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The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum announces: Challenge grant issued for Lucy Caswell Research Award

Founding Curator Lucy Shelton Caswell, with cartoonist Milton Caniff and an original page from his comic strip “Terry and the Pirates.” From the Milton Caniff Collection.

The Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation has issued a challenge that would generate $70,000 for the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (BICLM) and University Libraries. If the Libraries can raise $35,000, the Foundation will match that amount and establish an endowment that will generate funds for the Lucy Shelton Caswell Research Award.

The endowment will provide funding for scholars to travel to Columbus and use the BICLM collections for research and publishing. A committee will be appointed by the BICLM curator to review applications and select award recipients. The Foundation will also contribute a stipend for the award each year until the BICLM can raise the matching funds to establish the endowment.

“We are thrilled with this support for a new research award,” says BICLM curator Jenny Robb.

“Our vast collections include rare and unique items that in some cases must be viewed on-site,” Robb said. “Often scholars simply don’t have the funds to travel; this grant will provide significant assistance that will help us meet the growing demand for access to our resources.”

Will Eisner was a major cartoonist, writer and entrepreneur. He was one of the earliest cartoonists to work in the American comic book industry, and his series, The Spirit (1940–1952), was noted for its experiments in content and form. In 1978, he popularized the term “graphic novel” with the publication of his book A Contract With God. He was an early contributor to formal comics studies with his book Comics and Sequential Art (1985). The Eisner Family Foundation continues his support of the cartoon arts. The Will Eisner Seminar Room in the BICLM was named in honor of the late cartoonist.

The award will be named for the founding curator of the BICLM, Professor Emerita Lucy Shelton Caswell. Prior to her retirement, her scholarly work and teaching focused on the history of newspaper comic strips and the history of American editorial cartoons. She has curated more than seventy-five cartoon-related exhibits and is the author of several articles and books, the most recent being the revised edition of Billy Ireland. Caswell is co-editor of The Ohio State University Press Studies in Cartoons and Comics series. She also serves as the vice president of Cartoon Crossroads Columbus, the annual citywide celebration of cartoon art.

More information about the award, including how to apply, will be announced soon.

Click here to donate and learn more about our first-ever Day of Giving!

The Ohio State University Libraries
Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum
cartoons.osu.edu
cartoons@osu.edu

614-292-0538 Phone
614-292-9101 Fax

Mike Ritter Collection donated to The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 24, 2017

Mike Ritter Collection donated to The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

COLUMBUS­–The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum announces the acquisition of editorial cartoonist Mike Ritter’s collection of original art, sketchbooks, and manuscript materials. Ritter was an editorial cartoonist for the Tribune papers in Arizona for 13 years, and served as President of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists (AAEC) from 2003 to 2004. At the time of his passing in 2014 at age 48, Ritter was a Washington Blade contributor and Art Director for Georgia Voice, an LGBT newspaper in Atlanta.

In his role at the Tribune in Arizona, Mike Ritter was one of the first openly gay staff cartoonists at a mainstream daily newspaper. He eventually moved to Atlanta, where he was Art Director for Georgia Voice, an LGBT newspaper.

In his role at the Tribune in Arizona, Mike Ritter was one of the first openly gay staff cartoonists at a mainstream daily newspaper. He eventually moved to Atlanta, where he was Art Director for Georgia Voice, an LGBT newspaper.

Included in this donation are over 3,400 pieces of original art, from childhood drawings and early sketchbooks to hundreds of editorial cartoons. “It is a privilege to receive this collection, which illuminates the life of a true talent,” says Curator Jenny Robb. “Mike Ritter was a strong voice in the world of editorial cartoons. He left us too soon, but made an important impact over the course of his career.”

A 2011 cartoon in the East Valley Tribune earned Ritter national attentio

A 2011 cartoon in the East Valley Tribune earned Ritter national attention

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Student Assistant Jeni Dudley has been working with the collection, and she is particularly interested in how Ritter’s political voice reflected his personal life. “Mike Ritter’s views changed between his college and professional years as he became more accepting of his gay identity. He shifted from creating cartoons that were conservative to ones that were more liberal while coming face-to-face with the ugly realities of discrimination,” says Dudley. “Coming out gave Mike’s cartoons a raw edge.”

In his early teens, Mike Ritter wrote a strip called Myron the Mosquito, which he introduced with imaginative introductions for each character.

In his early teens, Mike Ritter wrote a strip called Myron the Mosquito, which he introduced with imaginative introductions for each character.

Ritter displayed an early talent for cartooning, and was especially adept at drawing caricatures of popular figures, inventing funny characters and storylines, and creating comic strips. Hundreds of published editorial cartoons define his prolific career as a satirist and an artist. Through a lifetime of cartoons, Ritter’s legacy lives on at the Billy Ireland, the largest collection of cartoon and comic art in the world.

Self-portrait, 1998.

Self-portrait, 1998.

If you own original art by Mike Ritter or have memories to share, we would love to hear from you. Email Amy at chalmers.21@osu.edu.

About the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum:  The BICLM is one of The Ohio State University Libraries’ special collections. Its 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 BICLM recently moved into its newly-renovated 30,000 sq. ft. facility that includes a museum with three exhibition galleries, a reading room for researchers and a state-of-the-art collections storage space.  The library reading room is open Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The Museum is open Tuesday-Sunday from 1 – 5 p.m.  See http://cartoons.osu.edu/ for further information.

 

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