San Diego Public Library and Comic-Con International recently announced the creation of a free public art exhibit called “The Art of Comic-Con” that promotes the awareness, creation and appreciation of comics. Located in Geisel Library’s Joan and Irwin Jacobs Common, the exhibition will be open to visitors from June 20 to Aug. 30.
San Diego Public Library’s Arts and Culture Exhibition Manager Kara West told the UCSD Guardian that the exhibit displays many works developed alongside the primary intent of Comic-Con.
“For the past 45 years, Comic-Con International has been bringing together passionate comics, movie and science fiction fans in San Diego,” West said. “In the process of celebrating comics and related popular art forms, the organization has been creating a lot of great art along the way. The ‘Art of Comic-Con’ showcases some of the finest examples of unique comic art produced for and assembled by the organization over the years.”
The showcase will feature originals from a multitude of artists from Comic-Con International’s archives, including Howard Chaykin, a comic artist that has worked with companies such as DC Comics and Marvel Comics, and Michael Cho, an illustrator of numerous genres.
Cho told the Guardian that the exhibit will allow viewers to appreciate and understand comic art in a more formal context.
“Like illustration or ‘fine arts,’ quality comic art deserves a place in exhibition,” Cho said. “I’m hoping the viewers will be able to see the craftsmanship that goes into the creation of comic art. For other artists, art students or fans of illustration, it also provides a way to view great original art and see some of the ‘process.’”
West told the Guardian that the art pieces were a diverse assembly representing many comic artists, with multitudes being crafted for specific occasions.
“Culled from the archives of Comic-Con International, the artwork included reflects an eclectic mix of characters and comics and provides unprecedented access to original art by over 60 comic artists,” West said. “Much of the original work on display was produced for event publications. Approximately 20 works are cover art from Comic-Con, WonderCon and the Alternative Press Expo program guides and souvenir books.”
However, West explained that the featured pieces consist of much more than cover works and also include artists’ preliminary sketches.
“Some of the gems of the show are the souvenir-book art, small sketches by comic masters that often mark events, anniversaries and tributes,” West said. “In both, visitors will have a chance to learn about the history of Comic-Con, and in seeing the artist’s hand in original works, they will also learn a great deal about the process of creating comic art over the last 45 years.”
Muir College fifth-year Lawrence Chit commented on the underrepresentation of comic art and expressed interest toward the future availability of a similar exhibit at Geisel Library.
“It would be interesting to have one at UCSD,” Chit said in an interview with the Guardian. “There really hasn’t been a place for comic book artists, from what I observe as an art student here, so that would be fairly interesting and inclusive. Comics are important, too.”
Comic-Con International did not respond to the Guardian’s inquiries about the possibility of a similar exhibition on campus.