Dec 9, 2021 - Things to Do

Almost last call for Comics show at Cultural Center

Comics exhibit.
"Chicago Where Comics Came to Life" runs through Jan. 9. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

👋 Hi, Monica here!

  • I'm not a big museum person but have visited the comics exhibit at the Chicago Cultural Center three times already and can't wait to go back.

Why it matters: "Chicago: Where Comics Came to Life 1880-1960" closes on Jan. 9 and makes for a great free holiday outing.

The inspiration: Artist Chris Ware and historian Tim Samuelson created the show to complement last summer's modern comic exhibit at the MCA and to showcase local cartoon history.

You'll see: Huge reproductions of old strips presenting Chicago life and humor back in the day.

  • Works by early female and African American cartoon creators.
  • Super cool artifacts and toys from Samuelson's personal collection.
Cartoon of Edwardian women kissing.
In each installment of this 1905 Chicago comic, Lucy and Sophie kiss until bystanders get freaked out. Photo courtesy of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs

Four surprises: The Chicago Tribune published an anonymously written series called "Lucy and Sophie Say Goodbye," revolving around two kissing women — in 1905!

  • Chicago papers ran a pre-WWII German-American comic strip called "Dinglehoofer und his dog Adolph" whose characters spoke with heavy accents.
  • Front pages from the Chicago Tribune, Defender and Daily News on the same day in July 1921 show totally different stories and illustrate siloed news worlds even then.

Curator's choice: Ware devotes a third of the show to "Gasoline Alley" creator Frank King, whose characters grew up in real time

  • "He was the first cartoonist to harness the ephemeral nature of daily newsprint to capture the ineffable passing of life with characters who aged," Ware tells Axios.

Details: The free show is open daily 10am to 5pm at the Chicago Cultural Center.

Color cartoon.
Gasoline Alley's Frank King aged his characters with the passing years of the cartoon. Photo courtesy of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs
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