American Cartoons


Comic Strips/Books


This section of the Traditional Fine Arts Organization (TFAO) catalogue Topics in American Art is devoted to the topic "American Cartoons and Comic Strips/Books." Articles and essays specific to this topic published in TFAO's Resource Library are listed at the beginning of the section. Clicking on titles takes readers directly to these articles and essays. The date at the end of each title is the Resource Library publication date.

After articles and essays from Resource Library are links to valuable online resources found outside our website. Links may be to museums' articles about exhibits, plus much more topical information based on our online searches. Following online resources may be information about offline resources including museums, DVDs, and paper-printed books, journals and articles.

We recommend that readers search within the TFAO website to find detailed information for any topic. Please see our page How to research topics not listed for more information.

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Articles from Resource Library in chronological order:

Edward Koren: The Capricious Line (9/20/16)

The Western Hero in Print; essay by Christine C. Brindza (1/28/16)

Western Heroes of Pulp Fiction: Dime Novel to Pop Culture (11/5/15)

Being, Nothingness and Much, Much More: Roz Chast, Beyond The New Yorker (8/7/14)

Art Spiegelman's Co-Mix: A Retrospective (1/14/14)

Heroes & Villans: The Comic Book Art of Alex Ross (12/10/12)

To Stir, Inform and Inflame: The Art of Tony Auth (7/17/12)

Have Gags Will Travel: The Life and Times of a New York Cartoonist (4/17/12)

LitGraphic: The World of the Graphic Novel (1/22/08)

Reflecting Culture: The Evolution of American Comic Book Superheroes (6/15/07)

Saul Steinberg: Illuminations (5/3/07)

\Art in the 'Toon Age (3/30/07)

Masters of American Comics (2/2/06)

Masters of American Comics (11/21/05)

Mark Newport: Super Heroics, with gallery guide text by John D. Spiak (6/10/05)

The Art of Warner Brothers Cartoons (3/9/05)

The Seuss, the Whole Seuss, and Nothing But the Seuss (7/3/02)

The Seuss, the Whole Seuss, and Nothing But the Seuss (7/3/02)

Mightier than the Sword, Political Satire, Caricature, and Cartoon on the Presidency, Presidents and Presidential Elections (11/9/00)

Speak Softly and Carry a Beagle: The Art of Charles Schulz (10/24/00)

Do You Like Green Eggs and Ham? Drawings by Dr. Seuss (4/18/00)

The Political Dr. Seuss (2/17/00)

Apocalyptic Giggles: The Industrial Cartoon Humor of Derf (7/28/99)

Children of the Yellow Kid: The Evolution of the American Comic Strip (8/20/98)


From other websites:

The Bible Illuminated: R. Crumb's Book of Genesis is a 2009 exhibit at the Hammer Museum, UCLA (Los Angeles) which says: "The exhibition features 207 individual, black and white drawings incorporating every word from all fifty chapters, as well as a cover, title page, introduction and back cover. Each drawing contains six to eight comic panels illustrating the stories of Adam and Eve, Noah's Ark, Sodom and Gomorrah, and more. Using his signature bawdy style, Crumb's version of the Book of Genesis puts an entirely new twist on the Bible." Accessed 12/18  

The Black Age of Comics is a 2014 exhibit at the Hyde Park Art Center which says: "The Black Age (1970-present) deals with expanding the industry to include artists that create material from a black or African perspective, yet exists parallel to the Modern Age of Comics (1985-present)." Accessed 12/18

A Century of Magic: The Animation of the Walt Disney Studios an exhibit held March 3 - September 2, 2012 at the Fred Jones Jr Museum of Art. Includes news release. From Fred Jones Jr Museum of Art. Accessed 11/20/14

Al Hirschfeld - Beyond Broadway from the Library of Congress. Includes online exhibit with artist biography and curator's essay. Accessed May, 2014

The Art of Rube Goldberg is a 2017 exhibit at the Grand Rapids Art Museum which says: "The exhibition traces Goldberg's career over a remarkable 72-year period, from a rare early drawing, through his syndicated strips of the 1920s and 30s, to his influential later works. The Pulitzer Prize-winning artist is best known for his invention drawings­complex chain-reaction machines designed to perform simple tasks. These humorous drawings and cartoons were for Goldberg, 'a symbol of man's capacity for exerting maximum effort to achieve minimal results.'" Accessed 6/17

The Art of Spider-Man is a 2017 exhibit at the Society of Illustrators Museum of American Illustrationwhich says: "This exhibition features art from throughout Romita's initial Spider-Man run. Featured are ('twice up') pages from early in the run and their large size and clean presentation are a joy to behold. Significant pages are exhibited here for the first time, including Spider-Man's battles with the Green Goblin, the Rhino, Doctor Octopus and many others."  Accessed 8/17

Being, Nothingness and Much, Much More: Roz Chast, Beyond the New Yorker, an exhibit held July 12 - October 19, 2014 at the Bruce Museum. Includes video. From the Bruce Museum. Accessed February, 2016.

