Heroes and Villains Share Space at Major Comic-Book Exhibit

Charlie Brown may never get to kick that football, but the beloved school kid is getting an even higher honor than a touchdown: He's now the subject of a museum exhibit.

The "Peanuts" gang joins Popeye and Captain America in a comic-book exhibit that is so large, it is housed in two East Coast museums, after a run in two California galleries.

"We're really elevating this medium to the level of fine art, which it actually should be," said curator Ali Gass of The Jewish Museum in Manhattan.

"When you look, you really see that these are phenomenal artists first and foremost."

"Masters of American Comics" traces the history of comics by highlighting the work of 14 of the most influential American comic artists.

Early comic strips, newspapers and drawings are on display at New Jersey's Newark Museum, with comic books and graphic novels from 1950 to the present at The Jewish Museum.

One of the most influential artists included, according to Gass, is Jack Kirby who drew Captain America, Silver Surfer, and The Fantastic Four.

Glass said Kirby was an "innovator in the creation of the superhero … and the ultimate power machine that can come in and fix all evil."

On the other end of the spectrum is the work of R. Crumb, the godfather of underground comics.

The exhibit includes Crumb's original sketches for "Fritz the Kat" and his famous "Keep on Truckin'" drawing.

"What you see in the show is not simply the stylistic development of comic strips and comic books, but you also really see the history of American culture playing out," Gass said.

The exhibit runs through the end of January at both locations.

ABC News' Zach Fannin contributed to this report