Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Literary Stops in San Fran

Outside the Comic Art Museum in San Francisco. (7/11/14)
Lots of cool literary things to be seen throughout California, and San Francisco is no different. Though we only had the time to visit a few interesting literary sites in my three days of touring northern California, the two that we stopped by while in San Francisco demonstrate the diversity of genres and mediums available there.

Exhibit celebrating the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles runs through September 14. (7/11/14)
The first place my friend Jerry and I visited was the San Francisco Comic Art Museum. A small unassuming museum (not a gallery, so artwork is not for sale), there were three exhibitions being shown. Happily, each had a personal connection or were about topics and issues of interest to me. As a child of the Seventies/Eighties, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles continue to entertain. Jerry's young son is a more recent fan and it is cool to see the appreciation span generations. The artwork on display ranged from the characters' creation wa-a-a-ay back in 1984 to designs and figures for the current incarnation seen on Nickelodeon.

Jerry with art mural by TMNT creators. (7/11/14)
Mike Zeck is a penciller whose work I followed closely during his run on Captain America and the grand-daddy of comic book mini-series, Marvel Comics' Secret Wars, so I was glad to see a career retrospective of his time at Marvel being exhibited. There were plenty of pages and paintings from that era of his work as well as examples of his other contributions to popular Marvel characters. I especially enjoyed looking at the pages reflecting each of the stages (from sketching to inks to coloring and to final product) of production involved with comic books... I'm a fanboy, so I dig that sort of thing. It's always interesting to see the process play out in the artist head on paper.

Raw Fury: The Art of Mike Zeck runs until August 10. (7/11/14)
The costume and props used by actor Thomas Jane portraying one of Zeck's
most popular characterizations, the Punisher.(7/11/14)
There was also an exhibit of the work of North-American women comic strip artists. Long overlooked in American history (and by extension comic book history) are the contributions of women to the genre. It was cool to see original panels from stories featuring pulp character Miss Fury, as she has recently been revived by Dynamite Comics.

Pretty In Ink: The Trina Robbins Collection features highlights from
the personal collection of comic books herstorian Trina Robbins. (7/11/14)
Writer-artist John Byrne taught me to love comic books so I was compelled
to take a picture of his original cover art for Alpha Flight. (7/11/14)
Our day long walking travels through San Francisco's Chinatown ultimately led us to City Lights Bookstore. To some, I'm sure it seems silly to head to a bookstore after a cross-country flight, but as a fan of many of the artists originally embraced by City Lights (and San Francisco) including Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder, visiting it had been a goal. Not nearly as commercial as it has every right to be (small bookstore owners--even landmark ones--need to eat), we found the store suitably charming, with a wide array of titles from all types of publishers.

City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco. (7/11/14)
The folks who worked there were somewhat surprisingly without the pretense one might expect at such a well know "hipster" stomping ground. We could have stayed for much longer, but found that our schedule woudl only permit us to hang out for a short time before heading back downtown.

First floor of City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco. (7/11/14)
Second floor of City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco. (7/11/14)
Second floor of City Lights Bookstore San Francisco. (7/11/14)
Jerry outside City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco. (7/11/14)
Jack Kerouac Street next in San Francisco. (7/11/14)

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