Cartoon Art Museum, San Francisco. Accessed December, 2015.

Cartoon Drawing from askArt. Accessed August, 2015.

Charles Addams: Cartoonist, an exhibit held October 3, 2009 - January 24, 2010 at the Bruce Museum. From the Bruce Museum. Accessed May, 2014

Chuck Jones: Drawing on Imagination: 100 Years of an Animated Artist, an exhibit held February 9 - May 5, 2013 at the Cartoon Art Museum, San Francisco. Accessed December, 2015.

Comic Strip/Book Humor - sample of artists and works from askArt. Accessed August, 2015.

Comic Stripped: A Revealing Look at Southern Stereotypes in Cartoons is a 2017 exhibit at the Blowing Rock Museum which says: "The exhibit showcases six long-running cartoons that have themselves become part of Southern history: hugely popular Li`l Abner, Mountain Boys, and Pogo of the 1930s - 1970s; perennial Snuffy Smith; and the recent Kudzu and television's King of the Hill." - To read more after exhibit closes, go to "Past Exhibitions" section of museum website.  Accessed 12/17

"Cowboy Cartoons," by Margaret Hair, Steamboat Today, June 13, 2008. Accessed May, 2014

Edward Koren: The Capricious Line was a 2016 exhibit at the Bellarmine Museum of Art which says in its press release: "The exhibition explores the full range of art that Koren has produced during the past five decades, including original drawings for cartoons and illustrated books as well as prints and independent drawings, many never before displayed. The show examines Koren's continuing experimentation with ideas and forms through a variety of finished drawings, many surprisingly large." Koren was a cartoonist and cover illustrator for New Yorker magazine. Accessed 1/17 Also see RL's Edward Koren: The Capricious Line (9/20/16)

FANTASTIC! The Comic Art of Sandy Plunkett, an exhibit held January 25 - June 2, 2013 at the Kennedy Museum of Art. Includes exhibit brochure. Accessed February, 2015.

GOOD GRIEF! A Selection from 50 Years of Original Art from Charles M. Schulz's PEANUTS, an exhibit held September 01, 2012 to December 30, 2012 at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon. Accessed February, 2015

GRAINS OF SAND: 25 Years of The Sandman, an exhibit held October 5, 2013 -April 27, 2014 at the Cartoon Art Museum, San Francisco. Accessed December, 2015.

Heroes & Villains: The Comic Book Art of Alex Ross is a 2011-12 exhibit at the Andy Warhol Museum which says: "Considered one of the greatest artists in the field of comic books, Alex Ross has revitalized classic superheroes into works of fine art with his brilliant use of watercolor." Also see Heroes & Villans: The Comic Book Art of Alex Ross. Accessed 3/17

INSIGHTS & OUTSIGHTS: The Collages and Cartoons of Paul Darrow was a 2013 exhibit at Claremont Museum of Art which said: "He began submitting cartoons to the Claremont Courier when Martin Weinberger purchased the paper in 1954 and soon created a devoted fan base in the community. Darrow used his attention to detail to create thousands of cartoons, representing his interpretation of the social and political atmosphere of the time." Accessed 10/16

I See What You Say: Visual Stories and Narrative Art, an exhibit held March 16 - July 21, 2013 at the Cartoon Art Museum, San Francisco. Accessed December, 2015.

"Japanese-American Animation Artists of the Golden Age" by Amid Amidi, December 4, 2008, from Cartoon Brew LLC. Featires artists working in the 1930s and 1940s. Accessed May, 2014

Kovarsky's World: Covers and Cartoons from The New Yorker   is a 2018 exhibit at the Society of Illustrators Museum of American Illustration which says: "Anatol Kovarsky (1919-2016) is best known as a cartoonist and illustrator. In his prolific career, Kovarsky contributed dozens of covers and nearly 300 cartoons to The New Yorker. Kovarsky was also remarkable as a painter, with a body of work spanning from the 1940s through mid-90s." Also see 6/13/16 New York Times article  Accessed 2/18

La Raza Comica: A celebration of the Latino-American experience in the Comic Arts, an exhibit held May 5 - September 30, 2012 at the Cartoon Art Museum, San Francisco. Accessed December, 2015.

Love and Rockets: A 30th Anniversary Celebration, an exhibit held October 13, 2012 - March 10, 2013 at the Cartoon Art Museum, San Francisco. Accessed December, 2015.

