Thursday, November 23, 2006
I went to the Newark Museum last weekend to view the Masters of American Comics exhibition there. It's a great museum, actually, if you've never been, and if you can get to it.
I knew most of the comic-strips on display there. I'd seen them in print before. Still, to view the original art was a treat.
Particularly the sketches of Lyonel Feininger, one of my favorite of the early 20th century strip artists. I'd never seen his work up close before, (his cartoon work, his fine art paintings are viewable in many museums).
I really must recommend to younger cartoonists to investigate these early geniuses of modern cartooning.
If you love the pushed stylizations of Gabe Swarr, of Lynne Naylor and Chris Reccardi, you may find you really love Feininger's work.
If you're impressed by the simplicity and power of SAMURAI JACK, or Glen Murikami's work, you'd possibly like the work of Roy Crane.
Love Bruce Timm? Then you're probably aware of Alex Toth's influence, and Jack Kirby's influence on his work. But are you aware of Toth and Kirby's influences, Milton Caniff, Noel Sickles and Frank Robbins?
If the creepy screwball charm of Katie Rice's girl drawings interest you, check out Cliff Sterrett's POLLY AND HER PALS.
If the sleak design sense of FOSTER'S HOME FOR IMAGINARY FRIENDS is your cup of tea, perhaps you might like Rea Irvin's comics. Or John Held's....
Our history as cartoonists is rich, and full. As good as what's in front of us can be, I often think it's wise to look behind us to see where we're able to go.
Check if the exhibition is travelling anywhere near your home town. If it is, please see it. If it's not, I can't recommend any better cartoon primer than the Smithsonian Book of Newspaper Comics.
That is my bible.