Panel of Cat Girl by Lynda Barry, 1997


COLUMBUS: The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum is pleased to announce the acquisition of 113 pieces of original artwork by fifteen influential underground and alternative female cartoonists, donated by friend and longtime donor Scott Jonas.

Included in this collection is work by Mary Fleener, Phoebe Gloeckner, Roberta Gregory, Dame Darcy, Nina Paley, Lynda Barry, Dori Seda, Shary Flenniken, Carol Lay, Leslie Sternbergh Alexander, Caryn Leschen, Nicole Hollander, Dot Bucher, Lee Binswanger, and Donna Barr. The collection consists of original drawings, cover art, multi-page stories, and comic strips, all created between 1975 and 2007.

“We are very thankful to Scott Jonas, a comic collector with a great eye,” said curator Jenny Robb. “There is so much variety in this collection, but also a common theme. Each piece is an important contribution to the documentation of contemporary women creators in our collections, and in the context of alternative and underground comics.”

Mary Fleener, Party Scene, 1992

Of this collection, Jonas says, “I fell for Wimmen’s Comix on the rebound. During the 80’s and 90’s I had a committed relationship with Bloom County, The Far Side, and Calvin and Hobbes. But one by one my companions moved on, so I hit the zines looking for someone new. There I met Story Minute, Nina’s Adventures, Twisted Sisters and Wimmen’s Comix.

“I bought my first originals from Carol Lay’s Way Lay store, about fifteen years ago. That got me hooked. Beyond online galleries, it did take a little sleuthing to locate available artwork, and I was lucky to be in the right place to acquire Dori Seda’s amazing story Ecstasy. Thank you, Leslie Sternbergh Alexander, for making this possible.”

Previous donations by Scott Jonas include 27 original Doonesbury comic strips by Garry Trudeau, 33 pieces of original art by Bill Griffith (Zippy the Pinhead), and 36 original Bloom County comic strips by Berkeley Breathed.

A few years ago, Jonas decided that his collection of artwork belonged in a museum. “After visiting the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum in 2014 for the Bill Watterson & Richard Thompson exhibition, I knew that I had found the right place,” he recalls. “I’m grateful to the BICLM for having the world class facility and staff to archive this artwork.”

Phoebe Gloeckner, panel detail, 1998.

Other recent acquisitions of underground and alternative comics include the Jay Lynch Collection and the Erwin and Alfred Bergdoll Collection (announcement coming soon!), both of which include a substantial amount of original art.

“Jonas’ donation complements our other collections of underground and alternative artists, further establishing BICLM as a hub for researching these eras of work,” said associate curator Caitlin McGurk. “Since its arrival last week, we have already been approached by scholars, publications, and cartoonists who are excited to dive into this collection. We look forward to seeing how these pieces continue to impact research and scholarship.”

All art is available to view in our Reading Room; contact for more information.