Current Exhibits

  • Ladies First: A Century of Women's Innovations in Comics and Cartoon Art Ladies First: A Century of Women's Innovations in Comics and Cartoon Art January 30, 2021 - April 18, 2021

    [Party Scene] by Mary Fleener, 1982

    From the first female political cartoonist and the first female-created superhero, to the feminist voices that emerged from underground and alternative comics, Ladies First: A Century of Women’s Innovations in Comics and Cartoon Art  is a celebration of how women have defined the field of comics and cartoon art for generations.

    Women have always pushed cartoon art forward. A century ago, suffragettes transformed cartooning to champion their cause. In the booming newspaper comic strip era, artists like Jackie Ormes, Nell Brinkley, and Rose O’Neil found enormous success marketing and licensing their characters into products that would influence young people for decades. Contemporary artists carve out a place between fact and fiction to share deeply personal stories in underground comix, graphic novels and anthologies.

    Drawing on women’s voices from the margins to the center, this exhibit surveys women’s innovations in comics and cartoon art, tracking their contributions to the field. Included are works from early suffragette cartoonists, the queens of the comic strip pages, mainstream comic book artists, communities of self-published minicomics creators, and everyone in between.

    The exhibit features works by Nina Allender, Dale Messick, Edwina Dumm, Aline Kominsky Crumb, Nell Brinkley, Lynda Barry, June Tarpe Mills, Dori Seda, Barbara Brandon-Croft, Trina Robbins, Marie Severin, Rose O’Neil, Jackie Ormes, Lynn Johnston, Liana Finck, Wendy Pini, Kate Salley Palmer, Carta Monir, Alison Bechdel and dozens more.

    Ladies First ushers in the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment and calls attention to the transformative work of women artists in the field of cartooning then and now.

    Curated by Caitlin McGurk and Rachel Miller

    **Reservations are required, please visit cartoons.osu.edu/gallery-visit-reservation to book your visit.**

  • Treasures from the Collections of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum Treasures from the Collections of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum January 30, 2021 - October 31, 2021

    This permanent exhibit features a selection of exceptional artwork and artifacts highlighting the breadth and depth of our collections.

    **Reservations are required, please visit cartoons.osu.edu/gallery-visit-reservation to book your visit.**

  • Into the Swamp: The Social and Political Satire of Walt Kelly’s Pogo Into the Swamp: The Social and Political Satire of Walt Kelly’s Pogo January 30, 2021 - October 31, 2021

    Walt Kelly’s newspaper comic strip Pogo was a platform for political satire and commentary using a motley group of swamp critters. Kelly tackled many of the political issues of the world in which he lived, from the Red Scare to civil rights, the environment, scientific exploration, and consumerism. We celebrate Walt Kelly and his social commentary through the joyous, poignant, and occasionally profound insights and beauty of the alternative universe that is Pogo. Working in the mid-twentieth century, Kelly drew on the legacy of earlier generations of newspaper cartoonists and then became a major influence on his successors.

    This exhibition primarily features art and archival materials from the Walt Kelly Collection, which was donated to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum by Selby Kelly. It also showcases artwork from the collection of Doonesbury cartoonist Garry B. Trudeau, which he generously donated to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum in 2020.

    Co-curated by Lucy Shelton Caswell, Professor Emerita and Founding Curator of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, and Jenny E. Robb, Curator & Associate Professor.

    Reservations are required, please visit cartoons.osu.edu/gallery-visit-reservation to book your visit.

    ***Please note that this exhibit will be temporarily closed from Monday, April 19 through Friday, June 11, 2021, while we complete prescheduled maintenance in the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum Galleries.***

    Image credit: Walt Kelly. Pogo, April 21, 1971. Publishers-Hall Syndicate. Reprinted by permission.