You are on page 1of 189

Comics Librarianship

A Handbook
By Randall W. Scott
FOREWORDS BY Sandford Berman AND Catherine Yronwode

McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers Jefferson, North Carolina, and London

British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication data are available

Library of Congress Cataloguing-in-Publication Data

Scott, Randall W. Comics librarianship : a handbook I by Randall W. Scott. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-89950-527-9 (lib. bdg. : 50# alk. paper)@ 1. Libraries - Special collections - Comic books, strips, etc. 2. Comic books, strips, etc. - Bibliography- Methodology. 3. Comic books, strips, etc.-Collectors and collecting. I. Title. Z688.C64S38 1990 025.2'77415-dc20 90-52510 CIP O1990 Randall W. Scott. All rights reserved "Foreword: A Voyage to Libaria" 0 1990 Catherine Yronwode Manufactured in the United States of America
McFarland G Company, Inc., Publishers Box 611, Je$erson, North Carolina 28640

Acknowledgments.
Some ideas in Chapter 1 first appeared as "Comics on Campus" in New Pages no. 14 (SpringlSummer 1989), in a special section "Out from Under the Covers: New Pages Looks at Comics." New Pages (P.O. Box 438, Grand Blanc, Michigan 48439; free sample issue on request). Used by permission. Some ideas in chapters 1 and 2 appeared as "The Comics Alternative" and "The Comix Alternative," edited by Sanford Berman, in Collection Building v. 6, no. 2-3 (Summer-Fall 1984), published by Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc. (23 Leonard St., New York, New York 10013). Used by permission. Much of Chapter 4 appeared in an earlier form in Cataloging Special Materials: Critiques and lnnouations, Sanford Berman, ed. Copyright 1986 by The Oryx Press, 2214 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, Arizona 850041483. Used by permission. Chapter 6 is built on the suggestions of many people, but Elizabeth Holden of Ottawa, Ontario, and Ron Schwartz and Ken Kirste of San Francisco contributed particularly long lists, which are incorporated here by permission. Chapter 7 has appeared in several forms, beginning as a part of " R L I F (Research Libraries of Interest to Fandom) in the annual Fandom Directory (published by Fandata Computer Services, 7761 Asterella Court, Springfield, Virginia 22152-3133) and also in Comic Books and Strips: An Information Sourcebook, by Randall W . Scott. Copyright 1988 by The Oryx Press, 2214 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, Arizona 85004-1483. Used by permission of both publishers. This version is updated.

Table of Contents.
Foreword by Sanford Berman. Foreword by Catherine Yronwode. Author's Introduction.

1 5

9

Chapter 1. Comics Librarianship as a Specialty. 11 Chapter 2. Acquiring Comic Books and Strips. 27 43 Chapter 3. Storing and Preserving Comics. Chapter 4. Cataloging Comics. 59 Chapter 5. Being the Comics Expert. 103 Chapter 6. Suggested Research Topics. 123 Chapter 7. Comics Research Libraries. 153 Index.

173

vii

Foreword I.
Sanford Berrnan

Part One: Great Scott.
November 15,1988 Irene Percelli, Chair BowkerlUlrich's Serials Award Committee Dear Colleague: This is to formally and heartily nominate Randall W. Scott (Michigan State University Libraries) for the BowkerlUlrich's Serials Librarianship Award. Mr. Scott not only meets but transcends all three criteria for the award: contributions to serials literature, serials research, and enhancing access to serials. Quite simply (though accurately), he is the foremost library authority and advocate for that special serials category: comic books. As his enclosed vita and sample publications attest, Mr. Scott has singlehandedly pioneered in creating an appreciation for comics among his colleagues as well as producing the basic tools and guides for both collecting and organizing comic book collections. In this otherwise neglected but significant field, he has no peer. Speaking personally, as an editor and collaborator, I have found Mr. Scott to be an exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable, responsive, and creative professional. He truly likes what he does. Does it splendidly. And thinks it important to do. The BowkerlUlrich award would represent an overdue recognition of his vital work and a real encouragement to continue it.

Comics Librarianship.

