Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Comic Books Arts Show?

Last Friday I was lucky enough to be invited by a twitter co-follower @AGrabia to an art show opening at the University of Alberta. I knew relatively nothing heading in other than it involved comic books; but with Christina out of town what better activities do I have to spend my time?

As a University of Saskatchewan boy I am a little bit of an idiot when it comes to the UofA. After exiting the train platforms I wandered up to ground level and started trekking through the campus. I know a couple of landmarks like the new and awesome CCIS building and the RATT but when it is -26 degrees and there is a fresh batch of snow - I am an idiot. After walking around 20 minutes I finally found a campus map and pinpointed the Rutherford Library (seriously, they need more maps on that campus).

I own 10 out of 17 of these comics
in floppy or TPB.
Arriving at the show I immediately spotted a bunch of Batman comics under glass in the lobby.  Upon investigation I found that they weren't very old and I had either read or own the majority of them. If anything, at this point I was intrigued.

I looked through some of the other display cases and found more books that I owned.  It turns out that a local collector of comics and local arts patron of some renown (Gilbert Bouchard) had passed away a couple of years back and his family/friends chose to donate his comics to the UofA library. I think it's a great idea.

My formal opinion of Gilbert's collection is that he had great taste in books.

Well, maybe not Justice, other than the Alex Ross art, that book sucked.
But the 'I'm No Superman' exhibit was not the only exhibit opening that night.  'Ally Sloper & C.H. Chapman:  A Victorian Comic Strip Star and His Devoted Illustrator' shared the opening. Once again I came in completely blank to the show and was pleasantly surprised. The quality of the illustration and the original prints were fantastic. 
I am by no means knowledgeable about British cartoonists but found it really cool to see these Victorian prints and then mentally check back to contemporary artists like Kevin O'Neill drawing in this style in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. It is amazing to see the detail and craftsmanship in each page - unfortunately my camera never picked it all up behind the glass.

All in all, I highly recommend taking in the show. It is an amazing collection of historic illustrations and a loving tribute to a local art patron who is still giving back. Click here for more information.

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