Girl Scouts of the USA in the Cartoon Library (Photoset)

Junior Girl Scouts of the USA (4th and 5th graders) Gables Elementary Troop 1320 visited the Cartoon Library yesterday afternoon to learn about comics, self-publishing, and to earn their Drawing Badge! We love the Girl Scouts, and some of you may remember our work with Troop 1214 for their Cadette Comic Artist Badge this summer.

Girl Scout troop 1320 Gables Elementary

These fabulous girls arrived at the Cartoon Library yesterday, equipped with pencils, paper, scissors and more ideas than they could get down on the page during our one-hour session. We went over an abridged history of women in comics, and then took a look at some great works by female cartoonists including Megan Kelso, Tarpe Mills, Raina Telgemeier, Vera Brosgol, Colleen Coover, Sara Varon and many more.

The girls were also given a selection of items to study from The Dylan Williams Collection; all hand-made, uniquely bound, self-published and widely varying formats of mini-comics. We figured out how each one was made, and explored the beauty of re-purposing materials for your artwork (floss! potato stamps! cereal boxes! cigarette cartons! and more), and took some time to read our favorites.

They went wild over the potential that self-publishing holds, making this session another of many that drove home the importance of collecting and archiving self-published and small press works. These items are often the most inspirational–especially to youths–by their ability to capture the possibility, accessibility, and fun in DIY projects. Kids are empowered by the freedom that self-publishing offers, are unintimidated by the comics and cartoon format, and always attracted to the craftiness of hand-binding. Here at the Cartoon Library, we are finding boundless benefits from starting this collection of mini-comics, and strongly encourage other libraries to do the same.

Troop 1320 handles, reads, and discusses self-publishing formats and styles

Teeny-tiny magnifying glass inside of Catherine Peach’s “Unicromonicon” offers much delight

Critiquing the finer points of alternative comics

 

Reading a Melissa Mendes story from the “KIDS” anthology

Let the cartooning begin! After studying and sharing these works with each other, the girls then set out to make their own comics. Some stuck to the one-sheet-workshop format and others pushed their pieces to a whole new level, folding folds where folds have never been folded before! Some made multiple finished booklets, others took time to detail 9 panels onto each 2 3/4 x 4 1/4 page.

The girls get to work, amid their influences

Cartooning is serious business to Troop 1320

Troop 1320 trade ideas in the bullpen

Mary Grace shows off her character between giggles: THE STARING MAN!

Thanks for visiting, Troop 1320!

Junior Drawing Badge, earned by 9 future cartoonistas at The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

For information about starting a small-press collection at your library, or bringing a Girl Scout troop into our library, please contact Caitlin McGurk at mcgurk.17@osu.edu

A Visit to Fantagraphics in Seattle!

During a recent trip out west, we had the pleasure of visiting the offices of one of our very favorite publishers, Fantagraphics!

Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum Visiting Curator Caitlin McGurk out on the front porch of the Fantagraphics HQ, in Seattle plaid.

Yes, that’s right, if you didn’t know it before you know it now- the Fantagraphics HQ is actually located in a snug red house, in the suburbs of Seattle. As seen depicted here by Pat Moriarity in his book Popcorn Pimps, another delightful cartoonist we met along this trip.

Detail of Pat Moriarity’s drawing of Fantagraphics/The Comics Journal offices, from his 1996 book “Popcorn Pimps”. Property of Pat Moriarity

We were greeted by the lovely and beloved Jen Vaughn, who came aboard at Fantagraphics just a few months ago as their Marketing and Outreach Coordinator and is already clearly a staple in the team. In fact, on her way out to take the job Jen toured the Cartoon Library which she wrote about for Fantagraphics here.

Fantagraphics Marketing and Outreach Coordinator Jen Vaughn, giving me a tour of their library stacks.

As with many of us that work in the ever-developing business of comics, Jen’s position involves a little bit of everything- from reading Roy Crane notes to his ghost artist for legibility one day, to traveling to conventions all over the country to staff the Fantagraphics table, to working on reading guides or the fake ads in their new Basil Wolverton Spacehawk mini-comic.

Fantagraphics has long been a friend of the Cartoon Library, as they often use our materials for their reprint books and special collections. Below, a few of the most recent books that Fantagraphics has put out over the past few years that we assisted with or which include pieces from our collection.

“Pogo Vol. 1″, “Nancy is Happy: Dailies 1943-1945″ and “Naked Cartoonists” are three of many Fantagraphics books that the Cartoon Library assisted with.

 

 

 

 

The San Francisco Academy of Comic Art collection is one of the most frequently used, and Bill Blackbeard often worked closely with Fantagraphics during his life to write introductions and edit various collections that used his materials. The Mark J. Cohen and Rose Marie McDaniel Collection of cartoonist self-caricatures resides here, and Rosie’s private collection provided the nude cartoonist self-caricatures for Naked Cartoonists.

Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum Student employee Random Cushing, scanning materials on the Better Light Super 8k Digital Scanner.

Fantagraphics lead designer Tony Ong, alongside the library of books that Fantagraphics has published.

