School of Caniff


October 8, 2007 - October 27, 2007


Hopkins Hall Corridor
128 North Oval Mall
Columbus Ohio 43210

The comic strips chosen for this exhibition demonstrate Milton Caniff ’s tremendous impact on the newspaper adventure strip.  His work influenced numerous other cartoonists who formed what later came to be called the “School of Caniff.”  Building on his friend Noel Sickles’s artistic innovations and his own strengths as a writer and storyteller, Caniff fully developed the graphic narrative techniques and illustrative style that made his strips the ones against which all future adventure strips would be measured.

Each section of the exhibition highlights specific techniques or tools that Caniff used in his comic strips.    Early examples of Caniff’s work are featured alongside examples from other cartoonists to show how they incorporated and adapted the same elements. Caniff’s genius, and the reason he inspired so many imitators, was to make effective use of all the devices shown in this exhibit to set the mood, to build suspense and to advance the narrative of his comic strip; in short, to tell a compelling story.  He could hold the interest of the reader whether he was portraying an exciting action sequence or a simple conversation.  Many “School of Caniff” artists produced creditable adventure strips of their own, but none ever matched his command of the art form.