Front Row Center Newsletter from the Greater Columbus Arts Counsil
It's a bird, it's a plane; It's Columbus' Indie Comics!
Alyssa Adkins

The visual medium of cartoon art has been around for centuries in various forms.  One of the most well-known is comics – a series of drawings, usually accompanied by words, that when viewed in order tells a story.  But there are many ideas out there as to what makes a comic, and depending on who you ask, you’ll likely get a different answer. Does there have to be action? Does there have to be a narrative? How many pictures make a strip?  Can there be just one?  For as long as the comic has been around it has been ever changing. From its humble beginnings as a morning staple of the newspaper comic strip to the beloved comic book, and now to the increasingly popular online webcomics, the medium has evolved to fit modern entertainment.

The state of Ohio is more than familiar with the art of comics.  Last year, Superman—arguably the most famous comic book superhero— celebrated his 75th birthday.  Many would be surprised to find out that the “man of steel” was thought up by two teenage boys growing up in 1930s Cleveland. The first incarnation of Superman was in a self-published fanzine by the boys in 1933. The Superman we know today wouldn’t appear until 1938, after Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster sold the rights to DC Comics. Superman would be the first major success story of self-publishing comics in Ohio. Since that time, many more creators have taken up the mantle to carry on Ohio’s tradition of cartoon art.

Visitors of S.P.A.C.E (Small Press & Alternative Comics Expo) this past April were offered the chance to meet many of the people working in the industry in Ohio, and to find out why Columbus in particular is so great for comics and the artists and writers who create them.

As visitors walked the aisles of fold-out tables lined with comic books ranging from four for a dollar at one booth all the way to 25 dollars for a single volume at another, many found themselves immersed and yet on the fringe all at once. One exhibitor shouted across the hall a happy birthday wish to another. Another exhibitor excitedly proclaimed their love for the work of the patron at their table. Exhibitors found time to visit one another; to find out at which convention their fellow comic artists and publishers will be next so they can see them again; to ask when the next volume of their series will be out. This is a community of people who share more than the love of comics. They share support. They share goals and ambitions. They’re each other’s best friends, biggest fans—and closest competition.

To those who thought the Columbus comics community was a sleeping giant waiting for its time; it is now wide awake.


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Artist Jenny Fine's “Flat Granny” Artist Profile
Paul Palnik Headshot cartoonist
Paul Palnik

As the most comprehensive online events guide and resource for arts and culture in central Ohio, offers a virtual guide through the Columbus art world with a searchable database of events, concerts, performances and more. is an engaging place for artists and arts organizations to share what they do, with thousands of users per month. The Artist Directory allows visual, performing and literary artists to create a profile and portfolio to showcase their work—for free—and enables art enthusiasts to easily search for and connect with them. Our monthly artist profile series features interviews with some of the many talented individuals who make up central Ohio’s thriving creative community. 

For this issue, we interviewed nationally acclaimed cartoonist and native Ohioan, Paul Palnik, whose work is revered by the likes of Nobel Prize for Literature winner, Isaac Bashevis Singer and American journalist and public commentator, Bill Moyers–among many others.  Palnik, whose cartoon studio is located in Columbus’ Short North, has written and illustrated numerous books, has hundreds of drawings in the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum at Ohio State and has worked as an artist for several publications including American Greetings and The Columbus Dispatch.  Palnik’s pen and ink cartoons, often rendered in minute detail, combine graphic design, drawing, poetry and literature.  Through the fundamental spirituality of his drawings, Palnik delves into what makes us human—and his plucky sense of humor helps us to see how much nicer life can be when we allow ourselves to have a good laugh at our foibles.

” I am proof that one can dream a dream and then move toward that dream, one little step at a time.  And if one refuses to give up , one can live their dreams … AND … one can make dreams come true right here in Columbus. There is no need to search elsewhere. Make a stand right here in Columbus. The real treasures in life are found in your own back yard.”

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Sneak Peek

Etsy Team Columbus Presents Eco-Chic Craftacular Arts Fair

Etsy Team Columbus’ Eco-Chic Craftacular is the longest running, earth-friendly arts fair in Columbus, with more than 100 eco-friendly artists selling fine art, handmade clothing and accessories, home decor, jewelry, flowers and more. The lively, community celebration takes place May 3 at the Whetstone Community Center in Clintonville and will feature family activities, arts and green living demonstrations, raffles, live music, dancing and food trucks.

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SRO Theatre Company & King Arts Complex Present A Raisin in the Sun

A Raisin in the Sun depicts a struggling African-American family determined to live a better life in the face of poverty and racism. When a sizeable insurance payment, arrives, that family Capturefinds their hopes and dreams challenged. This 1959 Best American Play award-winner and American classic, listed as number 22 on Goodreads Top 100 Stage Plays of All times, will be produced by The SRO Theatre Company in Association with The King Arts Complex.

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Celebrating 20 Years of the Asian Festival

The 20th Asian Festival this Memorial Day weekend will present arts, crafts, demonstrations, interactive workshops, music and dance from an array of artists representing many Asian ethnicities to promote the importance of cultural diversity in building a vibrant community. Held at Franklin Park, with a Dragon Boat Race held at the Scioto Audubon Metro Park.

Continue Reading → © 2016 Greater Columbus Arts Council. All Rights Reserved.
GCAC appreciates and acknowledges support from: City of Columbus, Franklin County and the Ohio Arts Council.

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Front Row Center provides an in-depth look into the creative individuals and organizations that make the Central Ohio arts and cultural community unique. Front Row Center features articles about local and national arts issues, profiles of creative professionals, previews of upcoming events and the inside scoop on what’s happening in the arts in Columbus. For complete submission guidelines please visit our Publications Page.