Christopher Sperandio: Pinko Joe / Fundamental Camarena

Christopher Sperandio: Pinko Joe / Fundamental Camarena

Rice University

Christopher Sperandio, Pinko Joe, 2020. Photo: Christopher Sperandio.

March 17, 2020
Christopher Sperandio
Pinko Joe
Fundamental Camarena

Pinko Joe and Fundamental Camarena emerge from the Comic Art Teaching and Study Workshop at Rice University, a unique resource for the study of comic history

Two new books drawing from the legacy of popular comics debut on Thursday, April 16, 2020 at Printed Matter, New York by Christopher Sperandio, an artist and professor in the Department of Visual & Dramatic Arts at Rice University, they are:

Pinko Joe, the story of a troubled anti-hero wage-slave from another planet who battles to save earthlings from gun-toting corporate raiders and out-of-control oligarchs. Sperandio created the novel by patching together and re-inking original pages from old public domain comics.  

Fundamental Camarena, an homage to the brilliant Mexican comic artist who produced multitudes of microcuentos during the peak of his career in the 1960s and 1970s. It is the first monograph on Camarena’s work.

Both of these experimental graphic novels were developed by Sperandio at the Comic Art Teaching and Study Workshop (CATS), a hybrid research/teaching space in Rice’s department of art that houses original comic books and comic strip drawings. The workshop, which Sperandio founded in 2014, mounts exhibitions and publishes on the subject of comics, both historically and internationally. 

At a time when scholars around the world have come to recognize the significance of comic books, an American art form, CATS is unique as a research space devoted entirely to the social history and intellectual capital of the form. 

“In both these books, I’m aiming to recover precious cultural history that otherwise could be lost, because popular comics were often printed without any credit to their writers and artists,” says Sperandio. “Here, at CATS, I can peer into the dusty corners of history, drag things back out into the light, and say, ‘Hey, this is an important thing to look at.’”

About the artist
Christopher Sperandio has experimented with many ways to engage non-art audiences in art and art-making, since putting himself through college working as a truck driver.

As half of the artist team of Grennan & Sperandio, he made some 20 comic books, including Modern Masters: Tales from the Pinnacle of Culture, for PS1/Museum of Modern Art (DC Comics) and Invisible City, for the Public Art Fund (Fantagraphics), and participated in such notable, boundary-stretching exhibitions as Culture in Action, organized by Mary Jane Jacob (1994) and Traffic, organized by Nicholas Bourriaud (1996).
Today, as well as teaching drawing and painting at Rice University, Sperandio speaks widely on the history of comic art.

Pinko Joe and Fundamental Camarena are his first solo graphic books. 

About the publisher
Pinko Joe and Fundamental Camarena are published by Argle Bargle, Ottawa, Canada. Argle Bargle publishes alternative graphic novels, art books, Fanzines and books with an edge. The company aims to support underground comics internationally and advance an alternative point of view in the arts.  Its titles address social issues, politics, environmental issues and the arts. 

Pinko Joe
ISBN 978-1-7770087-0-3
96-pages, full color, 10.25” x 7.625”
Argle Bargle Books, Ottowa, Canada 

Fundamental Camarena
ISBN 978-1-7770087-0-3
148-pages, full color, 10.25” x 7.625
Argle Bargle, Ottowa, Canada

Press contact: Anne Edgar, anne [​at​]

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Rice University
March 17, 2020

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