Painting, music, science–we’ve got it ALL this week at the Playhouse Comics Club! (Opening image written and drawn by Jim Steranko, from Captain America #110 [1969].)

The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, on the campus of the Ohio State University in Columbus, is an amazing repository of comic books, newspaper strips collections, and original cartoon art. In fact, the Museum has two galleries typically open to the public, one of which permanently displays art from its collection, and the other a space for revolving exhibits. (Above is curator Jenny Robb looking at a display of Walt Kelly Pogo art.) Like most public spaces, the Billy Ireland has been closed during the pandemic, but librarians have created such quarantine diversions as two Spotify playlists of comics-related songs, and several videos devoted to curator’s talks and unique items in the Museum’s collection. Follow the Billy Ireland on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to find out what’s next.

The University of Chicago Press generously gives away a free e-book in PDF form at the beginning of each month, and this month’s selection is Let’s Go to Europe and Draw (2020), with text and pictures by Peggy Macnamara and design by Michelle Flitman. As Macnamara writes: “In these months of ‘being restricted,’ I thought it might be fun to take a short art tour through Europe; London, Paris and Rome to begin… maybe Assisi and Madrid… we’ll see. Rather than with film or photography, I thought you might enjoy seeing art as I saw it through my drawings.” The result is a beautiful, relaxing tour of masterpieces of classical and Renaissance art and statuary. At the main page of her website, Macnamara also has a “Covid Coloring Book” free to download: “Paint while you stay at home. Art is meditation.”

The Tomaquag Museum of Exeter, Rhode Island informs the public about the “Indigenous history, culture, and arts” of the tribal communities of Southern New England. Every Wednesday at 10am, the Museum posts a new Children’s Hour video on their website that includes storytelling, crafts, and recipes, while more activities are available at the Museum’s Facebook page. Currently, many of these videos and activities focus on Strawberry Thanksgiving, a summer moon harvest festival celebrated by the Narragansett and Niantic tribes; the Museum has assembled a resource guide about the role of the strawberry in tribal diet and society.


Older kids interested in science should know about Dr. Jay Hosler, a professor at Juniata College who does comics designed for both general readers and the students in his biology classes. Hosler’s website is here, and many of his online science comics can be found at his “Drawing Flies” blog and on Instagram. Also available is Hosler’s engaging 2018 TEDx talk, “Science Comics can Save the World!” In winter 2021, Hosler’s Clan Apis, his classic graphic novel about the life cycle of a honeybee, comes back into print under a new title, The Way of the Hive, and is highly recommended!



Who’s more patriotic than Captain America? On this Fourth of July weekend, we can celebrate Cap by looking at three issues (#110, #111 and #113) of his Marvel comic book from 1969 that are considered all-time classics. This three-part story (with a one-month gap between chapters two and three because of a missed deadline) was written and drawn by Jim Steranko, a magician and escape artist who, in the mid-1960s, turned to cartooning and crafted some of the most experimental Marvel comics ever before he left the company in the early 1970s. John DiBello writes about how Steranko updated Captain America for a new generation, but Steranko’s art is beautiful to gaze at even if you aren’t familiar with the tale: some of his pages are psychedelic, some are moody, and many show Cap and his sidekick exploding into kinetic action! Enjoy the images below. (And #steranko on Instagram is fun to browse too.)



This weekly blog post is written and compiled by Craig Fischer. To send along recommendations, ideas, and comments, contact Craig at [.]

Playhouse Comics Club, Issue #9 (June 26, 2020)Playhouse Comics Club, Issue #11 (July 10, 2020)
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