Masters of American Comics is a 2005 exhibit at Hammer Museum at UCLA (Los Angeles) which says: "Masters of American Comics endeavors to establish a canon of fifteen of the most influential artists working in the medium throughout the 20th century. American comics evolved in the latter half of the 19th century, and developed in numerous ways, primarily pushed in new directions by the artists who created them. This exhibition seeks to identify these significant contributors and to showcase the mastery and formal innovations they brought to bear on the tradition." Also see an interview with exhibition co-curator Brian Walker at AIGA website. Accessed 2/17

Modern Cartoonist: The Art of Daniel Clowes, an exhibit held Jun 29 - Oct 13, 2013 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Accessed March, 2015.

The More that Things Change, The More They Stay the Same: The Political Cartoons of Bruce Shanks from the 1960-70s, an exhibit held October 23, 2010 - May 29, 2011 at Burchfield - Penney Art Center. Accessed May, 2014

Oliphant: Editorial Cartoons and the American Presidency, 1968-2012, an exhibit held October 30-December 9, 2012 at the Middlebury College Museum of Art. Accessed February, 2015.

Original Behavior is a 2018 exhibit at the Sheldon Museum of Art which says: "This exhibition brings together a small group of large works by artists who share an affinity for depicting the figure in a cartoonish, comic style. Paintings by Philip Guston, Peter Saul, Robert Colescott, and Carroll Dunham convey a dynamic visual language rich in symbolic narratives." Accessed 2/18 

PBS maintains an online archive of individual segments from NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. "In Memorium: Chuck Jones" is a 4-minute February 25, 2002 NewsHour segment remembering Chuck Jones, the master of movie animation. Transcript remains at site. Accessed May, 2015.

Pioneering Cartoonists of Color from Incudes information on African American cartoonists. Accessed May, 2014

Rural Images: The Cartoon Art of J.R. Williams, Ace Reid, and Jerry Palen from University of Wyoming (American Heritage Center). [Link found expired as of 2014 audit. TFAO is saving the citation for your reference]

Saul Steinberg: Illuminations, an exhibit held November 2, 2007 - February 24, 2008 at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center. Includes news release. From Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center. Accessed 11/17/14

Slinging Satire: Masters of Political Cartoons, an exhibit held October 9, 2014 - April 12, 2015 at the Cartoon Art Museum, San Francisco. Accessed December, 2015.

Spain: Rock, Roll, Rumbles, Rebels, & Revolution, an exhibit held September 14, 2012 - January 20, 2013 at the Burchfield - Penney Art Center. The exhibit is a career retrospective of Manuel "Spain" Rodriguez, the Buffalo-born comic book artist. Includes the essay "Keep the Flames of Buffalo Burning" by Don Metz. Accessed May, 2014

"Splat Boom Pow! The Influence of Cartoons in Contemporary Art" by Mary Penn, from, March, 2004. is an online serial "of art and ideas" published monthly since September, 2003. [Link found broken as of 2014 audit. TFAO is saving the citation for your reference]

You Are My Superhero, an exhibit held July 22 2012 - September 23 2012 at the Dayton Art Institute. Includes links to articles. Accessed 9/14.

Vintage Covers: The World of Superman is a 2017 exhibit at the Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University which says: "Superman comic books began officially in June 1938 with the publication of Action Comics, no. 1. They were instantly popular and launched the superhero phenomenon, where people dress in unique, often flamboyant costumes and perform impossible feats of heroism." Accessed 4/18


'Masters of American Comics': A History of the Funnies from Fresh Air, WHYY, January 3, 2006, with an interview of Brian Walker, son of Hi and Lois creator Mort Walker, who has co-edited a new book that traces the history of American comics in the 20th century. Accessed May, 2014

Ann Arbor District Library presents a 50-minute video of a November 11, 2015 lecture by Bruce Eric Kaplan, renowned New Yorker cartoonist, discussing his Memoir "I Was A Child" at the library. Accessed December, 2015

"Art & Comics, 1960s to Present" at Chicago Cultural Center, February 7, 2015, Chicago Cultural Center, from the Terra Foundation for American Art Web page linking to audio and video resources. Accessed October, 2015.

Earthflix is an online network based on the Monterey Peninsula in California. Small standard definition movies -- such as those below -- are from Endorphin Productions. Endorphin Productions merged with Earth Flix Inc. and now represents all the media from both sites. A 3-part video covers the art of Cartoonists of Carmel. Dennis Renault, retired Sacramento Bee political cartoonist, Robert Blaisdell, retired filmmaker, Eldon Dedini, a cartoonist who's work has been in The New Yorker and Playboy, Roy Gillian, mystery writer, Gus Arriola, creator of the strip "Gordo", and Hank Ketcham, Dennis the Menace, sat down for coffee and conversation. [part 1: 3 minutes, 50 seconds; part 2: 2 minutes, 22 seconds; 2 minutes, 1 second] Accessed May, 2015.

