I'd been looking at comics art for about half an hour, working my way through the Winsor McKay and Lyonel Feininger comics, and got to the Segar stuff, and that line of Popeye's made me laugh out loud. And then I was doubly amused to realize that was the first laughter I'd heard at this huge exhibition of comics. I stayed for another hour, and I think I laughed one or two other times, but I never heard anyone else laugh. It was like a church in there. Is this the effect of museums or did the curators choose the very comics that were least likely to make you laugh? Fantasy and surrealism loomed large. So did serious comics like "Maus." And a lot of the humor was the sort of thing that you appreciate intellectually and don't giggle over. Like:
And with insipid porcine vapidness he lapses into somniverous oblivion.That's a caption in a "Krazy Kat" comic, as a pig goes to sleep.
"S'turbil" = It's terrible, in Krazy Kat dialect. She also says "Jee-Wizzil." I find all of that amusing, but you'd only laugh out loud at that sort of thing in a social situation, where you were interested in elevating the mood of the people you're with. In the museum setting, everyone's floating along in his own little reverie.
Hmmm.... I see there were no women artists in this exhibition, and there were 15 male artists. I'm surprised, not because I think there is a woman who deserved to be in this group. (Winsor McCay, George Herriman, Lyonel Feininger, E.C. Segar, Frank King, Chester Gould, Milton Caniff, Charles M. Schulz, Will Eisner, Jack Kirby, Harvey Kurtzman, R. Crumb, Art Spiegelman, Gary Panter, and Chris Ware.) I'm surprised because I would have thought curators would feel uneasy about a show with that many artists that lacked even one woman. Thanks for not patronizing me.
Anyway, it's an excellent show, well worth the trip to Milwaukee if you're roughly in the area. It will be there until August 13th.
And, in case you don't know, the museum itself is quite the architectural marvel: