Studies in Comics & Cartoons Book Series @ Ohio State University Press

This year the new book series, Studies in Comics & Cartoons (edited by Lucy Shelton Caswell & Jared Gardner) officially launched with its first book, Redrawing French Empire in Comics by Mark McKinney (Ohio University). More information about the series and Mark’s marvelous book can be found at the University Press website.


Stephan Pastis: Honorary Buckeye!

Pearls before Swine cartoonist Stephan Pastis is heading our way to speak at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum Festival this weekend, but according to today’s paper he made a wrong turn in a state-that-shall-not-be-named (see below). Festival registrants and ticket holders (sorry, everyone else, Stephan’s talk is now sold out) prepared to give him a warm welcome and perhaps a few bandaids to help him recover from his detour into the heart of darkness!


When They Were Buckeyes II: Jeff Smith

As the Ohio chapter of the Jeff Smith fan-army already knows, Bone & Thorn were born right here at Ohio State in the pages of The Lantern. I was going to feature a small gallery of Smith’s early strips here in honor of his upcoming gig at the 2013 Festival of Cartoon Art (with yet another former Buckeye, Paul Pope). But a young cartoonist named Charles Brubaker made my life easier (and your life better) by collecting all of them at his website for your enjoyment:

So all that is left for me to do is to remind you all to get your tickets for Jeff Smith & Paul Pope in conversation, this Friday, November 15 (tickets included with registration for Festival attendees and free for OSU students with BuckID).

Tickets and more information available at the Wexner Center: 


Comics in Columbus in 2014: a quick preview and an appeal

It is hard for me  to think much past the Festival next month, but in truth that is only the beginning of what is shaping up to be one of the best years ever for comics at the Ohio State campus. Just last week, for example, we got official word that Bill Watterson (Calvin & Hobbes) and Richard Thompson (Cul de Sac) will be jointly exhibiting at the new Billy Ireland museum in March, bringing together two of the great contemporary masters of the comic strip form.

Then in May, The Art of Daniel Clowes comes to the Wexner Center here on campus, with related programming that I can’t tell you about because your head will explode (and also, I don’t know the details yet, so I’d just be making stuff up).

Finally, close to campus and near and dear to our hearts, our colleagues at the Columbus Museum of Art and the Thurber House will be once again hosting a cartoonist in residence. Hard act to follow after Ed Piskor this year and Paul Hornschemeier the year before, but our 2014 resident, Lilli Carré, has more than enough awesome to step into those shoes. There will be workshops, talks and of course an exhibition of Carré’s work at the Museum. In order to support Lilli’s visit, the CMA and Thurber House have set up a site to kickstart the funding for the residency at . Check out the adorable video: how can you resist?



CFP: Comics of Charles Schulz

The Comics of Charles Schulz: The Good Grief of Modern Life is a proposed volume in the new book series, Critical Approaches to Comics Artists, at the University Press of Mississippi. This volume will contain an array of critical essays on the comics of Charles Schulz, best known for Peanuts, the nationally-syndicated daily comic strip that ran for fifty years and which remains today the most recognizable strip worldwide. Essays from many disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives are welcome, including critical approaches from comics studies, art history, cultural studies, literary studies, philosophy, history, and political science.

Essays that address the following topics are especially welcome:

  • ·       Influences & relationship to earlier comics
  • ·       Philosophy & Ethics
  • ·       Suburbia
  • ·       Politics
  • ·       Repetition and seriality in Peanuts
  • ·       Psychological and social identities in Peanuts
  • ·       Peanuts & the 1950s, 60s, 70s, etc.
  • ·       Peanuts across media
  • ·       Peanuts and global merchandizing

Please send a 500-1000 word abstract, 3-page CV, and contact information to Jared Gardner at by December 31, 2013 (new deadline).

Accepted abstracts will be used in a formal book prospectus, and the deadline for full-length essays will be negotiated shortly thereafter.


When They Were Buckeyes I: Derf

Known today for his ongoing editorial comics series The City and for his award-winning memoir, My Friend Dahmer, 30 years ago Derf Backderf was an editorial cartoonist for The Lantern. Derf even courted the most dangerous kind of controversy in Columbus by taking on OSU’s legendary and deeply troubled  former quarterback, Art Schlichter, in an April 11, 1983 cartoon:

Already an inveterate gambler during his college years, Schlichter—who failed to earn the starting spot on the Colts in his rookie pro season—got deeper and deeper into debt, and to some bad people. Never one to bow before sacred cows, Derf called ’em like they were and bravely took the heat from the football faithful back home.

Here are some other examples of Derf’s editorial work for the Lantern:



Welcome to Comics Studies @ OSU

This site serves as the official gathering place for our unofficial but vibrant group of faculty and students dedicated to studying comics and contributing to the emerging field of comics studies.  As the home of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum, one of the oldest and the largest research library dedicated to the history of comics and cartoon art, we take our comics very seriously indeed here at OSU. This is the place to share that passion—along with news, information, research and creative work in the field.

In the weeks and months ahead, we will be profiling local scholars and artists working in and on comics, syllabi of courses (past, present and future), and of course news about comics-related events happening on campus and around Columbus, one of the country’s more vibrant comics communities—and one with a long history going back to the very beginning of the form.

We also maintain a listserv for sharing information about events, grant opportunities and calls for papers for academic conferences and forums. To subscribe visit