Alicia is on vacation in the South this week, so here I am, lonely in Columbus, holding down the fort. Fortunately, I was able to corral her into a lunch date last week so I could send her off on her merry way. Readers, Alicia and I have undergone some changes in the last few months; specifically, we’ve both made exciting career changes. Yes, it’s true: We no longer share a wall. I am used to seeing Alicia more than my husband, so it’s certainly different to have to schedule these dates to catch up. But that makes for even more blog fodder than before, so the news is really good for you, readers!
Anyway! Last week we met at Ohio State to see the Bill Watterson Exploring Calvin and Hobbes exhibit at Sullivant Hall. It was a warm afternoon, and a stroll on campus was a great way to kill an hour; the scenery is unmatched.
Now, before you go crazy with the compliments, and slap me on the back in praise of my improving photography skills, know that Alicia took the photos. All of the photos. Yeah, yeah, I know they’re great. I GET IT.
So inside Sullivant Hall is the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, and inside that you’ll find the Robinson Gallery. You enter into a huge, bright lobby and walk up pristine, white stairs, and the gallery opens up before you. Oh, and the exhibit is free!
We were immediately taken by that colorful piece on the left side. It was for a special collection, and was brightly watercolored. When I think of newspaper comic strips, I don’t immediately think of art in a traditional sense, but this piece was striking and cheerful.
The exhibit was thoughtfully planned. The main story was told along the outer walls of the gallery, and began with Watterson’s artistic influences. The next wall talked about the syndication process, and the long wall detailed the climate of Calvin and Hobbes’ hometown, which was modeled after Northeast Ohio.
It was great fun learning about Watterson’s inside jokes with his readers, and how they developed over time. I spent a good few minutes reading the section on how artists wrote for comic strips in the newspaper: the strips were laid out in the same way in every new installment, and planned in a way that the newspapers could make last minute cuts without sacrificing the story line.
Toward the end of the exhibit, there was a case featuring some of Watterson’s favorite tools, and his witty descriptions on when to use them. Alicia and I were most taken with the white-out. You could actually see dollops of the stuff on the orginal panels.
We quietly milled about, together and on our own. We cozied up to a nearby guide, eavesdropping to catch a fact here and there. Every so often, someone would let slip a laugh (but not ME, of course), though this gallery certainly deserved more glee than most.
Before leaving, we stopped at the duo’s final panels, saying goodbye once again, and out we went.
Exploring Calvin and Hobbes will be at the Robinson Gallery at Sullivant Hall on the campus of Ohio State University until August 3, 2014. The gallery is open from 1pm-5pm.