Sponsored Content

Time for a Pop Culture History Lesson

Think History Is Stuffy? New Exhibit Comic City, USA Begs to Differ.

Presented by August 31, 2016

Tara in costume i7gxy4

With Rose City Comic Con around the corner, there is no better time for a pop culture history lesson, brought to you by your local historical society! Now, the vibrant world of comics and cartooning may not seem to mesh with the traditionally rigid environment of a history museum. Often at the cutting edge of social discourse, this unique medium pushes the boundaries of modern dialogue and ignites conversation. Oregon artists have been trail blazers in this realm, from comic journalist Joe Sacco whose award-winning books explore Israeli-Palestinian relations and the Bosnian War, to cartoonist John Callahan, a quadriplegic, whose cartoons tackled cultural norms with irreverent and sometimes controversial humor.

And, isn’t that exactly what a modern historical society should be doing?

We thought so. That’s why over a year ago, the Oregon Historical Society started working with local movers and shakers in the comic and cartooning industry, from Dark Horse Comics’ Mike Richardson to Gus Frederick of Silverton, Oregon, the resident expert on nineteenth century editorial cartoonist Homer Davenport, to develop Comic City, USA. On view now through January 31, 2017, Comic City, USA is bold, playful, a little bit provocative, and above all, unexpected.

The exhibit highlights fifteen Oregon artists and writers who have made their mark on the industry over the past 100+ years, from illustrator Basil Wolverton (who made his mark, literally, on the pages of countless Marvel comics and issues of Mad magazine) to long-time political cartoonist for The Oregonian Jack Ohman, to Disney animator Carl Barks (lovingly referred to as the Good Duck Artist) to Jan Eliot, the beloved creator of the Sunday Funny favorite Stone Soup. Along with these big names, you will meet up and comers like web comics Cat Farris and Dylan Meconis, and cult favorites Anina Bennett and Paul Guinan, and be mesmerized by their work.

Img 1393 qc0gfs

With countless pieces of original artwork from these featured artists, Comic City, USA is a great place to geek out if you are already a diehard comic fan. For those who are newbies to the literary form, the exhibit offers hands on interactive elements to put you in the shoes of Oregon’s comic artists and writers. Test your artistic skills by tracing a cartoon at a light box after, or, turn yourself into a digital cartoon character and place yourself within a cartoon that you can print out and take home. Or, pull up a chair and grab a comic book – there is no better way to immerse yourself into the comic world, and the exhibit is stocked with local favorites like Hellboy and The Mask.

Pump up your visit by pairing it with one of our upcoming public programs – throughout the fall, the Oregon Historical Society is hosting artists and industry experts for free talks you won’t want to miss. The Oregon Historical Society’s museum is open seven days a week, Monday – Saturday from 10am – 5pm and Sunday from 12pm – 5pm. Admission is $11, and discounts are available for students, seniors, and youth. Admission is free for OHS members and Multnomah County residents every day.

Img 1361 xcxlia


Mark Your Calendar:

Making Portland into Comic City, USA

Presented by Dark Horse Comics Founder Mike Richardson

Wednesday, September 28, 2016 at 12pm


Artistic Business: Oregon Cartoonists on Their Work and the Industry

Panel discussion with Colleen Coover, Jan Eliot, Cat Farris, and Dylan Meconis

Thursday, December 1, 2016 at 7pm 


Oregon’s Country Boy Cartoonist: Homer Davenport

Presented by Gus Frederick

Sunday, December 11, 2016 at 2pm