Month: April 2012

Happy Birthday, Bill Blackbeard! (April 28, 1926 – March 10, 2011)

Here at the Cartoon Library, Bill Blackbeard is a regular household name. We hope the same goes for all of you readers, as the Man Who Saved Comics deserves much remembrance and praise.

Portrait of Bill Blackbeard, ink and gouache original by Alfredo Alcala. San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

This Saturday, April 28th would be Bill’s 86th birthday. In 1998, Bill Blackbeard’s life’s work–The San Francisco Academy of Comic Art collection–arrived at The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum in six semi-trucks, filled to the brim with 2.5 million newsprint clippings of comic strips, entire Sunday comics sections, and tearsheets. This collection had resided with Bill Blackbeard and his wife in their home in California since the 1960s.

The late Bill Blackbeard, among the SFACA collection in its California home. Photo taken by R.C. Harvey. From the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Having collected the bundles of discarded daily newspapers at the end of the week from neighbors houses as a child, Bill’s enthusiasm and fixation on the newsprint comics form grew exponentially throughout the rest of his life. In the 1960’s, libraries across the country began to convert their large bound volumes of newspapers to microfilm in order to conserve shelf space. Once the papers were converted, these hundreds upon thousands of volumes were then discarded or transferred elsewhere. When Bill Blackbeard found out this was happening, he and his wife Barbara and some volunteering friends rescued these volumes of newspapers from around the country – specifically for the comics sections. Because of certain policies in place about the transference of library materials to an individual collector- in one week’s time Bill established himself as a nonprofit organization, The San Francisco Academy of Comic Art. Overnight, Bill and Barbara’s home became the Academy, and one of the most important establishments in comics history of all time.

SFACA collection while it was housed in California. Photo by R.C. Harvey. From the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Declared as being open for visitors and researchers at “all hours of every day” (because Bill lived there), the SFACA collection made possible an endless amount of comics scholarship, reprint books, and inspiration for cartoonists and fans alike. Bill, with help of volunteers, spent his days, years, and entire life clipping these strips and organizing them chronologically under each title.

The SFACA collection continues to have an incalculable impact at its permanent home here at the Cartoon Library- where it is easily our most highly-used collection.

Further Information:

To find out much-much more about Bill Blackbeard’s legacy and the collection’s arrival at the Cartoon Library, follow this link to the OSU Knowdledge Bank for an exhaustive article by our head curator Jenny Robb entitled Bill Blackbeard: The Collector Who Rescued the Comics.

To see many more fantastic pictures of Bill Blackbeard and his collection, you can visit our “We Love Bill Blackbeard Album” by liking the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum on Facebook.

To browse the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art finding aid, visit this link. Due to the size of the SFACA collection, it is constantly under processing so this is in no way a complete representation. We are very proud to have about 40% of the collection processed at this time (remember, it contains  millions of items!)

Happy Birthday, Bill Blackbeard!

Portrait of Bill Blackbeard, original in ink and gouache, by Alfredo Alcala. San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

-Caitlin McGurk

 

Event Reminder: Matt Madden’s Oulipo Talk and Workshop!

Starting on May 8th and continuing through the weekend, we’ll be celebrating the French literary movement of Oulipo, the practice of making art under creative constraints! The blog updates for that week will feature some amazing work from our collection that exemplifies the unique ways that the principles of Oulipo can be applied to creating comics (Oubapo). But most importantly, the week will culminate in two Oulipo events with Matt Madden cosponsored by the Wexner Center! Be sure not to miss the lecture and unique hands-on workshop, taught by one of the most forward-thinking cartoonists and comics educators out there.

On Friday, May 11th at 4:30pm in the Wexner Center Film and Video Theater: Cartoonist Matt Madden, creator of 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style, talks about his work and how the arbitrary constraints of Oulipo have produced great art in all kinds of media. Do you think you could make a comic where each panel would only show an extreme close-up of a hand? Or where each panel zooms in closer to a single object? A comic that you can read in more than one direction? Many great works of art begin from willfully perverse constraints or rules such as these. Drawing not just from comics but from literature, film, and music—both popular and experimental—Madden describes the lineage of creativity first identified by Oulipo, a French literary group whose name translates loosely to “workshop for potential literature.” More information here. This event was made possible in collaboration with the Wexner Center for the Arts. Free to the public.

