Found in the Collection: Milton Caniff’s Life Mask!

Okay readers, one final Halloween post, perhaps the spookiest of them all!
Below, we present to you the life mask of Milton Caniff:

Life mask of Milton Caniff, cast by Shel Dorf. From the Shel Dorf Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Yes indeed folks, this plaster mask was cast of our main man Milton Caniff by his own assistant, Steve Canyon letterer Shel Dorf. Done in the early 80s, Caniff was likely around the age of 76 when this was made. It now resides here at the Cartoon Library where it forms part of the Shel Dorf Collection, along with a plaster casting of Caniff’s hands. We’ll save those for next year!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN, EVERYONE!

 

Found in the Collection: The Secrets of Haunted House

Three of many originals in our collection from DC Comics The Secrets Of Haunted House!

Original page from ”Mikey’s friend!” from the comic book “Secrets of Haunted House” # 26, July 1980. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Mikey may not be the most attractive child, but surely no kid deserves to have his imaginary friend kicked in the face, or the further reprimanding that occurs below.  Among Mikey’s many powers, he miraculously sprouts freckles after the first page- an age old signifier of all who are both evil and cute.

Original page from ”Mikey’s friend!” from the comic book “Secrets of Haunted House” # 26, July 1980. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

The Mikey’s Friend! feature was created by “Charles Nicholas“, Armondo Gil, and JM DeMatteis. This DC Comics horror series spanned 46 issues, and ran from April1975 through March 1982.

Original page from ”Mikey’s friend!” from the comic book “Secrets of Haunted House” # 26, July 1980. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

These Secrets of Haunted House pages are just a small sample of a mass of old horror, mystery, western and romance comic book originals from our International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection.

Found in the Collection: Charles M. Payne “When Spooks do Walk and Witches Frolic”

With Halloween steadily approaching, we can’t resist posting some seasonally appropriate cartoons of yore. Below, the cover for the Philadelphia Sunday Press, one hundred and twelve years ago. We particularly like the stance of “Jimmy Tough” in the upper right panel of the page, and are baffled and dismayed by the sawed-in-half-cat in the bottom right. The cartoonist Charles M. Payne (more commonly noted as C.M. Payne), would later become known for his comic S’Matter, Pop which ran from 1911-1939.

Happy October!

Found in the Collection: Abian A. “Wally” Wallgren (1892-1948)

Occasionally while perusing the collection, I’ll come across something that feels strangely familiar but isn’t anything I’ve ever heard of before. Such was the case with A. A. Wallgren’s “The Muddledups” original comic strips, which form part of The San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection. Upon first glance at the strips in the art cases, based on the style alone I immediately thought they had to be 1970s, potentially tied to underground comix.

See for yourself. It was to my great surprise to discover that this strip was actually from the 1930s.

Original strip from A. A. Wallgren’s “The Muddledups”. From the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Original strip from A. A. Wallgren’s “The Muddledups”. From the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Original strip from A. A. Wallgren’s “The Muddledups”. From the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

A native of Philadelphia, PA, Wallgren’s biggest claim to fame was the cartooning he did for the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) in The Stars and Stripes during World War I. In R.C. Harvey’s write-up on Wallgren in the March-April 1999 issue of Comic Art Professional Society (CAPS), he states that A.A. Wallgren was to WWI what Bill Mauldin was to WWII. And yet, like so many other unsung greats, his accomplishments seem lost to history.

Original strip from A. A. Wallgren’s “The Muddledups”. From the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

A cartooning prodigy, by 18 Wallgren was creating sports cartoons for a number of newspapers in the city, and already had two running comic strips Inbad the Sailor and Ruff and Ready, with the addition of his fantastical Sammy and Sue and Slobbery Slam in 1915, a spinoff of a Bud Counihan strip.

