Festival of Cartoon Art

October 26th, 2007 | Uncategorized


I flew from Burlington to Columbus, Ohio last evening for the Festival of Cartoon Art at Ohio State University. I glanced out the plane window at sunset, and look! The Finger Lakes! I love how it’s patently obvious that they’re the Finger Lakes, nobody needs to tell you so–a phenomenon which in a way demonstrates the theme of this year’s festival, Visual Storytelling.

The festival is also honoring Milton Caniff, the guy who drew Steve Canyon and Terry and the Pirates. I never really knew his work, but he’s a hugely influential cartoonist and I’m sure I osmosed all sorts of graphic conventions indirectly from him without knowing it.

They have an exhibit up here at OSU of his work–here’s a close-up of a tidy paste-up job.

Here I am with my cartoonist pals Paige Braddock (Jane’s World) and Hilary Price, (Rhymes With Orange)


We went out to dinner and drew this cartoon together. Paige came up with the concept–she’d draw her character Jane in bed, and I’d add one of my characters, then Hilary would add an animal. So here you go.


Then–don’t ask me how–we got on the topic of drawing breasts. Oh, it might have been because of all the giant Milt Caniff breasts in the exhibit, or the fact that there are a lot of old school men cartoonists at this event, including Mort Walker of Miss Buxley fame. I confessed that I’ve sort of been in reaction to that sort of exaggerated representation for my whole career. Paige said that she’s recently been, um, embracing breasts. Hilary reported that an old man once told her her comic strip would be more popular if she made her women characters’ breasts bigger. So we all demonstrated how we draw breasts.
drawing exercise

P.S. I’ve been a little crazed lately, and haven’t had time to follow the comments on the blog. I hope everything’s okay.

61 Responses to “Festival of Cartoon Art”

  1. D.F. says:

    Wow. Am I the first commenter? So much pressure!

    Paige is kinda hot, I gotta say (I’ve already e-flirted w/ AB, so I got that base covered). But I like the way that she… um… ’embraces’ breasts. On the page at least. And I’m even not that into femmes, myself. But it is kinda inspirational.


    Mo’s tummy is cute, too. She looks a little shell shocked at being in this breast-diversity demo exercise.

  2. D.F. says:

    the joint cartoon is *hilarious* by the way.

    plane views are always gorgeous in & out of ohio. .

  3. mlk says:

    welcome to Columbus!!

    Seems that *every* Festival of Cartoon Art is devoted to Milt Caniff’s legacy. maybe because his work is the foundation of OSU’s collection?

    hope to see you tomorrow . . .

  4. Jen says:

    I love Paige’s coat… & the cartoons

  5. PKbackintheUS says:

    Hmm. I haven’t felt that breasts have been downplayed in DTOWF, but I do feel like they’re contextualized and shown in a variety of shapes and sizes, and that makes me more comfortable. Of course, if AB decided to add more, I certainly wouldn’t complain, but I don’t think there’s a deficiency.

  6. WF says:

    D.F., the phrase “breast-diversity demo exercise” is priceless.

  7. Kommishonerjenny says:

    i love how mo’s clutching her shirt in the breast demo. she’s such a stressball! (but a stressball with great breasts!)

  8. Feminista says:

    Great group comic. Sydney appears to have aged quite a bit,and she looks like she’s with one of her students. Ah,the plot thickens.

  9. Em says:

    I’m slightly drunk right now, so “bed mice!” is something I want to shout over and over again for no reason. Cause… BED MICE!!!

    Hilary’s breasts (the drawn ones, not her own of course) remind me of Alison’s first “vestigial-breasted” lesbians she drew… I dig their cartooniness. I think Gary Larson is probably the only male cartoonist who’s default female character prototype ISN’T a Miss Buxley type. I like how even if he draws an “attractive” woman she still looks all goofy and Larson-esque.

    Ok, I’ll stop digressing.

  10. Josiah says:

    Of course Paige Braddock would illustrate “breasts” with a drawing of Chelle. And I thank her for it. 🙂

    (Sorry, folks. Sometimes I’m just a het guy.)

  11. Maggie Jochild says:

    Breasts are female, not femme. Last time I checked (yep, there they are.)

  12. cz says:

    hoping you weren’t all in the plane together. It would potentially be the comic equivalent of ‘the day the music died’.

  13. Pam I says:

    So who’s looking after Piebald?

  14. Ginjoint says:

    As of 10/22, my boobages were gone. I’m home now, very sore, quite dopey, being spoiled by my mom. I wish those old guys had an appreciation for what owning boobs can really mean.

