Wednesday, March 24, 2010

OSU Festival of Cartoon Art

Speakers have been announced for the 10th triennial Festival of Cartoon Art at Ohio State University. They will include Art Spiegelman (Maus), whom I saw give a lively albeit smoky lecture when he was in Michigan a few years ago touting In the Shadow of No Towers; Bill Griffith (Zippy the Pinhead); Patrick McDonnell (Mutts); Matt Groening (The Simpsons, Life in Hell); Roz Chast (lots of cartoons in The New Yorker and elsewhere); and Dan Piraro (Bizarro), among others.

Registration opens June 1, with events running Oct. 14 through 17 in Columbus. Attendance allegedly will be limited to 275.

Two additional highlights: an exhibit for the 100th birthday of Krazy Kat and a retrospective of Billy Ireland’s work. (Ireland was the editorial cartoonist at the Columbus Dispatch who mentored two of sequential art’s most influential cartoonists, Milton Caniff, creator of Terry and the Pirates, and Noel Sickles, who wrote and drew Scorchy Smith.)

I attended a few of the early Festivals and found them phenomenally informative and entertaining, and cock full of surprises. At one of the forums, an attendee in the audience got up during a Q&A session to ask the panel an involved question about contracts. A wave of amusement rolled through the auditorium as we realized the questioner was Berke Breathed, creator of the then-popular Bloom County, who wasn’t even on the agenda, if I recall correctly.

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