I will be a guest at the Mystery Mini Con at the Kenosha Public Museum, 5500 First Avenue, Kenosha Wisconsin. The con is part of a larger exhibit at the Museum entitled The History of Mystery.
Mystery Mini Con
October 19; 11am-4pm
Meet with special guests, presenters, authors and artists featuring David Saunders, Jeff Butler, Hilary Barta, Tim Seeley, George Hagenauer, Jeff Easley and Jeff Moy. Plus visit the artist alley where vendors will have works for sale.
The History of Mystery
October 19, 2019 – January 12, 2020
Today Mystery, Crime and Suspense fiction is one of the most popular entertainment genres in America. Millions read mystery novels and short stories – millions more know the genre only through TV, movies or comics. Quite often the genre is seen through one lens – novels, magazines, pulps, comics, movies or television, when many of the writers who created the stories often worked in multiple media. Major novelists also wrote radio scripts, movies and comics – often adaptations of their own characters. The various media and formats interacted in ways that synergistically grew the genre. The children reading the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew grew up to read mystery novels as adults.
The exhibit starts the story with how memoirs and casebooks by Francois Eugene Vidocq and Allan Pinkerton in 19th century inspired fiction writers to invent the genre in many forms. The exhibit details its growth from there to its current status as a major force in American culture. The story is told through original art from novels, magazines, comic books, comic strips, newspaper serials, pulps and paperbacks by major artists who illustrated the various types of mystery fiction created from 1820 to about 1970. The art is linked to major authors from Poe to Agatha Christie to Elmore Leonard and others from the first 150 years of the American mystery. The artists range from Saturday Evening Post Illustrators to pulp and paper back artists to major names in comic strips and books like Chester Gould, Alex Raymond and Jack Kirby.
Each of the over 50 displays include detailed text linking the art and writer to the larger context of the development of the mystery genre. In some cases, they spotlight largely ignored aspects of the field like newspaper serialization of novels which brought mysteries to a far larger audience than did their more visible book and magazine publication. It also explores how the graphics changed over time – and varied in how they promoted or augmented the stories- and sometimes misrepresented them!