Cartoonmuseum Basel

Going West!

Comics Looking to the West


The Cartoonmuseum Basel looks towards the West: “Going West” features the bulletproof history of western comics in the U.S. and Europe. Looking back on over a hundred years of comics and cartoons, you will learn how drawing techniques and styles evolved in time, and discover the changing perception of the American frontier and the “Wild West”. A section of the exhibition focuses on the renowned Swiss artist Derib whose art demonstrates a sensitive and varied approach to such subjects as Native Americans, the first settlers, the wildlife and the domesticated animals of that time. The exhibition includes about 100 original drawings and original publications that reach back to the beginning of the U.S. comic scene in the 1920s with George Herriman’s “Krazy Kat”, James Swinnerton’s “Little Jimmy” or Frank King’s “Gasoline Alley” that established this genre. These were closely followed by the first European artists. The exhibition shows how the production of influential western comics shifted to Europe, and presents European landmarks like Hergé’s second Tintin album “Tintin in America” (1931) or Jijé’s “Jerry Spring” and “Lucky Luke” by Morris (both started in the 1950s). Later westerns such as Hermann’s “Comanche” or Jean Giraud’s “Lieutenant Blueberry” catered to a mature audience of readers and showed socially critical undertones that resonate to the present day. The exhibition is suitable for visitors of all ages, while the section dedicated to Derib is partly adapted to the specific needs of a younger audience in mind. Derib (born Claude de Ribaupierre, 1944) has created countless comics dedicated to humanity and the love of nature. The most popular is the children’s series “Yakari” and his saga of the trapper Buddy Longway. Derib’s art talks to children as well as adolescents and adults, his style ranges from humorous to stylized, from naturalistic to picturesque. From fable to painful realism, Derib is a master narrator.
Curators: Dr. Alexander Braun, Anette Gehrig

  • James Swinnerton “Canyon Kiddies” 1930

  • Unknown “Grizzly” 1900

  • Morris “Lucky Luke” since 1946 © Lucky Comics

  • Winsor McCay “Little Nemo” 1906