Thursday, August 10, 2006

Art in Milwaukee, Part 2

Pardon my journalistic bent, but I feel the need to begin with Corrections and Clarifications about yesterday's entry. The OFFICIAL name of the exhibit I visited is Masters of American Comics, which is not how I referred to it yesterday. And I was as upset as you were that most of my embedded hyperlinks yesterday led nowhere; while I investigate what went wrong, maybe I'll cool it with the links today.

Now let's go back to the museum, the Milwaukee Museum of Art. (That's one of the few links from yesterday that worked, so I'm not afraid to link it again.) There is a backdrop of music playing in the exhibit space, and what a good idea that was instead of the deafening Eraserhead-like silence one might usually associate with a museum. The only song I could make out was, appropriately, Vince Guaraldi's Linus and Lucy (and this is where, if I were more blog-adept, I could link you to a recording of L and L which you would immediately recognize from the Charlie Brown cartoons. In fact, I did just link it, but I'm taking no bets as to whether the link works. If you know and like L and L, however, I strongly encourage you to dig a little deeper into the Guaraldi catalog to hear his also-great non-Charlie Brown music). There were other songs, not just the one song looping, but I couldn't make out what the others were. (By the way, in the Skokie Post Office they also generally play background music, and I have thanked the manager for enhancing my mailing experience.)

Now let's get back to the exhibit itself. There were some Charles Schulz Peanuts originals, and those were the only strips in the exhibit that I read from beginning to end as I stood there. One of the originals of anonymous ownership was personalized with "For Brian, with Friendship, Sparky." Now if anyone had travelled with me to the museum and was reading that as I was reading it, I would have played a little joke on them and "revealed" that in fact I was the Brian who had lent this piece to the exhibit. Ha, ha, we would have laughed, when I exposed my gag as mere fancy. (Although those who have followed my ebay exploits know that I did have a Superboy cover personalized to me by Mike Grell and a Shining Knight cover personalized by Howard Chaykin.) You may remember people insensitively poking jabs at Charles Schulz because his line got so shaky near the end of his strip's run. Well, having now seen the originals of one or two of these late entries at the exhibit, I can't imagine the shakiness being anything but intentional. You'll have to judge for yourself.

On to the Will Eisner room, and breathtaking it was. There were two complete seven-page Spirit stories and many classic splashes. I would NEVER have gotten to see these originals if not for this museum exhibit. The ownership of these pages was split between the Eisner Estate and Dens Kitchen. I was interested to see that Spirit sections were printed LARGE in Philadelphia after 1947, as opposed to the comic book size that one usually associates with Spirit sections. Actual comment overheard, one lady speaking to another as they both stood in front of a complete Spirit story: "Oh, he's just copying from Dick Tracy."

Just as a high school history course might hustle through a century because of time limitations, let me say ever so briefly that I appreciated seeing Robert Crumb's pencil sketchbook and Art Spiegelman's Maus originals. My favorite pieces in the entire exhibit, however, were the Jack Kirby pages, and a tip of the Hayfamzone Blog hat goes to Tod Seisser and Glen Gold for sharing those beautiful originals with us.


At 1:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You ought to take more exercises.


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