The museum's gift shop featured some cool new products inspired by the exhibit, including retro-design Peanuts handkerchiefs, shirts, and coasters. Stay tuned to Spy Vibe for a chance to win free coasters! See the museum's website for details about all current exhibits here. My original announcement for the show below.
As a cartoon art teacher I always include a brief history of comic strips and comic books in my classes. Students are often amazed to see original sunday pages from the early days because newspapers printed the strips so large. Even if they don't know the comics, it's impressive to see an entire newspaper page devoted to the likes of like Dick Tracy, Flash Gordon, and Buck Rogers. To them, the art seems more akin to comic books than the strips they knew growing up. I ask them why, and with a little prodding, they start to notice the details in the backgrounds, the figures, and in the shading. What lovely cross-hatching! Around the mid-century, editors wanted to increase readership by offering more strips without necessarily devoting more pages to the funnies. The solution was to shrink down the size of the art and put more titles on each page. Deprived of the full space, all that cross-hatching and careful detail blocked up and became obsolete. The design approach had to change to express not only the size limitations of printing, but to catch up with the sensibilities of the post-war. After all, this was not the era of pre-war parlors weighted down by heavy furniture and ornate decor. There was a new generation who ushered in aesthetics based on clean minimal forms and what Hefner called the personal utopia. Along with innovators in architecture and design, comic creators also needed to reflect this shift to survive (and fit) on the page. Two groundbreaking strips began in 1950 that were perfectly tailored for modern demands: Beetle Bailey by Mort Walker (my book about Mort Walker on Amazon here) and Peanuts by Charles Schulz. Between May 4th and October 27th 2013, The Charles Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa will be running a special exhibit called Mid-Century Modern.
In the museum's brochure, Trope Group owner Christina Pratt points out that Schulz's panels offer us a window into his home. In one cartoon printed for the show, she points out that we can see Bonet's BKF Chair (1938) and the famous Molded Plywood/Low Side Chair by Eames (1946). Pratt writes that the exhibit will feature other Herman Miller licensed designs by Charles and Ray Eames, Isamu Noguchi, George Nelson, and others. I think visitors will see not only a time-capsule of Mid-Century Modern design, but also how Schulz (and Walker) created comics in the same wave of simple and playful lines. Don't miss it! On a side note, I will be the artist-in-residence at the Charles Schulz Museum in June. You can see a photo of my boyhood dream coming true- to sit at Schulz's drawing table- here.
Check Spy Vibe for recent posts about our fiendish villains archive, rare Piero Umiliani Kriminal soundtrack, new Beatles Yellow Submarine game, James Bond audio book re-issues, Mid-Century Modern in Peanuts, Ralph Byrd Dick Tracy, The Saint, Op Art, Thomas Allen pulp art, The Shadow, Operation Kid Brother (MST3K), 1960s espionage writers, my review of SKYFALL, 007 at the Intnl Spy Museum, and more. Spy Vibe is now on Pinterest! Check out our image archives and follow us here.
Ian Fleming on Spy Vibe: recent posts include Ian Fleming Music Series links: Noel Coward, Whispering Jack Smith, Hawaiian Guitar, Joe Fingers Carr, new Ian Fleming Catalog, discovery of one of Ian Fleming's WWII Commandos, James Bond book covers, Ian Fleming's Playboy interview for Kindle, Spy Vibe's discovery of a rare Ian Fleming serialization, Fleming's Royal gold typewriter, Ian Fleming's memorial address, and our Ian Fleming image archive link here.
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