)

2:00 – 3:00PM: The John Lent Award Lecture

Picturing the Unspeakable in Global Comics
Jennifer Anderson Bliss, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

3:00 – 4:00 PM: Phoebe Gloeckner Spotlight
Moderator: Brittany Tullis

4:30-5:30 PM: 
 Hanneriina Moisseinen Presentation 
Moderator: Bill Kartalopoulos

5:30 PM: Dinner Break

7:30-9 PM: Laulu: Documentary screening with Hanneriina Moisseinen


Saturday, November 15th


9:00-10:30 AM: Concurrent Panel Session Five

5A: Comics’ Active Formal Elements
Moderator: Qiana Whitted

  • Perceptual Systems and the Comic Book Art of Geometrizing the Story, Frederick Luis Aldama, Ohio State University
  • Skewing Text to Images: Asian Language Orthography in Asian American Comics, Shan Mu Zhao, University of Southern California
  • Conversations in Comic Strip Swedish: The Case for Applying Conversation Analysis to Comic Strip Data, Kristy Beers Fägersten, Södertörn University, Sweden

5B: Representing the Body
Moderator: José Alaniz 

  • Locas Tambien: Performing Disidentifications in Love and Rockets, Rachel Miller, Ohio State University
  • Staring at Comics: Disability and Visuality in Al Davison’s The Spiral Cage, Frederik Byrn Køhlert, University of Montreal
  • The “Ravaged Body” as Carrier of Cultural Memory in the Petit Polio Bandes Dessinées of Farid Boudjellal, Margaret C. Flinn, Ohio State University

10:30 AM: Coffee break

11:00 AM – 12:30 PM: Concurrent Panel Session Six

6A: Ideologies of the Monstrous
Moderator: Mark Heimermann

  • The Post-Apocalypse and Contemporary Comics, Kathryn Manis, University of New Mexico
  • Monstrous Gynophobia: Male Fears of a Female Monster in Bernie Wrightson and Bruce Jones’ “Jenifer”, Joshua Zerl, Eugene, OR.
  • The Problem of Appearance in Goya’s Los Capichos, and Mignola’s Hellboy, Scott Bukatman, Stanford University

6B: Hidden Worlds of Early Comics
Moderator: Brannon Costello

  • Daumier’s Deadline: Expedited Expressiveness and the Franco-Belgian Cartooning Tradition, David Allan Duncan, Savannah College of Art and Design
  • The National Taste: Ally Sloper, Escape Magazine and British Comics, Nick Robinette, Quinnipiac University
  • The Hidden World of Jimmy Swinnerton, Peter Sattler, Lakeland College

12:30 PM: Lunch Break

2:00 – 3:30 PM: Dash Shaw Presentation

4:00 – 5:30 PM: Jeff Smith in Conversation with Tom Spurgeon

5:30: Dinner Break

7:00 PM: March Presentation with Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell, followed by performance by Sweet Honey in the Rock

Closing Remarks: Jose Alaniz


Hope to see you there! For more information contact cartoons@osu.edu

Upcoming Event: ROOT HOG OR DIE – The John Porcellino / King-Cat Documentary

ROOT HOG OR DIE – The John Porcellino / King-Cat Documentary Screening

Friday, September 26th, 2014
The Jean and Charles Schulz Lecture Hall
(2nd floor of the Cartoon Library)


poster rough blue

“…perhaps no comics artist since Charles Schulz has rendered so much psychological detail with so few lines.”

–Rain Taxi Review of Books

For over twenty-five years, John Porcellino has self-published his zine ‘King-Cat Comics & Stories,’ which, through simple artwork and storytelling, investigates the essence of just being alive.

In King-Cat, John beautifully renders the “in-between moments” – those instances which occupy the bulk of our lives, but can pass easily without notice: Sitting on the front porch. Peeing at a rest stop. Watching a bird.

With humor, compassion and a keen eye, John shows readers what they might be missing, and in doing so inspires many to embrace life more fully.

Born of the zine revolution of the late eighties/early nineties, King-Cat today is the template for cartoonists who seek to create work that is personal, well-crafted and free of outside influence.

From following John around on tour & in the woods to interviewing fellow cartoonists & zinesters, wives & girlfriends, friends & bandmates, ‘Root Hog or Die’ illustrates how John manages – and occasionally struggles – to live and function as an uncompromising artist in twenty-first century America.

