Comics are now on exhibit in the Graphic Arts Galleries in the Thomas Jefferson Building here at the Library of Congress! From the original copyright deposit drawing of the Yellow Kid to web comics, the exhibit highlights 120 years of comic art from the Library of Congress’ collections.
Often considered the first successful comic strip, Richard F. Outcault’s Yellow Kid ushered in a new era for comic art in the United States. Newspapers, where many comics originally appeared and continue to be published today, proved to be a perfect vehicle for reading stories that touched everyone, from children to adults, from the working class to the wealthy. Dick Tracy, Archie, Snoopy, and many others have entertained us for decades in the newspapers, as well as permeating popular culture in books, films, television, and marketing to make them as familiar to us today as they were nearly 100 years ago.
Co-curated by me (!), Georgia Higley, Sara Duke, and Martha Kennedy, along with exhibit director Betsy Nahum-Miller, the exhibit explores the visual and narrative storytelling of comics through original drawings, printed pages, and even digital files, highlighting the diversity of media and subjects employed by artists over time.
Some comic strips featured in the exhibit, such as Little Nemo in Slumberland, have long ceased publishing, though they continue to inspire and connect with people. Other items highlight the work of contemporary cartoonists, such as Marguerite Dabaie, whose reflections on identity and expression will continue to engage us for years to come.
Even if you aren’t able to visit the Library to see “Comic Art: 120 Years of Panels and Pages” in person, you can still see many of the items online – discover superheroes, Sunday strips, and more!