Comic book art doesn’t get a ton of respect as art even though the genre is bigger than ever in terms of mass appeal. In Paris, where they have to do everything differently–like writing Vraum! when they mean Vroom!–there’s a multi-disciplinary show up at La Maison Rouge called Slap!Pow!Bam! . . . VRAUM!
The curators went through private collectors, taking extra care to consult private collectors so that they could obtain original comic strips from all over the world, including some that date back to 1916.
“Usually they started to collect 20 to 30 years ago, when nobody was paying attention to this. This cost nothing at that time. Sometimes they were thrown in the garbage after they were printed,” Rosenberg explains. Today, some works, such as the cover of the comic book Tin Tin in America (1931) by Hergé, went for 800 euros at auction.
Rosenberg quoted noted Belgian comic strip artist André Franquin, who said, ‘We used to walk on it… you draw, you flash, ie you take a photograph of it, they print it, and you throw it away.’
They thought it was nothing, he adds. Franquin’s original Spirou et Fantasio comics are on display at La Maison Rouge.
Mingled in and around the original comics are the contemporary works of art inspired by the strips. Artists of the 1980’s New York scene, such as Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, who were directly inspired by comics, are on display, along with pop art favourite Roy Lichtenstein.
There’s an audio version of the story on the site too.
Slap!Pow!Bam! . . . VRAUM! (Radio France Internationale)