A small school like CCS doesn’t have a huge budget for building an original art collection, yet as I mentioned in an earlier post, it’s vital to the school’s curriculum. So how does CCS grow its collection? Three ways. The current Recent Acquisitions show includes pieces that were acquired in each of these ways.
Often they come from the artist themselves like Richard Thompson’s gorgeous Cul de Sac Sunday comic or the Alison Bechdel page from Fun Home. Or sometimes the donation comes from an artists’ family. A wonderful page from Will Eisner’s Dropsie Avenue was donated by Will’s wife Ann (looking at this page it should come as no surprise that Will wrote a book called Expressive Anatomy).
Several years ago, CCS became the steward of a large collection of Denys Wortman drawings. Working with the Wortman estate, CCS received their blessing to trade selected drawings to build the CCS archive. For some choice Wortmans, Rob Stolzer sent along some pieces from his impressive collection including a H.T. Webster panel, a Ray Gotto Cotton Woods’ strip, and a Russ Johnson Mr. Oswald page. I walk by the Oswald page everyday and it never fails to put me in a good mood.
Tom Gammill, cartoonist, writer, and Ernie Bushmiller lover, traded with CCS for a Nancy Sunday and two dailies. Can you even teach strip cartooning without studying at Bushmiller? I don’t think so. Any collectors out there looking for some Wortmans? Get in contact and let’s do some horse-trading.
A Harry Lucey and Jim Mooney page were each purchased for less than sixty bucks on eBay. Both of these comics’ industry stalwarts were born in last century’s second decade and earned their living drawing iconic characters for established publishing companies. Mooney had an impressive run on Supergirl and also drew Spiderman. The page CCS purchased is from Omega the Unknown, a 1970s Marvel comic that lasted only ten issues but developed a cult-like following (I bought all the issues and reread them for years trying to figure out what the hell was going on).
Since much of his work was unsigned, I loved Harry Lucey even before I knew his name. If Carl Barks was considered “the good duck artist,” I thought of Lucey as “the good Archie artist.” His wonderfully expressive figures have a vitality that was unmatched.
Via Kickstarter, a few panels from the new Carter Family graphic novel came CCS’s way after we sent over a few bucks to help Frank Young and David Lasky finish the book (which by all accounts is a masterpiece). A win-win situation!
The goal for now is to build the collection slow and steady making sure the work that comes our way is used to inspire and educate the next generations of cartoonists.