Featuring a combination of rare original art and artifacts, the exhibit “Comic Stripped: A Revealing Look at Southern Stereotypes in Cartoons” is on display at Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Center.
Developed by Tom Hanchett, staff historian and curator at the Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte, the exhibit will be shown in Gallery C at the Mountain Heritage Center through Tuesday, May 14.
Works in the exhibit range from 1860s political cartoons by Thomas Nast to Billy De Beck’s “Snuffy Smith,” Doug Marlette’s “Kudzu” and character sketches, background art and storyboards from the television cartoon sitcom “King of the Hill,” on loan from the show’s executive producers.
The exhibit’s artifacts include rare vintage comic books and memorabilia, an authentic Wilkes County moonshine jug, and a hillbilly coat and hat worn in parades by the “Hillbilly Clan” of the Shrine Club.
“I feel that ‘Comic Stripped’ provides a fun way to explore a serious subject – how public perception has historically been shaped and continues to be influenced by mass media and how stereotypes can sometimes be true and sometimes misleading,” said Pam Meister, curator at the WCU museum. “I think visitors will enjoy the wit and humor of this exhibit while coming away with some new insights into their own perceptions of ‘southern.’”
The Mountain Heritage Center is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, except until 7 p.m. on Thursdays. For more information, call the museum at 828-227-7129.