John and I had the privilege of attending the 30th Festival of Cartoon Art at Ohio State last week. As usual it was a fabulous event packed with great presentations, the grand opening of the new Billy Ireland Library & Museum of Cartoon Art, and a screening of the documentary "Stripped".
We toured the current gallery show "Substance and Shadow" curated by Brian Walker and also the Treasures Gallery. For those of you unfamiliar with OSU's fabulous archive they are the world's leading repository of cartoon art originals. Stunningly, I failed to take even one picture of the exhibit! I think A) I was having too good a time ogling the artwork with envy B) I may have had a vague idea that photos were prohibited.
Regardless, photos cannot really do the shows justice, you should simply go to OSU and see the exhibits in person! But, if you insist on searching for exhibit photos Mike Peterson has some good ones - plus an extensive recap of the festival itself - over on Comic Strip of The Day.
There were presentations by Matt Bors, Eddie Campbell, Brian Bassett, Paul Pope, Jeff Smith, Stephan Pastis, The Hernandez Brothers, and Kazu Kibuishi. We saw most of them and greatly enjoyed seeing the process these artists go through to produce their terrific work! UPDATE - thanks to Alan Gardener and Stacy Curtis for helping me identify Politico cartoonist Matt Wuerker in the photo below. I remember being introduced but there's always such a huge number of cartoonists to meet at these things I just couldn't remember everyone!
The festival audience was also given the chance to see the documentary "Stripped" for its first screening. I have to confess I had mixed feelings about the film. It seems to be two films in one. The first is a documentary narrative on newspaper comics - their place in history and extensive interviews with some of the most famous cartoonists of our time - including the elusive Bill Watterson. (Watterson does not appear on camera but we do get to hear his voice.) I greatly enjoyed this part of the film - especially the heartfelt opening featuring Cathy Guisewite and her memories of reading the Sunday Funnies. The film is extremely well produced - rivaling anything programmed by PBS.
But there is another film inside this documentary that is an editorial comment on the state of the comics business today. I enjoyed seeing the work of popular webcomic artists and hearing their stories but could have done without the editorial tone of the filmmakers. It felt like a film in search of an argument rather than a look toward the future. I also have to wonder if this part of the film will be appealing to general audiences who might be unaware of past rifts between web and print cartoonists.
Despite this I enjoyed the film and would recommend it to fans of comics.
Probably the best part of the weekend, though, is simply the opportunity to eat and drink and hang out with cartoonists - something we did in abundance :-)
|Anna Richmond and Ed Steckley|
|Kevin KAL Kallaugher|
|Matt Wuerker, Sara Thaves being photobombed by Ed Steckley, and Stacy Curtis|
|Anne Hambrock and Jeff Keane|
|Tom Gammill and Michael Kandalaft|
|Bill Holbrook, Paul Fell, J.P Trostle, Steve Artley|
|John Lotshaw, Greg Walker, Bill Holbrook|
|Tom Stemmle, Frank Pauer, Paul Fell|
|John Hambrock, Eddie Pittman, John Lotshaw|