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Arts & Entertainment

Analyzing Orphan Annie

Funnies get serious at the Gotlieb Center

Click on the slide show above to learn about more than a century of comic art, narrated by Perry Barton, exhibitions coordinator at the Gotlieb Archival Research Center.


Comic art is serious business. Reaching as far back as the 18th century, a display of comic art at the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center ranges from the humorous to the touching.

The exhibition, Black and White and Read All Over: Comic Art and Artists, includes artwork by Al Capp (Li’l Abner), Hank Ketcham (Dennis the Menace), Frederick Burr Opper (Happy Hooligan, which refined the use of speech balloons starting in 1899), and Harold Gray (Little Orphan Annie, whose Daddy Warbucks lost his millions during the Great Depression). There are also pieces by Constantin Alajalov (The New Yorker), E. Simms Campbell (Esquire), and George Cuikshank and John Leech, who illustrated Charles Dickens’ novels.

The exhibition’s prints and original panel art are on display Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. on the fifth floor of Mugar Memorial Library. The collection is one of many at the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, a repository for the papers and artifacts of more than 2,000 public figures in the fields of journalism, literature, film, theater, diplomacy, civil rights, and public affairs, including Martin Luther King, Jr. (GRS’55, Hon.’59), David Halberstam, Bette Davis, and Dan Rather (Hon.’83).