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A History of the Funnies (1880s – 2000s): Collection of Dr. Maurice Dewey

If you’re feeling a bit down in the dumps right now, then maybe you should take some time to check out a collection of cartoon and comic art that is currently on display at the Carnegie Art Center in North Tonawanda, NY. The featured collection is that of Dr. Maurie Dewey, who spent a lifetime collecting the remarkable pieces, 160 of which are on display. The exhibit, chronicling “A History of the Funnies: 1880s –2000s”, is currently underway, through August 19, 2017.

So much of what we have experienced as a human race has been told via comics and cartoons. There was a time when these types of mediums were the only way to relay myriad issues to a wide array of readers, who were captivated by the art, the “familiar” characters, and the nature of the storytelling. These artists portrayed real life stories that were easy to identify with – weekly storylines ranged from lighthearted quirky family issues to explosive commentary on world news. Today, comics and cartoons are alive and well, but there will never be a collection of artists and storytellers the likes of what we see here.

Dewey grew up during the Great Depression. The comics became a form of escapism, at a time when everything was bleak. Throughout his life, Dewey’s love of his favorite funny papers’ characters grew – he avidly collected the art and associated memorabilia. His wish was to share these memories and his vast collection with younger people, who might not be aware of the cartoon artists who told their tales through endearing characters that everyone could relate to. Unfortunately, Dewey passed away in January of 2017… as he was curating the upcoming show. Towards the end of his life, he expressed his commitment to seeing the show through. Thankfully, his final dream of exhibiting his works one last time was carried through by those at the Carnegie Art Center.

Now, it’s your turn to see firsthand this “colorful” collection of funnies that remain as poignant today as they did when they first hit the newsstands.

The Carnegie Art Center is located at 240 Goundry Street in North Tonawanda, NY and is open on Thursdays 6:00–9:00 pm and Saturdays 12:00–3:00 pm. This event is sponsored in part by the City of North Tonawanda, and the Members of the Carnegie Art Center.   The Carnegie Art Center is situated in a structure built in 1904 as the City of North Tonawanda’s public library and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Since 1976, the Carnegie has been operating as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation, offering the community art exhibitions, art and dance classes, as well as support to artists and art organizations. For more information please contact the Carnegie Art Center at 716-694-4400 or view the website at

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, and the Madd Tiki Winter Luau. Other projects: Navigetter.

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