LIBRARY OF CONGRESS opens masterful ‘Timely and Timeless’ exhibit today to celebrate comic art

There’s nothing, Martha Kennedy enthuses, quite like seeing great comic art in person, nose to frame, pupils to paper.

“Viewers can get up close to see how [the artists] use line, color, brush, pen and ink, gouache, pastel...,’ says Kennedy, dwelling a moment, lovingly, on the sound of each medium.

She has every right to be excited. Today, the Library of Congress opens its new exhibit, “Timely and Timeless,” which features four-dozen of the many comic works that the institution has acquired over the past decade.

The works range from caricature to comic strip, magazine illustration to graphic novel. And among the artists represented are past masters Honore Daumier and James Gillray; “Spider-Man” co-creator Steve Ditko; “The Boondocks” creator Aaron McGruder and “Zippy the Pinhead’s” Bill Griffith ; the New Yorker’s Charles Addams and Roz Chast ; entertainment caricaturist Al Hirschfeld; civil-rights era artist Oliver Wendell Harrington; genre-crossing pioneers like Will Eisner; and such Pulitzer-winning editorial cartoonists as Tony Auth and The Post’s Ann Telnaes .

“We were trying as a team to do justice to the amazing variety and quality of our comic acquisitions,” says Kennedy, curator of the exhibit, ”and to try to encompass the major genres of comic art.

“We wanted to create an eye-catching assemblage with all these,” continues Kennedy, who estimates that the library has more than 128,000 comic artworks in its vast collection.

Here is a sampling of the works on display in “Timely and Timeless,” a title that Kennedy says refers both to how keenly some of these works reflect their eras, as well as to the timelessness of the virtuosic pieces. (And no, she adds, no punning allusion to Timely Comics is intended.)

The exhibit at the Graphic Arts Galleries (10 First St. SE) is free and runs through March 10.

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HONORE DAUMIER:


(Library of Congress/DAUMIER / Archives)

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ART YOUNG:


(Library of Congress/YOUNG / Archives)

(India ink over graphite underdrawing.)

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SIR JOHN TENNIEL:


(Library of Congress/TENNIEL / Archives)

(Watercolor and gouache on paper; 1870.)

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JAMES GILLRAY:


(Library of Congress/GILLRAY / Archives)

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GLYNIS SWEENY.


(Library of Congress/Copyright GLYNIS SWEENY/ Archives)

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THOMAS ROWLANDSON:


(Library of Congress/ROWLANDSON / Gift of Mrs. Annette Kauffman)

(Watercolor, ink and graphite.)

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ERIC DROOKER:


(Library of Congress/Copyright ERIC DROOKER / Archives)

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JAN ELIOT:


((CLICK HERE TO VIEW LARGER IMAGE) Library of Congress/Copyright JAN ELIOT / Universal Press Syndicate)

(Ink over graphite underdrawing with paste-on.)

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AARON McGRUDER:


((CLICK HERE TO VIEW LARGER IMAGE) Library of Congress/The Boondocks / copyright 2001-02 AARON McGRUDER / Used courtesy of the creator and Universal Uclick. All rights reserved.)

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MATT WUERKER:


(Library of Congress/Copyright MATT WUERKER)

(Watercolor and ink over graphite underdrawing.)

CLICK THROUGH BELOW TO SEE MORE COMIC ARTWORKS FROM THIS EXHIBIT:

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ANN TELNAES:


(Library of Congress/Copyright ANN TELNAES)

(Brush and ink over graphite underdrawing.)

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JIM MORIN:


(Library of Congress/MORIN / Copyright MIAMI HERALD)

(Watercolor and ink with graphite.)

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TONY AUTH:


(Library of Congress/AUTH / Copyright PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER)

(Brush and ink.)

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JEFF DANZIGER:


(Library of Congress/Copyright JEFF DANZIGER / New York Times Syndicate / Cartoonists and Wrtiers Syndicate)

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FELIPE GALINDO:


(Library of Congress/GALINDO / Archives)

(Ink with graphite and opaque white on paper.)

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BILL GRIFFITH:


((CLICK HERE TO VIEWER LARGER IMAGE) LIBRARY OF CONGRESS/Copyright BILL GRIFFITH / Distributed by KING FEATURES SYNDICATE)

(Pen and ink, with traces of opaque white and graphite.)

Writer/artist/visual storyteller Michael Cavna is creator of the "Comic Riffs" column and graphic-novel reviewer for The Post's Book World. He relishes sharp-eyed satire in most any form.

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