On Saturday, May 12th from 1pm-4pm at the Wexner Center: Matt Madden leads a workshop that utilizes the principles of Oulipo, creating cartoons under artistic constraints.  No prior experience is necessary, and materials will be provided. $15 / $12 students and Wexner members. More information here. Advance registration is required and space is limited; call 614-292-6493 for more info.

See you there!


New Acquisitions: Le Grand Rêve Americain! (1988)

Check it out: Not everything we collect is old, American, or even made of paper…

Original publisher's box and cover of "Le Grand Reve Americain", The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

This piece is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Delightfully satirical of American culture, Yannick Bourg and Philippe Huger created this 11 full-page brightly colored molded plastic three-dimensional comicbook-in-a-box that measures 13×18 inches that is Le Grand Rêve Americain (The Great American Dream)!

Two "pages" (doublesided and three-dimensional) from "Le Grand Rêve Americain", The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

My knowledge of French is incredibly rusty, so I’ll go ahead and copy the item description: “…presenting an elaborate comic strip parodying and caricaturing American culture as seen from the outside, replete with gangsters, fast cars, and above all, exaggerated sexuality, featuring among other things repeated images of rather dramatically oversized female breasts” … “The story and execution resulted from a collaboration between Philippe Huger and Yannick Bourg, who adapted their work to a new technology developed by Philippe Schléret and Véronique Hauss. The molded plastic creates literal three-dimensionality and greatly enhances the effect of the caricatures and exaggeration inherent in the comic strip.”

Two "pages" (doublesided and three-dimensional) from "Le Grand Rêve Americain", The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Found in the Collection: Richard D. Taylor (1902-1970)

Richard Denison Taylor, or “R. Taylor” as much of his work was signed, is another less-celebrated New Yorker cartoonist (though not nearly as elusive as our beloved Barbara Shermund). Taylor came to New York from his birth place in Ontario in 1935, and during his peak his work could be seen in The New Yorker, Esquire, Collier’s, The Saturday Evening Post, Playboy and more. His characters were known for their “poached egg eyes”, with low-hanging eyelids and often perverse sensibilities.

"Hello Darling --- Guess Who?" Richard D. Taylor original art gag rough, from the Sidney Carroll Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Although Taylor is most known for his gag cartoons which poked fun at society, and humorous illustrations for a variety of books (Fractured French, My Husband Keeps Telling Me To Go To Hell, Half a Dollar Is Better Than None  etc), it seems his private passion–and one he would pursue til late in life without seeking commercial benefit–was fantasy art. Taylor created a fantasy world called Frodokom, in which he based an entire series of watercolor, print and oil paintings that featured surrealistic creatures and landscapes. Maurice Horn’s Encyclopedia of Cartooning says of Taylor’s work “There is an individuality to his large-eyed, heavy lidded characters that makes one think of fairy tales and other worlds…”  In the mid 1930s, he created 40 illustrations for Worm’s End, an adult fantasy book by Lionel Reed.

Gag cartooning, it would seem, was pursued at least initially in order to make ends meet. We can find his earliest gag work in 1927 in the Toronto humor magazine Goblin (akin to America’s Puck, Britain’s Punch and Mexico’s Multicolor) which ran from 1921-1929. Taylor’s illustrations in those days would range in style, and he would sign under many different names- most commonly Ricardo and Rick Taylor. Much later in life, he wrote and illustrated his own how-to book, entitled Introduction to Cartooning. Whether he felt more compelled by his surrealist work or not, Taylor’s incredible sense of humor was omnipresent. In the introduction to his own book By The Dawn’s Ugly Light: a Pictorial Study of the Hangover, Taylor writes: “In these the latter days it may be truly said that anyone never visited by the hang-over is not of the times… Life, as it is experienced in circles directly in contact with contemporary affairs, is largely a matter of interludes between hang-overs.”

"...You wouldn't care to revise that part about attributing your remarkably long life and excellent health to breaking all the rules?" Richard D. Taylor original art, from the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Oddly enough, R. Taylor’s first income as an artist came from coloring magic lantern slides for Sunday schools, which makes me wonder if laboring over those beautifully illuminated standalone images wasn’t an influence for his later work as a single-panel cartoonist.

Richard D. Taylor’s collection is part of the Canadian Library & Archives, though we are fortunate enough to have a small number of his gag cartoon originals and a wide range of his bound books here at the Cartoon Library.

Upcoming Cartoon Library Events: “My Friend Dahmer”, Ding Darling, Matt Madden, and more!

