Everyone who is anyone in the world of comics scholarship has gathered in Columbus, OH for the confluence of two events: the once every three years Billy Ireland comics scholarship conference and the once in a lifetime opening of the new—and by all accounts amazingly spectacular—facilities for the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum, now surely the most important dedicated comics scholarship center in the US.

Events are still rolling out although I think many are sold out. Here’s the rest of the weekend’s activities:

In Conversation: Paul Pope and Jeff Smith
Friday, November 15, 2013
7:30 PM, Mershon Auditorium
Buy tickets

An Evening with the Hernandez Brothers: An Office of Diversity and Inclusion Distinguished Lecture Series Event
Saturday, November 16, 2013
7:30 PM, Mershon Auditorium
Buy tickets

Pulitzer Prize nominated cartoon journalist Matt Bors: Buy tickets
From Hell artist Eddie Campbell: Buy tickets
Pearls Before Swine creator Stephan Pastis: Sold Out
Screening of StrippedSold Out
Red and Rover creator Brian Basset: Buy tickets
Flight creator Kazu Kibuishi: Buy tickets
Looney Tunes Afternoon with Jeff Smith: Buy tickets

Related Event: The Art of SpiegelmanBuy tickets

Museum galleries: special Grand Opening hours
Saturday + Sunday, November 16 -17, 2013
10 am to 5 pm
Free and open to the public

If you are anywhere near Columbus, please go check it out.

Tom Spurgeon and Christian Hoffer have been tweeting the conference, but Sean Kleefeld has a Day One report:

I visited the Museum almost exactly one year ago in their old facility, and I was summarily impressed. And I’ve been following their postings and pictures as the new facility has been taking shape, so I had to stop a moment and smile on my way in initially as I saw ‘Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum’ carved in stone on the face of their new home. This has been a long time in coming, and comics research just leveled up. Multiple times. From what little I’ve really seen of the place so far (basically, just the lobby and the auditorium) it’s super impressive. I can’t wait until the tours to see the full breadth of the place!

The first two days here, though, are focused on academic presentations. Papers and lectures from people doing academic work on comics. Subjects ranged from the Yellow Kid and the Armory Show of 1913 to Walt Kelly and Charles Schulz to Ariel Schrag and Alison Bechdel. I don’t know that I can summarize all the presentations here; some were better presented than others, but they were all deeply fascinating, well-researched and very enlightening. I was exposed to a number of comics creators and works I had never heard of before, and a number of conceptual ideas that presented old works in startlingly new contexts. My head is swimming with ideas right now, and it’s frankly hard to process everything that was presented by the sheer volume of great work shown.

All props to Lucy Caswell, Jenny Robb, Caitlin McGurk, and the many other dedicated lovers of the comics medium who have made this truly great event more than a some day dream.


  1. Just got back from seeing the new exhibit and it was a jaw-dropping experience. The gallery is beautiful and all the original art is unbelievable. Foster’s Prince Valiant originals are as big as a kitchen table and they have the entire Spirit story where he and Satin are caught in a hurricane. Not to mention the Caniff , Schulz, and Wolverton(a caricature of FDR) originals.
    Just go and drink it all in.

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