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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Oklahoma Cartoonists Collection Newsletter for March

I want to thank Carole Bender for passing the newsletter on to me in Word format, so that it can be posted on Four Color Commentary. It's a lot of extra work for her and is greatly appreciated. Thanks, Carole! - Mark Allen

Tulsa Comic Con

The folks at Starbase 21 are presenting the first Tulsa Comics Con to be held this Saturday and Sunday, March 15 and 16 at the Tulsa Econo Lodge, located at 11620 E. Skelly Drive in Tulsa. Doors open at 10:00 am and close at 6:00 pm.

Included in the festivities will be panel discussions, a charity auction benefiting St. Peter and Paul School in Tulsa in memory of D.L. “Dink” Jones and a premier showing of the movie “Back Issues.”

The celebrity guest list includes several OCC members! Scheduled to appear are:

Steve Erwin - OCC Artist & Hall of Fame member

(Batman Returns, Superboy)

R. A. Jones -OCC Writer

(Captain America, Wolverine)

Terry Tidwell - OCC Artist

(Twilight Avenger, The Miracle Squad, Man-Frog)

Michael Vance - OCC Writer

(Nemo, Lights End)

John Wooley - OCC Writer

(Plan Nine from Outer Space, Twilight Avenger)

Rob Davis OCC Associate Artist

(Star Trek: TNG, Quantum Leap)

Other guests include Gary Friedrich (writer: X-Men, Hulk), Rich Buckler (artist: Wonder Woman, Justice League), Jeremy Haun (artist: Iron Man, Captain America) and Selina Rosen (author).

This is short notice, but if you love comics and are in the area, you should stop by.


10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday • 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday


Econo Lodge, 11620 E. Skelly Drive


Single-day admission, $8; weekend admission, $15.

Advance weekend tickets, $12 at Starbase 21,

8222 E. 103rd St., No. 134

As part of the festivities, a charity auction will be held benefiting St. Peter and Paul School in Tulsa in memory of D.L. “Dink” Jones.

For more information, go to or call 918-369-0650.


Oklahoma Cartoonists and Tulsa Welcome Bruce Plante

(Bruce Plante (right) is greeted by OCC member Jack Bender at the Tulsa Press Club reception)

The Oklahoma Cartoonists Collection is proud to welcome Bruce Plante as the newest cartoonist working in Oklahoma. Last October, the Tulsa World hired him to be its new political cartoonist and hosted a reception for him at the Tulsa Press Club on November 29, 2007. We hope to add some of his art to the Oklahoma Cartoonists Collection soon.


The Oklahoma Cartoonists Collection was honored to be featured as the cover spotlight article in the February newsletter of the Southwestern Archivest. We wanted to share the article with you all.

SOUTHWESTERN ARCHIVIST – February, 2008 - Volume 31, Issue 1


Chester Gould. Bill Mauldin. Smilin’ Jack. Alley Oop. All are famous names in the cartoon world.

And they are only a few of the nearly 50 cartoonists, writers and comic characters included in the Oklahoma Cartoonists Collection, on display daily in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, as part of the thriving Toy and Action Figure Museum.

The purpose of the OCC is to gather, preserve and honor the works of Oklahomans who have contributed to the world of comic art. It began as the long-time dream of Michael Vance, a Tulsa journalist who writes novels, short stories, comic books, comic book commentary and research books.

He researched the names of Oklahoma comic artists and writers. Included were all who had been born in Oklahoma, raised in Oklahoma or worked in Oklahoma.

Vance contacted Jim Lange, political cartoonist for the Oklahoman, Jack and Carole Bender, artist and writer of the comic strip “Alley Oop”, Russell Myers, creator of “Broom Hilda” and Dan Piraro, creator of “Bizarro”, and many others who currently are active, plus relatives of deceased artists and writers such as Chester Gould, Zack Moseley, Don Flowers and E. Nelson Bridwell to obtain donations of original comic art.

