Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum
Find world’s largest collection of comics right here in Columbus
As a teen, I delighted in snatching the comics from the Sunday paper before my older brother. I’d read through Garfield, Bloom County, and For Better or For Worse before settling on my favorite, Calvin and Hobbes.
The adventures of 6-year-old Calvin and his stuffed tiger, Hobbes, seemed to jump off the page thanks to the brilliance of Bill Watterson. The Chagrin Falls native didn’t confine his characters to rows of squares but let them roam in his allotted space.
I recently got to relive my joy for this beloved comic strip while touring the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum in Columbus with my 10-year-old daughter.
The 30,000 square-foot facility, located on the Ohio State University campus, houses the world’s largest collection of materials related to cartoons and comics, including editorial cartoons, comic strips, comic books and graphic novels – my daughter’s favorite.
The library and museum came to be in 1977 with the founding gift of artwork and papers of Ohio State alumnus Milton Caniff, who created the comic strips Terry and the Pirates and Steve Canyon. The museum is named after the Ohio cartoonist Billy Ireland.
Its primary mission is to develop a comprehensive research collection documenting American printed cartoon art and provide people access to these resources.
Almost everything in the archives is available upon request in the Reading Room. The museum has two galleries for exhibits, which change twice a year, and a permanent exhibit called the Treasures gallery.
The archives hold the largest collection of Japanese comics outside of Japan, some of the earliest cosplay costumes, and almost all of the original art from Calvin and Hobbes, which ran daily from 1985 to 1995.
I look forward to unraveling what’s inside this gem of a destination. In the words of Bill Watterson, “The best presents don’t come in boxes.”
The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum is located at 1813 N. High St., inside Sullivant Hall on the Ohio State University campus. Learn more at cartoons.osu.edu.