“I wanted to face existence. That’s like Punk and Buddhism and everything.” — John P.

Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=autzPcnndlc

The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum is located at 1813 N. High St, Columbus OH 43202.  This screening will be held in the Jean and Charles Schulz Lecture Hall, on the 2nd floor of Sullivant Hall.

6:30pm – Informal meet-and-greet with book signing opportunities
7pm – Root Hog Or Die Screening

Following the screening, John P will be doing a Q+A and signing for his new book “The Hospital Suite

Upcoming Event: An Evening with TONY MILLIONAIRE!

Here at The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum we are dreaming and scheming up a BIG list of programs for the fall, as we celebrate our first full year in our new expanded home- Sullivant Hall!

You’ll hear about them all soon enough, but first we’d like to announce:

An Evening with Tony Millionaire

Thursday, September 4th, 2014
The Jean and Charles Schulz Lecture Hall
(2nd floor of the Cartoon Library)


Tony Millionaire is the mad genius behind the long-running and frequently mispronounced syndicated comic strip Maakies, which began in 1994 in The New York Press.  He is also the creator of a long list of all-ages graphic novels, including Billy Hazelnuts and the Sock Monkey series, which revolves around the beloved character Uncle Gabby and his adventures in an old seaside Victorian house with his stuffed compatriot Mr. Crow.  Millionaire also created the Cartoon Network animated Adult Swim series, “The Drinky Crow Show,” based off of his Maakies comic strips.  Combining all of the mystery and beauty of the work of Johnny Gruelle (Raggedy Ann and Andy) with the macabre style of the 19th century Penny Dreadfuls, Millionaire has produced a prolific body of work that is as grotesque at times as it is poignant and romantic.

Tony MillionaireGabby

Please join us on Thursday, September 4th at 7pm as Mr. Tony Millionaire graces the stage at The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum’s Jean and Charles Schulz Lecture Hall (2nd floor) for a conversation with Caitlin McGurk about his eccentric life and cartooning legacy.  There will also be a book signing to follow.

This event is FREE and open to the public.

Tony Millionaire’s appearance is made possible by the generous help of the 2014 Cincinnati ComicCon, Northern Kentucky Convention Center Sept 5-7.

Two Summer Workshops! Mini-Comics and Hand-lettering & Typography!

The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum is thrilled to announce two FREE summer workshops! It has been our pleasure to have cartoonist and Savannah College of Art and Design Professor David Allan Duncan with us for his practicum, and we hope that you’ll join us for the two great events he will be leading for us this month:


How to Make Mini-Comics: A Little Fun

Sunday, August 3rd
The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum – Will Eisner Seminar Room – 2nd floor


Cartoonist and SCAD professor David Allan Duncan leads students through the process of drawing, producing, and distributing mini-comics! Learn about the the planning, storytelling, and drawing that goes into making a mini-comic. Create a mini-comic and a sketchbook during the workshop. Materials provided, so come join the fun!
Youth Ages 8 and Up Welcome!

BONUS: This workshop is being held on the closing day of our current exhibits: Exploring Calvin & Hobbes and The Irresistible Force Meets the Immovable Object: A Richard Thompson Retrospective.  Feel free to drop your kids off for the workshop while you explore the galleries!

Seating is limited, so contact mcgurk.17@osu.edu to sign up today!
For more information about The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, visit: cartoons.osu.edu
Questions? 614-292-1134

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Hand-Lettering and Typography for Comics

Tuesday, August 12th
The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum – Will Eisner Seminar Room – 2nd floor


Cartoonist and SCAD professor David Allan Duncan presents the process of hand-lettering comics! Sick of ugly digital lettering or cruddy handwriting? Good hand-lettering is a sign of professionalism–ask any comics editor. Explore comics lettering techniques and materials in this hands-on workshop. Learn simple tips and tricks for dialog balloons, inflection, sound effects, display lettering, and incorporating typography into your comics. Materials provided. This workshop is intended for ages 16 up.

