It takes a village, they say. It takes all kinds, they say. Put those two ideas together: collaboration between arts-driven organizations and Portland benefits.You have to see The Pulps, the current show hanging in the downstairs gallery at the Portland Public Library.

The show is a collaboration between some heavyweights. The New Britain Museum of American Art in Connecticut owns the show; the Maine College of Art is curating it; and the Library on Congress Street is presenting it in remarkable fashion. The show is a comic book map of a time in America where a super hero could go a long way with people. Superheroes came out of the destitution of the Great Depression of the 1930's. (Check your ink, because the popularity of tattoos grew out of the comic book art of the day).

Fine artists turned to painting comic book covers, and established writers turned to "crafting" tales of heroes and villains, ladies in distress, the Wild West. Just to eat. Beneath them as artists, maybe, but it all paid the bills. And, people snapped up the comic books.

According to Rachael Weyand, the library's programming manager, many buyers of these comic books would rip the covers off to hide what they were reading.  Escapism was key, but, hey, readers had their pride. As a result, much of the original artwork was maimed, and so much of it ended up in attics or dumpsters, then was reclaimed for posterity.  Crafty art, with an underbelly story. Nice.

Get to The Pulps at the recently renovated Portland Public Library main branch.  You have a lot of opportunities until the show closes the day after Christmas.

And, go a lot! You may pick up on something different each time



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