Patrick McDonnell, creator of Mutts, wasn’t the only animal lover who spoke at the 10th Festival of Cartoon Art this past week. Bizarro cartoonist Dan Piraro showed a slide of him, cigar in mouth, proudly holding a rather large chicken.
He and his wife, he noted, are board members of an animal sanctuary that, along with the usual dogs and cats (and hopefully rabbits, too), also rescues chickens. Who would have guessed?
Other things I learned at the Ohio State University four-day event:
• Robert Harvey, speaking of his 952-page Milton Caniff bio, Meanwhile …, told me, “Believe it or not, what got printed was only 60 percent of what I wrote.”
• James Sturm, whose The Golem’s Mighty Swing was Time magazine’s best graphic novel in 2001, said: “Cartooning is a calling first, a career second.”
He talked a bit about the Center for Cartoon Studies, the cartooning school in White River Junction, Vt., for which he is director. Seth did the catalog cover.
• Dave Kellett, whose book, How to Make Webcomics, I picked up at the Wexner Center shop during the conference and have been reading (and could have used two years ago before I my own online strip, Slipped), contended newspapers and comics are parting ways. This is because, he said, “In the mind of the average consumer, the newspaper comic strip” — such a small percentage of the daily paper’s content — “has always been free.”
In fact, he continued, the medium of comics is dying, though the art form of comics is not
• Speaking of the topicality of editorial cartoons, Jen Sorensen, of the weekly alternative editorial cartoon Slowpoke, noted many readers are “ahistorical” — meaning they know little about history, not that they don’t exist within history, of course.
One more post on the conference to come, I think, plus a post on the Columbus Museum of Art’s astonishing R. Crumb exhibit, “The Bible Illuminated.”
See my earlier post on this conference here.