By Debby Stinson, Museum of Art/WSU
PULLMAN, Wash. – “Northwest Alternative Comics” opens at the Washington State University Museum of Art on Monday, Sept. 26, but related events – helping create a comic zine and watching artists make a mural – begin this week. The exhibit, which goes through Dec. 17, is free, as are all events.
The Northwest is seen by many as the birthplace of alternative comics, coalescing around The Evergreen State College in the early 1980s with cartoonists Matt Groening, Lynda Barry and Charles Burns. Originally underground and bohemian, today’s regional comic scene is big, active and varied.
With an emphasis on artists who reinvent the way we look at and experience comics and graphic arts, the WSU exhibition offers an alternative to mainstream superhero cartoons by highlighting diverse narratives and new visual formats. Works in the show are by Peter Bagge, Paul Chadwick, Max Clotfelter, Taylor Dow, Ellen Forney, Eroyn Franklin, David Lasky, Mita Mahato, Tom Van Deusen and Jim Woodring.
* The Couger Comix Jam will be 5-10 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, at Rico’s Pub in downtown Pullman. Seattle cartoonists Max Clotfelter and Tom Van Deusen will lead participants as they “jam” on pages to draw an underground zine that will be printed and released at the exhibit opening reception on Oct. 6. Materials will be provided. See https://museum.wsu.edu/events/event/2016-cougar-comix-jam-hosted-by-the-museum-of-art/.
* The public can observe 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, in the museum gallery as Van Deusen and Clotfelter collaborate on drawing a 12×16-foot mural for the exhibit as curators prepare for the opening. See https://museum.wsu.edu/events/event/2016-mural-collaboration-with-artists-max-clotfelter-tom-van-deusen-in-the-museum-of-art-gallery/.
* The opening reception with the artists will be 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6, in the museum gallery.
* Award-winning cartoonist Peter Bagge will talk about the Northwest alternative comics scene and his career as Weirdo magazine’s managing editor at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3, in the museum gallery. See https://museum.wsu.edu/events/event/2016-comic-artist-lecture-with-peter-bagge-at-the-museum-of-art/.
Special advisors for this exhibit are Larry Reid of Fantagraphics Books and Casey Bruce of Danger Room Comics.
The Museum of Art/WSU is located on Wilson Road across from Martin Stadium in the Fine Arts Center at WSU Pullman. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday, open until 7 p.m. Thursday and closed Sunday. Contact the museum at 509-335-1910 or visit http://museum.wsu.edu.