Original strip from A. A. Wallgren’s “The Muddledups”. From the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

After joining the Marine Corps in 1917, his talents led to his work as a sign painter for military vehicles and facilities throughout France, and he was eventually recruited to work for The Stars and Stripes. Legend has it that Wallgren was notoriously ill-suited to military life, and especially to all responsibilities requiring deadlines and punctuality- even for his cartooning work. On multiple occasions he was under military discipline for drunkenness, or smuggling cognac into the barracks, and arriving late or not at all for particular posts. However, it’s clear that the AEF venerated him for his cartooning work, whether they had to hold him captive at the drawing table until he finished his latest cartoon (a true anecdote retold by one of his contemporaries) or had to track him down at bistros throughout Paris to beg him to draw. His most popular military cartoon character was for the American Legion magazine, the Saluting Demon, a meek soldier who instinctively saluted everything and anything that walked by, be it a horse or inanimate object.

After Wallgren’s time overseas, he returned home to the States where he did cartoons for Life, and created The Muddledups as well as Hoosegow Herman for his hometown newspapers.

Original strip from A. A. Wallgren’s “The Muddledups”. From the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

The story ends when Wallgren was offered a daily and Sunday strip by the editor of the New York Morning World, but immediately turned it down. His logic in this decision, as explained to the prestigious editor, was that he didn’t want the two of them to grow to hate each other, as he was certain they would as soon as Wallgren patently would. He felt instead that they should maintain a liking for one another by not working together at all, quoted saying: “Right now, I like you, and you like me. I’m going on thirty, and at my age, I can’t afford to make enemies. Let’s stay friends. No comic strip, and no deadlines.”

Original strip from A. A. Wallgren’s “The Muddledups”. From the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Original strip from A. A. Wallgren’s “The Muddledups”. From the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Original strip from A. A. Wallgren’s “The Muddledups”. From the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Although we only highlighted The Muddledups in this particular post, be sure to keep up with the blog as we do have much more material by Wallgren that we’ll certainly be highlighting in the future. We think that Wallgren’s Muddledups strip is particularly perfect for highlighting his mastery of character design, backgrounds and layout. The squatness of his characters, their costuming and the wonderfully expressive faces they make are some of the liveliest of their time.

LIBRARY NEWS: Tom Spurgeon Donates Foundational Gift to The Dylan Williams Collection

The Ohio State University logo

Contact: Caitlin McGurk
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: October 16th, 2012

Tom Spurgeon Donates Foundational Gift to The Dylan Williams Collection

Tom Spurgeon, multiple Eisner and Harvey award-winning writer and editor of the Comics Reporter and previously the Managing and Executive Editor of The Comics Journal, has recently donated his personal collection of small press and self-published comics to The Dylan Williams Collection at The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum. Spurgeon’s generous donation contains roughly 1,300 mini-comics, definitively capturing the essence and trends of the 1990s and 2000s small press environment. As a result of Spurgeon’s vital involvement in the comics community through journalism and reviews, the collection contains early works of cartoonists including Julie Doucet, Ivan Brunetti, Lewis Trondheim, Tom Hart, Rachel Hartman, Craig Thompson, Mat Brinkman, Brian Chippendale and Leslie Stein.

As soon as The Dylan Williams Collection was announced, Spurgeon answered the call for donations. “I admired Dylan Williams personally and professionally. I think The Dylan Williams Collection is a fantastic way to honor his memory, and will come to provide a deeply valuable service to the creative communities Dylan cared about” says Spurgeon. “Institutions like the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum help maintain comics history in the most precious way imaginable: the direct archiving of the art form. I’m honored they would accept my modest collection as one of the first donations.” Spurgeon’s contribution gives direct substance to the scope of this one-month-old collection, and provides a strong foundation that will enhance its impact and importance.

“We were delighted when Tom offered us his incredible collection” says Curator Jenny Robb, “We would not have been able to acquire such a comprehensive representation without the help of someone so deeply rooted in the community.”

