Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 26)

Found in the Collection: Zat magazine

Darryl Mendelson, best known to Columbus locals as the co-owner of the legendary comics shop Monkeys Retreat and one of the key coordinators of ComFest, passed away on August 20, 2023.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Darryl first found his way to Columbus to study at The Ohio State University in 1966, before heading West to immerse himself in the countercultural mecca of San Francisco. After some wild years that included the Woodstock music festival and living out of a converted school bus, Darryl settled back down in Columbus where he was joined by his younger brother Ro-Z in 1970. Along with their friend Stan Bobrof, the two Mendelson brothers helped bring counter-culture to Columbus through their various business ventures and community organizing. It was Monkey’s Retreat, however, that left the biggest mark on Columbus’s comics scene.

Originally located at 2400 N. High Street in 1975 (eventually relocating in the ’90s to 1190 N. High and then 1202 N. High), the shop was unlike any other in the city at the time, pedaling underground comix and newspapers, records, posters, fanzines, clothes, sci-fi and fantasy books, and more. Over its 35 years of business, Monkey’s Retreat played a formative role in developing the artistic sensibilities and activist ambitions of the countless people who came through the door. The various iterations of the store did much more than sell standard headshop paraphernalia, it played host to Anti-Racist Action (ARA) meetings, served as a tai chi studio, and fostered a community interest and passion for a part of pop culture that still reverberates through Columbus today. They referred to it as a “space age variety store,” and impressionable young cartoonists who attended Ohio State, like Derf Backderf and Jeff Smith, had their vision of what comics could be brought into focus thanks to the material on the Monkey’s spinner racks.

However, Darryl and Stan’s impact reached far beyond Columbus.

In 1977 during a visit to New York City for a tradeshow, Darryl and Stan found cheap retail space for rent at 307 W. Broadway, in the then-bohemian neighborhood of Soho, and opened up a new shop. SohoZat quickly became an oasis for music, magazines, and above all: underground comix and newspapers. In 1980, SohoZat regulars Art Spiegelman and Françoise Mouly sold the first issue of Raw magazine out of Mendelson’s shop — making it the very first place the new radical art comics magazine could be purchased.

Everyone hung out there, from John Belushi to Anthony Bourdain. The latter contributed some of his earliest writing about life in the kitchens of New York to a magazine published by SohoZat, the short-lived Zat magazine, seen below. Bourdain even appeared on the cover of Zat no. 4.

“The Young Caremians” essay by Anthony Bourdain for Zat issue no. 2, October 1984.

Photos by Darryl Mendelson and Carol Ann Hawkins, “Celebrities from the Zat Headshot Collection” in Zat no.1, including Art Spiegelman and Françoise Mouly.

Zat magazine’s first issue debuted in 1984, and intermittently thereafter for five more issues before ceasing publication in 1985. It included a frenzy of features on graffiti, personal politics, music and movie reviews, fiction and personal essays, interviews with figures from the underground art and music world, and even recipes for cheesecake. There were pages of illustrations and comics, including work by Gary Panter, Mark Beyer, Bill Griffith, Jay Lynch,  Art Spiegelman, and more.


The magazine is a packed time capsule, filled to the brim with loud expressions of life in New York City captured over the course of one short year. While it’s distinctly Soho-centric, nearly every issue ended with a call back to Columbus — a full page advertisement for Darryl, Ro-Z, and Stan’s store: Monkey’s Retreat.

Two page ad for Monkey’s Retreat in the back of Zat no. 2

Due to rising rents, by 1992 SohoZat closed its doors, and Darryl’s energies refocused on the Columbus community. We are so grateful for the influence and impact that Darryl Mendelson had on artistic communities near and far, from his shop just a few blocks from the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

Learn more about Monkey’s Retreat and Darryl Mendelson here. To view the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum’s holdings of Zat magazine, visit our Lucy Shelton Caswell Reading Room or make an appointment by contacting

New Exhibit! Facing Feelings: The Art of Raina Telgemeier opens May 24 at the Billy Ireland

For Immediate Release: April 13, 2023

Media Contact:
Nancy J. Colvin

The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum presents
Facing Feelings: The Art of Raina Telgemeier


(Columbus, OH) – The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum presents Facing Feelings: The Art of Raina Telgemeier May 24-Nov. 5. This retrospective exhibition showcases original artwork spanning over 20 years of Telgemeier’s career, including her graphic novels and earlier works.

Emotions are complicated, nuanced and messy. In comics and cartoon art, the link between emotion and expression has become an important visual language, as facial expressions can give us a clue into a character’s internal world. Facing Feelings explores how Telgemeier’s comics combine impeccable pacing and an approachable cartoon style with real-life experiences to carefully balance challenging emotional journeys with warmth and affirmation. Her work focuses on feelings, and relationships to drive the plot forward, resonating strongly with readers of all ages.

Telgemeier is the author and illustrator of the graphic novels Smile, Drama, Sisters, Ghosts, and Guts, all #1 New York Times bestsellers. She also adapted and illustrated four graphic novel versions of Ann M. Martin’s Baby-Sitters Club series and has contributed short stories to many anthologies. Raina’s accolades include six Eisner Awards, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor, a Stonewall Honor and many best-of and notables lists.

About the exhibit, Raina Telgemeier states: “Facing Feelings offers exhibition visitors the chance to see what shapes a life in comics. Sharing art from my childhood, my early attempts at short story comics, and the thought process behind some of my favorite graphic novel pages, the exhibit connects the ‘Raina’ on the page with me, Raina: the cartoonist!”

In addition to Telgemeier’s work, Facing Feelings also includes works by artists who influenced her and show great skill in depicting human emotions, including Keiji Nakazawa, Lynn Johnston, Bill Watterson, Lynda Barry, Jeff Smith, Charles Schulz, Ernie Bushmiller, Robb Armstrong, Will Eisner and more.

Curated by Anne Drozd, the exhibition consists of works on loan from the artist and from the collections of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum at The Ohio State University.

“We’re thrilled to share the first major retrospective of Raina Telgemeier’s work with our communities,” said Anne Drozd, curator of Facing Feelings, “by telling stories from her own youth — in an accessible manner, and with brave vulnerability —Telgemeier changed what comics for young audiences could be. Her graphic novels like Smile (2010) were read by adolescents who are now Ohio State students, and they remain beloved bestsellers for young people around the globe.”

A public event and reception for the exhibition will be held on Saturday, June 17 at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum. Details forthcoming.

For more information on this exhibition and related programming, visit


About The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, part of The Ohio State University Libraries, houses the world’s largest collection of materials related to cartoons and comics, including original art, books, magazines, journals, comic books, archival materials and newspaper comic strip pages and clippings.

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