Emmett Till: What Were We Seeing Then, What Are We Saying Now?

October 3, 1955: Life publishes Frank McMahon’s illustrations from the trial of Emmett Till’s murderers. Often considered the full igniting spark of the civil rights movement, Till’s lynching continues to provoke conversations surrounding race relations in the United States today. The conversation around Emmett Till and his representation in the American public’s imagination began with what […]

Politically Correct Romance?

By l.sylvander on February 13, 2017 in Dowd Modern Graphic History Library, Special Collections

Our romantic and sexual practices are some of the most heavily policed aspects of our social lives (shoutout to Foucault for totally shifting my understanding of social interaction forever). We remember 1950’s America as a socially conservative time, and what better way to control the urges of youth than through heavily propagandized comic series? The […]

Social Advocacy and Civic Engagement in Punk Zines

By l.sylvander on November 17, 2016 in Dowd Modern Graphic History Library, Special Collections

Zines in the 1980’s were a pre-internet social media space—the underground music scenes of cities across the United States screamed off the mis-matched, collaged pages of these zines (or informal magazines). The Karl S. Kalthenthaler Collection at the Dowd Modern Graphic History Library features underground punk zines of the 80’s, and important themes echo through the various titles […]

Fendi Loves Kay Nielsen (and so do we!)

By l.sylvander on September 28, 2016 in Dowd Modern Graphic History Library, Special Collections

One glance at Kay Nielsen’s infectiously whimsical illustrations and you know they were meant to be brought to life. Luckily, Karl Lagerfeld did just that for the Fendi Fall 2016/Winter 2017 Haute Couture collection. The show this past July featured a number of modern-day princesses (Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner anyone?) and the world’s top models […]

Black and White: Shaw and Farleigh’s Perfect Mirroring in Text and Woodcuts

By l.sylvander on September 14, 2016 in Dowd Modern Graphic History Library, Special Collections

Bernard Shaw’s The Adventures of the Black Girl in her Search for God pairs stark woodcuts with harsh irony and fierce agnosticism. This text, whose critique of major religions caused enough outcry to sponsor five reprints, offers unprecedented texture to religious critique, race relations and feminism. Jessie Carter details in The Negro Journal of 1935, […]

World War II Era Adventure Comics Meet 2016

By l.sylvander on August 25, 2016 in Dowd Modern Graphic History Library, Special Collections

  Reading adventure comics from World War II in today’s political climate is startling. The whole country may not be as tuned into and invested in our modern wars as Americans of the 1940’s were. However, the themes in the 2016 presidential race are reflected in the anxiety-fueled, hyper-masculinity these vintage comics present. From “Americas […]