PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Each year since 1954, one cartoonist receives the highest award, known as the Reuben.
Each of those artists is represented at the Toonseum, in Pittsburgh’s Cultural District.
“It’s sort of like the Oscars for cartoonists,” says Toonseum owner Joe Wos. “In the 60 years this award has been given, this is the first time that original art has all been assembled together. These are the best of the best. These are the icons, the legends. These are my heroes.”
The art spans three generations. Somewhere on those walls is a comic strip that someone will recognize.
“These people are the reason I became a cartoonist, and so many others too,” Wos says. “Charles M. Schultz who draws Snoopy is one of my all time favorites. We have the very first Pogo by Walt Kelly. That that line, that crispness that’s so beautiful. We have stuff from Matt Groening here. People often forget they think of him as The Simpsons, but he started out with a comic strip.”
The Toonseum owner himself has done his own share of off-the-wall cartooning.
His Guinness World Record, the world’s largest maze, is a pop-up exhibit at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art on Route 30.
The maze is 32 feet long, and fills portions of three walls. It’s covered with acetate so visitors can attempt to draw their way from start to finish. Warning: there are more than 1,000 dead ends.
“If you’re stopped by a dead end, you have to turn around and go back and try and find your way back,” says chief curator. “And that’s not always easy, and it’s very frustrating if you get along a certain amount of distance and then you’re stuck.”
Once you have a world record, what’s next? Joe Wos has the answer.
“I will create the world’s largest maze again, but this one will be fifty feet long,” he said.