Bob Hall loves comics.
It should come as a no-brainer, seeing as he has illustrated for numerous prolific comic books, such as Batman, Spider-Man, Daredevil and the Avengers; he’s also the co-creator of the West Coast Avengers.
He and Richard Graham, a comics historian at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, are holding an exhibition named “Hey, Kids! Comics!,” which began on Oct. 9 and will last until Oct. 23. It takes place in the Eisentrager-Howard Art Gallery in Richards Hall, and the hours are Monday thru Friday, from 12:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is free.
“You get more from seeing the real thing,” Hall said. “You see how they did it, how it looked. We still have these really wonderful drawings.”
Hall said he was amazed at the event and proud of the exposure that the art will receive.
This exhibit doesn’t just explore the art behind comic books but also the history.
“Almost everybody who started comic books was Jewish,” Hall said. “Superheroes were fighting Hitler…and for the most part, it was people who weren’t the wealthiest people and were living in New York.”
Hall also said that a guest speaker Danny Fingeroth, a comic book writer and editor, will give a public lecture on Oct. 28 at 5 p.m. in Richards Hall Room 14, which will focus on the history of comics.
To Hall, the history isn’t the only important thing about comic books but also the art and stories.
“They’ve become a remarkable way of communication,” Hall said. “What started as an off-shoot of daily comic strips has become one of the primary communication and entertainment forms going these days.”
He also said that their influence as an art form can be seen everywhere.
“I think comic books are like jazz,” Hall said. “They’re an art form where you can’t quite say they were an American invention, but they certainly developed and grew as an American art form, and that art form has spread all over the world.”
He also said that he thinks that comics and graphic novels are the most distinct art form in the world. Hall said that comic books are a combination of art and words that form a story that can’t be replicated by anything that’s not a comic book.
“You can have an illustrated version of “War and Peace,” then take out the illustrations, and you still have “War and Peace,”” Hall said. “But if you take away the illustrations from “Fun Home” (a graphic novel by Alison Bechdel), you don’t have anything.”
Hall has been consuming comics his entire life. While he did read the classics such as Superman and Batman, his favorite was “Uncle Scrooge,” saying, “I learned to read on it.”
He said that this exhibition is a great way to express his and others’ loves for comic books, as well as a good way to introduce newcomers. However, some may feel embarrassed or nervous about being seen with comic books in their hands.
“People might want to try a comic book but are a little nervous being seen reading a comic book,” Hall said. “Check out some graphic novels, and see what you find. You wouldn’t feel stigmatized if you went to see an Avengers movie. Don’t worry about it. You’ll probably find that all your friends are reading comic books.”