Ink Plots: The Tradition of the Graphic Novel

"Ink Plots" exhibition photo by John Wyszniewski. Foreground: Art Spiegelman, Background Left: David Sandlin

If you’re a fan of graphic novels, or even if you’re just curious about the format, there’s a great show running right now at my alma mater, School of Visual Art. Ink Plots: The Tradition of the Graphic Novel shares the work of artists influential in the creation of the genre who just so happen to be current and former SVA faculty, including: Will Eisner, Edward Gorey, Peter Kuper, Art Spiegelman, Sue Coe, and Mark Newgarden.

I’m a newbie to the genre outside of the odd exception like Captain Underpants and Coraline, but I found the show very accessible and interesting. The work is largely political, so it wouldn’t hold much interest for little ones, but there’s plenty for fans to sink their teeth into. I was particularly taken with “Sally’s Surprise” by Jerry Moriarty. It tells the story of the artist painting about a young girl’s burgeoning sexuality, but manages to do it without being creepy.

"Ink Plots" exhibition photo by Eric Lendl.

A wonderful part of the exhibition allows gallery-goers to plop down at a table and thumb through a wide array of graphic novels, much more serene than your average comic book shop. One of the great surprises I discovered this way was the diminutive series “Red Riding Hood Redux” by Nora Krug, which can be yours (or mine) for 25 Euros.

"Red Riding Hood Redux" by Nora Krug

Ink Plots is at SVA’s Visual Arts Gallery (601 West 26 Street, 15th floor, New York City) though November 6.

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