Monday, June 18, 2018

NY Transit Museum Celebrates Comics Going Underground

Growing up in Brooklyn many years ago, Marvel Comics always spoke directly to me. Most of their heroes were East Coast based and I could spot New York landmarks in each panel ...ones I had walked past before and could visit now. It's a surreal moment for a kid, to sit beside a fountain where Nightcrawler had a heart to heart with his girlfriend! The lifeblood flowing through that city was and will always be the trains running beneath, and you'd better believe, if something earth shattering was happening in the pages of Spider-Man or X-Men topside, it wouldn't be long before those tremors were felt below. Hell, the Morlocks made their home in the tunnels I sped through on many a day. For those of us with vibrant memories of these moments, an exhibit of comics exploring those catacombs, dark tunnels and elevated steel trestles sounds fantastic.

 The New York Transit Museum’s newest exhibition, Underground Heroes: New York Transit in Comics is a raucous ride through New York’s transit system from a range of visual storytellers and draws on satirical cartoons, comic strips and comic books from the 19th through the 21st centuries.

On view at the Museum in Downtown Brooklyn from June 21st, 2018 through January 6th, 2019, the exhibit includes such luminaries as Winsor McCay, Will Eisner, Bill Griffith, Roz Chast, Ronald Wimberly and Julia Wertz. The vivid visual commentary offered through the comics demonstrates the influence that mass transit has on the stories that are inextricably woven into the fabric of the City.

Underground Heroes: New York Transit in the Comics spans more than a century, allowing visitors to see the continuing influence that subways, buses, and commuter rail lines have had on the stories that astound and thrill us.

Underground Heroes New York Transit in Comics Exhibit at the New York Transit Museum

The Big Apple is often as important as the people (and creatures) in comics narratives, and the creators of these fantastic stories draw inspiration from the world around them. With New York’s rich visual vernacular providing a colorful setting for illustrated stories, it comes as no surprise that our iconic transportation system plays a starring role in many comics and graphic novels and serves as the scene for heroic rescues, as secret lairs for supervillains, and as the site for epic battles of wills. Subways, railroads, streetcars, and buses can whisk heroes to far-flung corners of the city, or serve as a rogue’s gallery of unusual characters.

“Underground Heroes: New York Transit in the Comics takes you on an incredible journey and highlights the simultaneous coming of age of the region’s mass transit systems and of comic books,” says Museum Director Concetta Bencivenga. “The foundation of each was built by immigrants who made New York their home and the influence of both mass transit and the comic book genre have expanded well beyond Gotham’s city limits. It is an honor to bring this exhibit to the public and share this rich history.”

Throughout the course of the exhibition’s run the New York Transit Museum will present a series of panel discussions, gallery talks, and sketch nights exploring Underground Heroes: New York Transit in the Comics.

Reservations are also now open for the Transit Museum’s annual summer camp program, appropriately themed Transit Hero Academy, and a selection of new products focusing on some of the comics featured in the show are planned to be available for sale in the New York Transit Museum Stores.

Underground Heroes: New York Transit in the Comics is open to the public through January 6, 2019 at the New York Transit Museum in Downtown Brooklyn. Located in a decommissioned subway station at 99 Schermerhorn Street, the Transit Museum is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m; Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and is closed Mondays, major holidays and for special events. General admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children 2-17 years old, $5 and free on Wednesdays for senior citizens 62 years and up, and free for museum members. For more information on hours, admission and directions, please visit

Underground Heroes: New York Transit in Comics is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

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