April and May have turned out to be very busy months for all of us here at The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum! If you’re in or around Ohio, mark your calendars for some excellent upcoming comics events:

On Friday, April 20th from 6-8pm in Cincinnati: The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum will present “A Tasteful Evening” in Cincinnati at the Hyde Park Golf and Country Club. The event will feature noted former Cincinnati Enquirer editorial cartoonist and “Zits” creator Jim Borgman, and a scotch tasting with an expert scotch master. The program will include an update from Director of Libraries Carol Diedrichs and Jenny Robb, curator of the OSU Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, on the renovation of Sullivant Hall, the future home of the Cartoon Library. Tickets to the event can be purchase online.

On Saturday, April 21st at 2pm at The Ramada Plaza Hotel & Convention Center: Visiting Curator Caitlin McGurk will be giving a presentation at the 2012 SPACE alternative comics convention! She will be talking about the history of the Cartoon Library, what they do, some of the incredible gems in their collection, and what the future holds for the museum. In 2013 the Cartoon Library will be expanding their physical space from a 6,800 sq-ft basement to a glorious 30,000 sq-ft home in Sullivant Hall at the gateway to OSU’s campus, solidifying it as a top destination in America for all things comics. Come listen to an overview of their mission, and get excited for what’s to come!

On Friday, May 11th at 4:30pm in the Wexner Center Film and Video Theater: Cartoonist Matt Madden, creator of 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style, talks about his work and how the arbitrary constraints of Oulipo have produced great art in all kinds of media. Do you think you could make a comic where each panel would only show an extreme close-up of a hand? Or where each panel zooms in closer to a single object? A comic that you can read in more than one direction? Many great works of art begin from willfully perverse constraints or rules such as these. Drawing not just from comics but from literature, film, and music—both popular and experimental—Madden describes the lineage of creativity first identified by Oulipo, a French literary group whose name translates loosely to “workshop for potential literature.” More information here. This event was made possible in collaboration with the Wexner Center for the Arts.

On Saturday, May 12th from 11am-4pm at the Wexner Center: Constrained Comics Workshop- This workshop for emerging teen artists of comics and graphic novels offers a full day of drawing and writing exercises based on Oubapo—a comics movement that uses formalized constraints or “rules” established by your group. Be sure to bring your sketchbooks! Register here. This event was made possible in collaboration with the Wexner Center for the Arts

On Saturday, May 12th from 1pm-4pm at the Wexner Center: Matt Madden leads a workshop that utilizes the principles of Oulipo, creating cartoons under artistic constraints.  No prior experience is necessary, and materials will be provided. $15 / $12 students and Wexner members. Advance registration is required and space is limited; call 614-292-6493 for more info.

On Tuesday, May 15th at 7pm in the Wexner Center Film and Video Theater: Ohio State grad and Cleveland-based cartoonist Derf Backderf visits to discuss his new graphic novel, My Friend Dahmer, an account of growing up in the same small Ohio town as notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Best known for his strip The City, Derf is a two-time Eisner Award nominee and received a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism award in 2006. Join us following the event for a book signing in the Wexner Center Store. More information here. This event was made possible in collaboration with the Wexner Center for the Arts

On Thursday, May 17th at 7pm in the Cartoon Library: “Remembering Ding” is an exhibition commemorating the 50th anniversary of the death of Jay N. “Ding” Darling, editorial cartoonist and influential conservationist. Please join us for the opening reception of the exhibit on May 17th, as well as a lecture on Ding’s legacy by Richard Samuel West, author of the newly published “Iconoclast in Ink: The Political Cartoons of Jay N. “Ding” Darling (which will be available for the first time at this event). More information here.

From Friday, May 18th to Saturday May 19th: OSU’s Sexuality Studies Department will host Queer Practices, Places, and Lives: A Symposium in Honor of Samuel Steward. More information on the symposium can be found here. The exhibit cases in Thompson Library will feature materials from the special collections libraries- including The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum–that represent Queer history. Stop by to see our exhibit case featuring Queer-themed comics and creators.

 

Many thanks to all of our cosponsors and collaborators who helped make these events possible!

Found in the Collection: Alfred Andriola’s “Yoyo” Martin!

