Good Old Ohio State (How I Love Them)

P.S. (pre-script): I’ve got some cool links below, so have fun following them!

The first Peanuts strip (October 2, 1950) starts with Charlie Brown coming down the street, walking past Patty and Shermy (who was a much bigger part of the strip in the beginning), and Shermy say, “Good ol’ Charlie Brown…How I hate him!” It’s weird to look back on the first years of Charlie Brown and realize how much the strip evolved and softened over the years.

But I’m just using that quote to talk about how much I love Ohio State and the comics collection there.  This semester I’m teaching a history of American comics classes. We’ve started off by reading Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics. Now we’re moving into early comic strips, pre-1896 (the magic moment when the Yellow Kid “invented” comics), and I wanted to have my students be able to see some of the evolution of comic strips in the 1890s. But what to do? Where to get the strips?

That’s where Ohio State comes in. They’ve got a wonderful site set up, The Ohio State Treasure of Fine Art, with lots of old comic strips. I was able to search for 1894, 1895, and 1896 and put together a collection of work by Frederick Opper (and others) that shows, in a limited way, the emergence of the conventions of the newspaper comic strip (panels in a row, word balloons, etc.), which the students can access for free.

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2 Comments on “Good Old Ohio State (How I Love Them)”

  1. Mark Clegg Says:

    Hi Peter,

    Do you always preface a book’s title with its author’s name? Doesn’t everyone know that Scott McCloud created the published Understanding Comics? Calling it Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics seems redundant, and for personal reasons that you know all too well, I find irritating. Do you feel it desireable/necessary to reinforce Scott McCloud’s authorship of Understanding Comics?

  2. comicsstudies Says:

    I think I do preface most books with the author’s name and that doing it for Understanding Comics is nothing unusual. I understand what you’re saying, but McCloud is the author of Understanding Comics, so this seems pretty straight forward.

    But one reason I did it was for the links. I’ve got a link for McCloud and another one for Understanding Comics, and since I wanted to include both links, that was the easiest way to do it.

    But this reminds me of something funny from udergrad. I had a Bible as Literature class at Kent State. At the bookstore the King James Version assigned for the class had the usual card by it with spots for the teacher, the course, the title, the author, etc. For author, someone at the bookstore had filled in “God”. But, of course, God is the editor, not the author 🙂


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