Month: September 2012

Found in the Collection: Marie Severin’s Incredible Hulk

Possibly one of the most underrated mainstream cartoonists of all time, Marie Severin took her first foray into comic book art at the age of 20 in 1949, and what followed was a groundbreaking career that would span all the way through the mid 2000s.

Marie Severin original, with co-creators Frank Giacoia and Gary Friedrich. Page 18 of ”Ring Around the Rhino!” from ”The Incredible Hulk” # 104, June 1968. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

At her start in the 1950s for EC Comics, she was one of the only three women working for the company, including the receptionist. Marie could ink, color, pencil and letter like no other. After beginning at Marvel Comics in 1959, Severin worked on everything from The Incredible Hulk, Submariner, X-Men, The Amazing Spider-Man, Iron Man, Daredevil, and Not Brand Echh. Through Marvel‘s bankruptcy, personal health issues, the crush of the Comics Code Authority in the 50’s and the general struggle of being one of the few females in the industry during her time, Marie somehow managed to keep producing the highest quality work in the business for nearly 60 years.

We’re thrilled to have one original page by this legendary woman in our collection, shown above, as well as photostats she tinted for Roy Thomas for Kull. Long live Marie Severin!

Happy 143rd Birthday, Winsor McCay!

Tomorrow will mark the great Winsor McCay’s 143rd birthday, and as the proud home of the world’s largest public collection of McCay originals, we’re glad to give him a shout out.

Back in the infancy of our blog, we featured McCay’s Tale of the Jungle Imps and the story of how five of the fully hand-colored originals came to arrive at the Cartoon Library in 2006- the first known originals to ever resurface. However, those five breathtaking pieces are a small sampling of over 90 original McCay works that reside in our collection.

Among these, more than 20 of the original animation cels from McCay’s groundbreaking early animation from 1914, Gertie the Dinosaur, which paved the way for later animators like Walt Disney and the Fleischer brothers who would also employ lovable anthropomorphic creatures and animals as the stars of their cartoons.

Original Winsor McCay production drawing for “Gertie The Dinosaur”. From the Woody Gelman Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

Original Winsor McCay production drawing for “Gertie the Dinosaur”. Gift of Mrs. Henrietta Adam Brotherton. The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

Original Winsor McCay production drawing for “Gertie the Dinosaur”. Gift of Mrs. Henrietta Adam Brotherton. The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

Our other McCay originals span almost the entirety of his cartooning career, including a large collection of pieces from Dream of the Rarebit Fiend, McCay’s editorial cartoons, A Pilgrim’s Progress, Hungry HenriettaLittle Sammy Sneeze and more.

McCay would use the same dinosaur character in his comic strips as well, as seen in the original below from Dino.

Winsor McCay original for “Dino”. From the Woody Gelman Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Upcoming Cartoon Library Events

We have just returned from the Small Press Expo, where we debuted the Dylan Williams Collection and were able to chat with a lot of blog readers and general Cartoon Library enthusiasts- we love you all! Thank you to everyone who donated to the collection, attended the Institution Building and Comics panel, and made time to speak with us about our institution. It was a wonderfully successful convention, and we’re thrilled to have been a part of it. Thank you, SPX!

We’ve got a lot of great events coming up, in and outside of the Cartoon Library that we hope you’ll join us for:


Pittsburgh Zine Fair – Saturday, September 22nd

Rangos Hall at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA

The Cartoon Library will be featured at the beginning of the programming for the day, and the end as well with the following two panels:

1-2pm: Columbus is home to the world’s largest collection of comics and cartoon art! Visiting Curator of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, Caitlin McGurk, will give a presentation on the history of the Cartoon Library, what they do, some of the incredible gems they have, how comics impact our lives 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 at the gateway to OSU’s campus, solidifying it as a top destination in America for all things comics.

6-7pm: Cartoonist Jim Rugg and Jason Lex and do a podcast called Tell Me Something I Don’t Know, where they interview artists, writers, musicians, filmmakers, and others about their non-traditional careers and creative experiences. They’re eager to talk to Caitlin about her work as a librarian and comics historian, the future of libraries now that every shred of human history is accessible from our phones, preserving paper, the Center for Cartoon Studies, creative fulfillment, and what drew her to the field of library science!


Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum Open House      

In Celebration of the CCAD MIX 2012 Festival         

October 4th, 5-7pm — Open to the public

The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum will be opening up their doors to the public from 5-7pm on Thursday, October 4th for a free open-house event to coincide with CCAD’s Mix 2012: Comics Symposium. Enjoy the Reading Room Gallery Exhibition Line Dancing, a survey of dance in cartoon art, along with a behind-the-scenes peek of the library stacks and a display of treasures from our collection, including original Bone art by Jeff Smith, original Little Nemo in Slumberland art from Winsor McCay, original Calvin and Hobbes art by Bill Watterson, and original art by P. Craig Russell, acclaimed illustrator of The Sandman, Hellboy, and Coraline.