Seating is limited, so contact mcgurk.17@osu.edu to sign up today!
For more information about The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, visit: cartoons.osu.edu
Questions? 614-292-1134


David Allan Duncan (who goes by Duncan) has been teaching drawing, sequential art, and comics history since 2003. He began his teaching career at the University of Arizona in Tucson. He now serves as a full-time professor of sequential art at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). He is from Alabama but lives in Savannah, GA with his lovely bride Kristie and their son Oliver. He can be found at conventions and conferences around the country doing comics workshops, giving academic papers, and hocking his mini-comics. www.gobnobble.com

Both workshops will also be supervised by Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum staff members Marilyn Scott and Caitlin McGurk

UPCOMING EXHIBITS: Civil Rights Anniversary & Will Eisner Retrospective

The Ohio State University logo

Contact: Caitlin McGurk
The Ohio State University
Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum
1813 N. High Street
Columbus OH 43210-1343

For Immediate Release: July 16, 2014

Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum Announces Two New Exhibitions:

The Long March: Civil Rights in Cartoons and Comics
Will Eisner: 75 Years of Graphic Storytelling

August 16 – November 30, 2014


The Long March: Civil Rights in Cartoons and Comics

"The Puppeteer", Sam Milai, March 29, 1969. From the Sam Milai Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Carton Library & Museum

The Sam Milai Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum

Karl Hubenthal. In the March, March 26, 1965. Karl Hubenthal Collection.

Karl Hubenthal. In the March, March 26, 1965. Karl Hubenthal Collection.









The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (BICLM) marks the observance of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with The Long March: Civil Rights in Cartoons and Comics, August 16 –  November 30, 2014.

The exhibit presents the story of the Civil Rights Movement and its impact through original editorial cartoons, comic strips, and comic books drawn from the BICLM’s collections. It will also include artwork drawn by Nate Powell for March, Congressman John Lewis’s graphic memoir, a New York Times bestseller co-written by Andrew Aydin.  March tells the story of Lewis’s experiences as a leader and activist in the Civil Rights Movement.  The exhibit, curated by BICLM Curator Jenny E. Robb and Professor of English & Film Studies Jared Gardner, explores the tensions, struggles, and victories from multiple perspectives, including mainstream daily newspapers and the black press.

The public is invited to a free curator’s program on the opening day, August 16, with Jared Gardner, followed by a book signing in the BICLM  lobby with the illustrator of March,  Nate Powell.

This exhibition is organized in conjunction with Remembering the Act: Archival Reflections on Civil Rights, on display at the Thompson Library Gallery from September 15, 2014 – January 4, 2015.

March Book One cover 100dpiMarch-book-one-interior-hi-res-103

Join in celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act on Monday, September 15, for an evening with Congressman John Lewis, Nate Powell, and Andrew Aydin, discussing the Civil Rights Movement and the experience of telling Congressman Lewis’s story in the graphic memoir March.  Details will be announced soon.  This event is co-sponsored by the University Libraries, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Ohio, the Office of Academic Affairs, the Office of Student Life, the Moritz College of Law, the Hale Black Cultural Center, the Kirwan Institute, the Barnett Center for Arts and Enterprise, the College of Social Work, the Department of English, the History Department, and the Department of African American and African Studies.


Will Eisner: 75 Years of Graphic Storytelling

Will Eisner _ 2

The Will Eisner Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum. THE SPIRIT and WILL EISNER are Registered Trademarks of Will Eisner Studios, Inc. Reprinted with permission.

It is nearly impossible to discuss the history of American comics without mentioning the name Will Eisner.  On August 16, the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum will open a new exhibit entitled Will Eisner: 75 Years of Graphic Storytelling, highlighting works from the library’s Will Eisner collection of art and archives.  The show will feature original art from some of Eisner’s greatest works including The Spirit, Contract With God, Dropsie Avenue, Last Day in Vietnam, and The Plot, as well as rarely-seen selections from his student days, his early work as a commercial artist, and his comics for the military.

As a key figure in the birth of the comics industry in the 1930s and the rise of the graphic novel in the 1980s, Eisner influenced—directly and indirectly—everyone involved with graphic storytelling, as an artist, an editor, an entrepreneur and an educator. This exhibit, curated by Caitlin McGurk and Jared Gardner, explores the range of Eisner’s work spanning nearly eight decades and documents his impact on the development of comics over the past century.

