Oct 22, 2008

From the archives...

While sorting through old photos on my computer today I found some shots I took at the Montclair Art Museum last year. These pictures were of the geekiest nature and I decided they must be shared with you.

The exhibit was called The Evolution of America's Comic Book Heroes and while it's a relatively small museum they had an amazing selection of comic art. Among other things...

This first room was really cool. Besides the costumed centerpiece, the walls were lined with photos of heroesworking in every day professions. Seeing The Thing as a construction worker, Batman as a cab driver or Catwoman as a nanny was really interesting. Turns out, Dulce Pinzón is the creator of these works which feature Mexican immigrants working in their actual NYC jobs. 
The principal objective of this series is to pay homage to these brave and determined men and women that somehow manage, without the help of any supernatural power, to withstand extreme conditions of labor in order to help their families and communities survive and prosper. -Pinzón
You can view all the shots at his site here.

Oh momma! The first issue of Action Comics and the first appearance of Batman in Detective Comics up-close and personal. Of course, all the comics were under glass but it was really amazing to see history. In fact the collection spanned from this 1938 Superman beginning to the death of Captain America in 2007. There was even a life-size statue of Superman looming over me making sure I didn't try and steal anything...

Besides historic comic books there was also a huge display of original black-and-white art and sketches to drool over. This Wonder Woman sketch by Adam Hughes for the cover of Scott Beatty's Wonder Woman: The Ultimate Guide to the Amazon Princess, made me question the existence of motion sensors.

Last on the tour was this colorful mural depicting DC and Marvel characters by Greg Hildebrandt. Not the kind of thing that would fit in most peoples houses but it turns out a lot of the collection at the museum belongs to Michael Uslan, executive producer of just about every Batman film out there. Of course the Kubert's had a hand in making it a visual feast as well.

So there you have it. My trip to an extremely fun comic exhibit from last year. Things like this might turn up now and then so I'm thinking of making a habit out of this archive thing. We'll see how it goes.

3 comments:

GeekBoy said...

Hey, I went to that one too! My comic book geek friend from Canada and his wife were down visiting last January, and he and I made a point of driving up to Montclair to catch the exhibit before it went away. (The ladies spent that several hours at a nearby knitting supplies store.)

I LOVE exhibits like these, even moreso than the conventions. There's something geekily cool about looking at old comic book covers and reading the histories and seeing the original sketches, especially if somebody's taken the time to put them into a historical context.

I went to a similar exhibit at the Jewish Museum in NYC back in 2006. Did you catch that one? And if you ever get to Baltimore, you HAVE to check out Geppi's Entertainment Museum, which has walls and walls of comics, as well as other pop culture memorabilia that will make your head explode.

Michael Bailey said...

There was a similar exhibit here in Atlanta that focused on Jewish creators of the Golden Age. It was a good deal of fun. There were comics, original art, a little theater playing one of the Superman serials, videos and even Jerry Siegel's typewriter, which I was really happy to get to see. Outside they had a newsstand chock full of comics, several podiums featuring reprints of the first appearances of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman and an old phone booth with a Superman costume hanging in it.

All in all a good time.

The Nerdy Bird said...

No, didn't catch that one GB but I'm on the look-out now for others! And that place sounds cool.

That phone booth thing sounds awesome Michael.