Blighted Eye: Original Comic Art from the Glenn Bray Collection
Bray was an enthusiast of marginal or outsider American pop culture when he started to collect original comic art in 1965 — a time when very few people, including the artists themselves, truly valued the original art. Bray has, over the last nearly 50 years, amassed the most eclectic collection of original comic art in private hands. The Blighted Eye is not only the greatest collection of original art ever produced, but a testament to Bray's dogged and visionary commitment to preserving the work by the greatest artists working in an art form habitually sneered at by cultural gatekeepers throughout most of the 20th century.
The book features work by a pantheon of cartooning masters, including Charles Addams, Carl Barks, Charles Burns, Al Capp, Dan Clowes, Jack Cole, R. Crumb, Jack Davis, Kim Deitch, Will Elder, Al Feldstein, Virgil Finlay, Drew Friedman, Chester Gould, Justin Green, Rick Griffin, Bill Griffith, Matt Groening, George Grosz, V.T. Hamlin, Jaime Hernandez, George Herriman, Al Hirshfeld, Graham Ingels, Bernard Krigstein, Harvey Kurtzman, Gary Panter, Virgil Partch, Savage Pencil, Peter Pontiac, Charles Rodrigues, Spain Rodriguez, Charles Schulz, Gilbert Shelton, Joost Swarte, Stanislav Szukalski, Irving Tripp, Chris Ware, S. Clay Wilson, Basil Wolverton, Wallace Wood, Jim Woodring, Art Young, and — it should go without saying — many more.
With the increasing sophistication of comics over the last 20 and 30 years in the form of graphic novels, journalism, and memoirs, the cartoon form is finally taking its place alongside other popular narrative media — novels, films, theatre — as an art form to reckon with, widely reviewed and embraced by a discriminating reading public.
Simultaneous with this growing acceptance of comics as a literary form has been the recognition among museums and galleries that the artists' original drawings are art objects. Public exhibitions of original comics art has proliferated over the last decade with such shows as Masters of American Comics at LA's Hammer Museum and R. Crumb's Underground at Seattle's Frye Museum. Readers have been able to see this original art in museum catalogues and the occasional compilation of work digitally scanned directly from the original art. Although drawn for print, the hand-crafted original art — brush strokes and pen lines inked on paper — offers a beauty and an unique insight into the form, a different way of perceiving the artist's work.