In celebration of this exhibit, the public is invited to a free presentation by Columbus cartoonist and creator of the bestselling graphic novel Bone, Jeff Smith on Thursday, October 30 at 7p.m.  Smith will discuss the legacy and impact of Will Eisner’s life and career in the Jean and Charles Schulz Lecture Hall on the second floor of the BICLM.

Will Eisner _3

The Will Eisner Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum. THE SPIRIT and WILL EISNER are Registered Trademarks of Will Eisner Studios, Inc. Reprinted with permission.


About the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum:
 The BICLM, Sullivant Hall, 1813 N. High St., Columbus, OH 43210, is one of The Ohio State University Libraries’ special collections. Its primary mission is to develop a comprehensive research collection of materials documenting American printed cartoon art (editorial cartoons, comic strips, comic books, graphic novels, sports cartoons, and magazine cartoons) and to provide access to the collections.  The BICLM recently moved into its newly-renovated 30,000 sq. ft. facility that includes a museum with three exhibition galleries, a reading room for researchers and a state-of-the-art collections storage space.   The library reading room is open Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday from 1 – 5 p.m.

See http://cartoons.osu.edu/ for further information or call (614) 292-0538


Wexner Center for the Arts: Daniel Clowes exhibit opening!

This school year ended with a bang for us and our pals at the Wexner Center for the Arts when we joined forces for two incredible comics exhibits: Modern Cartoonist: The Art of Daniel Clowes and Eye of the Cartoonist: Daniel Clowes’s Selections from Comics History. The response to the exhibits has been incredible, including many articles and interviews with Clowes himself.


All images by Katherine Spengler © Wexner Center for the Arts, 2014

Thank you so much to all who joined us for the opening reception, and for those who couldn’t make it- enjoy some photos of that evening below!

Select the tiled photos to enlarge and click through:

Wexner-SpringOpeningClowes-140516-0022_8x10 (1)

All images by Katherine Spengler © Wexner Center for the Arts, 2014

…Probably our favorite photo of the night, our local boy Jeff Smith and Dan Clowes:

These exhibits will be running through August 3rd, 2014. If you haven’t had a chance to visit yet, please join us on Thursday, June 12th or Thursday, June 19th for two FREE Curator’s Talks with Caitlin McGurk, Dave Filipi, Jenny Robb and Jared Gardner.

Dan Clowes Takes Over the Wexner Center for the Arts! May 17th – August 3rd, 2014

2014 has already been downright saturated with great comics events across Columbus, Ohio, and especially right here on campus! Huge thanks to all of you who attended the Calvin & Hobbes and Richard Thompson Retrospective exhibit opening from far and wide, and the more recent Frank Santoro and Stephen R. Bissette workshops and lectures!

The academic year has just ended–congrats to those who graduated–but we’re only getting started with incredible comics events!

Join us and our enduring partners across the street at The Wexner Center for the Arts on Friday, May 16th from 6-9pm for the opening of three stunning comics exhibits:

Modern Cartoonist: The Art of Daniel Clowes
May 17th – August 3rd

Daniel Clowes is one of the most beloved and renowned comic book artists of our time, with nearly 50 publications to his credit. His acclaimed graphic novels—including Ghost World (1997), David Boring (1999), and Wilson (2010), among others—have been instrumental in establishing literary credibility for the genre. The exhibition presents original black ink and Zipatone drawings of pages from these works, as well as beautifully realized gouache paintings of the covers of Ghost World and other publications. Organized by the Oakland Museum of California and a recent hit at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, Modern Cartoonist: The Art of Daniel Clowes is the first museum survey of his work, bringing together over 90 pieces of original art and artifacts from the full range of his career.

Daniel Clowes was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1961, and lives and works in Oakland, California. He attended the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, graduating with a BFA degree in 1984. Clowes is the recipient of numerous awards, including several Harvey Awards, given for achievement in comic books, and he recently won the 2011 Pen Award for Graphic Literature.

Organized for the Oakland Museum of California by independent curator Susan Miller and René de Guzman, Senior Curator of Art, Oakland Museum of California. This presentation organized for the Wexner Center for the Arts by David Filipi, Director of Film/Video.