It was a glorious Friday morning at The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum that found me prancing down the aisles of flat files, looking for inspiration for a blog post. I am admittedly not well-versed in Alfred Andriola’s Kerry Drake comic strip, let alone all of the quirky villains included (and there are some very, very quirky ones). That being said, I was overwhelmed with joy when I opened up a file from the Toni Mendez Collection and found a group of cut-out panels from Andriola’s original art that specifically feature this angry stooge who is hitting people with a yoyo.

"Yoyo" Martin calls Birdlegs stupid, strikes with yoyo to get point across. From the Toni Mendez Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

It’s hard to verbalize why these panels thrill me so, but seeing them completely out of context from the rest of the story made them the most intriguing and hilarious insights into the world of Kerry Drake. It’s a world I’ve really enjoyed living in while reading through these old strips. For as much as sequentiality carries the comics medium, peeking in the window of a single panel sends your imagination spinning, and in a way lends further merit to the artists talent. If looking at one panel of a comic can enrapture a reader almost as strongly as seeing the whole story, something major is being achieved.

Anyone who reads Nancy Panels is no stranger to this pleasure.

"Yoyo" Martin strikes again. From the Toni Mendez Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Finding these panels in the Toni Mendez collection added even more bewilderment to the experience. Toni Mendez worked as an agent for cartoonists from 1946 to 2003, and was a licensor and merchandiser as well. She represented over 50 cartoonists including Milton Caniff and B. Kliban, and handled rights-negotiations for hundreds of others including Rube Goldberg and Ernie Bushmiller. As a former Rockette at The New York City Music Hall, Mendez had a keen understanding of performance and entertainment. She conceived of the idea of cartoonist Chalk Talks (directing and producing the shows herself),  which led to the congregating of artists who would then go on to form the National Cartoonists Society.

"Yoyo" Martin threatens Folly (his blonde partner in crime, seen in the next excerpt) for reasons unknown. From the Toni Mendez Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

The majority of the Mendez collection here at the Cartoon Library, which totals to 416 boxes of materials, is made up of business correspondence and licensed character merchandise- though there are 735 pieces of original art as well. These cut-out panels that specifically feature “Yoyo” Martin come with no greater context, no explanation for why Toni may have had them. Although their inclusion in her collection leaves me curious, the oddness of it breathes even more strange life into the Yoyo character.

In case the injury is not believable, we are assured that there is lead in that yoyo top. From the Toni Mendez Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Yes, indeed- discovering treasures like this is one of the most gratifying parts of working as an archivist or librarian. I hope you’ve enjoyed these “Yoyo” Martin panels as much as I have- I’ll be highlighting many more materials from the Toni Mendez Collection for blog posts to come, and in the meantime I encourage you to browse the Collection Guide.

"Yoyo" Martin threatens Mother Whistler by yoyo-ing her teapot to smithereens after she refuses to let he and Folly hide out in her house. From The Toni Mendez Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

In our San Francisco Academy of Comic Art collection we have a nice run of newspaper clippings of Kerry Drake. After locating Yoyo’s appearances in it (late 1949-early 1950), I thought I’d single out a panel of my own to close with.

Cropped panel from page of Alfred Andriola's "Kerry Drake", from The San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

PRESS RELEASE: The Hershey Foundation Answers Schulz Challenge

The Ohio State University logo

Contact: Jenny Robb
The Ohio State University
Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum
27 W. 17th Avenue Mall
Columbus OH 43210-1343
614-292-0538
cartoons@osu.edu

For Immediate Release: April 10th, 2012

Hershey Foundation Answers Schulz Challenge

The Ohio State University Libraries is thrilled to announce that The Hershey Foundation of Northeast Ohio has answered the Schulz Challenge with a multi-year grant of $100,000 to support the new Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (BICLM) facility, part of the Sullivant Hall renovation at OSU. The Hershey Foundation gift will be matched dollar for dollar by Jean Schulz, widow of Peanuts’ creator Charles M. Schulz, giving it a $200,000 impact on the project. Schulz has pledged to match all donations to the new facility up to $2.5 million. This generous grant from the Hershey Foundation brings the total raised or pledged for the Schulz Challenge to $2,380,000.

In recognition of this gift, the new BICLM office and cataloging suite will be named in honor of Peter Guren. Guren is a cartoonist and creator of the syndicated comic strip Ask Shagg, an educational feature in which his character Shagg E. Dawg answers reader’s questions about animals. Guren’s strip runs in 150 newspapers, and has provided a platform for raising awareness on environmental topics and encouraging children’s curiosity in the animal kingdom. As the husband of Debra Hershey Guren, the President and CEO of The Hershey Foundation, Guren has been the foundation’s creative force and designer for over 22 years as well as serving as their IT technician.

