One of the problems of living in southern Ohio is that all the cool stuff (at least as relating to comics and the comic book industry) happens just a little too far away to be readily accessible. The three big "centers" here in the United States seem to be in California, New York, and Florida. Chicago tends to be the "hub" for Midwesterners, but that's not exactly an easy (or cheap) trip either.
With this past weekend's convention in New York, I talked with and saw several blogs of people who noted how great it was to meet up with friends, old and new. The atmosphere, from what I've read, was very congential overall and no one seemed to have less than a decent time.
Here in Ohio, we have the Mid-Ohio-Con -- which is a good show, certainly, but I've never really been able to "connect" with anybody there. I've talked with creators and once met up with an online buddy of mine, but the last few years have felt strangely hollow for me. Probably in large part because I was flying solo and didn't have much more to ask/say to the creators I'd already seen year after year.
We also have, as I understand it, an excellent collection available up at Ohio State University's Cartoon Research Library. They periodically do host comic-related events but, in the past, they've either been decidedly scholarly in nature (as in, "educators presenting research papers") or ones that have conflicted with other things I've had going on. For example, Scott McCloud will be there on April 4 at 4:00 pm -- which would mean I'd have to take a vacation day off work in the middle of the week to attend.
All that said, there are two things in the area I think I should be able to go to.
The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art is hosting a "Native American Portrayals in Comics" panel on March 10. While I'm not an Native American, the idea of learning about under-represented cultures in the medium appeals to me. They're also running an exhibit of Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, two artists whose work was heavily steeped in popular culture. Lichtenstein especially dipped into the world of comic books on any number of occassions to develop his work.
Slightly closer, and running through June 20, Miami University's Art Museum is presenting and exhibit called, simply, "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century." My initial thought was that they would perhaps have a few comic strips clipped from old newspapers, but it would largely be props used by either Buster Crabbe or Gil Gerard. A local NPR report, however, noted that it indeed was largely comprised of original comic strip artwork, much of it by Dick Calkins -- who worked on the strip from 1929 until 1947. Supposedly, the exhibit contains original artwork of whole stories, not just an occassional daily, and tries to to place new relevance on them by relating them to both the original historical context in which they were written as well as how that context is similar in many ways to a contemporary one. I don't know how successful the exhibit is at doing this, but the NPR report painted an excellent picture of the show.
So, if you don't see me report on these two things at some point this year, call me on it and I'll post a series of public excuses only mildly more original than "my dog ate my homework."