Good Grief! Children and Comics

Nancy, Ernie Bushmiller, comic strip

June 4, 2016 - October 23, 2016
1:00 pm - 5:00 pm


Robinson Gallery, Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum
Sullivant Hall, 1813 N. High St.
Columbus OH 43210

Nancy (detail) by Ernie Bushmiller

Young people have a long, rich, and complicated history with comics in the United States. Many of the most beloved comic strip characters have been children. Similarly, boys and girls have also constituted one of the primary readerships of, as well as target audiences for, this artistic form. Comics and children just go together, like Nancy and Sluggo, Archie and Jughead, or Calvin and Hobbes.

Good Grief! Children and Comics examines the history, role and tensions of child characters in comic strips and comic books. The exhibit explores questions such as the following:  In what ways do child characters in comics represent actual children, both their explorations of fantasy and their realistic lives? In contrast, how do child characters serve as stand-ins for adult concerns and desires, becoming mouthpieces for engaging with adult topics? Likewise, how have comics navigated the seemingly competing objectives of providing simple escapist fun and serving as substantive educational reading?

In exploring these and other themes dealing with the child, Good Grief: Children and Comics features characters, cartoonists, and strips spanning the history of American comics.  The exhibit includes well-known titles such as Peanuts, Little Orphan Annie, Calvin and Hobbes, Archie, Dennis the Menace, and Little Lulu, along with lesser-known gems like Madge the Magician’s Daughter, Luther, and Space Kid. 

Co-curated by Karly Marie Grice and Michelle Ann Abate

Good Grief! Children and Comics:  A Collection of Companion Essays edited by Michelle Ann Abate and Joe Sutliff Sanders  


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 Lucy Shelton Caswell Reading Room is open Monday-Friday from 9 am-5 pm. The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday from 1-5 pm. Check Visit Us for closings.