Gig posters have a long and beautiful history. Moving from simple block lettering in the '50s and psychedelic text in the '60s, modern gig posters are often gorgeous pieces of illustration and places to experiment with the weird and wonderful.

Many comic artists started their careers with gig posters, like Michael DeForge, who talks about learning how to color from drawing and printing posters. Others came to it later, with expert knowledge of what makes an illustration pop from their experience drawing comics. Jamie McKelvie, whose work on Phonogram and The Wicked + the Divine is infused with musical magic, built a relationship with Chvrches by designing tour posters for the band, and last year collaborated with them and Australian animation studio Mighty Nice on an animated music video for the song “Bury It.”

Gig posters can range from illustrations of the band in an artist’s signature style, like McKelvie’s work for Chvrches, to Niv Bavarsky’s abstract colors and shapes, to surrealist pop art of Tara McPherson. Anything goes. Gig posters are a place for artists to play, not having to worry about propelling a story or drawing something representational. In their early days, gig posters had to convey information --- who is playing, when, and where --- but now that this information is easy to find elsewhere gig posters focus on what’s really important: looking cool.

In this gallery, we've pulled together a collection of gig posters by a variety of comic artists, from small indie artists such as Inés Estrada and Maré Odomo to some big names like DeForge and Adrian Tomine. Feast your eyes!


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