Update on "From Panels to Frames: Comic Art in Museums"

Around Thanksgiving 2018, I resubmitted a new draft of my upcoming book for University Press of Mississippi about the history, controversies, and trends in exhibits of comic art in art museums and university galleries between 1930 to the present. Over the summer, I got very positive peer reviews that also pointed out some gaps, and the Press decided to change the book’s format from a black & white reader to a full color art book. Because of this, I added some new essays, sourced lots of exhibition photos, and rewrote all of my section intros. Whew…

I am so grateful to the many helpful and enthusiastic contributors to this book. Definitely a labor of love! The text is about 50/50 new/totally revised or old/reprinted material. Here’s the current table of contents:

Foreword: Dr. Tom Inge

Foundations: Comic Art in Museums

Comic Art in Museums: An Overview: Denis Kitchen

Substance and Shadow: the Art of the Cartoon: Brian Walker

Permanent Ink: Comic Book and Comic-Strip Art as Aesthetic Object & Afterthoughts on Permanent Ink: Andrei Molotiu

Pioneers: Comic Art Exhibitions 1930 - 1967

The Evolution of Comic Art Exhibitions 1934-1951: Kim Munson

Narrative Illustration: the Story of the Comics: M. C. Gaines

The First International: ‘L Exposicao Internacional de Historias em Quadrinhos’: Alvaro de Moya

‘Bande dessinee et figuration narrative’: la contribution de Pierre Couperie: Antoine Sausverd (translated by Dr. Ann Miller)

The Renewed Focus on Comics as Art After 1970

The Comic Stripped and Ash Canned: a Review Essay: Albert Boime

Exhibitions at the Museum of Cartoon Art: A Personal Recollection & List of Exhibitions at the Museum of Cartoon Art: Brian Walker

Mort Walker, Historian: Cullen Murphy

Review/Art: Cartoon Masters - Cartoonists Finally Get Some Respect: Kenneth Baker

Comics, Community, and the Toonseum: an Interview with Joe Wos: Kim Munson

Expanding Views of Comic Art: Topics and Display

Northern Ink: Misfit Lit in Minneapolis: Diana Green

Our Heroes: African-American Artists and Images in the American Comic Book: Dwayne McDuffie

Deviating from ‘Art’: Japanese Manga Exhibitions 1990-2015: Jaqueline Berndt

The Glimmering Glow of Comic Art Amidst the Blinding Glitter of the United Arab Emirates: John A. Lent

Hypercomics: The Shape of Comics to Come: Paul Gravett

Sequential Titillation: Comics Stripped at the Museum of Sex, New York: Craig Yoe

Masters of High and Low: Exhibitions in Dialogue

Comic Connoisseurs: David Deicher

Comics as Art Criticism: The Cartoons of Jonah Kinigstein: Karen Green & Kim Munson

High Way Robbery & My Way Along the Highway: Michael Dooley

High Art Lowdown: This Review is Not Sponsored by AT&T: Art Spiegelman

How Low Can You Go?: John Carlin

Cracking the Comics Canon: Leslie Jones

An uneasy accord: L.A. museums open their walls to comics as true works of art. Is it long overdue, still an odd mix, or simply inviting cartoonists to a party they may not want to attend: Scott Timberg

Here are the Great Women Comic Artists of the United States: Trina Robbins

Remasters of American Comics: Sequential art as new media in the transformative museum context: Damian Duffy

Personal Statements: Exhibitions about Individual Artists

After ‘Masters’: Interview with Gary Panter: Kim Munson

Splashing Ink on Museum Walls: How Comic Art is Conquering Galleries, Museums, and Public Spaces: Rob Salkowitz

In Our Own Image, After Our Likeness: Charles Hatfield

Showing Pages and Progress: Interview with Carol Tyler: Kim Munson

Curating Comics Canons: Daniel Clowes and Art Spiegelman’s Private Museums: Benoit Crucifix

‘Co-Mix’ and Exhibitions: Interview with Art Spiegelman: Kim Munson

Introduction to ‘Comic Book Apocalypse: The Art of Jack Kirby’: Charles Hatfield

Jack Kirby at Cal State Northridge: Doug Harvey

Genius in a Box: Alexi Worth

These essays will be accompanied by over 75 images. Book expected in 2020.

