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Tibet Goes KABOOM

posted Jan 7, 2012, 6:36 PM by The Tibetan Political Review   [ updated Jan 9, 2012, 11:01 AM ]
 
Excerpt from The Wall Street Journal.
 
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Is there any comic-book character who hasn't been to Tibet? Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, Tintin, superheroes like Spy Smasher and the Green Lama—even hand-drawn U.S. sailors have battled in landlocked Tibet, lobbing grenades into Japanese tanks. That's right. In 1954's "The Roof of the World," the Japanese pressed on from China into Tibet, where a tiny U.S. Naval detachment charged them on horseback, leaving behind "the memory of one of the most astounding battles in the history of World War II!"
 
This isn't the only piece of colorful misinformation in the 50 or so comic books currently at your disposal in the lower level of the Rubin Museum of Art's "Hero, Villain, Yeti." Some are translated from French, Italian, German, Japanese or Tibetan, others are vintage American tales—all are linked to Tibet. Martin Brauen, who organized this exhibition before retiring in July from his post as the Rubin's chief curator, set it up in such a way that you can approach these comics both as entertainment and artifact.
 
For the most part, it is a world of authoritative block letters and KABOOMS! where exclamation marks nail fantastical facts onto the page: abominable snowmen that are sometimes good-hearted, sometimes terrorizing; Tibetan lamas who levitate and have visions; Western white guys who gain supernatural Eastern powers. . .
 
As we are told in informational displays, many Europeans and Americans had a definite image of Tibet by the time the modern comic book emerged in the 1930s. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky claimed to have studied under Tibetan masters and publicized such notions as the all-seeing third eye through the Theosophical Movement she founded in 1875. Decades later, James Hilton read explorers' accounts of Tibet and, without leaving Britain, created the peaceful mystical kingdom of Shangri-La in his popular 1933 novel, "Lost Horizon." 
 
 
 

 
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