*

*

*

Part Two: "Nuke" and "Gen."
Bert Dodson contributes a comic strip, "Nuke," to Vermont's Vanguard and other "alternative" papers. In 1988, McFarland published a collection of these strips as Nuke (A Book of Cartoons), which prompted Booklist to rhapsodize: Few political cartoons last. Their humor fades with the events they satirize. The ones that survive (other than as memorabilia)do so because they seize upon issues that dominate an era and because their creators are both master artists and master humorists. That is, because they're like Bert Dodson's strips starring an anthropomorphized nuclear warhead . . . who although a cousin of Herblock's dumb, grim, hulking Mr. Bomb, is in Dodson's words, "ideological but affable and uncomprehending . . . Reaganesque." Through Nuke and his cohorts, Dodson satirizes, mostly with the wryest ironies, not only nuclear strategy and nuclear power but also U.S. intervention in Third World countries, environmental pollution, galloping consumerism, official dishonesty, and other matters that have preoccupied political discourse for decades. Dodson's drawing skills . . . are arguably better than nearly any other American cartoonist's these days. . . . It's amazing that any cartooning this hard-hitting could be so deftly amusing, but it is. Dodson's work is pecisely the sort of thing that Randy Scott would argue belongs in every type of library because of its fine execution and unusual content. Collecting the individual strips would be hard, but getting the book is easy. Scott might also caution, however, that simply buying Nuke doesn't guarantee easy access to it. In fact, libraries that did get Nuke and then accepted the Library of Congress cataloging record for it without making any changes permitted their patrons only three kinds of catalog access: by author, title, and name of the person who conducted a reprinted interview. The volume would remain inaccessible by both topic and genre, although the Booklist review (and even a cursory glance through its pages) indicate that it's thematically rich. Inspired by Scott's concern that such material not simply be acquired but also made findable, Hennepin County Library (Minnesota), assigned these subject headings:

Foreword I (Sanford Bermun).

1. 2. 3. 4.

5.
6.

7.
8. 9. 10.

11.
12. 13.

Nuclear weapons - Comic books, strips, etc. Nuclear power - Comic books, strips, etc. Comic book writers -Interviews. United States - Foreign relations - Comic books, strips, etc. Comic book illustrators - Interviews. National security-United States-Comic books, strips, etc. Iran-Contra Scandal - Comic books, strips, etc. United States - Politics and government -1981- -Comic books, strips, etc. Reagan, Ronald, 19ll- -Comic books, strips, etc. Environmental protection-Comic books, strips, etc. Consumer society - Comic books, strips, etc. Radical comic books, strips, etc. Peace education materials.

(The primary headings for tracings 3, 5, ll,12, and 13 HCL had to innovate since none had yet appeared in the Library of Congress subject heading list.) In 1987, New Society Publishers issued Barefoot Gen, accurately described in a back-cover blurb as
The powerful, tragic story of the bombing of Hiroshima, seen through the eyes of the artist as a young boy growing up in a Japanese anti-militarist family. Of particular interest is [the] focus not only on the bombing, but also on the ethical dilemmas facing a peace-loving family in a militarized culture, and the special problems which they encounter.

Like Nuke, this is a finely-crafted effort that deals seriously in comicbook format with significant issues and events. For all those reasons, it, too, deserves a place in most libraries. But, again like Nuke, the sole LC subject tracing not only limited access but also succeeded in misrepresenting the actual content:
1. Hiroshima-shi (Japan)- Bombardment, 1945-Comic books, strips, etc.

Merely the last 30 of the graphic novel's 284 pages focus directly on the atomic bombing. So what about a heading or two for the other 250? Well, these are the tracings HCL assigned in order to fairly reflect the tome's themes and genres, and to maximize catalog access:
1. Hiroshima-Atomic bombing, 1945 [an HCL variation that renders the event more specific and does not conjure up visions of Commodore Perry leisurely steaming into the bay and lobbing a few cannonballs townward] -Comic books, strips, etc.

Comics Librarianship.

2. Graphic novels. 3. Comic books, strips, etc. -Japanese-Translations into English. 4. World War II- Japan-Comic books, strips, etc. 5. Militarism- Japan-Comic books, strips, etc. 6. Pacifists- Japan - Comic books, strips, etc. 7. Radical comic books, strips, etc. 8. Antiwar comic books, strips, etc. 9. Peace education materials.

(Not finding any comparable descriptors in the Library of Congress subject headings, HCL itself established the primary forms in tracings 2, 7, 8, and 9.) HCL further made added entries for "Project Gen," the group responsible for translating Keiji Nakazawa's original work, and for "New Society Publishers," a well-known alternative press (a practice, incidentally, that allows catalog-searchers to readily identify available material from particular publishers without needing to remember author, title, or even subject). Well, the (perhaps transparent) purpose of these case studies is to reinforce at least two of Scott's contentions: that comics are both worth getting and worth treating right.

