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Both Dark Horse Comics and DC Comics took a pass on John Malloy’s graphic novel, but considering that the part-time MICA instructor and freelance graphic designer was making his living as a truck driver just a few years ago, it’s amazing that either publishing house bothered to respond at all. Their reason for rejecting his work-in-progress? The comic is so beautifully illustrated that publishers believed readers would mistake it for an art book. But DC’s loss is D.C.’s gain; while Malloy was shopping around his comic, he landed his first solo exhibition at Art Whino. “One Out of a Hundred” includes excerpts from his graphic novel, several pieces from his two-year-long fine arts project, and the album cover he drew for the indie-rock band Minus the Bear. Malloy’s specialty is searing cultural criticism in surreal pen and ink colors that are more absorbing than most comic book dialogue—which may explain why publishers argued this was art and not the next X-Men.

THE EXHIBITION IS ON VIEW FROM NOON TO 6 P.M. SATURDAYS AND SUNDAYS, TO MARCH 12, AT ART WHINO, 173 WATERFRONT ST, Oxon Hill, MD. FREE. (301) 567-8210.