If you’ll be in Los Angeles this month and love Batman, there’s something you have to check out: the “History of the Batman Art Show” at the Hive Gallery.
This show presents the history of the famed Caped Crusader through various art pieces, all organized chronologically by decade. Based on its Instagram alone, which inspired the art show, it’s going to be a pretty spectacular viewing for all DC fans.
In anticipation of the event, we were able to talk with the curator of the show, Londyn Jackson, about how this whole journey started, her love of Batman, and what she tries to inspire with this project.
Read on, and enjoy the show this month!
1. What is “History of the Batman?”
I originally created “History of the Batman” in January 2013 on Instagram. With the first post discussing DC Comics’ Batman’s debut in Detective Comics Vol 1. 27 from 1939, the page gave a chronological history of this character in comics, television, film, and other media going decade by decade. “History of the Batman” celebrates not only art but the artists, writers, creators, and talent themselves who have kept alive this figure and his mythology for the last 77 years, exploring why Batman is one of the most popular figures in American comic book art and literature.
2. How did “History of the Batman” begin?
I studied Art History at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles with a focus in American Pop Art. I loved how comic book art was inspired by the Pop Art movement in the 1960s, especially the Adam West television series from the late 60s; it’s basically Pop Art in motion, and that was the beginning of my love affair with Batman comics in a historical and educational setting. Because of this, I started the blog for pure fun during this last semester in undergrad to ease the stress of my final classes and exams. I’ve loved Batman media for years and years, but this time I wanted to celebrate my love for it through learning more about the history and sharing it with others. I wanted to not only educate myself about Batman stories and art that I may not have been familiar with, but hopefully a small group of other fans like myself would enjoy it as well. What I didn’t expect was that ‘small group’ turned into thousands of followers over night, with accounts sharing the posts and liking the posts constantly. The IG kept organically growing and by the end of 2014, it had over 100,000 followers and the end of 2015 reached 200,000.
3. How did “History of the Batman” grow?
Because I had no idea that “History of the Batman” would become one of the most popular Batman blogs on Instagram, those who have followed for the last three years always humble me. They aren’t just ‘followers,’ but I dub them ‘Gothamites’; this has turned into a Batman community with all of us being citizens of Gotham City who love Batman! Whether you love the comic books or are just a fan of the films, “History of the Batman” strives for a positive environment and community, welcoming anyone who enjoys the Caped Crusader. From continuously being cyber-bullied myself on Instagram from other Batman pages due to the fact that I am a young, African American woman with a voice in this somewhat male dominated hobby, to seeing others getting hate on social media for what they enjoy, I try my best to make the posts and discussions positive and fun for everyone and myself.
4. How did “History of the Batman” expand outside of Instagram?
While I continued to post on Instagram, I built a relationship with the amazing owner and team at Meltdown Comics and Collectibles in Hollywood, California. I would always share their signing events and I was, and still am, a regular customer at their comic book and pop culture shop on Sunset Blvd. Gaston, the owner, has always been supportive of what I do on “History of the Batman” and gave me the opportunity to have an extension of Instagram in the form of a weekly podcast to crystallize my celebration of Batman history. In May 2015, the first episode of “History of the Batman with Londyn!”, presented by Meltdown Comics’ went live.
Each week the podcast gains about 4,000+ listens, has reached #30 on iTunes top 300 charts, and with 43 episodes down, I’ve had the opportunity to interview amazing creators such as artist Kelley Jones, composer Christopher Drake, and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and DCEU photographer Clay Enos. The Gothamites that follow on Instagram and the new listeners from all over the world can learn more about Batman and the people behind making him an incredible fictional character. Because of the Instagram and podcast, I’ve been given the opportunity to speak on Batman panels at several comic cons in Southern California, including Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo. Hopefully within the following year I can speak on panels outside of SoCal.
5. Where is “History of the Batman” today?
As of now (May 2016), “History of the Batman” on Instagram has about 250,000 Gothamites, over 40 episodes on the podcast “History of the Batman with Londyn!,” and now I have turned it into a brand of art history shows.
“History of the Batman Art Show: Presented by The Artillerist” is curated by me and will have its opening reception on Saturday, May 7, 2016 at The Hive Gallery in Downtown Los Angeles, California. The first of a series of gallery shows, the exhibit will feature original art from legendary Batman artists such as Neal Adams and Kelley Jones, original Batman comic book panels and homage pieces from a dozen artists from all over the globe. The show will be curated in chronological order, giving the audience a visual history of Batman’s creative evolution throughout DC Comics media in the last 77 years with almost 20 pieces of incredible work.
The artists include:
Camillo di Pietrantonio
It will run from May 7, 2016 until May 28, 2016 at The Hive Gallery: 729 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90014 (7th St and S Spring St), (213) 955 – 9051.
If you’re in the Los Angeles area, come see the “History of the Batman Art Show” at The Hive Gallery in DTLA, support the arts and of course, Batman!
As I always say, Peace, Love and Batman!