A new comic book exhibit featuring the work of young community members kicks off at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, August 25, at Stearns History Museum.
The Lion Man Literacy Project highlights the visions of young Black youth solving real-life problems through the embodiment of superheroes. The summer program, under the guidance of Michael Dando, an English professor at St. Cloud State University, involves students at Too Much Talent, Southside Boys and Girls Club of Central Minnesota and District 742 South Junior High School CRUSH Academy. The students created characters and one- to two-page stories using technology like Procreate and other digital art tools.
The name Lion Man comes from the first Black superhero comic written in 1947 by Black Philadelphia journalist Orrin Cromwell Evans. The story follows an American scientist turned superhero (Lion Man) tasked by the United Nation to watch over a magical mountain full of uranium in Africa to prevent war. The exhibit is expected to run through September in conjunction with Beyond the Black Panther: Visions of Afrofuturism in American Comics, a Michigan State University’s traveling exhibition. The second presentation explores how aesthetics and community shape contemporary Black comics. It also offers stories inspired by African folklore such as Is’nana the Were-Spider and stories from the Black speculative tradition.
The event is being presented by United Way Partner for Student Success 21st Century Community Learning Centers and Stearns History Museum.