Frank King. A Century of Gasoline Alley is curated by the Hamelin Association together with Giovanni Nahmias, television writer and comic scrip scholar, and is supported by Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio in Bologna and Genus Bononiae. Museums in the City.
The exhibition on the second floor of Palazzo Fava is running in parallel with Bonvi’s Sturmtruppen.50 years. Nearly 50 original panels are showing for the first time in Europe, taking visitors through the extraordinary world created by Frank King over many decades.
Gasoline Alley made its debut in 1918 in the pages of the Chicago Tribune, describing events in the daily life of Walt Wallet and his friends, all mad about cars. It started out as a humorous comic strip like so many in American newspapers in the 1920s. But then something happened in Walt’s life when, on the 14th of February 1921, he found a baby on his doorstep, Skeezix. This was a game changer in the development of the character and for the comic strip itself, as the Tribune wanted to widen its public and introduce events as they happened, with the characters growing up and ageing alongside the newspaper’s readers, day by day (Skeezix was 98 on the 14th of February 2018).
This monumental work survived its author – today the drawings are by Jim Scancarelli – and appears as single thick novel written in real time. As well as writing its sensitive storyline (no other comic strip has ever been able to express family ties with such empathy), Frank King was an innovator in form, in its continuous search for psychological and social realism, predating the modern graphic book by many years and leaving deep traces in the evolution of language.
In the United States, Gasoline Alley was a cultural phenomenon and today it is at the centre of new interpretations by leading artists. Chris Ware, hailed as the master of the modern comic strip, curated the critical reprint. Gasoline Alley was never translated into Italian. This exhibition introduces a masterpiece in comic strip history to the Italian public. With its modern drawing, its distinctive editorial chronicles and the important role it plays in the journey of the comic strip as an artform, this is a gem worth discovering.
via Manzoni 2, Bologna
Full ticket € 5
Concessions € 2
For visitors to the Sturmtruppen.50 exhibition