KCTS, a PBS affiliate in Seattle, WA, offers streaming video programs. A 2 1/2-minute "Focus of the Arts" segment titled "Al Hirschfeld at the Frye" introduces an exhibition of the work of the famous caricature artist at the Frye Art Museum by David Leopold, the exhibition's curator. [Link found expired as of 2014 audit. TFAO is saving the citation for your reference]

PBS maintains an online archive of individual segments from NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. Several segments covering the visual arts are available by video search in the Arts & Entertainment category by keyword "Jeffrey Brown." Arts correspondent Jeffrey Brown reports January 21, 2003 on Al Hirschfeld's recent death. [Link found expired as of 2014 audit. TFAO is saving the citation for your reference]

San Jose Museum of Art produced a 5-part video series titled Todd Schorr: American Surreal, available online through ArtBabble. According to ArtBabble, "Todd Schorr has painted two large format paintings in which he addresses his influences as an artist - one reflects on the cartoon perspective and the other on the horror film perspective. In this video Todd offers insight into how the pieces came about and some of the subject matter in each. Todd Schorr: American Surreal is the first mid-career retrospective of the Los Angeles-based artist. Schorr is a leading figure in Southern California's cartoon-based movement, dubbed Pop Surrealism, which embraces low-brow culture and a ribald graphic style indebted to pop sources such as Mad magazine. Schorrs astonishing, highly polished realism, (inspired by Bosch, Brueghel and Dali), sets him apart from his best-known peers such as Camille Rose Garcia, Gary Baseman, and Mark Ryde" Accessed June, 2015.

The WGBH/Boston Forum Network is an audio and video streaming web site dedicated to curating and serving live and on-demand lectures, including a number of videos on Art and Architecture. Partners include a number of museums, colleges, universities and other cultural organizations. See listings of related videos in this catalogue indexed by partner name. Simmons College Institute for Leadership & Change partnered with the WGBH Forum Network for Drawing Diversity with Jennifer Camper, (56 minutes) is a lecture by Jennifer Camper, comic artist and editor of the new comic anthology Juicy Mother, who brings contributing artists together to discuss comics as an expressive medium that is not representative enough in terms of diversity of perspectives. [June 2, 2005] Accessed May, 2015.


TFAO also suggests these DVD or VHS videos:

Comic Book Confidential. (CD-ROM/Mac). Performer: Lynda Barry, Charles Burns, Sue Coe, Robert Crumb, Will Eisner, Al Feldstein, Shary Flenniken, William M. Gaines, Bill Griffith, Jaime Hernandez, Jack Kirby, Harvey Kurtzman, Stan Lee, Paul Mavrides, Frank Miller, Victor Moscoro, Francoise Mouly, Dan O'Neill, Harvey Pekar, Gilbert Shelton, Spain, Art Spiegelman. Combines interviews, historical footage, animations and montages of comic book art to trace the development of the comic book from 1933 through counterculture favorites to the hippest representatives of the 1980's revival. 22 significant comic artists and writers are discussed. 1994. DVD 1272; also VHS Video/C 4193; Compu/D 334 (multimedia version) Available from Media Resources Center, Library, University of California, Berkeley. Preview this video here.[5:00]
Confessions of Robert Crumb, The Interviews, monologues, and hilariously insightful vignettes written by Robert Crum are woven together to portray the life, work, and obsessions of this underground comic book pioneer. Crumb continues as an iconoclast who's loved, feared and misunderstood by an ever growing number of readers. Here he tells the story of his artistry that shocks and satirizes every strata and dark hole of society. 1987. 55 min. Video/C 8650. Available from Media Resources Center, Library, University of California, Berkeley.
Crumb. A hilarious and mysterious journey through artistic genius and sexual obsession, Crumb is a wild ride through the mind of R. Crumb--cartoonist and creator of Zap Comix, Mr. Natural and Fritz the Cat. A Terry Zwigoff film. 1994. 55 min. DVD 7151; vhs Video/C 4274. Available from Media Resources Center, Library, University of California, Berkeley.
Line King: The Al Hirschfeld Story, The is a 86 minute DVD from Home Vision Entertainment directed by Susan W. Dryfoos and starring Carol Channing, Joan Collins, Jules Feiffer, Robert Goulet, Barbara Walters, Dolly Haas, Joseph Papp and Lauren Bacall. Nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Documentary Feature (1996), The Line King celebrates Hirschfeld's many years of work for The New York Times, where his drawings were a centerpiece of the Sunday Arts section. ISBN:  0-7800-2796-5

TFAO does not maintain a lending library of videos or sell videos. Click here for information on how to borrow or purchase copies of VHS videos and DVDs listed in TFAO's Videos -DVD/VHS, an authoritative guide to videos in VHS and DVD format.

12/10/09: TFAO wishes to thank Sarah Wahlberg for providing material for the above list.

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