Carol Tyler

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Carol Tyler
Carol Tyler
Born 1951 (age 63–64)
Chicago, Illinois
Nationality American
Area(s) Cartoonist
Pseudonym(s) C. Tyler[1]
Notable works
You'll Never Know, A Graphic Memoir
Awards Dori Seda Memorial Award for Best New Female Cartoonist, 1988

Carol Tyler (born 1951) is an American painter, educator, comedian, and Eisner Award-nominated cartoonist known for her autobiographical stories.


Born in Chicago[2] Illinois, she is the daughter of Charles W. Tyler, a pipe fitter and WWII[3] Veteran, and Hannah Elizabeth Yates Tyler, an executive secretary. Carol is the fourth of five children. Her siblings are Ann Tyler, Virginia Tyler Unverzagt, Joe Tyler, and Jim Tyler. She attended Catholic schools for her entire K-12 education. At age 9, the family moved from the city to Ingleside, Illinois, to Stanton Point on Fox Lake. Beatlemaniac Carol saw the Beatles[4] perform at Comiskey Park in 1965. She graduated from Carmel High School for Girls in 1969.

In 1971, she married a water quality control engineer she met while attending Tennessee Technological University. Why 'Tech' for an artist? She wanted to be near her Tennessee[5] relatives, and loved the solace and beauty of the country. She and Bob lived in Illinois and Nashville. After their divorce in 1976, a desire for a situation that more suited her lively, artistic nature landed her at Middle Tennessee State University, MTSU[6], where Carol became a dynamic, creative force and peer influencer. She found her voice there and made visual art that incorporated language - the beginnings of her communication style of art. During her time at MTSU and into her New York years, Wayne[7] White was Tyler's romantic companion and soul buddy. They forged a new aesthetic together. She opened doors for them.

In 1980, Carol landed a job at the Olympics[8] in Lake Placid. Duties included co-ordinating art exhibits and coming up with a closing ceremony. The highlight was watching her brother Joe Tyler[9] compete as brakeman on USA #1 Bobsled. Her brother Jim Tyler[10] was brakeman for USA #1 in Sarajevo in 1984. She sat with team USA to watch the Miracle on Ice.[11]

Carol Tyler became interested in the underground comix[12] movement while pursuing a master's degree in painting at Syracuse University[13] in the early 1980s.[1] Syracuse also brought New York City within range; NYC[14], being the center of the art world. She lived there long enough to meet many artists and cartoonists, including Art Spiegelman[15]. During this time, Wayne showed her a copy of the comix masterpiece "Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary[16]" by Justin Green[17]. "I couldn't believe this guy, telling his personal story so openly. Like what I'm trying to do with my own art." With so much common ground between them, Tyler felt she had to meet Justin and other comix heroes like Bill Griffith[18] and Spain Rodriguez[19]. Spiegelman provided the contact information, and eventually she found herself in the underground comics hotbed of San Francisco[20].[2]

Two years of bi-costal visits, letters, intrigue and romance led to a move to SF, marriage to Justin and a child in 1985. She met Aline[21] & Robert Crumb[22] at a Last Gasp[23] burrito party, and they invited her to submit comics to Weirdo[24]. The first of her comics they published was the 1987 story "Uncovered Property", in Weirdo. Tyler's short slice-of-life stories and her distinctive artwork brought her critical attention as one of a growing number of female artists shaping the direction of underground/alternative comics in North America in the 1980s; she appeared in the influential feminist anthologies Wimmen's Comix[25] and Twisted Sisters[26]. Her first solo book, The Job Thing[27], was published in 1993.

Previously known mostly for black-and-white drawings, the change in technology in the 1990s allowed for her to incorporate more color into her comics. She produced short comics for publications including Zero Zero, Drawn and Quarterly, LA Weekly and Pulse!.

Naturally funny Tyler took a class on comedy writing at the Coloma Community Center taught by Monica Ganas from the Rick & Ruby Show[28]. Monica invited Carol to join her new project "The Patio Show." Carol took the alias Marion Linthead." "Rick & Ruby's Patio Show" starring Monica Ganas, Brian Seff, Doug Ferrari, J. Raoul Brody, and Carol Tyler toured California, including many performances at LA’s Comedy Store[29].[1]

Her second solo work Late Bloomer[30], with an introduction by Robert Crumb, was published by Fantagraphics[31] in 2005. It's a 20 year collection of material drawn while raising her child that includes both previously published and new material. In his foreword, R. Crumb says, "She's tops in my book. One of the best artists alive and working in the comics medium. Her work has the extremely rare quality of authentic HEART. Hers are the only comics that ever brought me to the verge of tears."[3]

Tyler's most recent completed project is a trilogy and later complete volume entitled "You'll Never Know[32]." It details the search for the truth about her father's experiences during World War II, and about the toll it took on her future relationships. Book One: A Good & Decent Man was released in May 2009. Book Two: Collateral Damage was released in July, 2010.[4] The final installment of the trilogy, Book Three: Soldier's Heart was released in October 2012. "You'll Never Know, the Complete Volume" release date is scheduled for September 2015.

Tyler lives in Cincinnati[33] and teaches a very popular class on comics, graphic novels & sequential art at the University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning.[1] She has brought her current book theme, military service, into the classroom.[34][35][36]

Her most current cartooning endeavor is a series of one-page stories called "Tomatoes" for Cincinnati Magazine[37]. Based upon her experiences of growing tomatoes and friendships in the heart of the city, "Tomatoes" appears monthly on the inside back page. She also has a blog-to-become-a-book in progress about seeing the Beatles in 1965.

Tyler is a Residency artist in the Arts Learning Program with the Ohio Arts Council.[38]

Personal life[edit]

Tyler lives with cartoonist Justin Green in Avondale, Ohio (Cincinnati).[39]


You'll Never Know, Book I: A Good & Decent Man, Book II: Collateral Damage, and Book III: Soldier's Heart have been nominated for many awards in the comics industry, including eight Eisner Award nominations (Best writer/artist non-fiction, Best graphic album, Best Lettering and Best Painter/Multimedia Artist). The series was named as a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.[40]

Tyler's piece "The Hannah Story", published in Drawn and Quarterly, was nominated for a 1995 Eisner Award and is on the Fantagraphics list of Top 100 Comics of the Twentieth Century.[citation needed]

In 1988, Tyler was awarded the inaugural Dori Seda Memorial Award for Best New Female Cartoonist of the Decade from Last Gasp.[41]


Solo projects[edit]

  • You'll Never Know: The Complete Volume”. Fantagraphics, 2015.
  • You'll Never Know: Book III: “Soldier's Heart”. Fantagraphics, 2012.
  • You'll Never Know: Book II: “Collateral Damage”. Fantagraphics, 2010.
  • You'll Never Know: Book I: “A Good and Decent Man”. Fantagraphics, 2009.
  • Late Bloomer. Fantagraphics Books, 2005. ISBN 1-56097-664-0
  • The Job Thing. Fantagraphics Books, 1993. ISBN 1-56097-111-8

Contributed to[edit]

  • Weirdo
  • Wimmen's Comix
  • Street Music
  • Zero Zero
  • Mineshaft Magazine
  • Prime Cuts
  • LA Weekly
  • Drawn and Quarterly
  • Tower Records’ Pulse!


External links[edit]