Wexner Center for the Arts

Eye of the Cartoonist: Daniel Clowes’s Selections from Comics History


Take a look through cartoonist Daniel Clowes’s incredibly informed, sometimes surprising historical perspective. Ohio State’s Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum is the world’s largest repository of cartoon art. To complement his survey concurrently on view, we invited Clowes—who, like many cartoonists, is a great student of his field’s history—to collaborate with the museum’s curators in presenting an exhibition of work by past greats whom he admires or considers influences. In works such as the comic book anthology series Eightball (1989–2004) and the graphic novel Wilson (2010), Clowes illustrates in a wide spectrum of styles that often incorporate, adapt, and comment on touchstones from comics history. Drawing from the museum’s collection, the work on view in this exhibition at the Wex illuminates Clowes’s range, encompassing Chester Gould’s hard-boiled detective strip Dick Tracy, the minimal elegance of Otto Soglow’s The Little King, the Art Nouveau–inspired fantasias of Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo in Slumberland, the action-adventure stories of Terry and the Pirates (created by Ohio State’s own Milton Caniff), and even the ever-popular Peanuts by Charles Schulz.

Make it a comics-packed trip and visit our friends and neighbors at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (located in Sullivant Hall, next to the Wex). On view through August 3 are Exploring Calvin and Hobbes, a retrospective of the landmark comic strip and its creator Bill Watterson, and The Irresistible Force Meets the Immovable Object: A Richard Thompson Retrospective, a look at the work of this major comics artist, featuring his acclaimed strip Cul-de-Sac and his work as cartoonist and painter. The Billy Ireland also is home to Treasures from the Collections of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, a permanent exhibit highlighting the breadth and depth of its collections. The museum is open 1–5 PM Tuesday–Sunday. Admission is free.

Organized by Wexner Center for the Arts. Special thanks to Jenny Robb, Caitlin McGurk, and the staff at Ohio State’s Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum for their generous assistance with this exhibition.