Since the bequest of the Jay Kennedy Collection of underground comix in 2008, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum has become a leading resource for alternative, small press and self-published materials. The establishment of The Dylan Williams Collection furthers our mission to serve as the premier center for the preservation and study of cartoons and comics in the United States. To learn more, visit The Dylan Williams Collection Development Policy.

Spurgeon stated: “I urge all of my friends and all readers of The Comics Reporter with access to handmade and small press comics of the kind Dylan made, published, and promoted, to consider seeing if they might be of use donated to the Dylan Williams Collection.”

 

For more information please contact: Caitlin McGurk

mcgurk.17@osu.edu – 614-292-0538

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Visiting Curator Caitlin McGurk, sorting and re-housing Tom Spurgeon’s donation.

Found in the Collection: Cartoon LPs!

There aren’t just comics in the Cartoon Library! Here are some freshly processed LPs related to comics, cartoon art and conventions from the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection. Ah, two of the most collected items in history, together at last!

Maybe we’ll have a listening party in our new building next year.

First up, recordings from The 1975 San Diego Comic-Con, including an opening address from Ray Bradbury! If any of you recognize anyone in the high-contrast banquet photo on the back, please let us know!

Cover of “The 1975 San Diego Comic-Con”, from the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Back cover of “The 1975 San Diego Comic-Con”, from the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Below: Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, the first four 15-minute episodes of the CBS radio series from 1932. Dick Tracy in B-Flat, or For Goodness Sake Isn’t He Ever Going to Marry Tess Trueheart? featuring Judy Garland as Snowflake, Bing Crosby as Dick Tracy, Frank Sinatra as Shaky, Bob Hope as Flattop, Dinah Shore as Tess Trueheart, and Jimmy Durante as The Mole- this was a live broadcast for the troops overseas in 1945, put on by the Armed Forces Radio Service. Gravely by Robert Bloch, the author of Psycho reads his short stories on this album with cover art by Gahan Wilson from 1976! Lastly, Al Capp on Campus, a collection of Capp’s speeches given to college students.

Records from the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Below, Songs of the Pogo, lyrics by Walt Kelly and music by Norman Monath- but wait- SUNG by Walt Kelly himself! With the help of Fia Karin, Mike Stewart, and Bob Miller. The Terry and the Pirates original radio broadcast, with the charming description on the back “In these, Terry is where he belongs- where the Dragon Lady is scheming, where Pat Ryan is punching, where it is always sometime in the thirties, somewhere in China.” Finally, another edition of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and the Dick Tracy original radio broadcast.

Records from the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Below, art by the one and only George Herriman for Don Marquis’ Archy and Mehitabel, narrated by David Wayne, with the voices of Eddie Bracken, Carol Channing, and Percival Dove. The Phantom Limbs album Romance, featuring art by Gray Morrow, Charlotte Weaver and Jim Lawrence. The soundtrack to the first animated feature film to receive an X rating in the United States, Fritz the Cat. And finally, Popeye the Sailor Man, musical stories from the original TV scripts, narrated by Harry F. Welch. The back cover of this album states “The Rocking Horse Players and Orchestra have written and produced hundreds of happy records for young folks to provide them with hours of fun-a-plenty.”

Records from the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Below, the original radio broadcasts Blondie, and the exclusive Wonder Woman stories “The Amazons from Space”, “The Secret of the Magic Tiara”, and “Wonder Woman Versus the War-God”. A Daily News/Chicago Tribune split of Frank King’s Gasoline Alley and Frank Willard’s Moon Mullins radio broadcasts. Lastly, The Official Adventures of The Shadow, written by John Fleming with cartoon illustrations.

Records from the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

The original radio broadcasts of Alex Raymond’s Jungle Jim, followed by Peanuts stories come to life in the voices of Kaye Ballard and Arthur Siegel- which came to fruition when Charles Schulz showed up at one of their performances and the two actors/Peanuts fans acted out a few of the strips they had memorized. The 1966 Batman and Robin soundtrack, and the original radio broadcasts of Flash Gordon by Alex Raymond.

