Selby Gallery II:
The Great American Graphic Novel
Original artwork by modern graphic novelists from the collection of George Pratt including examples from: Milton Caniff, Jeff Jones, Barry Windsor-Smith, Berni Wrightson, Joe Kubert, Mike Mignola, Barron Storey, J Muth, Frank Frazetta, George Pratt and Scott Hampton – among others – along with book selections courtesy of Joe Thiel.
This exhibition is a modern complement to the Manuscript exhibition in Gallery I with a selection of related pre-graphic novel and graphic novel illustrations from the collection of Ringling College of Art and Design Illustration instructor and illustrator, George Pratt. The earliest selection in the exhibition is the Sgt. Rock panel created in 1936 by Milton Caniff for DC Comics. All the artists included in the show are either American or heavily influenced American artists, such as Barry Windsor-Smith or Hugo Pratt.
Many people are often confused about what makes a graphic novel. Graphic novels can be a single, continuous illustrated narrative or sometimes they are collections of shorter stories. They are related to comics as both use sequential visual art, usually with text, that can be told in a series of panels. The first American comics with in-panel dialogue and panelized continuity were created in the late 1800s for newspapers. Many later graphic novel writers and artists were influenced by the war action hero comics of the 1940s and 1950s and got their start at places like Marvel and DC Comics drawing and writing superheroes like The Fantastic Four and X-Men. Most comics historians agree that the first real graphic novel was Will Eisner’s A Contract With God and Other Tenement Stories published in 1978. Modern graphic novels often emphasize drama, adventure, character development, striking visuals, politics, or romance over comedy. A selection of these original novels will be on display from the collection of Joe Thiel, also a Ringling College of Art and Design illustration instructor and illustrator.