Since 1986, The Hershey Foundation has provided Northeast Ohio with support for children’s programming in schools, museums, and other institutions that work to enhance learning and improve the quality of children’s lives from all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. To learn more, visit The Hershey Foundation website.

“The Hershey Foundation is pleased to support the capital campaign for the new Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum in honor of Peter Guren, my cartoonist husband, who created a cartoon strip for children of all ages,” said Debra Hershey Guren, President of The Hershey Foundation. “As The Hershey Foundation supports projects that benefit children in Ohio, we know the Cartoon Library will be a great way to connect school and youth groups to the wonderful world of cartooning.”

The Sullivant Hall renovation is estimated to cost $26 million and will be completed in 2013, at which time Sullivant Hall will house the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, the Department of Dance and the Department of Art Education. Upon completion of the Schulz Challenge, the Sullivant Hall renovation will be completely funded.

About the BICLM: Established in 1977 with a founding gift of the Milton Caniff Collection, the Cartoon Library & Museum was housed originally in two converted classrooms in Ohio State’s Journalism Building. Since then, thousands of donors have contributed to the collection with gifts ranging from one item to tens of thousands. The Cartoon Library & Museum now houses more than 450,000 works of original cartoon art, 45,000 books, 67,000 serials (including 29,000 comic books), 3,000 linear feet of manuscript materials, and 2.5 million comic strip clippings and newspaper pages.

Now the world’s largest collection of cartoon art and comics material, the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum is currently located in the lower level of the Wexner Center for the Arts complex. Its new, permanent home in Sullivant Hall will expand its space from 6,808 square feet to 30,000 square feet, providing much-needed additional storage and new exhibition galleries that will allow more of the collection to be displayed and made accessible to the public. For more information, see The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum website.

Download Press Release as PDF


To find out more about our expansion into Sullivant Hall in 2013, see these earlier blog posts:

New Acquisitions: Multicolor

Here at the Cartoon Library we’re thrilled to have acquired a substantial run of the weekly Mexican satirical magazine Multicolor including six bound volumes and additional single issues.  Akin to the American publication Puck and Britain’s Punch, Multicolor was one of the first political satire periodicals to come out of Mexico. Multicolor was founded in 1911 by editor Mario Vitoria, and brilliant cartoonist and painter Ernesto “El Chango” Garcia Cabral. The magazine took an anti-revolutionary stance, and was fueled by criticism of Francisco I. Madero as he served his term as President during the Mexican Revolution.

Below are two back cover illustrations by Ernesto Garcia Cabral, from the first few issues of “Multicolor”.

Back cover illustration by Ernesto Garcia Cabral, from "Multicolor" No. 3, June, 1911. From the collection of The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Cabral was best known for the movie posters and cinema lobby cards that he created in the 1930s and 40s. With somewhat suspicious timing, Cabral was offered a government-sponsored scholorship to leave Mexico and study art in Paris in 1912- just when “Multicolor” fell into trouble with President Madero and the Mexican government’s administration.

Back cover illustration by Ernesto Garcia Cabral, from "Multicolor" No. 2, May, 1911. From the collection of the Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Below are covers from two issues of Multicolor, illustrated by Santiago R. De La Vega.

Cove of issue No. 75 of "Multicolor", illustration by Santiago R. De La Vega. From the collection of The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Libary & Museum

 

Cover of issue No. 105 of "Multicolor", illustration by Santiago R. De La Vega. From the collection of The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Libary & Museum

For further research, you can view the full record of our Multicolor single-issue holdings here.

This acquisition was made possible with the assistance of Jose Diaz, Subject Librarian for Latin American and Iberian Studies

Demolition underway at Sullivant Hall

We have never been happier to see a wrecking ball!

Construction at Sullivant Hall, which will house the new Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

As of this past week, the stairs on the north entrance of the building have been taken down. We’re changing this aspect of the building to ensure easy accessability, and make the entrance feel as welcoming as possible to the public. Below, you can see a shot of the demolition on the stairs, and a detail of what the entrance will look like in a rendering of the plans.

Demolition of the stairs at the north entrance of Sullivant Hall

Rendering detail of the new entrance to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum by George Acock.

We’re all very excited to watch renovations progress on our beautiful new home, and will continue to post updates about it through the move!