Eye of the Cartoonist: Daniel Clowes’s Selections from Comics History
May 17th – August 3rd

Take a look through cartoonist Daniel Clowes’s incredibly informed, sometimes surprising historical perspective. Ohio State’s Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum is the world’s largest repository of cartoon art. To complement his survey concurrently on view, we invited Clowes—who, like many cartoonists, is a great student of his field’s history—to collaborate with the museum’s curators in presenting an exhibition of work by past greats whom he admires or considers influences. In works such as the comic book anthology seriesEightball (1989–2004) and the graphic novel Wilson (2010), Clowes illustrates in a wide spectrum of styles that often incorporate, adapt, and comment on touchstones from comics history. Drawing from the museum’s collection, the work on view in this exhibition at the Wex illuminates Clowes’s range, encompassing Chester Gould’s hard-boiled detective strip Dick Tracy, the minimal elegance of Otto Soglow’s The Little King, the Art Nouveau–inspired fantasias of Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo in Slumberland, the action-adventure stories of Terry and the Pirates (created by Ohio State’s own Milton Caniff), and even the ever-popular Peanuts by Charles Schulz.

Organized by Wexner Center for the Arts. Special thanks to Jenny Robb, Caitlin McGurk, and the staff at Ohio State’s Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum for their generous assistance with this exhibition.\

Comic Future
May 17th – August 3rd

Featuring work by 15 contemporary artists who freely mix cubism, figurative painting, and gestural abstraction with the visual strategies of cartoons and comics, Comic Future presents conceptually adventurous and visually bold interpretations of our frequently absurd world. Appropriating subjects from mythology, advertising, print culture, and children’s television, these artists employ discordant approaches that twist representations of their immediate environment into skewed, often apocalyptic visions of the future.

The exhibition showcases works from the 1960s through 2013 through a wide range of artists and media—including career-spanning works on paper by Sigmar Polke, a comic-book collage by Walead Beshty, sculpture by Aaron Curry and Liz Craft, and a video by the always-provocative Paul McCarthy. The late Mike Kelley is represented by works from two series that bookend his influential career: an early grouping of doodle-like drawings and a selection of recent illuminated sculptures based on Superman’s home city of Kandor. Also on display are paintings by Arturo Herrera, Carroll Dunham, Lari Pittman, Dana Schutz, and Sue Williams that explore the uneasy boundary between abstraction and figuration.

Organized by Ballroom Marfa, Texas, and curated by its Executive Director Fairfax Dorn.

Support for Comic Future at the Wexner Center for the Arts provided by Mike and Paige Crane.

Presented at Ballroom Marfa with the support of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; the Brown Foundation, Inc., Houston; the Meyer Levy Charitable Foundation;Texas Commission on the ArtsFoundation for Contemporary Arts; and generous contributions by Ballroom Marfa members.


…Thought that was all the Dan Clowes related news fit to print? Think again! Check out all of these great events we’re doing both with and without Dan during the span of his exhibit:

In Conversation: Daniel Clowes and Hillary Chute
Sat, May 17, 2014 7 PM
Mershon Auditorium

Join Daniel Clowes and comics scholar Hillary Chute for a lively conversation about Clowes’s career—which includes such comics and graphic novels as Ghost World (1997), The Death-Ray (2011), and Wilson (2010)—and his role as a curator of Eye of the Cartoonist, on view at the Wexner Center. Chute is a Neubauer Family Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the University of Chicago and author of Graphic Women: Life Narrative and Contemporary Comics (2010) and Outside the Box: Interviews with Contemporary Cartoonists (2014).

Clowes is the subject of Modern Cartoonist, a career-spanning survey, and a curator of Eye of the Cartoonist, an exhibition of his influences, both on view at the Wex May 17–August 3, 2014. Come before the talk and see them for free as part of Art Museum Day, a nationwide initiative of the Association of Art Museum Directors.

On Screen: Ghost World
Sat, May 17, 2014 2 PM
Wexner Film/Video Theater


Screening in conjunction with the survey of his work in our galleries (as well as an exhibition he’s curated) are these film adaptions of comics by Daniel Clowes. Clowes co-wrote the scripts for both films, which were directed by Terry Zwigoff. No stranger to cartoons and comics himself, Zwigoff is perhaps best known for his 1995 documentary Crumb, on legendary cartoonist R. Crumb, which made dozens of best-film-of-the-year lists.