    P.S. I’m too spacey to read the previous entry right now, but I KNEW another cat would find you soon! I am so glad, Alison.

  15. mlk says:

    glad someone’s taking care of you, Ginjoint. the soreness wears off (or so I hear).

  16. Silvio Soprani says:


    Hey Ginjoint,
    Glad to hear your voice. I see you still have your Attitude. There’s no surgery for that. Lots of love, Silvio.

  17. Nickel Joey says:

    Agh! The weekend I leave Columbus is the weekend Alison comes to town. Drat. Oh well. I guess I’m another one who doesn’t have tickets for the conference anyway.

    Hope you enjoy the conference and the city, Alison. You’re on campus on a gameday Saturday, so watch out for crazed Buckeye football fans! OSU football is a bonafide religion — thank goodness it’s an away game today.

    Ginjoint: Good thoughts coming your way. Rest up and heal.

  18. mansuetude says:

    I FOR ONE am glad you said the image
    was the fingerlakes
    cause I thought it was an abstract image
    of rain on the fender of a vehicle!!

    Love the cartoons, and your banter…
    about breasts.

  19. Jen says:

    Maggie Jochild were you refering to DF’s comment about breasts & femme? I think she meant that the woman in the pic looked femme not the breasts…

  20. Pam I says:

    I think she looks like a woman.

  21. SK says:

    I really like Rhymes with Orange, and read it for years (in the Boston Globe) wondering if Hilary Price were a man or a woman. (I’ve known she was a woman now for a while.) My leading evidence for why she might be a man (besides the one-L spelling of Hilary sometimes being male) was that she draws breasts like that–like the teats on a cow’s udder. But maybe her non-realistic breasts signify a no-nonsense refusal to participate in the male-artist comic-strip tradition of the pneumatic 1950s cone-bra boob, since they clearly don’t mean a misunderstanding of breast anatomy.

    Whoa, I just realized that’s Sydney’s strap-on, not her foreshortened foot, that the cat is going to pounce in a minute.

  22. shadocat says:

    Ginjoint, I’m so glad you have your Mom there to take care of you. Moms are always the best nurses, aren’t they? Hope they gave you some primo drugs, and you get everything you need to heal.

    Sending much love and good wishes to you!

  23. Feminista says:

    SK,I agree with your last paragraph. The old sheet tent. Only I’m familiar with the human,not silicone,kind. **cough**

  24. Dr. Empirical says:

    Sydney’s erection and Hilary’s breast drawings are eerily similar…

    Ginjoint, Power to you. Keep us posted.

  25. Ian says:

    All best wishes for a speedy recovery Ginjoint.

    Here’s a spoof of Brief Encounter with a nice twist at the end to cheer you up.


  26. kate says:

    ginjoint–sending good thoughts your way

    i agree those old guys have no idea.

  27. lwc_2001@yahoo.com says:

    Ho-hum… I wish I could have gone.

    The website made it seem like there was limited admission and it was too pricey for a poor recent college grad.

    Hope you enjoyed the city. I moved here about 2 months ago and I like it so far. Well, I miss I could have met you and sat in your lecture.

    I guess there is always a next time. Enjoy your trip. I’m to go practice my religion of buckeye football…

  28. LondonBoy says:

    No, SK, I think you’re wrong. She’s not using a strap-on. Surely part of the joke is that she’s somehow acquired a real penis, probably as a result of the book she’s reading.

    By the way, for those who were wondering how my “getting in touch with my Lois side” is going, I’m delighted to report that the leather jacket has got me several interested looks from hot guys. Makes me think that I should adopt it as a permanent item. Also, it’s surprising how much quicker you get served in a bar if you walk in with a “Lois-mindset”. Of course you do get automatically offered a choice of beers, rather than white wine, but it’s worth it.

  29. Deena in OR says:

    And Alison, addressing your comment at the end of your post…

    Everything is fine. Consensus is, we love your pu…errr, kitty. 🙂

  30. Ginjoint! Glad your mom’s with you. Sorry about the soreness. I hope the surgery went well and that your recovery proceeds apace. Thanks for letting us know how it’s going.

    MLK? Did you come to the festival today? I didn’t see you!

  31. Spark says:

    SK: ironic that you wondered if Hilary was a man or woman. She wrote the following in her faq: ” . . . it was a defining moment for me when I learned that Boynton’s first name was Sandra. Up to that point I had assumed she was a he. The fact that a “she” was doing funny drawings opened up the possibility that I could, too. I encourage all female artists, young or old, to not hide behind their initials, but to sign their full name on their work.”