Building the collection was a labor of love. “This is the most important thing I have done in my life,” Vance said at the time.

Finding a suitable home for the collection was not easy. “One museum was willing to accept it, but intended to just store it,” he recalls. “Another felt it was not harmonious to the material already on display.”

Then he heard of a new museum being created in Pauls Valley. It was to be the Toy and Action Figure Museum, built around the collection of Kevin Stark. It turned out to be a perfect fit as Stark enthusiastically embraced the concept and began designing a space for the additional attraction of original comic art.

The museum opened October 15, 2005, and attracted some 15,000 visitors from all over the nation in just the first year. The Governor’s Conference on Tourism gave it the coveted Redbud Award as the state’s best new attraction of the year.

Recently Vance withdrew from the operation of the collection but emphasized that the collection is the property of the museum, with the only stipulation being that the art be returned to the donors if the museum should no longer need it.

The collection is now entering an exciting new phase of its development. It is currently overseen by a committee consisting of Stark as curator, Jim Lange, Steve Erwin, John Wooley and the Benders. More space has been given to the collection. Over the past few months, the art has been professionally re-mounted and cases have been added to display memorabilia related to the various comic characters drawn and written by Oklahomans.

Other plans in the works include launching an official website for the Oklahoma Cartoonists Collection, and, Stark says, “I really want to work up a traveling exhibit of the OCC and send it to schools around the state. We need to inspire and educate young, aspiring cartoonists out there!”

A regular OCC event is the induction of Oklahoma artists and writers into the Oklahoma Cartoonists Hall of Fame. Presentation is made at the anniversary celebration of the Toy and Action Figure Museum each fall. Previous inductees include Chester Gould, Zack Mosley, Bill Mauldin, E. Nelson Bridwell, Jack & Carole Bender, Jim Lange, Clarence Allen, Don Flowers, Don Woods, Steve Erwin, Archie Goodwin, R.A. Jones and Dave Simpson.

Spotlight on Oklahoma: You can find the Toy and Action Figure Museum at 111 S. Chickasaw, Pauls Valley, OK. For more details about the museum, visit, or call (405) 238-6300.

(At the second anniversary of the Toy Museum, October 2007. L-R: Ben Mosley (nephew of Hall of Fame inductee, Zack Mosley, creator of “Smilin’ Jack”), Hall of Fame inductee Don Woods (former Tulsa meteorologist and creator of “Gusty,” his cartoon weather mascot), Jack and Carole Bender (creators of the comic strip “Alley Oop”), Ben’s wife Donna Mosley and Kevin Stark, curator of the Toy and Action Figure Museum and of the OCC.)

Editor’s Note: On the drive from central Texas to the annual meeting in Oklahoma City last May, SSAers Joel Minor, Mat Darby and Katie Salzmann were side-tracked from their route by brown “point of interest” signs advertising the Toy and Action Figure museum. The series of road signs wound through downtown Pauls Valley and led straight to the front door of the museum. The experience serves as an excellent example of the importance of advertising on’e repository – not just that the resources exist, but also exactly how to get there.


Toy and Action Figure Museum Updates

There’s always something new going on at the Toy & Action Figure Museum in Pauls Valley, so if you haven’t been recently, it’s worth making another trip! As you all know, it’s the home of the Oklahoma Cartoonists Collection, and a recent addition to that area is a new display case to exhibit memorabilia (such as toys, lunch boxes, action figures, etc) associated with OCC member works. If any of you OCC members out there have any such items you’d care to donate to the exhibit, contact curator Kevin Stark at

Another addition at the museum is the WWII exhibit, which was unveiled on December 7, 2007.

Visit the museum at 111 S. Chickasaw St. in Pauls Valley.


Send Us Your News!

The goal is to keep this OCC newsletter going on a (semi)quarterly basis as a way for us to keep in touch, so if you have any news about your projects or anything you want to publicize, contact Carole Bender at THIS IS YOUR NEWSLETTER!

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