Past Exhibits

  • Anne Mergen: Editorial Cartoonist Anne Mergen: Editorial Cartoonist February 1, 2008 - April 11, 2008

    Anne Mergen’s editorial cartoons chronicle history from the Great Depression through the Cold War. During that time, she was the only woman in the nation working as an editorial cartoonist.

    Mergen was born in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1906. She studied commercial art in Chicago before moving to Miami in the mid 1920s to work as a fashion advertising artist for a local department store. When the Miami Daily News, part of the Cox newspaper chain, hired her as its editorial cartoonist in 1933, she was the only woman editorial cartoonist in the United States, a status that continued until her retirement in 1956. She continued to have cartoons published as late as 1959.

  • Milton Caniff: An American Master Milton Caniff: An American Master October 8, 2007 - October 28, 2008

    Milton Caniff changed the history of the American comic strip. He was expert in both the artistic and literary aspects of the medium.  The education he received at Ohio State University matured into the “every wrinkle must show” graphic style for which he became famous.  He told exciting stories for adults that featured believable, and often sexy, characters.

    His rigorous attention to the details of slang, dress, and social mores provides fascinating evidence of changing times over the course of the Twentieth Century.  The values that Caniff espoused in his work such as patriotism and fair-play were those of his time, and his failure to understand the cultural changes of the late 1960s mirrored the confusion of many other Americans of his generation.  Milton Caniff’s work provides insights into our country’s life and values, despite its exotic locales and fantastic adventures.  It is also beautiful to see and fun to read—the hallmark of a good comic strip.

  • School of Caniff School of Caniff October 8, 2007 - October 27, 2007

    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.

  • Rarities: Unusual Works from the Caniff Collection Rarities: Unusual Works from the Caniff Collection September 4, 2007 - January 19, 2008

    Milton Caniff was a saver, and he was the son of a saver.  As a result of this, the Milton Caniff Collection, which was the founding collection of The Ohio State University Cartoon Research Library, is enormous—nearly 12,000 original artworks by Caniff, 85 boxes of memorabilia, and more than 450 boxes of manuscript materials, fan letters and business records.

    This exhibition celebrates the richness of the Caniff Collection and provides insights into the work, friendships, and influence of one of the twentieth century’s great cartoonists. In addition to work by Caniff, several drawings of Caniff by Noel Sickles, a fan letter from Mort Walker when he was 13, and an oil painting of General George Patton by Bill Mauldin are among the items on display.

  • To Be Continued: Comic Strip Storytelling To Be Continued: Comic Strip Storytelling June 18, 2007 - August 27, 2007

    Will Annie be reunited with Daddy Warbucks? Will L’il Abner ever marry Daisy Mae? Will Pogo win the election? Find out in tomorrow’s paper! To Be Continued: Comic Strip Storytelling presents compelling continuity stories from a century of newspaper comic strips. The exhibition features ten examples of stories from the funnies that kept Americans talking, speculating, and, most importantly, buying newspapers.

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