POW-litical Comics: From Ripon to the RNC

G. Martens, Keep Your Demon in a Cage, 2024, Screen Print, 15 x 16

I heard an old proverb which said there is an Angel and a Demon in every soul, our task is to beat down the Demon. Olive Oyl and Betty Boop were both adults and frequently looked after children. Here they are teaching that proverb to perpetual children Nancy and Little Lulu. Kudos to Nancy, who, obviously not enjoying the task, holds her spear steady.

G. Martens, The Great Tribulation Brass Band, 2017, Ink on paper, 18 x 24

It’s hard to blow a trumpet without lips. Seven trumpeting skeletons and their drummer on a parade truck was the genesis of this drawing. Packed all around them are the scenes and characters from the Great Tribulation in the Book of Revelation.

For a child who loved to draw cartoons, and raised in a Bible centered Northen Baptist family, it was the Book of Revelation where I found the best material. Dragons, monsters, angels, demons, 666, the Harlot of Babylon, the Abyss, the Beast, and the False Prophet – all players in the epic drama which would bring about the End of the World.

It took almost 60 years for me to finally attempt the drawing. Now I see it as the Human Race experiencing its worst possible demise. But, like Dickens’ Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come, it doesn’t have to end this way.

Peter Poplaski, Pow-litical Comics, 2024 (detail)

POW-litical Comics: From Ripon to the RNC

It is a great honor to be included in this exhibit of Wisconsin cartoonists at the Museum of Wisconsin Art satellite gallery inside the St Kate Art Hotel in Milwaukee. MOWA Director Laurie Winters, and Curator James Danky have assembled a group of wide-ranging artists including: Joel Adams, Bill Amundson, Marcia Babler, Lynda Barry, Daniel Beyer, Jennifer Camper, Doug Haynes, Gary Huck, Michael Konopacki, Bill Krupinski, Gregory Martens, Jim Mitchell, Gary Nauman, Paul Noth, Peter Poplaski, Barbara Reinhart, Sharon Rudahl, Susan Simensky Bietila, and Marty Two Bulls Sr.

When push comes to shove, our true colors come out. After the 2016 elections I felt shoved, so I turned around to fight. My outrage was expressed by churning out meme’s, comics, web cartoons, screen prints, and drawings, all aimed at helping my loved ones to recognize a con man when they see one. But I got nowhere, and the stress was burning me out. My soul needed some healin’ so I focused on making art for everybody, for the whole Human Race, not just one side or the other. Keep Your Demon in a Cage, and Tribulation Brass Band emerged from this new point of view.

Screen print editions will be available in June, please email for details: gmartens@mindspring.com

Exhibit runs through July 22, throughout the duration of the RNC convention in Milwaukee.

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