Based on Daniel Clowes’s celebrated graphic novel and co-scripted by the cartoonist himself, this cult favorite follows mostly directionless best friends Enid (Thora Birch) and Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson) as they entertain themselves by ridiculing fellow misfits and navigate their evolving friendship. With Steve Buscemi and Illeana Douglas. (111 mins., 35mm)

On Screen: Art School Confidential
Thu, June 12, 2014 7 PM
Film/Video Theater

Screening in conjunction with the survey of his work in our galleries (as well as an exhibition he’s curated) are these film adaptions of comics by Daniel Clowes. Clowes co-wrote the scripts for both films, which were directed by Terry Zwigoff. No stranger to cartoons and comics himself, Zwigoff is perhaps best known for his 1995 documentary Crumb, on legendary cartoonist R. Crumb, which made dozens of best-film-of-the-year lists.

Based on a four-page story by Daniel Clowes, Art School Confidential follows an aspiring painter and new student (Max Minghella) who comes face-to-face with the professional and romantic jealousies that simmer just below the surface at his school. Meanwhile, a serial killer is on the loose, putting the community and school on edge. Also with John Malkovich, Anjelica Huston, Jim Broadbent, and Sophia Myles. (102 mins., 35mm)

Come early for a curators’ talk at 6 PM and learn more about the Clowes-related exhibitions on view at the Wex.

Curators’ Talks
David Filipi and Caitlin McGurk
Thu, June 12, 6pm
Jenny Robb and Jared Gardner
Thu, June 19, 7pm

Daniel Clowes, An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Vol. 2 C(cover detail), 2007 Black ink on white board 25 1/2 x 21 1/4 x 1/2 inches Collection of Daniel Clowes Image courtesy of the artist and Oakland Museum of California
Dive deeper into the world of Daniel Clowes through these curator-led gallery talks of the exhibitions Modern Cartoonist: The Art of Daniel Clowes and Eye of the Cartoonist: Daniel Clowes’s Selections from Comics History.

On June 12, Wexner Center Director of Film/Video David Filipi, the in-house curator of both exhibitions, and Caitlin McGurk, from the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, will share their insights. Stay afterward for the 7 PM screening of Art School Confidential, an adaptation of a Clowes comic.

On June 19, Jenny Robb, curator of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, and Jared Gardner, director of Ohio State’s Popular Culture Studies program, discuss the exhibitions. Grab a spot on the plaza after the talk for our first Wex Drive-In of the summer.


…Hope to see you at all of the above!

Cartooning Master Class and Lecture with Stephen R. Bissette!


Stephen R. Bissette's "Swamp Thing" - The Comics Journal - 1984

7pm, Monday April 28th, 2014
Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum – Will Eisner Seminar Room, Second Floor
General Public – $15
OSU Students – $10 (with Buck ID present)

We’re thrilled to announce an additional event to Stephen R. Bissette’s April visit to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum – a cartooning master class! Seating is limited to 30, so sign up now! Not a cartoonist? Join in anyway- sit back and take notes as the master works his craft.

Stephen R. Bissette will present a chalk-talk and drawing demo on the basics of drawing dinosaurs, monsters, and zombies. Three primal forms—saurian, non-human creature, and skeletal human forms—will be presented and worked through in a step-by-step fashion, including tips on creating your own variations on traditional tropes.

Please provide your own supplies.


STEPHEN R. BISSETTE: Swamp Thing and the Birth, Life, and Death of the 
Comics Code Authority

7pm, Tuesday April 29th, 2014

Wexner Film/Video Theater

Veteran comics artist, writer, editor, publisher, and Center for Cartoon Studies instructor Stephen R. Bissette is perhaps best known for his landmark collaboration with writer Alan Moore and artists John Totleben and Rick Veitch on DC Comics’ Saga of the Swamp Thing (1983–87). Many credit that run as a catalyst to the demise of the Comics Code Authority (1954–2011), the mainstream comics industry’s self-regulatory institution formed in response to social, commercial, and Congressional pressure after the spring 1954 publication of Seduction of the Innocent by psychologist Dr. Fredric Wertham. On this 60th anniversary of Wertham’s book and the Comics Code’s initiation, Bissette reflects upon the controversy, launch, and impact of the Code and its eventual dismantling.