Foreword 11. "A Voyage to Libaria."
Catherine Yronwode
When i was five years old, my mother, Lilo, who had been a book scout all my life, finally learned enough English to get her college degree. We moved to Berkeley then, and she began to study to become a "Libarian," a dweller in the kingdom of Libaria, the Land of Books. She and my father were divorced, and so we rented an old house down on the flatlands, where the students lived. Lilo couldn't afford a babysitter for me, and many days, when she took on extra work at the "Kofoid or the "Bancroft," she took me along with her. I was an only child, and quiet. In return for my solemn oath to never tear a book, i was allowed to explore Libaria, and to wander into its deepest recesses alone. Alone in Libaria i lay face down upon the little purple squares of glass which made up the floors of The Stacks, so cool and delicate, and received illumination from the storeys below. All day long the Libarians walked up and down the spiraled steel steps, their arms full of books, their footsteps clanging, echoing upward, and i would hide, folding myself into a little ball and slipping into a bottom shelf. I pretended that if i were caught i would be catalogued. I didn't want to be catalogued; it took hours and hours and when it was over someone would write Dewey Decimal numbers on my spine with white paint. When Lilo graduated, she got a job at UCLA, and so we moved to Southern California, to a new world of books, The Department of Special Collections. I was eight now, and i loved to read. Throughout the mid-195Os, my mother's boss was a man named Wilbur Smith. He had two sons, but they were not my age. The other Libarians, whose

6

Comics Librarianship.

names may have been Shirley, and Jim Mink, and Esther, did not have any kids. The Head Libarian, Old LCP, walked with a limp, was very short, and if he had ever had children, they must have been grown-ups by then. Lilo was still poor (there was not much money in Libaria, i guess) and during school vacations there was no daycare for me, so i would go to Special Collections with her. Alone among the grown-ups and the books, i sharpened pencils and cut paper slips, and when there were no more pencils to sharpen or slips to cut, i begged to be locked in The Cage with The Very Special Collections. The Very Special Collections were so Special that even the Libarians needed a key to get inside and play with them, which they hardly ever did. There was a Gutenberg Bible there, or most of one, and one day Wilbur turned the pages and let me look at it. There were Victorian Children's Books, but i could not touch them, ever, ever, ever. I had to promise, because they were fragile and because i "might be tempted." I was so afraid of hurting the Victorian Children's Books that, even though i was just a little, tiny bit tempted, i did keep my promise. Actually, it didn't really matter if i could touch them or not; I just liked being locked up with them while i read my Gene Stratton Porter novels or Nancy Drew mysteries. They smelled nice, fresh and clean, like the little blond babies dressed in lace christening clothes upon their covers, and they were not a bit musty. But the best things in the Very Special Collections were not books. The best things were really, really strange. For instance, there was the Olive Percival Collection of 1920s Pasadena newspaper clippings about kitty cats and puppy dogs, all filed neatly in little decorative envelopes Olive Percival had made herself by silhouetting her jewelry and fern leaves on blueprint paper and exposing the paper to the sun. The envelopes had gracefully lettered labels on them, like "Cats Who Have Adopted Baby Skunks," and "Puppies in Baskets," and sure enough, when you looked inside, there were old sepiatone or blue rotogravures of mother cats nursing skunk babies and cocker spaniel pups tumbling out of Easter baskets by the dozen. Olive Percival had been a Minor Local Poet. Then there was the Henry Miller Collection. Lilo said that even though Henry's books were against the law, he wasn't a criminal, and so she took me to his house in Big Sur to play with his dog, Skipper, while she packed up the boxes which, once they were catalogued, would be kept in Special Collections. Skipper was a really great little dog. Henry was nice, too. I didn't get to read his books, because they

Foreword II (Catherine Yronwode).

