Arts center to host comic book exhibit

ASHTABULA, Ohio – With grant support from International Paper, the Ashtabula Arts Center will host an exhibit of original comic book art by acclaimed artist P. Craig Russell. The exhibit will be in place from Jan. 5 through Feb. 28.

For those of you who think of Batman when you think of comic book art, you are in for a big surprise! Russell’s works are not that of underworld heroes and villains, but instead unusually beautiful renderings of story lines from operas and plays. His exhibit at the arts center will include renderings from his Magic Flute comic book series, as well as images from a Mahler song.

According to Russell, his choice to draw from these stories is not a personal crusade to spread the joys of opera; instead, he simply knows a good story when he hears one.

“By doing stories that are from plays or operas, I’m not trying to do comics that are good for you. I’m simply trying to tell a good story,” he said. “Those are the books I can show to my friends who aren’t into comics, and they don’t laugh.”

While one might expect opera aficionados to object to Russell’s work, they actually are very open to his ideas. Russell has even managed to convert a few operas fanciers into collectors of his work.

An opening reception for Russell will be held Jan. 19, from 7-8:30 p.m. Admission is free. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday. The gallery is closed on Sundays.

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