Marmaduke strips residing at OSU
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.’”