7

were against the law, but the letters Henry got from his fans were lots of fun. The best ones were from a man who had gone to every hotel and house that Henry had ever written about and had sex there in exactly the same position and at the same time of day as Henry had described himself having sex. After he had sex, the man would write to Henry to compare his orgasm to Henry's. Neat, huh? We got to catalogue them. It was fun. But the best Very Special Collection was Franz Werfel's writing desk. It was Very Special because even though it was just a plain old clunky oak desk like anybody could have owned, inside the upper righthand drawer was Franz Werfel's hand, all wrapped in purple velvet, and inside the middle right-hand drawer was his face, all wrapped in black! His wife had put them there. She had made them out of white plaster she pressed against his dead, cold body. Very, Very Special. One day, sometime in the summer, i brought two comic books with me to Special Collections. One was Donald Duck in Old California by Walt Disney and the other was Uncle $crooge in Back to the Klondike by Walt Disney. Actually, both of them were by Carl Barks, but i didn't know that then. Carl was not allowed to put his name on the stories he wrote and drew. He had to put Walt Disney's name on instead. Wilbur was there, and i asked him if i could go in the back to read my comics. Lilo, who didn't like comics, because they were not books, apologized to Wilbur for me. "I don't know why she has those things; she usually reads books." I stuck up for my comics, though. I told Wilbur, "They're really great! They have keen pictures and the stories are funny!" Wilbur took me back into the Victorian Children's Books area and we sat down at a table. He asked if he could read my comics. I was afraid he would find something wrong with them and tell my mother not to let me have any more of them, because she already didn't like them, and it wouldn't take too much convincing to get her to ban them just like other people banned Henry Miller's books. But Wilbur read the comics and he liked them. He even laughed. Then he asked me to tell him what i liked best about them. It was like giving a book report. I told him i liked the part where the Ducks went back in time to Old California because it was just like the things we were studying in school about the Spanish Missions only more exciting, and i liked the one about the Klondike because Unca $crooge had a girlfriend in it, and he was in love with her. Wilbur told me that one of the things he liked was that the Fiesta

8

Comics Librarianship.

that the Ducks were on their way to see when their car hit a rock and they went back in time was a real Fiesta in Santa Barbara that they still held every year. He told me the other thing he liked about them was that the stories were very funny "and also educational." I knew "educational" was very important, so i asked Wilbur, "If you think they're good, then tell Lilo, 'cause she doesn't like me to buy them." So Wilbur took the comics over to my mother and he told her that they were "just fine for kids to read, because they were in the American tradition of tall tales such as Pecos Bill" (he kinda forgot, i guess, that Lilo was from Europe and hadn't known much about Pecos Bill until i told her myself, a year before). He also told her that "some day this library will probably be collecting comics, just like we do with Victorian Children's Books now." Then he turned me, bent down, and gave me the comics back. He said, "Here. Keep these in good condition. And when you're done with them, put them away in a box, nice and flat. That way you'll always have them if you want them again, and maybe one day you can donate them to a Library." And that's just what i did.

Author's Introduction.
Academic libraries and scholars have been reluctant to collect and study comics. Popular opinion among those of us who do take comics seriously has generally ascribed this reluctance to a pervasive and debilitating conservatism within academia. The idea seems to be that the general run of librarians and professors don't want to take a chance on anything so new that it might be ephemeral. This haze of snobbishness, according to the model, should clear up in about 100 years if we let nature take its course, and at some point midway through the 21st century there will be many dissertations on Superman. Although this train of thought is amusing, it too is passing through a foggy area. There are conservatives in academia, of course, but there are plenty of ambitious people willing to try new things. I would like to suggest that a major reason that there are not enough histories, analyses and reference books about comics is that collecting comics is a very difficult job, and libraries have not been collecting well enough. Although there are some significant university collections of comics material, there are very few libraries that routinely acquire the best of what is newly published, even of political and nonfiction comics. For example, there are only a handful of university libraries with complete or nearly complete runs of any comic book or strip that has lasted for twenty years or more, and there are no university libraries with more than four or five such collections. A really useful library would have hundreds of such collections. Prospective students are faced with two possibilities. They can collect the appropriate primary material themselves and thus limit the scope of their studies to what they can find and afford, or they can make generalizations from whatever comics are available. As far as I can

10

Comics Librarianship.

determine, nobody has ever played the game of comics research with a full deck, and very few people doing other kinds of research have been reminded of relevant comics material by their librarians. This volume asserts that comics are a communications medium within human culture that touches millions of lives daily and is therefore important to understand. This volume is dedicated to the collecting and study of comics at an institutional level, where there is some hope that funds and space can be made available to do the job well. Although much that appears here should be of interest to public librarians, the majority of this volume is for research librarians. Public librarians need to be aware of relevant current material, and of ways to catalog it that will make it visible to library readers. The "alternative" papers and librarians, like New Pages and like Sandy Berman, are doing that job, and hopefully this book will help them a little. The main concern here, though, is for establishing and maintaining large retrospective collections. Only research libraries can afford to do that, and there is much to be done. For librarians or prospective librarians who have an interest in comics, there is a cause here that can be taken up, and a struggle to be won that can only take place in research libraries. Perhaps this book will recruit a generation of comics librarians. Even three or four new comics librarians in the next ten years would be wonderful, but there really should be one in each state, province, or country. Or perhaps this book will help other specialized librarians to more clearly see ways to advance their own separate concerns that are not even related to comics. Even that much would spell success and make the effort worthwhile. In the broadest scheme, if the mere fact that a book with the title Comics Librarianship exists can raise a few academic-library eyebrows, it will have planted the kind of seed that will lead people to their own discoveries about this neglected medium.

