Artist plasters store's ceiling with comics history

The comics equivalent of the Sistine Chapel ceiling has just been unveiled at Cosmic Comix & Toys in Catonsville, Maryland.

Artist Ken Farnsworth started out painting murals and other art on the walls of the store, which is located in a rather plain commercial building, at the invitation of owner Rusty Simonetti. And when he ran out of wall space, Farnsworth turned his gaze upward — to the ceiling, which was made of white acoustic tile.

At first, the idea of painting the ceiling was just a joke, but then Farnsworth started to really think about it, and Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling immediately came to mind. "I took Michelangelo's work ... and sketched it out on what his ceiling was ... and laid it all out and came up with a template that I thought was really cool," he told The Baltimore Sun. Only instead of chronicling the history of mankind, as told in the Bible, Farnsworth decided to depict the history of comics, starting with the first superhero comic published by Marvel's predecessor Timely Comics and running all the way to The Walking Dead.

Ceiling technology has advanced since Michelangelo's day: Farnsworth took the tiles out one by one and painted them in his home studio. Still, he tried to incorporate the structure of the Sistine Chapel, the arches and beams, in his work, and he came to an interesting conclusion: "It makes me think Michelangelo may have been the first comic book artist, because if you look at the Sistine Chapel, there are borders and panels, and that's all comic book language — that is sequential art."

Watch the video profile on the Sun's website.

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