MIX 2012 – CCAD’s Celebration of Comics – October 3rd-6th

A celebration of and investigation into the art of the comic book, MIX 2012 includes a keybote event and original artwork from Chris Ware, a symposium with roundtables and workshops, a comic-book-creation marathon for teams of college and university students, and an exhibition of original work by Chris Ware.

On Friday, October 5th Caitlin McGurk of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum will moderate the following roundtable:

Indie Comix Spotlight
The “mainstream” isn’t what it used to be, in part because independent publishing now consistently offers alternative voices and stories with substance and frequency enough to be a sizable “stream” of its own. This loose and laid-back mega-roundtable, featuring notable local and regional artists who have worked independently on their own titles and in collaboration, will focus on the ups and downs of the DIY ethic. Moderator: Caitlin McGurk, Visiting Curator at The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum. Featuring: Tom Williams (Satanic Paperboy); Michael Neno (The Signifiers); James Moore and Joel Jackson (Two-Headed Monster); Katie Valeska (Next Year’s Girl); Lora Innes (The Dreamer); Ken Eppstein (Nix Comics Quarterly); Bob Corby (SPACE); Max Ink (Blink); Rafael Rosado (Giants Beware!)


The Intergalactic Nemesis  – Book One: Target Earth

Live Action Graphic Novel

Friday, October 12th – 7pm – Mershon Auditorium

Details and ticket information on the Wexner Center website

Sponsored by the Wexner Center, The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, and The Ohio State University Libraries

Found in the Collection: Tijuana Bibles

Is there a tactful way to talk about Tijuana Bibles in an academic setting? Well, we aren’t sure, so we’re going to keep it short and just let you know that we have plenty of them for your perusal.

Tijuana Bibles from the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

For those unfamiliar with these strange and salacious little publications, Tijuana Bibles were wallet-sized, folded-and-stapled pamphlets that saw their heyday from the 1920s through the 1960s. Made to fit easily in ones back pocket, they would be found passed around bars, barbershops, burlesque houses, and of course between kids behind the schoolyard.

Typically in a 2.5×4 inch format, running 8 pages long, the anonymous artists of the Tijuana Bibles cast many of America’s most beloved newspaper comic strip characters, movie stars and public figures into the role of exhibitionists, adulterers, and general sex-loving fiends. Yes, turning something once family-friendly into fornication (as many of the underground cartoonists would do) is not a new trend, but nearly a century old in the comics format.

Tijuana Bibles from the San Francisco Academy of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

The majority of the Tijuana Bible artists remain unknown, though some (including Superman‘s Joe Shuster and Bazooka Joe‘s Wesley Morse) have been identified. The nickname “Tijuana Bible” caught on from the lore that these little books were being shipped over illegally from below the border, though history hints that the center of circulation seemed to be no place other than New York City.

Special Announcement: The Dylan Williams Collection

On behalf of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, I’m thrilled to announce the establishment of The Dylan Williams Collection of small press and self published works. Please read the collection policy below for more information.

The Dylan Williams Collection Development Policy

The purpose of the Dylan Williams Collection at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum is to strengthen and modernize our representation of the contemporary small press comics community. Although our collection currently features a diverse selection of historical self-published works, the Dylan Williams Collection will continually target and support emerging artists in the alternative comics field. We are proud to honor small press publisher, comics historian and cartoonist Dylan Williams with the namesake of this collection.

A. Namesake

Dylan Williams, Sparkplug Comics publisher, cartoonist, comics advocate and historian passed away on September 10th, 2011 after a long battle with Leukemia. In congruence with the one year anniversary of his death, the Dylan Williams Collection is to be established and announced at the 2012 Small Press Expo. This collection, curated to focus on items and publishers with a strong DIY ethic, is astutely named in Dylan’s honor as he was an essential part of the DIY community. Beyond his leadership as a small press publisher, Dylan was a constant advocate of under-appreciated artists, and a champion of raising awareness of cartoon art history among his contemporaries. As a friend and disciple of Bill Blackbeard, whose San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection resides here at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, a collection in Dylan’s name also serves as a fitting acknowledgement of that lineage. Though Dylan’s impact on the comics world is irreplaceable, his spirit lives on through the small press publishers that have risen in Sparkplug’s likeness, the artists who have thrived from his influence, and this collection which is intended to represent and support both as he would have done.

B. Focus and Scope of The Dylan Williams Collection

Complementing the preexisting collections of underground, alternative, and mainstream comics, the Dylan Williams Collection will focus on self-published and small press works, with an emphasis on hand-made books.

