Museum exhibiting comic strips

September 6—The Huntington Museum of Art will present POW! Comic drawings from the permanent collection until October 25.

POW! The permanent collection comic art will include original comic book artwork, comic strips, and sequential designs created by some of America’s most famous comic book artists, such as Bob Kane, Ernie Chan, and Neil Adams, from the Michael Reynolds Collection of Americans at the Huntington Museum of Art. popular culture.

“Comic book culture is decidedly mainstream,” said John Farley, HMA’s senior curator/exhibition designer. “It’s no longer a niche hobby. Original illustrations for newspaper strips and comic strips are coveted by collectors and exhibited by major museums. Once primarily an American art form, comic strips and the pantheon of characters spawned within their pages now connect legions of devoted fans around the world through a common language.Comic book sales have been steadily increasing for decades and consumer demand continues to reach stunning highs, a trend spurred by the popularity of graphic novels and digital downloads.

Throughout its history, comics have done more than entertain. “The comic strip represents a natural evolution from the political cartoons and satirical cartoons that have been printed in European and American newspapers and periodicals since the early 1800s,” Farley said. “Cleverly designed interactions between text and image enabled effective communication with a wide audience, regardless of age or literacy level, making this format ideal for social criticism, propaganda and entertainment. .”

The first comic book containing original cartoons was released in 1935. However, the golden age of comics really began in 1938 with Action Comics, no. 1, when an alien refugee baby with superhuman potential crash-landed in the idyllic American Midwest. The boy’s adoptive parents named him Clark Kent, but mankind learned about this superhero archetype, champion of the underdog, through his alter-ego: Superman.

By the mid-20th century, in addition to a growing number of mainstream comic book creators, various independent artists, writers, and publishers were producing self-expressive comics that commented on culture and politics from new perspectives.

Barriers continue to turn into frontiers for creativity as artists and writers who once had a limited voice in the traditional comics industry now enjoy wider audiences and wider platforms to tell their stories. .

This exhibition is sponsored in part by the Truist WV Foundation and presented with the support of The Isabelle Gwynn and Robert Daine Exhibition Endowment.

This program is presented with the financial assistance of the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture, and History and the National Endowment for the Arts, with the approval of the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.

Daniel K. Denny