This year the famed Cartoon Art Museum has reopened at its new home at 781 Beach Street, San Francisco. The new museum opened with exhibitions on the character of Hellboy and the work of famed San Francisco artist Raina Telgemeier.
The Cartoon Art Museum is the only museum in Western United States that exclusively features cartoons, comics, and animation. The museum’s unfortunate closing in 2015 was reported on by SF Gate, which recounted how the beloved institution’s glorious 30-year run came to an end due to the skyrocketing rent costs in the Bay Area. Curator Andrew Farago acknowledged that the landlord of the property where the museum had been located was open to giving considerations to the museum, but ultimately, a “business decision” to close the institution had to be made.
According to the SF Gate report, the museum stayed open at its long-time location at 655 Mission St. near Third Street until June 28, 2015. The final exhibition featured original artwork from Jeffrey Brown, who raised his profile quite a bit with his work in the Star Wars expanded universe.
In an interview CBR.com, Andrew Farago stated that Telgemeier was his first choice to open the new museum and the exhibition “Smile! The Comics of Raina Telgemeier” will be the biggest show. He called her “a San Francisco native, a friend, and a true comics superstar.” Alongside the local artist will be an exhibition on Hellboy, called “A Tribute Mike Mignola’s Hellboy”, featuring the work of 35 artists. The artists submitted the work as part of an online fundraiser, with the proceeds going towards the new Cartoon Art Museum. The inclusion of Big Red in the exhibit comes on the heels of the announcement that a Hellboy reboot is in the pipeline for a 2019 release.
The Hellboy graphic novel series won over quite a few fans since its release in 1993, and it became even more popular with the release of Hellboy in 2004 and Hellboy II: The Golden Army in the 2008. Even the gaming industry gave the character a boost with the release of games inspired by the Big Red. One of the earliest games that featured the Mignola creation was Hellboy: Dogs of the Night, which was released in 2000. Hellboy: The Science of Evil was the adaptation of the first Hellboy film and was released in 2004 for the PlayStation and Xbox. The character has also appeared on online gaming platforms. Slingo’s online slot game Hellboy uses artwork from the original Mignola comic book series, showing how interest in the character from the comics, rather than the film version, is increasing. The Hellboy exhibition at the Cartoon Museum is a rare chance to see new Hellboy artwork outside of the comic series.
There will be a third exhibition that showcases the work of upcoming artist and future star Nidhi Chanani, also a local artist from San Francisco. The exhibit is the first of many at the museum that will introduce patrons to emerging talent.
Yes, Cartoon Art Museum is back in business. Through shining the spotlight on Hellboy, Telgemeier, and new upcoming talent, it looks like the museum has got off to a strong start.