    Ginjoint: best wishes for good healing sent your way.

  32. LM says:

    Ginjoint: Let me add my relief that you’re home and getting spoiled with some good mothering. I’ve been both the spoiled one and the spoiler on the cancer trip, and nothing can match the support of someone who knows you best and still loves you, regardless. The best of luck and good wishes.

  33. Kat says:

    I’ll send my own good thoughts to you, Ginjoint. I wish you well.

    Sidney’s strap-on? Oops, I thought it was a knee…..**kat turns bright pink**

  34. Nele says:

    Completely off topic and no breasts at all. (BTW, a knee?! Alien anatomy…)

    The other day I wrote a review of “Fun Home” in a German internet community. Just in case, somebody is interested:


    It’s in German, though.


  35. Silvio Soprani says:

    Your interpretation of the sketch has much merit. I am mortified that it did not occur to me. It must be your inner Lois. (and now, of course, the phrase “bed mice” finally makes sense. Gawwd I’m slow sometimes…)

    I am delighted to hear about the effect of the leather jacket. I am sure you were getting those interested looks from the hot guys BTLJ (before the leather jacket), but you were just too introspective then to notice.

  36. little gator says:

    I just checked my breasts. They look just like my breasts. What a relief.

    My bed is sometimes infested with toe monsters, which Lydia defends me from.

  37. Kat says:

    Nele, if you’re slow and tired, yes, the bump could look vaguely like a bent knee…..

  38. Ginjoint says:

    Thanks everyone for the good wishes! I have tubes coming out of me that lead to little plastic hand-grenade looking devices that drain. I look like a Borg. Since I can’t shower, I stink like a baby wipe. A tired, sore, baby-wipe stinkin’ Borg.

    Regarding “bed mice”…has anyone else ever had a cat leap upon your hand as your hand was moving under the covers while trying to, uh, pleasure yourself? Oh, it’s a mood killer, trust me. Especially because I burst out laughing.

    This has exhausted me. Back to bed, sans mice…or do the Borg self-pleasure?

  39. Ginjoint says:

    And yeah, it did look a bit like a bent knee.

  40. Marj says:

    Ginjoint – all power to you, your borg bits, and your bed-mouse. Heal well!

  41. sunicarus says:

    Ginjoint~I just have to say, “Damn you are funny!”
    So wonderful to have your voice here….bed mice and all.

  42. Maggie Jochild says:

    Ginjoint, honey, just remember that in your case “Resistance is Lesbian.”

    Thanks so much for telling us how it’s going. Baby-wipe hugs to you.

  43. April says:

    Ginjoint, glad you are getting good mum-ing, your humour is a balm to us all. I’ve got out the orange candles for you.

    I don’t think the borg can technically auto-eroticise, since they have no individualities. Is it a little nerdy of me to then conclude that, since every slightest erotic thought that crosses the mind of one is transmitted through the hive, they must all be in a constant state of trans-species all-frequencies robot lust? Would certainly make for intriguing fanfic…

  44. mlk says:

    Alison, no I wasn’t there. I posted on the last thread that I’ve been delusional — had the crazed idea that I could just stroll in for your lecture. fortunately, Chris steered me back to reality before I showed up at the door.

    hope you enjoyed the Festival and the OSU campus. High Street isn’t what it was, but we’ve still got some lovely trees!

  45. Jeffster83 says:

    This probably doesn’t belong here, but this is the current discussion and it happened this morning. And there is a small mention of someone’s upper chest, so perhaps it does belong here.

    Today’s Sunday edition of _For_Better_or_for_Worse_ has Mike and his wife both planning to cross-dress for a Halloween party. They go shopping at a used clothing store, rather than at a costume shop. One of his choices of dress is not big enough for his (presumably fake) bust. The clerk comments to his wife that she must so understanding and open-minded, be a wonderful wife for a man like him.

    And not a photo album or a drooling child anywhere in sight.

  46. Louise says:

    Jeffster83, I just now read FBOFW too just before coming to DTWOF (making my regular rounds on the internet), and it made me think of past discussions on this blog. It would be interesting if Lynn Johnston were to follow up.

    Ginjoint, best wishes for your recovery–we’re thinkin’ of you.

  47. Deena in OR says:

    FBOFW-possible plot follow-up…

    Michael gets bashed/menanced on his way home from the party in a case of mistaken identity? But Lawrence and his partner arrive in the nick of time and scare off the would be victimizers. Giving Lynn a bully pulpit for condemning intolerance.

