Comic fans have a new place to see original art and meet comic creators in Chicago. This Friday saw the opening reception at The Rogues Gallery, a comic art gallery opened by adjoining comic book store Challengers Comics + Conversation.
"I'm really grateful they brought me out for the opening," said Batwoman artist Amy Reeeder, whose original art, including several madame Xanadu pages, was the focus of the gallery's first exhibition. "I was surprised at how much I liked seeing my own art on display."
The opening reception was very well attended. Some of Reeder's original art pages were sold and many copies of her work on Madame Xanadu, Batwoman, and others were also sold and signed. All of which pleased Challegers owners Patrick Brower and W. Dal Bush.
The gallery was something they wanted to do since the store opened two years ago, "But only if conditions were right," said Brower. The right conditions were met when Challengers was able to acquire the storefront space next door at a reasonable rent. Brower stressed that the gallery was less of a sales-oriented addition to the store, but instead part of their goal of encouraging comics as both an artform and as a social culture.
Reeder was chosen as the gallery's first featured artist to coincide with the release of Batwoman issue zero, part of their plan for developing exhibits. "We want to tie in every exhibition with a product release," said Brower, who added that there's no hard and fast rule about what kind of artists will be featured. "It's people who's work we want to get a wider audience." Each showing will run for 2-4 weeks, with an opening reception every month. Sixth Gun artist Brian Hurtt will be the next "rogue" on display in the gallery.
The Rogue's Gallery joins Challengers' other social events, include graphic novel reading groups, art classes, and others. There are many comic shops in Chicago, but Challengers looks to be a leader in conversation.
Challengers Comics + Conversation is located in Chicago at 1845 N. Western Ave. Special thanks to Challengers for photo assistance.
Greg Baldino lives and writes in Chicago, reporting on arts and culture. His writing has appeared in print internationally. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org