For more information visit: http://wexarts.org/film-video/swamp-thing-and-birth-life-and-death-comics-code
Visit the Facebook page for this event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/726968467347491/

Co-sponsored by the Wexner Center for the Arts and The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Additionally, we are thrilled to be making this announcement during the ongoing Will Eisner celebration this March, held annually in association with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, the fighters of free speech in comics.

Sneak Preview of tonight’s Bill Watterson and Richard Thompson Exhibition Debut!

Wet your appetite for tonight!  Join us FRIDAY, MARCH 21st

Exploring Calvin and Hobbes

The Irresistible Force 
Immovable Object:

A Richard Thompson Retrospective

For more info visit: http://tinyurl.com/l9kdo23

Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/431754650261009/

New Interview! Calvin & Hobbes creator Bill Watterson and Cul de Sac creator Richard Thompson talk libraries, comics, and the creative process with Ohio State

Dear Friends:

We are delighted to welcome you to two exhibitions of original cartoon art by Bill Watterson and Richard Thompson at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, opening March 22, 2014. The shows will provide a unique opportunity to see—up-close—the original art of these two gifted cartoonists.


The exhibition will include the very first “Calvin & Hobbes” strip. November 18, 1985. © Bill Watterson – Used by permission of the artist. Bill Watterson Deposit Collection, The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Curator Jenny Robb recently chatted with Bill Watterson about comics and the upcoming exhibit:

Jenny Robb: Why did you choose to place your collection at The Ohio State University’s Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum?

Bill Watterson: Long ago my friend Rich West recommended the library to me. I met Lucy Caswell and was much impressed with her vision and scholarly professionalism. Some years after I stopped the strip, I wanted to get my work into a more protective, permanent environment, so the choice was a no-brainer. And now of course the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum is even better. It’s a remarkable institution, and the fact that this fabulous resource is right in my home state is icing on the cake.

JR: The library and museum is focused on preserving and providing access to materials documenting the cartooning art form for public viewing and research. How do you feel this arrangement benefits the public? 

BW: The library helps counteract the art world’s condescension to the “low art” of cartoons, and it protects work that would otherwise be scattered or lost. In making original work available for anyone to study, it also gives us access to our own history. You know, if you’re a painter, it’s simply taken for granted that you’ll spend a lot of time in museums studying great paintings, but if you’re a cartoonist, it used to be very hard to see an original cartoon drawing. When you see an original “Steve Canyon” daily strip—they’re gigantic—it’s an entirely different experience than seeing a newspaper or book reproduction.  There is much to appreciate and learn about this wonderful art.

JR: It’s been almost 30 years since Calvin and Hobbes launched, and almost 20 since it ended. How did it feel to revisit the strip for this exhibition? 

BW: Oh, it’s fairly weird. There’s a sort of jet lag when you time-travel to your own past.

JR: When conceiving of a new strip, did the words or images come first? Or, is it a hybrid process?  Is the process fraught or does it flow?

BW: Most often I’d begin with the words. Generally, the writing underwent so many revisions that there was no point in drawing anything until the dialog was fully set.  I could always visualize the pictures anyway.  It was the writing that gave me fits.

JR: As newspaper readership—and, subsequently, production—declines, do you think there will be fewer opportunities for the average person to forge a lasting bond with a character the way that people did with Calvin and Hobbes

BW: That would be my guess. I can’t really picture the average person going to the trouble of curating his own little comic section, much less reading a new and unfamiliar strip for months to build up a relationship with it. There’s so much other content available—instantly and all for free—that there’s no reason to stick around if you’re not immediately enthralled. We consume everything like potato chips now.  In this environment, I suspect the cartoonist’s connection with readers is likely to be superficial and fleeting, unless he taps into some fervent special interest niche. And that audience, almost by definition, will be tiny. It’s a very different world from the days when everyone in America knew who Popeye, Dick Tracy or Charlie Brown was.

JR: How has the digital era and social media freed cartoon artists?

BW: Anyone can publish now, and there are no restrictions of taste, approach, or subject matter. The gatekeepers are gone, so the prospect for new and different voices is exciting. Or at least it will be if anyone reads them. And it will be even more exciting if anyone pays for them. It’s hard to charge admission without a gate.

JR: Richard Thompson’s work will be on display along with yours.  What makes him a standout to you? 

