A Historical Evening with Danny Fingeroth
Two Wednesdays ago, on January 20, the counter guy at Midtown Comics handed me this flyer for an event they were sponsoring. There was a lot of information in it, but what immediately caught my eye was the opportunity to take a selfie with the Batmobile. Sold! Off to the New York Historical Society Museum & Library I went, later that evening.
I got there a little after six, and as promised, got my selfie; but there was so much more. They had a troupe of cosplayers walking around providing ample photo opportunities, followed by a Parade of Superheroes at 7:00 PM.
There was a fantastic Superheroes in Gotham exhibition that included both Marvel and DC characters (which unfortunately prohibited picture taking, but below is a photo I may or may not have taken of an original art page from Amazing Fantasy #15), and a Batman exhibit honoring both Bob Kane and Bill Finger.
Then, at 7:30 PM came the slide show–Superhero New York: Real and Imaginary. I almost skipped out on it (it started at 7:30 PM and ran for an hour, which with my long commute meant I was looking at Midnight for home). I’m happy to say, I stuck it out.
It proved to be a solid presentation by Danny Fingeroth. He made me realize how little I know about the industry I claim to love so much. I knew next to nothing about where Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, Will Eisner, and many of the ‘old’ greats hailed from, where they went to school, and where they grew up. He discussed the impact growing up in the gritty streets of New York had on their work; and he talked about their friendships, their falling outs, and more. He took us deep inside their work offices, into the bullpen; and he showcased historic comic book inspired landmarks.
Then, looking around at the large diverse audience sitting around me, I realized how much things have changed within the short time span I have lived in the comic book world. Here I was at a serious academic lecture, featuring comic books. I’m not sure that this sort of thing would have garnered the audience it did today, twenty odd years ago–not to mention the setting: The NY Historical Society Museum & Library on the Upper West Side. I was totally digging the scene. Danny Fingeroth has encouraged me to seek out more, to read more (I also purchases a signed copy of his Superman on the Couch with a Foreword by Stan Lee), and to learn more about the rich history of the comic book world—and I can start with NYC’s own comic book tour here.