Records from the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

And finally, quite possibly the ultimate album artwork in this latest batch, The Groundhogs Who Will Save the World? fully illustrated by Neal Adams.

Neal Adams album art for The Groundhogs, 1972. From the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Neal Adams inner album art for The Groundhogs, 1972. From the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Neal Adams inner album art for The Groundhogs, 1972. From the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Sullivant Hall Hard Hat Tour

We came, we saw, we imagined walls where none have been built yet, hiked dusty staircases to our three heavenly cartoon museum galleries, stood stupefied and tried to envision where we would hang the limited edition full-color lithograph of Nancy dreaming about eating an ice cream cone.

The exterior of our new home, Sullivant Hall, facing N. High Street.

Curator Jenny Robb and architect Pete Confar look over the blueprints for the 2nd floor of the new Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum project.

Yes, our most recent hard hat tour of the Sullivant Hall building project was overwhelmingly exciting. Currently, demolition has been completed in the space, and construction begins soon.

Wandering across the North High Street pavilion from our current 6,000 sq-ft facility to the new just-under 30,000 sq-ft facility for the Cartoon Library felt like every metaphor from a college graduation to opening up a birthday gift or running into the living room on Christmas morning. The plans have been over 7 years in the making, and we’re finally just a year away, with something real to behold.

It is particularly thrilling to imagine what this must feel like for the invincible Lucy Caswell, our founding curator, to see this all start coming to fruition.

Founding Curator Lucy Shelton Caswell, in her hard hat lovingly decorated by cartoonist Jeff Smith.

 

 

 

Lucy, who started it all and has been here since Milton Caniff showed up with his collection in the 1970s, will finally see this long-deserved home for the Cartoon Library fully realized. After so many decades of dedicated hard work at preserving and promoting the comics form, the payoff is sure to feel beyond gratifying.

One of multiple collection storage areas.

 

 

 

 

The expansion of the Cartoon Library into Sullivant Hall offers us boundless potential. Not only will the space have three museum-quality exhibit galleries (complete with security guards, gorgeous custom made cases, and sleek benches), but every other aspect of what we do here will be enhanced.

The immensely expanded storage areas will allow us to consolidate an entire offsite facility we have been using for years. We will have a large seminar room dedicated to Will Eisner for programming as well as a conference room, giving us the potential for all new community outreach opportunities, event hosting, classes and more. We’ll have massive processing facilities for tackling the collection and comfortably accommodating more workers and volunteers. Extensive reading room space, with all new ergonomic furniture to make for the most agreeable researching experience possible. Exhibit preparation, framing, and encapsulation facilities. A gorgeous lobby (architect rendering below) with Billy Ireland’s drawing table prominently displayed in a glass case as you walk in.

Architectural rendering of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum’s north lobby.

Furthermore, we will have two large exquisitely hand-made stained-glass windows of Billy Ireland’s cartoons from The Passing Show, one of which will be back-lit and displayed at the entrance on North High Street, and the other of which will separate the reading room from the north entrance lobby.

This is indeed an exciting time for all of us here at the Cartoon Library, and we hope that all of you out there reading this can share in our glee, let alone join us for our opening festivities next fall! The three galleries in our new building will rotate three times per year, and we have some extremely riveting exhibits in the works. The opening show will be guest curated by the great Brian Walker, whose father’s International Museum of Cartoon Art collection resides here at OSU. Brian came in from Connecticut and spent the past week with us at the Cartoon Library choosing items for the show, and take it from us- it’s going to be something else.

Thank you to all who have supported us in this massive endeavor, we truly cannot wait to be able to give back with bigger and better programming and exhibits than ever before. Fall of 2013 can’t come quicker!

Library and Architecture staff in the soon-to-be home of the Cartoon Library

To see more images of the Sullivant Hall construction project, visit our Facebook page and check out the album “Sullivant Hall Hard Hat Tour”