Beginning sometime around 1975, Charles Williams embarked on the creation of a series of drawings he referred to collectively as the Cosmic Giggles that recount the exploits and observations of Martians visiting Earth. During their travels around our world the aliens witness homelessness, racism, pollution, gas shortages, and other societal ills. They ultimately decide to return to their planet, thus avoiding any potential war of the worlds.
The drawings would have been extremely relevant at the time of their creation and directly mention both pop culture phenomenon and larger political movements alike. He specifically references the American Bicentennial, Black Power, the Twilight Zone, Star Trek, and the Women’s Liberation Movement. Viewed together, the drawings demonstrate Williams’ uncanny ability to address serious issues through the unlikely medium of camp science fiction. They also demonstrate how little things have changed.
In April 2020, Institute 193 published the Cosmic Giggles, a graphic novel/comic, featuring over 100 drawings by Williams, using scans of photocopies the artist made at IBM in the early 1980s. This publication was produced in conjunction with the exhibition The Life and Death of Charles Williams at Atlanta Contemporary.
Charles Williams: Cosmic Giggles Softcover
8.5 x 11 inches / 176 pages / black and white
Pub Date: 2020
Publisher: Institute 193
Design by Ethan Fedele