Major Exhibition at McDaniel College Explores the Serious Side of Newspaper Comic Strips

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"Kings of the Pages: Comic Strips & Culture 1895–1950" ( Explores the Serious Side of Newspaper Comic Strips Featuring Such Classics as "Krazy Kat," 'Blondie," "Pogo," and "Peanuts."

Rick Yager -"Buck Rogers"

"Buck Rogers" by Rick Yager, published in "Los Angeles Times" (April 18, 1937), ink, 58 x 37 cm; Credt: SFCGA - San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Even though these works will tickle your funny bone, the exhibition isn’t just about showing up and reading comics — you can do that in your living room.

"Kings of the Pages: Comic Strips & Culture 1895 – 1950," a major exhibition exploring the serious side of newspaper comic strips, opens in Rice Gallery, Peterson Hall, at McDaniel College (2 College Hill, Westminster, Md.). The exhibition runs Wednesday, October 19 – Saturday, November 19.

Curated by Dr. Robert Lemieux, associate professor of communications and cinema at the college, and designed by graduate students at the Corcoran College of Art + Design in Washington, D.C., the exhibition examines the cultural and historical significance of newspaper comic strips from the late-19th to mid-20th centuries with 28 original, hand-drawn panels and early newsprint pieces on loan from the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum at Ohio State University, including “Krazy Kat,” “Blondie,” “Pogo” and “Peanuts.”

Inspiration for the exhibition came from Lemieux’s quest to educate the public about the serious side of the Sunday funnies.

According to Lemieux, the comics chosen “were the most visually appealing and entertaining and that offered the best cultural commentary. Beyond the spectacular artwork and hilarious gags are profound social and political observations.”

“Even though these works will tickle your funny bone, the exhibition isn’t just about showing up and reading comics — you can do that in your living room,” he said. “This show will elucidate their social, cultural and historical significance, which over the past half-century has been pushed into the shadows.”

Brian Walker, a prominent cartoon historian and second-generation creator of “Hi and Lois” and writer for “Beetle Bailey,” comic strips begun by his father, Mort, said, “It’s reassuring for me to see institutions of higher education giving comics the respect they deserve — as a graphic art form that is also literary. Comic strips are so deep and rich and there is so much to learn from them. I was born into the business and I still learn something new about comics every day.”

In addition to the exhibition, McDaniel hosts a speaker series, “The Serious Side of Comics,” featuring show-and-tell conversations with four contemporary cartoonists, including Brian Walker; Harry Bliss, New Yorker cartoonist and children’s book illustrator; Richard Thompson, creator of “Cul de Sac;” and Kevin Kallaugher (KAL), renowned political cartoonist. See full schedule attached.

The exhibition and speaker series are both free and open to the public. Rice Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. For more information about "Kings of the Pages: Comic Strips & Culture 1895 – 1950," visit or call 410-857-2290.

"Kings of the Pages: Comic Strips & Culture 1895 – 1950" is made possible by the Abbe Family Trust, Carroll County Arts Council, Corcoran Gallery of Art + Design, and the National Communication Association. Additional support provided by the "Carroll County Times."

McDaniel College, recognized nationally among “40 Colleges that Change Lives” and U.S. News top-tier liberal arts colleges, is a four-year private college of the liberal arts and sciences offering more than 60 undergraduate programs of study, including dual and student-designed majors, plus 20 highly regarded graduate programs. Its hallmark faculty-student collaborations in research, teaching and mentoring plus hundreds of leadership and service opportunities enrich a lively learning experience that is rooted in a personalized interdisciplinary and global curriculum. Innovative January courses take students to points all over the world while McDaniel’s degree-granting European campus offers a unique opportunity for international study at the only American university in Budapest, Hungary. A diverse and close-knit community of 1,600 undergraduates and 1,560 part-time graduate students, McDaniel also boasts a spectacular 160-acre hilltop campus in Westminster, Md., an hour or less from Baltimore, D.C., the Chesapeake Bay, an Amtrak station and BWI international airport.

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Cheryl Knauer
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