SDCC 2018: Museums Make a Splash

The  Splashing Ink on Museum Walls  panel (L to R): Rob Salkowitz, Kim Munson, Ann Nocenti, Adam Smith, and Emil Ferris. 7/19/2018. Photo by Jamie Coville.

The Splashing Ink on Museum Walls panel (L to R): Rob Salkowitz, Kim Munson, Ann Nocenti, Adam Smith, and Emil Ferris. 7/19/2018. Photo by Jamie Coville.

At 4:00 on the first full day of San Diego Comic-Con, the five of us had a wide-ranging discussion about art, museums, and their importance before a full house in Room 29. Rob Salkowitz (Forbes, ICv2), the moderator and organizer, began the discussion with a reminiscence of seeing R. Crumb's Genesis at the Seattle Art Museum and how amazing it was to see the drawings of a comic artist displayed with art by Rembrandt, Durer, and Picasso as contextual ancestors. Rob wrote about this show in his essay "Splashing Ink on Museum Walls: How Comic Art is Conquering Galleries, Museums, and Public Spaces" which is included in the second issue of IDW's new hardcover art magazine Full Bleed. (I am also reprinting it in my book). The discussion touched on many topics, like the importance of narrative to exhibits of comics and different exhibit strategies.  We talked about the influence exhibits have on artists viewing the work. Plans for the new SDCC Museum were discussed.

Specifically, I gave a capsule run-down on the history of exhibits of comic art from 1930 up to the 2005 show Masters of American Comics. Ann Nocenti is one of the organizers of the epic Marvel: Universe of Comics show currently on view at MoPop in Seattle. She described some of the strategies curators used to draw attention to original comic art within a very large, busy show stuffed with props, costumes, and characters from the Marvel movies. Emil Ferris, who would win 3 Eisners for My Favorite Thing is Monsters the next evening, spoke of how the masterpieces in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago were an important part of her life and her book.

Adam Smith, making his first appearance as the Executive Director of the newly announced San Diego Comic-Con Museum, told us of CCI's plans for the museum which assumed the 37-year lease of the former San Diego Hall of Champions. The museum will not be a collecting institution. It will be a museum of pop culture celebrating all of the passionate constituencies that made SDCC the phenomenon it is. They plan on 3 large galleries for temporary exhibits, a cafe, and retail space. The full third floor will be an education center and galleries dedicated to comic art. They are currently in the fundraising stage and need to raise $35 MIL to remodel the existing space. Smith hopes to announce the opening date next year at SDCC's 50th Anniversary convention. If all goes to plan, the museum might open in 2022. Here's a promotional video about the museum project:

It was a spirited discussion and the audience seemed enthusiastic about the museum and about the topic of exhibitions in general. I hope the continued normalizing of comic art in museum exhibits will bring more recognition to artists and more opportunities for museums, scholars, curators, and art historians to explore and understand this important art form. 

Listen to our discussion, archived on the Jamie Coville Experience. Selected by Heidi McDonald of The Beat as one of the top 17 comics history panels at SDCC (it's quite a list).


Kim at SDCC 2018


I am happy to say that I am returning to San Diego Comic Con with the Thursday afternoon panel Splashing Ink on Museum Walls: "Do comics belong in museums? Lots of major art and cultural institutions seem to think so, with ambitious new shows and comic art museums springing up everywhere, including one spearheaded by Comic-Con itself. Artist/writer Emil Ferris (My Favorite Thing Is Monsters), Kim Munson (editor, From Comics to Frames: Comic Art in Museums), writer/editor and exhibition consultant Ann Nocenti, and SDCC museum director Adam Smith converse about the future of comics on display, moderated by Rob Salkowitz (Forbes, Full Bleed). http://sched.co/FQnu