BW: Very few cartoonists do so much, so well. Richard is a wonderful writer and one of the rare ones who can write truly unique, hilarious characters. He’s drawn incisive caricatures, lavish illustrations, and one of the most beautiful comic strips I’ve ever seen. And just when you think it couldn’t be better, sometimes he paints the stuff. Richard has the extra-deluxe, jumbo-size skill set. It’s an inspiring body of work.


Illustration from “The Indispensible Calvin and Hobbes”, 1992. © Bill Watterson - Used by permission of the artist. Bill Watterson Deposit Collection, The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum


LowRes richard thompson 4

Richard Thompson’s “Cul de Sac”, January 29, 2008 © Richard Thompson, collection of the artist – Used by permission of Richard Thompson

Exhibited along with Bill’s work is the immensely talented creator of Cul de Sac, Richard Thompson. Exhibition Curator Caitlin McGurk got the opportunity to chat with Richard:

Caitlin McGurk: What are your favorite comics currently being published, in the newspaper pages and beyond?

Richard Thompson: Pearls Before Swine, Frazz, and a few others. Currently the comics scene is so atomized, it’s hard to limit favorites to newspaper strips

CM: What is your take on how the digital era and social-media has affected cartoonists, and further more, what are your thoughts on the “death” of print?

RT: It’s sad and confusing.

CM: Tell us about your process with creating Cul de Sac.  Were the characters speaking to you after a while, or were the storylines a struggle?

RT: It was frighteningly easy. The characters came alive and I lost control of them early on. It was like dictation. The plots were so tenuous it didn’t matter what direction they went in. I always thought of it as an organic process. I’d just stand back and let it grow.

CM: How much of Cul de Sac is based on your own memories of childhood, or your experiences with your family?

RT: A lot. Almost none of it is specific enough that you could point to a given situation and easily find its inspiration.

CM: What is the best advice that you could give a young cartoonist?

RT: Run.

Try everything. Comics are, as they say, blowing up. The chance for invention is great but the chance for moneymaking is small. Right now creators are pretty much screwed.

CM: Where did you derive your inspiration for Richard’s Poor Almanac, and were there other reasons to discontinue it beyond a focus on Cul de Sac?

RT: I’ve gotten several dream jobs. Richard’s Poor Almanac was one of them. Each cartoon was sui generis (a curse and a blessing). I ended it when it became clear it was suffering in relation to Cul de Sac. I couldn’t juggle both cartoons.

CM: Who or what were the biggest influences on you as a cartoonist?

RT: Any cartoonist whose name begins with an ‘S’: Sorel, Steadman, Steinberg, Sempe…I’m considering changing my name to “Sthompson.” Basically anybody who makes me want to draw. The list is endless.

CM: I understand that you and Bill Watterson have a close friendship. Can you tell us about the history between the two of you, and your thoughts on his work?

RT: I guess you could say that the whole world has a close friendship with Calvin and Hobbes (I know I do).  I’d known Rich West, one of Bill’s closest friends, for years.  Unknown to me, he sent Bill some of my old work and Bill liked it.  God knows I admire his work and comic genius immensely, so getting approbation from him made my head swell noticeably.  It was like receiving an ‘atta boy’ from Jesus Christ.

LowRes richard thompson 3

Richard Thompson’s “Cul de Sac”, November 4th, 2007 © Richard Thompson, collection of the artist – Used by permission of Richard Thompson


Join us this summer for Exploring Calvin and Hobbes and The Irresistible Force Meets the Immovable Object: A Richard Thompson RetrospectiveMarch 22 – August 3, 2014 / free / Tuesday-Sunday – 1pm to 5pm / Monday – Closed 

As an added bonus, the Wexner Center for the Arts will be screening the documentary Dear Mr. Watterson at 4pm on Saturday, March 22, followed at 7pm by John Hubley at 100, a viewing of the incredible animation by the creator of Mr. Magoo.

And if you visit campus after May 17, take a short walk over to the Wexner Center for the Arts and check out famed cartoonist Daniel Clowes’ show: May 17 – Aug 3, 2014 / Tuesday-Sunday – visit wexarts.org for hours and admission fees. It is going to be the summer of cartoon art at Ohio State!


For reprint and image use permissions, please contact Jane Carroll at carroll.296@osu.edu.