History of Art and Architecture

Identity Constellation Colloquium

Wednesday, October 19, 2016 - 12:00pm

202 Frick Fine Arts Building

CHUTZ-POW! The Heroism and History of Holocaust Survival”

Identity Constellation in conjunction with: Wayne Wise and Marcel (M.L.) Walker

In the fall of 2013 the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh, in conjunction with local comics museum, the ToonSeum, collaborated on a comic book series entitled Chutz-Pow! Superheroes of the Holocaust. The book, currently in its second issue, honors Holocaust survivors, resistance fighters, and liberators by recasting them as Upstanders, or upstanding individuals who take action to help others. Aligning the tropes of the fictional superhero with that of an UpStander, Chutz-Pow! transforms the traditional solemn model of Holocaust education into celebratory accounts of real-life heroism. Chutz-Pow! comprises short biographical stories of local Holocaust survivors written by author Wayne Wise and illustrated by artist M.L. Walker. In consultation with the Holocaust Center, Wise and Walker reconstructed biographical episodes in the lives of UpStanders using source material from survivors’ autobiographies, oral histories, interviews, and photographs. The Identity Constellation invites Wise and Walker to discuss the development of the project and their approach to art and biography in Chutz-Pow! Superheroes of the Holocaust.

Freelance author Wayne Wise wrote the scripts for Chutz-Pow! Superheroes of the Holocaust in consultation with the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh. Prior to his work on Chutz-Pow!, Wise co-created the Xeric Award-winning comic Grey Legacy, worked as an inker for Malibu Graphics, and published four novels. Wise teaches courses on the history of comics and pop culture at Chatham University and serves, along with artist M.L. Walker, as an Executive Board Member for the ToonSeum.  www.wayne-wise.com

Art Institute of Pittsburgh alum Marcel (M.L.) Walker has provided cover and story artwork for both volumes of Chutz-Pow! Superheroes of the Holocaust. Walker works primarily as an illustrator and graphic prose instructor. He was first introduced to the Pitt History of Art and Architecture department through the “Exposure: Black Voices in the Arts” exhibition held in the University Art Gallery last fall. In the Spring of 2016, Walker became the recipient of an award from the Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh Fund, made possible by the Pittsburgh Foundation and the Heinz Endowments, as well as an Artists Opportunity Grant from the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council. His first single-artist show, “To Tell the Troof: The Art of Marcel Lamont Walker,” closed at Most Wanted Fine Art Gallery last month. www.marcelwalker.com