 

 

 

When Fantagraphics begins work on a new collection, they use our catalog to search for what we have or tell us what they are looking for in a material request form, along with their payment for the scans. Then, using our incredible Better Light Super 8k Digital Scanner, one of our fabulous student workers will  generate very high resolution images for them, and upload them to the Fantagraphics server.

 

There are a number of overwhelmingly impressive library collections over at the Fantagraphics HQ, and one of the highlights was meeting with the great Kristy Valenti, Assistant Editor of The Comics Journal whose many responsibilities include managing them and their use. On the right, an image of book designer Tony Ong on the first floor of the house, with a portion of the library of Fantagraphics-published books for reference use in the office.

Fantagraphics Customer Service Representative Ian Burns alongside Office Manager Stephanie Hayes

 

 

Throughout the rest of our tour, I was able to ogle boxes and shelves full of the history of Fantagraphics and The Comics Journal, including tapes upon tapes of interviews that Gary Groth and others have conducted over the years (which Customer Service Rep Ian Burns has been tasked to digitize, from what I understand), as well as discs full of raw art for publications.

Interview recordings from The Comics Journal

Art backup files, with some names you may recognize.

The best part for any comics librarian, though, is seeing the actual stacks full of comics and graphics novels. Their big, basement library is used primarily by The Comics Journal for research, and contains materials largely from Gary Groth’s and Kim Thompson’s personal collections, as well as submissions, review copies, and more.

Just a portion of the Fantagraphics library of single issue comics.

The most impressive section is probably the floppy comics, separated by publisher and active vs inactive series. They have a substantial mini-comics collection as well, which is extremely useful for TCJ interviewers to get an idea of a cartoonists publishing history down to their early work.

A big thanks to Jen Vaughn, Kristy Valenti, Jacq Cohen, Eric Reynolds and Gary Groth for all taking time out to talk with me that day! The Fantagraphics house is truly one of those magical physical spaces that captures that familial essence of the comics world that makes it feel like home.

Last, but not least, Kim Thompson’s office dog.

Kim Thompson’s office dog, Ludwig.

Found in the Collection: Wendy Pini!

Below, an original page by the incredible Wendy Pini for Elfquest from 1980!
Wendy Pini (born Wendy Fletcher) was the first woman in America to co-create, write, and illustrate a continuing fantasy comics series, beginning in 1978. Furthermore, the series was self-published by Wendy and her husband Richard Pini through their Warp Graphics (the company name being an acronym of “Wendy And Richard Pini”), making it one of the very earliest small-press fantasy series as well.

Original Wendy Pini art from “Elfquest”. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

The first self-published issue, Elfquest No. 1 from 1978:

Issue No. 1 of Wendy and Richard Pini’s “Elfquest”, 1978. From The San Francisco Academy of Comic Art collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

 

Found in the Collection: Jack Mendelsohn’s “Jackys Diary”!

Few cartoonists have been able to master the charm and ingenuity of a child’s mind in the way that Jack Mendelsohn did in his sadly short-lived King Features comic, Jackys Diary (the name in the title was later apostrophized when Dell Comics picked it up, much to our private disappointment.)

Jack Mendelsohn original from “Jackys Diary”. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Jackys Diary ran from 1959-1961, and in it Mendelsohn explored and exposed the mind of a child, based on his own memories of youth. The diary follows Jack to school and through homework, over to extended-family’s houses and under the influence of unbridled imagination.

Jack Mendelsohn original from “Jackys Diary”. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Unfortunately, Mendelsohn was so good at capturing the style and language of a child, that King Features received a mass of complaints from concerned readers who thought the papers were running the work of an actual kid (and, what’s more, suggested that the syndicate consider their child’s art for publication). Or, for those who really didn’t get the joke as alluded to in the byline, some thought the comic was created by an underdeveloped adult.

Jack Mendelsohn original from “Jackys Diary”. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Despite the short-lived success of Jackys Diary, Jack Mendelsohn made a name for himself in a number of other venues, most famously as a writer for the Beatles movie Yellow Submarine and the live-action comedy show Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, a storyboard animator for Krazy Kat, Beetle Bailey, and countless Hanna-Barbera, Jay Ward Studios, Marvel Animation, and Filmation cartoons, among others.

Jack Mendelsohn original from “Jackys Diary”. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Found in the Collection: Billy Ireland on Voting

For your visual pleasure on this tense and weighty day, some of our favorite voting cartoons by the one and only Billy Ireland. Below, details from his feature The Passing Show that ran every Sunday right here in the Columbus Dispatch from 1908-1935, as well as his editorial cartoons.

Billy Ireland original from “The Passing Show” (detail). From The Billy Ireland Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Billy Ireland editorial cartoon (clipping). The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum. (click to enlarge)

Billy Ireland original from “The Passing Show” (detail). From The Billy Ireland Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Billy Ireland original from “The Passing Show” (detail). From The Billy Ireland Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Billy Ireland original from “The Passing Show” (detail). From The Billy Ireland Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Billy Ireland original from “The Passing Show” (detail). From The Billy Ireland Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Happy Voting!