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Higher Education
Rice University
News Release
Monday, January 22, 2018

Rice-developed exhibition on Mexican comic art opens at Lawndale Art Center

HOUSTON -- Before American superheroes from Marvel and other comics took over the Mexican marketplace in the 1980s, fans of the genre in Mexico read "micro-cuentos" or pocket-sized comic books, which were popular in the 1960s and '70s. Now 50 years later, a Rice University professor has amassed more than 1,400 of the comics and, along with the help of his students, has put them on exhibit, likely a first-of-its-kind public display.

Rice Associate Professor Christopher Sperandio is leading the collaboration between Rice's Department of Visual and Dramatic Arts and the Lawndale Art Center. "Between Love and Madness: Mexican Comic Art From the 1970s" was installed recently at the center, 4912 Main St., by Sperandio and students enrolled in his Practical Curation course. The class is part of a new interdisciplinary minor in museums and cultural heritage, which was introduced last year.

Sperandio's collection of micro-cuentos is rare for both its size and its subject matter: The comics functioned as satire and social commentary as much as entertainment. The pocket-sized books were written by prominent Mexican philosophers and illustrated by leading Mexican artists, most of whom worked under pseudonyms to avoid government scrutiny.

Over the last 50 years, many of the original micro-cuentos were destroyed or lost. Sperandio's collection and exhibition serve to renew interest in this forgotten art form and preserve its fiery spirit for future generations.

"Between Love and Madness: Mexican Comic Art From the 1970s" runs through March 25 and is free to the public. Members of the news media interested in learning more should contact Katharine Shilcutt, media relations specialist at Rice, at or 713-348-6760.

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