    Maybe I’ve been hanging out at Comics Curmudgeon too long.

  48. Suzanonymous says:

    Dr. Empirical, LOL!

    Take it easy, Ginjoint. (Stop trying to make us laugh, dammit, hard work, that is.)

  49. Jenna says:

    I love getting a behind-the-scenes look at what happens when three cartoonists get together. The one-panel cartoon is wonderful.

    It would be intriguing to draw that same panel again but with a different person starting the panel each time with the same required element. So the next time, Hilary would draw her character in bed, Paige would add her character, and you’d draw an animal… and then Alison you start, then Hilary adds a character to bed, then Paige adds an animal.

  50. Kay says:

    I am glad that I got to meet you, Alison, and wanted to thank you for the autograph you gave me on Friday. I was the awkward librarian with nutty dreams of getting an advanced degree studying strong women in comics (I hope I didn’t bore you). I was so overwhelmed by meeting so many people who create art that I love to read, that I almost didn’t even ask for the autograph, but I’m glad that I did.

    And while a run-in with a professor may have tried to douse my educational desires [She told me to consider being an ‘independent scholar’ and not do graduate school if I only wanted to maintain my narrow focus…even when I told her that my studious desires were just a starting point], I think I walked away from the conference with a new perspective on the creative process, an understanding of the various controversies/challenges that comic artists face, and I got to meet so many cool people that I was practically dancing around the place in excitement.

    I hope you enjoyed Columbus, and I’m just so glad that I got to meet you…but I can’t help shaking the feeling that I came off sounding a little stupid when I met you, so I apologize for being awkward (It’s a strange thing to apologize for, but I’m not sure what else to say; I usually read the posts and some of the comments when I visit this blog and not say anything).

  51. The Cat Pimp says:

    Sydney’s strap, er, um, bed mouse, is a brilliant touch, as is the comment by the cat. Looks like you had a lot of fun in CMH.

  52. Aharona says:

    I always felt awkward drawing breasts. Maybe because as a kid, I was told I shouldn’t? I love Hilary’s understated breasts (on her cartoons). I’m not sure why, but they make me giggle.

  53. Aunt Soozie says:

    You’ll start feeling better really soon! In fact you’ll have to remind yourself not to overdo…so, I’m telling you now…don’t overdo! Take it slow and give yourself plenty of time to heal. Sending you hugs.

  54. christine stonecoldbikini says:

    I have the hardest time drawing boobs. Everyone thinks I am always drawing guys. I’m not. Just very flat chested women.

  55. hyla says:

    Thank you for the lovely picture of our Finger Lakes!

    Actually, just this past week a solo pilot crash-landed a plane into Seneca Lake (600 feet deep!!!) and escaped by boat.

  56. chriso says:

    I am so glad you all were there to counter the gigantor breasts of some of the other cartoon artists at the festival. It would be hilarious to see an episode of DTWOF drawn in a more “traditional” comic book way with crazy, impossible poses and ridiculous anatomy and with the characters commenting on it like in some of the “Behind the Scenes” strips of the past. I mean, can you IMAGINE Mo with a Power Girl-esque boob window on her outfit?!

  57. mlk says:

    yes, chriso, so long as her outfit is horizontally striped!!

  58. egret says:

    I’ve always liked drawing breasts – I used to draw them all over my notes in high school, and then have to quickly change the drawing to be something else. I always knew what the drawings really were, though. Now you know what a perv I was (am). 😉 Christine, maybe you just need to try to put yourself back in high school headspace, if you want to try drawing them.

    Ginjoint, I hope you recover quickly. I’ve had surgery on my shoulder – I know it’s nowhere near as extreme, but I also had a lot of stitches and torn muscle. I’ve learned a trick – if you have to cough sitting up, wrap your arms around your lower torso to steady yourself. I don’t know if it’s strictly imaginary, but it seems to help stop the sore muscles from pulling so hard.

    And Paige is not only cute, she’s really nice – always a good point. I like her breasts, too – the ones she draws, of course. ;-D

  59. Natkat says:

    OMG you were in Columbus!!!

    I lived in Columbus for 9 years before moving to Houston to be with my girlfriend. I get so homesick for Columbus. It’s very beautiful there this time of year, but the next six months aren’t so hot.

    Any chance you’ll be making an appearance in Houston? Ira Glass of This American Life will be January 12, 2008. For a southern town there are some progressive pockets here and there.

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  61. Hannah says:

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