Expanding the Canon: Out of Sequence Exhibit

Three years ago, an exhibit entitled Masters of American Comics was staged, featuring works of 15 cartoonists (later 14, as Art Spiegelman pulled his work from the show). It received much (justified) criticism for its choice of “masters”. Some were upset that at its sexism, that it only included the usual male names; others were just disappointed in those chosen to be included and excluded.

In response, the exhibition Out of Sequence: Underrepresented Voices in American Comics will feature “the work of women and minority artists and small press and webcomics creators” and “explore alternate histories of American comics and suggest some of the limitless possibilities for the medium in the past, present, and future, from early newspaper strips to the Internet”. It will also consider the writer as well as the artist as key to the creative process. Damian Duffy and John Jennings, the co-curators, describe it as

a broad survey of women, small press, minority, independent, gay & lesbian, self published mini, underground, web, and/or gallery comics creators.

It opens at the Krannert Art Museum at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on October 24 (this Friday) and runs until January 4, 2009. It will move to Colorado afterwards and is available for future travel. (Please, someone, bring it to the East Coast.) Included are works by Kyle Baker, Alison Bechdel, Denys Cowan, Colleen Doran, Kris Dresen, Shaenon Garrity, Nicholas Gurewitch, Keith Knight, Hope Larson, Jackie Ormes, Stan Sakai, editorial cartoonist Ann Telnaes, and many many more.

This isn’t the first such response show, by the way. The same curators in 2007 launched Other Heroes, about African-American creators.

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