Gifts-in-kind, including personal work and collections, are welcome. Dylan Williams Collection acquisition funds will be used to purchase selective works from contemporary cartoonists that particularly represent the spirit of the Dylan Williams Collection or fill gaps in the BICL&M collection as a whole.

  1. The focus of the Dylan Williams Collection is on self-published works, including handmade books or those printed through local businesses. Although a strong emphasis will be placed on short form pamphlet style works (“mini-comics”), the collection may also contain self-published graphic novels.
  2. Works published by small-presses similar to and emulating the spirit of Sparkplug Comic Books. For example, materials published by small presses that are run by a small to single-person staff will take priority.
  3. Personal comics collections of self-published and small-press works, ranging from 1970 (Dylan Williams’ birth year) to the present.
  4. Original artwork from self-published work.
  5. Limited edition prints by self-publishing creators.
  6. Secondary sources. Self-published works about comics but are not comics (ie. reviews, essays, fanzines etc.)
  7. Micro-distributed materials. Primarily works that are distributed through non-traditional methods, including but not limited to mail-order, hand-selling at conventions, and small distributors will take priority.
  8. Small print runs for small-press work. Materials with a print run of over 3,000 copies will not be eligible.
  9. Works outside of the superhero genre will take priority.

For more information please contact: Caitlin McGurk – 614-292-0538

If you are attending the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland this weekend, please feel free to ask me about this collection! I will be representing the Cartoon Library on the following panel on Saturday, September 15th at 2pm.

Institution Building and Comics
2:00 pm | White Flint Auditorium

While comics have gained a great deal of cultural legitimacy over the past twenty years, comics, as a field, still lacks the institutional infrastructure enjoyed by other, more historically established art forms. Sara Duke (Curator of Popular and Applied Graphic Art, Library of Congress), Tom Hart (Sequential Arts Workshop), Cheryl Kaminsky (AS220), and Caitlin McGurk (Ohio State University) will discuss the needs and challenges of comics-specific institution-building with moderator Tom Spurgeon.

Found in the Collection: Nixie in Real Life

Among the many joys found in the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, are the vibrantly colored and uniquely designed covers of The New York Herald‘s colored comics section. The cover below, from 1900, features one of Richard F. Outcault’s lesser-known and short-lived comic strips, Nixie. Nixie was an adventurous, clever, flirtatious and adorable (though oddly dressed) young boy, occasionally featured in the pages of the Herald. Nixie is brought to life on the cover below, during a time of increasingly popular use of the juxtaposition of painted photographs with cartoon art.

Richard F. Outcault’s “Nixie”. From the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio state University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

We think “Asworstos Factory” is Nixie humor at it’s very finest.

Below, a classic Nixie strip, with fabulously illustrated body language.

Richard F. Outcault’s “Nixie”. From the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio state University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)


New Exhibit! Line Dancing: A Survey of Dance in Cartoon Art


An Exhibition at The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum  

September 5-December 30, 2012       

Howie Schneider (1930-2007). Eek and Meek (detail), January 16, 1983. Ink on paper. Howie Schneider Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

This fall, the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum will be exhibiting some of the most finely choreographed cartoons on paper.  Line Dancing surveys dance in cartoon art to celebrate the renovation of Sullivant Hall, the future home of both the Department of Dance and the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.  From a 1788 print of A Cotillion – the precursor to the American square dance – to modern works like a Jules Feiffer dancer and a jig from Charles Schulz’ Snoopy, these figures dance across history and across the page. Be it a literal depiction of dance as an event in time or dance employed as a metaphor, the works in this exhibit are moving, just like our library!

Line Dancing is part of Ohio State is Dancing, a campus-wide celebration throughout the Fall. Dance holdings from the Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute will be featured in a companion exhibit, Dancing Dimensions: Movement through Time and Space, at the Thompson Library Gallery. These range from an 18th century French fan with dance scenes to a top hat from A Chorus Line; from dance in notation to dance in 3D; and from costume and set designs to costumes and scenery. Other events will include an exhibit of work at the OSU Urban Arts Space by Bebe Miller, Distinguished Professor of Arts & Sciences at The Ohio State University, choreographer, and dance company director, and the Department of Dance Mershon performance Dance Uptown.

Line Dancing can be viewed from Monday-Friday, 9am to 5 pm, with a special viewing on Friday, November 16th in tandem with Dance Uptown at Mershon Auditorium.

About the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum:  Our 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 these collections.  The library is open Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  It is free and open to the public.  See for further information. The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum is located at 27 W. 17th Avenue, north of the Wexner Center’s main entrance.  Parking is available at the Ohio Union garage.

Contact: Caitlin McGurk – – 614-292-0538

Additional information on the campus-wide celebration Ohio State Is Dancing can be found here.