Chapter 1.

Comics Librarianship as a Specialty.
The Status of Comic Strips in Society.
Not too long ago, the present writer was thrown into the company of a retired university professor. This is not quite like being thrown to wolves, of course, but my guard was nonetheless up. Instead of introducing myself as a "comic book collector," I opted for the safer tack of being a "librarian at the university." Librarians and professors often have something in common, or they think they do anyway. Professor " X responded positively, and we exchanged comments, and then anecdotes, all illustrative of the general virtue of research libraries. The evening deepened, and finally it became necessary to put aside my secret identity. "Actually, at the library, my specialty is comic books. We have one of the most important comic book collections in a library anywhere, and I spend a lot of my time working with them." "Hmm," said Professor X. "That's interesting. My first job as a student library assistant back in college in 1936 had to do with comics. I was the one who had to go through the newspapers every morning and rip out the comics, before the papers could be put out in the reading room." We speculated as to why this particular task had been necessary. Were the librarians protecting the college students from a moment of informality? Were the librarians protecting themselves from being accused of not having high enough standards? He couldn't remember, and

12

Comics Librarianship.

I couldn't imagine. It was time for dinner, and the subject was abandoned. More information about this curious practice would still be welcome. A few months later, something similar happened. A university library, which is otherwise one of my favorite institutions in all the world, republished a little booklet as part of a library fund-raising effort. The booklet extolls the virtues of reading, and was originally published in 1926. It contains the following sentence on page "ix," which it says comes from "The Literary Reuiew of two or three years ago":
The adenoic errand boy besotted by a page of comics is better off than crouched in a corner staring at nothing.' "Besotted means "stupefied," in case the subtleties of this nicely-turned sentence are not all immediately apparent. "Adenoic" probably means "having enlarged adenoids," but the accuracy of that is between the author and his errand boy. The "besotted business is a kind of literary criticism, and though reading comics is better than sitting doubled over in an empty corner, according to this unidentified but well-placed writer, it's a near thing. Both of these examples seem to illustrate a certain elite or academic attitude toward comics. Comics were apparently thought to be inappropriate in an academic situation, and must even have been suspected of being dangerous. Perhaps that college library, by ripping the funny pages out of its newspapers, was merely trying to avoid the stupefaction of its readers. Who could object to that? The most interesting lesson from these examples, however, comes only when you look at the dates. Both refer specifically to newspaper comic strips, and both predate the real success of the comic book as a separate medium. Those of us who were born after 1940, and who grew up reading both comic books and comic strips, can only have assumed that comic books were what caused all the objection. The contents of the two media are for the most part very different, and it was comic books that were-thought to cause juvenile delinquency in the 1940s and 1950s, not comic strips. What were they reading in the 1920s and 1930s newspaper strips that could cause academic disfavor and stupefaction? "Krazy Kat" might be an example. Surrealism is pretty stupefying. Or maybe "Little Orphan Annie" or "Brick Bradford or "Buck Rogers" contributed to the problem. It was the golden age of newspaper adventure strips, after all.

Comics Librarianship as a Specialty.

13

:

Flying around in a spaceship might be expected to take your mind off your homework, and that could be interpreted as negative. It's likely, however, that sarcasm is unnecessary to the explanation of why comics were not enthusiastically embraced in all circles. Take the example of professors. Perhaps some professors saw themselves as people who had, through discipline and to the benefit of society, learned to read dull books with small print, no jokes and hardly any pictures. How were they supposed to react to the spectacle of a younger generation laughing through page after page of comics? Picturewriting was for cavemen, very young children, and illiterates. It was a matter of pride, maybe, for the academic to avoid the appearance of illiteracy. If this is even partly true, what may have been operating in the 1920s and 1930s is what we have more recently called a "generation gap." Some elders genuinely didn't understand the fascination of this newfangled stuff, and since comics appeared to promote picturereading, they disapproved. The attitude got frozen into institutions, and that was that. One final shred of evidence seems to apply. My wife's grandmother was born in 1898, and has read one of the Chicago newspapers nearly every day of her life. Over the years, she reports, she has tried quite a few times to figure out why so many people were interested in the comics page, but she has found that "they don't make any sense." Somehow, the whole set of conventions (word balloons, captions, sequential pictures, etc.) is something this educated and literate person never really took the time to puzzle out. