Mar­maduke strips re­sid­ing at OSU

The Columbus Dispatch - - Life&arts - By Eric La­gatta The Colum­bus Dis­patch

A Great Dane known for mak­ing mis­chief has a per­ma­nent home in Colum­bus.

The Billy Ire­land Car­toon Li­brary & Mu­seum has ac­quired more than 16,000 Mar­maduke car­toons from 1954 to 2010. The car­toons are part of a col­lec­tion that in­cludes strip's cre­ator Brad An­der­son's orig­i­nal art, cor­re­spon­dence, fan mail, mem­o­ra­bilia and more.

An­der­son had no sig­nif­i­cant con­nec­tion to Colum­bus but, be­fore his death in 2015, had been in con­tact with the li­brary's cu­ra­tors about hous­ing his work at the venue, cu­ra­tor Jenny Robb said. The li­brary, on the Ohio State Univer­sity cam­pus, also serves as an ar­chive for the Na­tional Car­toon­ists So­ci­ety, of which An­der­son was a mem­ber.

“My dad had said for a num­ber of years that he wanted all his Mar­madukes and all his col­lec­tion of car­toons and other ar­ti­facts to go to the mu­seum be­cause he thought they did a won­der­ful job” said Chris­tine Potch­er­nick, one of An­der­son’s four chil­dren. “He was very im­pressed with the mu­seum."

Robb said the mu­seum is grate­ful for the priv­i­lege of main­tain­ing such a beloved strip.

“Mar­maduke is one of the most pop­u­lar (comics) of the 20th cen­tury and be­yond,” she said. “So many peo­ple who are pet own­ers can iden­tify with it, and it has ... en­ter­tained peo­ple for decades.”

The li­brary is work­ing to cat­a­log and dig­i­tize the col­lec­tion — a process that could take a year or more, Robb said. Once that is com­plete, she said, the mu­seum might dis­play some of the work in a gallery.

In the mean­time, Robb said, the pub­lic, upon re­quest, can view any part of the col­lec­tion in the li­brary's read­ing room. Some of it is al­ready avail­able as part of the Billy Ire­land's dig­i­tal col­lec­tion.

An­der­son, who grew up draw­ing car­toons in Jamestown, New York, cre­ated Mar­maduke in 1954. He drew the se­ries about the hav­ocwreak­ing but lov­able dog and his fam­ily un­til his death, since which his son Paul has con­tin­ued to cre­ate the syn­di­cated strip.

In ad­di­tion to those car­toons, the col­lec­tion ob­tained by the Billy Ire­land in­cludes An­der­son's early wa­ter­color paint­ings from his un­der­grad­u­ate years at Syra­cuse Univer­sity in New York and 3,000 of his mag­a­zine car­toons from the 1940s to the 1970s.

Potch­er­nick, who lives with her hus­band in Mont­gomery, Texas, is ex­cited to see her fa­ther’s life work live on at the mu­seum.

“I just think so many peo­ple with dogs can re­late to Mar­maduke,” she said. “He thought comics were an im­por­tant part of every­day life, and he al­ways said, ‘If they give a lit­tle smile or chuckle, I’m happy.’”

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