Robert Crumb


Alt-Weekly Comics: Opening Reception
Alt-Weekly Comics: Featured Artists
Alt-Weekly Comics

March 04, 2015 - May 02, 2015

The Society of Illustrators and SPX: The Small Press Expo are pleased to announce Alt-Weekly Comics, an historical retrospective dedicated to the comics of the alternative weekly newspaper world, running March 4 through May 2 at the Society of Illustrators. While alternative weekly newspapers have their roots in the immediate post-war period, the format exploded in the 1980s and ’90s. Covering issues relevant to their local communities, alternative weekly newspapers across North America expressed political and cultural points of view underrepresented in the mainstream press, and served as a platform for a dizzying array of comic strips that brought alternative expressions of the form into contact with local audiences. Alt-Weekly Comics is comprised of original artwork, artifacts and ephemera that reveal the diversity of artistic and storytelling styles of this important and influential genre.

The exhibit will trace the history of the form from its acknowledged inception with Jules Feiffer’s groundbreaking comic strip for The Village Voice in 1956, through the underground comix movement of the 1960s and ’70s with works by Kim Deitch, Denis Kitchen, and others.

The focus of the exhibit will be the artists who worked in the blossoming of alt-weekly papers that began in the late 1970’s and created a network for the independent syndication of vital comic strips. This exhibit presents a rare opportunity to see original art from the two germinal series of the alt-weekly comics genre: Matt Groening’s Life In Hell and Lynda Barry’sErnie Pook’s Comeek which, in many ways, provided both the aesthetic and the economic models for many of the artists who followed.

The works on show range from the the dark world of Charles Burns’sBig Baby to the the postmodern politics of Tom Tomorrow’s This Modern World; from the seedy punk gags of Kaz’sUnderworld to the everyday lives of the queer community in Alison Bechdel’sDykes To Watch Out For, and far beyond. 

Other alt-weekly creators represented in the exhibit will include Marc Bell, Mark Beyer, Ruben Bolling, Derf, Ellen Forney, Ben Katchor, Keith Knight, Michael Kupperman, Carol Lay, Tony Millionaire, Mark Newgarden, Jen Sorensen, Mark Alan Stamaty, Karl Stevens, Chris Ware, Shannon Wheeler and more. Click here to see the full list of featured artists.

The exhibit will run from March 4 through May 2 at the Society of Illustrators at 128 East 63rd Street. There will be programming dedicated to the alt-weekly comic strip at both the Society of Illustrators and the MoCCA Arts Festival, which will occur April 11 and 12 at Center 548 in Chelsea, with simultaneous programming taking place at the High Line Hotel. This exhibition is a joint production of the Small Press Expo and the Society of Illustrators, and is curated by Warren Bernard (Comics Historian and Executive Director of the Small Press Expo) and Bill Kartalopoulos (Series Editor, The Best American Comics).

An Opening Reception will be held on March 6th. Click here to learn more. 


About the Society of Illustrators
Founded in 1901, the Society of Illustrators is the oldest nonprofit organization dedicated to the art of illustration in America. Our mission is to promote the art and appreciation of illustration, its history and evolving nature through exhibits, programs and education. Our Museum of American Illustration was established in 1981 and is open to the public Tuesdays-Saturdays.

About SPX
Small Press Expo (SPX) is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit whose Graphic Novel Gift Program donates graphic novels by independent comics to local library systems, as well as providing yearly donations to support the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. SPX will be held September 19-20 2015 and is the home of the Ignatz Award.

About MoCCA
In 2012 the Society of Illustrators acquired the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA) Permanent Collection and created a MoCCA Gallery featuring rotating curated exhibits of comic and cartoon art. The 2015 MoCCA Arts Festival will be held on the weekend of April 11-12, 2015 at Center 548 in Manhattan, running from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm each day. Tickets for the festival will be available for purchase at a fee of $5 each day.