Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Masters of American Comics

The comic stores may suck in Milwaukee, but at least we got this: The Masters of American Comics exhibit at the Milwaukee Art Museum. You've probably heard about this already. I believe it opened in LA and will move on to New York after the Milwaukee exhibit, but that's it. I don't know why they decided to show it in Milwaukee of all places in the Midwest, but I'm glad they did. Me and Patrick were at the exhibit for nearly three hours taking it all in. It was really a spectacular show, featuring the works of fifteen comic artists (this is the order we experienced them): Winsor McCay (Little Nemo In Slumberland), Lyonel Feininger (Kin-Der-Kids), George Herriman (Krazy Kat), E.C. Segar (Thimble Theater), Frank King (Gasoline Alley), Milton Caniff (Terry & the Pirates), Chester Gould (Dick Tracy), Charles Schultz (Peanuts), Will Eisner (The Spirit), Jack Kirby (Fantastic Four), Harvey Kurtzman (Mad), R. Crumb (Zap Comix), Art Spiegelman (Maus), Gary Panter (Jimbo) and Chris Ware (Acme Novelty Library). My favorite presentations were Jack Kirby (with some really great Thor covers and Silver Surfer pages, and a beautiful Devil Dinosaur splash page), Milton Caniff (Who I'd never really seen any work from prior to this) and Winsor McCay (These pages were huge with a real fluidity in a lot of the work. You can see he has an interest in animation. Herriman and Feininger's work were on just as large a scale as McCay's too, but I prefer McCay's). And at the end of the exhibit, we were forced to exit through the museum store where there were plenty of comics just begging to be purchased, including the first copy of Little Nemo In Slumberland: So Many Splendid Sundays that either me or Patrick had ever laid eyes on. And, of course, there's a book that goes along with the show that anyone who won't be able to go to the show may want to check out. Afterwards, we found out that Chris Ware is having a dialogue with a comic scholar/co-curator on May the fourth, which we would have definitely postponed our visit to see, but if anybody else is planning to go to the show, I would suggest waiting for that. It sounds like we will be going back for a documentary film of Will Eisner on July 13th, seeing as how it's on Patrick's birthday and all. If anyone wants more information on this particular exhibit, I'd suggest looking at the Milwaukee Art Museum's site.

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