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“Drew Friedman is the great portraitist of our time”—BoingBoing”

“Drew Friedman turns pen and brush to the great early comic book artists and writers who invented some of the most iconic characters in print and on screen. As exciting to my eye as most comics are. A comic nerd’s delight!”—Steven Heller

Drew Friedman’s two recent books Heroes of the Comics and More Heroes of the Comics, published by Fantagraphics books, depicted the great early comic book creators who entered into the dawn of the business between 1935–1955, a milestone in the early history of comic books. The Museum of Illustration at the Society of Illustrators is proud to present 100 original, meticulous color illustrations from Friedman’s two books.

Among the colorful subjects are comics pioneer Max (M.C.) Gaines, the creators of Superman Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster, and Superman publishers Harry Donenfled and Jack Liebowitz, and comic book legends including Batman creators Bob Kane and Bill Finger, Will Eisner, (the subject of a large concurrent exhibition also at SI celebrating his 100th birthday), Jack Kirby, Martin Goodman, Harvey Kurtzman, Stan Lee, Wally Wood, William M. Gaines, C.C. Beck, Joe Kubert, Jack Cole, Steve Ditko, Al Jaffee, Carl Barks, Jules Feiffer, James Warren, and many more. Also included in the gallery will be several early female creators including Marie Severin and author Patricia Highsmith who began her career writing for comics, and several African American creators, among them Matt Baker, Alvin Hollingsworth  and Orrin C. Evans. The greats and the near greats, many long forgotten with the passage of time but who deserve recognition for their work, now revived in Friedman’s two books and this exhibition.

“Heroes of the Comics” will be on display at the Society of Illustrators from May 2 – June 4. An ancillary exhibit of “Heroes of the Comics” will be on display prior to the Society’s show at the 2017 MoCCA Arts Festival from April 1 – 2nd from 11:00AM – 6:00PM at the luxurious and modern Metropolitan West located on West 46th Street between 10th and 11th Avenue. Drew Friedman will also be featured as a Guest of Honor at the MoCCA Arts Festival. Further scheduling information regarding his visit will be available in future announcements.

About the Artist
Drew Friedman’s comics and illustrations have appeared in many publications over the past 35 years, including in Raw, Weirdo, American Splendor, Heavy Metal, National Lampoon, SPY, MAD, The New Yorker, The New York Observer, etc.  His work has been collected in five anthologies, the first, published by Fantagraphics in 1985 and co-written by Josh Alan Friedman. Drew Friedman’s Sideshow Freaks was published by Blast! books in 2011. Friedman illustrated Howard Stern’s two best-selling books Private Parts and Miss America. Steven Heller in the The New York Times wrote of his three volumes of portraiture of Old Jewish Comedians: “A festival of drawing virtuosity and fabulous craggy faces. Friedman might very well be the Vermeer of the Borscht Belt”. The Society of Illustrators hosted a two-floor showing of his Old Jewish Comedians original art in 2014.

Heroes of the Comics was published by Fantagraphics in 2014 and the sequel More Heroes of the Comics came out in 2016. His 8-page comic strip “R. Crumb & Me” is included in the anthology edited by Roz Chast The Best Comics of 2016. A documentary about Friedman’s life and career, “Vermeer of the Borsht Belt”, is being filmed by director Kevin Dougherty. Friedman’s next book of portraits “Drew Friedman’s Chosen People” is due out in fall 2017. Drew Friedman and his wife Kathy live in rural PA.

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