Original Comic Art from Muthu Comics in India

Written by: Bexx Caswell-Olson

Primary Source: Wallace Conservation Lab

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We recently acquired a stack of original comic art from Muthu Comics in India.  Painted on cardstock with tempera, these colorful images were used as cover art for reprints of Western comics (you can see the comic next to the original in the last photo).

The paintings had been covered in cellophane which was taped directly to the back. The cellophane had been applied very tightly, which caused the paintings to curl into an unnatural position.  Although this made me cringe, I realized that without this plastic covering, the friable tempera paint probably would have been damaged by abrasion.

I removed the cellophane, and very carefully removed the tape from the back of each item.  This helped them to flatten out.  They are currently being stored in a custom made box with interleaving tissue.  However, due to their fragile nature, we plan to place them into custom mats so that they can be handled without risk of touching the face of the painting.

Click here to learn more about the Comic Art Collection.

~ Bexx

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Bexx Caswell-Olson
Before migrating to Michigan and beginning work at the MSU Libraries Wallace Conservation Lab, Bexx Caswell-Olson was employed as a bookbinder and book conservator in private practice in Iowa City, IA. Prior to running her own business, Bexx spent nearly a decade living in the Boston area where she worked in a variety of libraries and conservation labs, including those at Harvard and MIT. She is Vice President of the Guild of Book Workers, a national organization for those working in bookbinding, book conservation, and the book arts. Bexx holds a Certificate in Bookbinding from the North Bennet Street School and a Master’s of Library Science from Simmons College. In addition to her passion for bookbinding, Bexx also has an affinity for typography, bibliomysteries, seed bead weaving, and vegan baking.