Books on Comics, Museums, and Exhibits

Upcoming Book! Comic Art in Museums, University Press of Mississippi. Expected Spring 2020.

Proposed cover for “comic art in museums,’ featuring “THE SPIRIT AT AN ART GALLERY” BY WILL EISNER. 1996. PERMISSION OF WILL EISNER STUDIOS, INC. (IMCA COLLECTION BILLY IRELAND CARTOON LIBRARY).

Proposed cover for “comic art in museums,’ featuring “THE SPIRIT AT AN ART GALLERY” BY WILL EISNER. 1996. PERMISSION OF WILL EISNER STUDIOS, INC. (IMCA COLLECTION BILLY IRELAND CARTOON LIBRARY).

A comprehensive history of how comics and comic art gained recognition as Art

Contributions by Kenneth Baker, Jaqueline Berndt, Albert Boime, John Carlin, Benoit Crucifix, David Deitcher, Michael Dooley, Damian Duffy, M. C. Gaines, Paul Gravett, Diana Green, Karen Green, Doug Harvey, Charles Hatfield, M. Thomas Inge, Leslie Jones, Denis Kitchen, Jonah Kinigstein, John A. Lent, Dwayne McDuffie, Andrei Molotiu, Alvaro de Moya, Kim A. Munson, Cullen Murphy, Gary Panter, Trina Robbins, Antoine Sausverd, Rob Salkowitz, Art Spiegelman, Scott Timberg, Carol Tyler, Brian Walker, Alexi Worth, Joe Wos, and Craig Yoe 

Through essays and interviews, Kim Munson’s anthology tells the story of the over thirty year history of the artists, art critics, collectors, curators, journalists, and academics who championed the serious study of comics, the trends and controversies that produced institutional interest in comics, and the wax and wane and then return of comic art in museums.

Audiences enjoyed displays of comic art in museums as early as 1930. In the mid-1960s, after a period when most representational and commercial art was shunned, comics art began a gradual return to art museums as curators responded to the appropriation of comics characters and iconography by famous pop artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. From the first known exhibit to show comics in art historical context in 1942 to the evolution of manga exhibitions in Japan, this volume regards exhibitions both in the United States and internationally. 

With over 80 images and thoughtful essays by Denis Kitchen, Brian Walker, Andrei Molotiu, Paul Gravett, Art Spiegelman, Trina Robbins, and Charles Hatfield, among others, this anthology shows how exhibitions expanded the public dialogue about comic art and our expectation of “good art”—displaying how dedicated artists, collectors, fans, and curators advanced comics from a frequently censored low art medium to a respected art form celebrated worldwide.

Exhibition Catalogs from Neurotic Raven

Featured Essays & Links:

The Fight for San Francisco,” Places Journal. 3/23/15

How the French Kickstarted the Acceptance of Comics as an Art Form in the US: the Books and Exhibitions of Maurice Horn.” IJOCA V 18, #2 (Fall/Winter 2016). [PDF/academia.edu]

A Collaborative Journey: Malcolm Whyte, Troubador Press, and Cartoon Art Museum, San Francisco.” IJOCA V 18, #2 (Fall/Winter 2016). [PDF/academia.edu]

Header image: Installation view of Dual Views: Labor Landmarks of San Francisco, April 2015, San Francisco State University Library. Photo: Tom Griscom.

Book Chapters:

More Essays about Comics

“Revisiting the Comic Art Show.” International Journal of Comic Art Vol. 14, No. 2, Fall 2012 [PDF/academia.edu]

“Beyond High & Low: How Comics and Museums Learned to Co-Exist.” IJOCA Vol. 11, No. 2, Fall 2009. [PDF/academia.edu]

Interviews: Denis Kitchen, Steve Leialoha, Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson. Comics Alternative, 2014 | Darick Robertson. art icons comics, 2012 | Mark Bode Comics Journal On-line, 2010. 

Exhibition Review: Tales from the Vault: 40 Years, 40 Stories, an anniversary show at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Museum & Library (2017) on Extra Inks.

Popular posts on the art icons comics blog: Al Capp & Charles Schulz: Clash of the Titans (2010) | Jack Kirby's Collages & the Sublime (2009).

Past Exhibitions

Exhibit: Determining DomainIntersection for the Arts, 2012.

Exhibit: Battle Emblems. Intersection for the Arts. 2006.

Exhibit: BAN5/Syndicate. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 2008.