‘Amerimanga!’ exhibition turns pages of Manga-influenced comics

Amerimanga Banner“Amerimanga! Convention and Expression,” which opens Tuesday, March 24, at the Northern Illinois University Art Museum, showcases the creation of American comics that have been aesthetically influenced by Japanese manga.

A public reception for the exhibition is planned from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 31, at the Museum in Altgeld Hall. Co-curator and author Josh Elder will present a public lecture on “The Manga Revolution: How Japanese Anime and Manga Changed the American Comic Industry Forever” at 6 p.m. in Room 315 of Altgeld Hall.

This group show featuring artists Jen Brazas, Svetlana Chmakova, Elder, Erich Owen, Brion Foulke, Ron Kaulfersch, Mike Schwark, M. Alice LeGrow, Jill Thompson, Martheus Wade, Janet Stone Wade and Adam Warren.

Open through Friday, May 22, the exhibition explores how they developed their own individual styles that merge the conventions of manga and traditional American comics. The reception for this exhibition has been sponsored by the Office of the President in conjunction with displays of NIU student artwork in the offices of the president and provost.

Amerimanga! illustrates the creative development of contemporary comics and demonstrates how these artists tell their own unique stories through the use of this cross-cultural medium.

Manga is a comic art form that emerged in Japan. Its origins are unclear yet some scholars suggest manga emerged as a combination of Japanese and American popular culture exchange through U.S. soldiers during World War II.

As manga became popular in the United States during the early 21th century original English language manga produced was dubbed Amerimanga to denote its U.S. origin. The exhibition includes original, pre-production and published works of American artists including concept art drawings, layouts, inked pieces and final products illustrating the process of creation.

This exhibition is co-curated by Kerry Freedman, professor of Art + Design Education, NIU; and author Elder, president and founder of Reading with Pictures.

Movie poster of “Spirited Away”Associated Events and Educational Programming

Public Art Receptions in Altgeld Hall
Tuesday, March 31, 4:30 to 6 p.m.

Josh Elder Lecture
“The Manga Revolution: How Japanese Anime and Manga Changed the American Comic Industry Forever”
Tuesday, March 31, 6 to 7 p.m., Altgeld Hall 315
Elder is an author, graphic novelist, syndicated cartoonist and founder of Reading with Pictures, an organization that advocates the role of comics in reading and education.

Artist Talk with Jill Thompson
Tuesday, April 7, 5 to 6 p.m., Visual Arts Building, Room 102
Thompson is a a multiple Eisner Award winner named the National Cartoonist Society’s 2011 Best Comic Book Artist.

Film Screening of “Spirited Away,” Hayao Miyazaki’s 2001 anime feature
Tuesday, May 12, 7:15 to 9:30 p.m., Montgomery Hall Auditorium
Anime classic and coming-of-age tale of a 10-year-old girl’s magical journey to a new neighborhood, where she must save her parents after they encounter a witch.

Film Screening of “Lone Wolf & Cub: Sword of Vengeance,” 1972
Wednesday, May 13, 7:15 to 9:30 p.m., Montgomery Hall Auditorium
A dramatic film directed by Kenji Misumi based on the award-winning manga graphic novel which depicts a wandering Ronin assassin for-hire with his young son in Edo period Japan.

Additional support for this exhibition came in part from the Office of Online Program Development and Support, eLearning Services, the Division of Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development; the NIU Division of Art + Design Education; the Illinois Arts Council Agency; the Dean’s Circle of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, NIU Foundation; the Friends of the NIU Art Museum; and the Office of the President, NIU.

Call (815) 753-1936 for more information.

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