Ackley included with world’s top cartoonists


By Ryan Berry

GREENVILLE — You’ve seen Paul Ackley’s editorial cartoons on the pages of The Daily Advocate and The Early Bird since the early 1980s, but now many pieces of his work will forever be preserved at The Ohio State University’s Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum. Ackley was recently honored with inclusion into the repository of cartoonist’s work from around the world.

The museum is named for the cartoonist that served the Columbus Dispatch in the early 1900s until his death in 1935. At one time, Ireland was publishing four to seven editorial cartoons each week. Ireland was born in Chillicothe and was a graduate of The Ohio State University.

Although Ackley is a three-time Associated Press award winner for his editorial cartoons and earned the Good Citizen award from the State of Ohio, he said this honor ranks up there with those other honors. He recently presented approximately 150 pieces of his original artwork to the museum after being accepted by the board. He pointed out that it isn’t an easy process to be included in the museum and library. The artist must apply for inclusion and then their artwork is scrutinized by the library and museum’s board. Only the top comic and editorial artists are accepted.

Ackley said he asked why his artwork was accepted. Their first answer was the quality of his work. However, Ackley said he was intrigued by their other reasons for including his work in their collection. The museum also liked that he was a veteran, and he had a Native American background. He was surprised to learn there are very few artists with that type of background.

The artwork that will be included in the museum and library ranges from Ackley’s early work at the beginning of the 1980s to work featured in the Daily Advocate last year. Ackley believes he has drawn approximately 2,800 cartoons since first drawing for Roosevelt University when he was attending art school. Some of those first cartoons also made it to the pages of the Daily Advocate.

He said to be included next to some of his heroes in the cartooning business is an honor. Many of the artists that pointed him in the direction of being a cartoonist are there. While a student at the American Academy of Art, Ackley met Dick Locher at the Chicago Tribune. Not only was Locher an editorial cartoonist, at one point he had taken over the drawing of the Dick Tracy comic strip. Even before that meeting, Ackley met former Dayton Journal Herald editorial and political cartoonist Bob Englehart. It was Englehart that encouraged Ackley to attend the American Academy of Art in Chicago.

Ackley’s art is not only included with the likes of Locher and Englehart, but he is also included with Mort Walker of Beetle Bailey fame, Bill Watterson who created Calvin & Hobbes, Jeff MacNelly who created Shoe, and Dayton Daily News Pulitzer Prize winner Mike Peters.

Most people have probably never heard of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, but it is considered to be the largest repository of editorial cartoons, comic strips, comic books, graphic novels, and sports cartoons in the world. The museum and library contains over 300,000 original cartoons, 45,000 books, 67,000 serials and comic books, 6,300 boxes of archival materials and 2.5 million comic strip clippings.

Ackley’s work will be stored in a temperature-controlled vault right beside the other greats in the cartooning industry. Before heading to the vault, his art will be examined by The Ohio State University students who will study his work and offer comments and notes. The originals will then be sealed and taken to a vault where the majority of original cartoons are stored for study by art students and historians.

For more information about the Billy Ireland Museum & Library, visit The website provides a list of exhibits and collections that are currently available. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, 1-5 p.m. and the library is open Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The museum is located on the campus of The Ohio State University in Sullivant Hall, 1813 N. High St., Columbus.

To contact Daily Advocate Editor Ryan Berry, email [email protected].

No posts to display