For the fourth annual portrait invitational "Superhero," over 25 artists have each interpreted a protagonist, striking and often skewering a nostalgic chord. Emilio Villalba's unnerving portrait of Rorschach from Watchmen shows the hero's face, not his mask, shifting with psychological instability; Scott Holloway's dark and aging Aquaman brings verisimilitude to the tale of a boy who grew up in a crumbling city beneath the sea. Among our favorites, only Carl Faulkner's Tank Girl seems true to form — cigar clenched between her teeth, she splays her labia and pisses on some Mickey Mouse ears. Even without knowing the history of these characters, it's impossible not to weave stories around the portraits, which is what makes the "Superhero" art mixer so great. Writers chosen by Quiet Lightning — among them Baltimore poet Ahmunet Jessica Jordon; The Passion of El Hulk Hogancito author Jason Magabo Perez; and Randall Babtkis, whose great uncle brought Superman to television in the 1950s — will share stories inspired by the exhibit, while you are invited to draw pictures sparked by what you hear. Very meta, very fun.
The "Superhero" art mixer starts at 6 p.m. at Modern Eden, 801 Greenwich St., S.F. Free with RSVP; 415-956-3303 or quietlightning.org.