Tripwire Visits Mark Wheatley And Marc Hempel’s Breathtaker Exhibition

Take Your Breath Away

Tripwire’s consulting editor Scott Braden went to check out the opening of Mark Wheatley and Marc Hempel’s the Breathtaker exhibition last week and here’s his report…

An opening reception of the exhibit, “The Norman Rockwell Museum Presents the Breathtaker Exhibition: The Groundbreaking Graphic Novel from Concept to Comics,” was held on 25 August 2022, at McDaniel College’s Esther Prangley Rice Gallery in Westminster, MD, USA.  The exhibit  – running from August 22 to October 29 in McDaniel’s Peterson Hall,  which is free and open to the public and located on 2 College Hill – showed once again that Mark Wheatley and Marc Hempel’s groundbreaking work transcended beyond the four-color medium into high academia and beyond.

The attendance for the BREATHTAKER opening reception was the highest that McDaniel College has ever seen for an opening.

“I don’t have that aficionado depth of knowledge (in sequential storytelling),” said Walt Callahan, who teaches photography at McDaniel College, “but I believe that exposing our students to this level of craftsmanship in regards to visual storytelling opens their minds to a much more expansive way of their own self-expression.”

Artist Dan Krall agreed: “The show is really beautiful. I read the book years ago in college. In fact, I first read Breathtaker before I met Mark or Marc. I remember being a big fan of it, and now that it is on display for all to see, with the transparencies over the original watercolors, it’s just so beautiful. It’s a terrific show.”

When asked about what make Wheatley and Hempel one of comics’ most beloved storytelling teams, the highly creative pair just smiled.

“It helps that we both are named Mark/Marc,” Hempel laughed.  .

“It really helps that we have known each other for a long time and we became friends,” Wheatley said. “We know how the other one works and don’t fight about stuff.”

“(Mark and I) tried to make the storytelling as compelling and readable as possible,” Hempel continued. “Is it cutting-edge? Yes, I think so. But, I just did my thing. I cut loose. It was after (my tenure on) Jonny Quest. I took Mark’s script and paneled it all down, since it was prose. Together, we made the story very cinematic. I didn’t work full script until years later. Neil Gaiman worked full-script when I drew Sandman. It was very descriptive.

“Everything I have done in the last 30 years has featured contrast: Light/dark, male/female, youth/age, funny/dramatic, ridiculous/depressing. I like to play out the contrasts in a storytelling sense.”

Following a two-year delay, McDaniel College now serves as the premier host of a fan-packed exhibition featuring original works of art from the acclaimed graphic novel, Breathtaker – the first trade paperback to be released by DC Comics’ now legendary Vertigo line. Organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, Massachusetts, the exhibition includes more than 90 original works of art and explores the creative and physical processes undertaken during the original production of the comic in the 1990s.

“McDaniel College is proud to serve as the premiere host of the ‘Breathtaker Exhibition,’ which represents a chance to see up close the results of the creative chemistry and collaborative process between Mark Wheatley and Marc Hempel,” said Robert Lemieux, associate professor of communication and cinema.

“This is a natural fit for McDaniel, having previously mounted a major exhibition exploring the serious side of newspaper comic strips, as it provides the opportunity to look behind-the-scenes at the process that gave birth to an award-winning graphic novel. The engaging mix of the art displayed will only further enhance the incredible story in the book.”

From giving viewers the opportunity to experience story and character development to seeing the construction of a narrative in the comic format, the exhibition will incorporate examples from all aspects of the creative process.

“It is gratifying to see an institution of the stature of the Norman Rockwell Museum and such a highly regarded college as McDaniel recognizing the legitimate power of comic art to communicate, entertain and explore social constructs and ideas. Without their strong and creative support, this exhibition would not be happening. The truth is, there are comic fans in every walk of life. And we shouldn’t be surprised to find many of these fans working in the arts,” Wheatley said.

Breathtaker tells the story of Chase Darrow, who is on the run after both she and her mother had this crazy idea that the government should not be in the business of deciding how she should live her life. With the NSA having their lead agent on her trail, they have given her the codename of Breathtaker.

Here’s a few photos from the exhibition










Hours for the Esther Prangley Rice Gallery at McDaniel College are Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m.to 4:00 p.m., and Saturday, Noon to 5:00 p.m. For more information, call 410-857-2595 or visit https://www.mcdaniel.edu

The post Tripwire Visits Mark Wheatley And Marc Hempel’s Breathtaker Exhibition appeared first on TRIPWIRE MAGAZINE.

Take Your Breath Away Tripwire’s consulting editor Scott Braden went to check out the opening of Mark Wheatley and Marc Hempel’s the Breathtaker exhibition last week and here’s his report… An opening reception of the exhibit, “The Norman Rockwell Museum Presents the Breathtaker Exhibition: The Groundbreaking Graphic Novel from Concept to Comics,” was held on
The post Tripwire Visits Mark Wheatley And Marc Hempel’s Breathtaker Exhibition appeared first on TRIPWIRE MAGAZINE.Read MoreTRIPWIRE MAGAZINE

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