Tag: MAD magazine (page 1 of 3)

New Acquisition! Basil Wolverton Collection


Basil Wolverton Collection donated to
The Ohio State University
Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Photobooth images of young Basil Wolverton

COLUMBUS – Monte Wolverton has donated a significant collection of his cartoonist father Basil Wolverton’s archives, ephemera, and some original art to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

Basil Wolverton (1909-1978) was best known for his contributions to Mad magazine and Timely Comics (the pre-cursor to Marvel Comics), and his characters Powerhouse Pepper and Spacehawk. Self-described as a “Producer of Preposterous Pictures of Peculiar People who Prowl this Perplexing Planet”, Wolverton’s idiosyncratic and frequently-grotesque style stood out among his peers, and gained him cult following among future generations of cartoonists. In 1946, Wolverton’s work was introduced to a national newspaper reading audience when he won a contest to depict “Lena The Hyena, the World’s Ugliest Woman” for Al Capp’s Li’l Abner comic strip (read more).

Cover of Mad Magazine no. 11 by Basil Wolverton, 1954

This collection, meticulously organized, preserved and donated by his family, contains roughs and page layouts for his comics, fan mail, personal and business correspondence, photographs, juvenilia, ephemera, newspaper articles and other publicity, and high-resolution negatives and copies of various pieces. Of particular note are Wolverton’s personal daily journals from 1923 to 1925 and 1941 to 1974, as well as a notebook containing short stories and sketches he created between ages nine and eleven.

“This collection offers a fascinating window into the comic book business in the 1930s through the early ‘50s,” said his son, Monte Wolverton, “with correspondence from editors (including Stan Lee) who were offering direction and advice. Such specifics may be less documented for other comic artists who were not working remotely as my father was on the West Coast.” Also among the correspondence are “rejection slips from nearly every major magazine in the United States from the 1940s and ‘50s”.

Wolverton’s unique sense of humor, hobbies, and perspective on the world are reflected in the collection. “It’s a rare delight to get this level of insight into the development, daily musings, and professional journey of a cartoonist,” said Caitlin McGurk, Curator of Comics and Cartoon Art, “Wolverton’s work is frequently requested by our patrons and researchers, and we’re so grateful to his family for entrusting us with the preservation of his legacy.”

“I consider the Billy Ireland to be to be the number one institution in the United States for the history of comic artists and cartoonists—designed to be accessible to scholars and researchers” said Monte Wolverton. “I have great confidence in head curator Jenny Robb and the highly professional staff!”

Patrons can access this collection by visiting the Lucy Shelton Caswell Reading Room. Please contact cartoons@osu.edu to set up an appointment. To learn more about the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum visit cartoons.osu.edu.

Click to enlarge images below for a sampling of items from this collection:



OhioStateLogoContact: Caitlin McGurk
The Ohio State University
Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum
1813 N High St.
Columbus OH 43210-1393


Upcoming Exhibitions at The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum


May 5, 2018 – October 21, 2018 


MAD magazine and contemporary alternative comics are the subjects of two unique new exhibits opening in November at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.


MAD exhibit image by Tom Richmond

ARTISTICALLY MAD: SEVEN DECADES OF SATIRE: Harvey Kurtzman’s brainchild made its debut as a comic book in 1952 before switching to a magazine format in 1955.  Over the ensuing years, MAD has featured artwork by many of the most talented cartoonists in the industry. This comprehensive exhibition will showcase original drawings and paintings by all of the top MAD contributors, including Bill Elder, Jack Davis, Wally Wood, Norman Mingo, Al Jaffee, Serio Aragonés, Don Martin, Mort Drucker and Tom Richmond.  There will also be displays of vintage MAD magazines and memorabilia branded with the gap-toothed mug of its iconic mascot, Alfred E. Neuman.

OPENING RECEPTION AND CELEBRATIONJoin us on Saturday, May 5th from 4 – 7:30pm for the opening reception and celebration of Artistically MAD: Seven Decades of Satire! Featuring presentations by legendary MAD cartoonist Sergio Aragonés, collectors Glenn Bray and Grant Geissman, exhibit curator Brian Walker, and MAD editor Bill Morrison. FREE and open to the public.

KOYAMA AND FRIENDS: PUBLISHING, PATRONAGE, AND THE NEW ALTERNATIVE PRESS: In 2013, Koyama Press publisher Annie Koyama began amassing original art to donate to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum that would represent a snapshot of the contemporary alternative comics industry. This exhibit of the Koyama Collection offers an introduction to a diverse network of cartoonists, small-press publishers, and collectives operating today.  Over forty artists are highlighted, including Lisa Hanawalt, Michael DeForge, Julia Wertz, Kevin Huizenga, Simon Hanselmann, Eleanor Davis, Gabrielle Bell, and Noah Van Sciver. Curated by Caitlin McGurk.

SAVE THE DATE: Friday, September 28, 2018 – Exhibit celebration with Annie Koyama as part of Cartoon Crossroads Columbus festival.


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 the 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 – 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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