Cartoon Art Museum exhibition: January 30 – June 6, 2010
For over 70 years, audiences have thrilled to the adventures of Batman, one of the most popular and enduring fictional characters of the modern age. From his first appearance in Detective Comics in 1939 to the blockbuster Dark Knight film of 2008, Gotham City’s Caped Crusader has taken on many forms, from cartoonish and campy to dark and disturbed, from daring detective to grim force of vengeance.
The Cartoon Art Museum’s new exhibition, Batman: Yesterday and Tomorrow, showcases six strikingly different interpretations of the Dark Knight, representing some of the boldest visionaries to illustrate the DC Comics icon. Featured artists include Bob Kane and Bill Finger, who created Batman in 1939; Neal Adams, whose detailed artistry redefined comics in the 1970s; Frank Miller, whose graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns pioneered the modern, mature concept of Batman; Pepe Moreno, whose Batman: Digital Justice was the first graphic novel with entirely computer-generated art; and acclaimed artist Paul Pope, whose Batman: Year 100 pays homage to the original Batman comics and looks ahead to Gotham City of the year 2039.
In 1960s Japan, the popularity of the Batman TV show starring Adam West and Burt Ward sparked demand for new Batman comics. The weekly magazine Shonen King secured the rights to publish original Batman manga, which artist Jiro Kuwata wrote and illustrated from 1966 to 1967. These comics were virtually unknown in the United States until author and designer Chip Kidd’s award-winning 2008 book Bat-Manga! The Secret History of Batman in Japan. A selection of Kuwata’s art from Kidd’s personal collection will be featured in Batman: Yesterday and Tomorrow, marking the Cartoon Art Museum’s first extensive exhibition of original manga artwork.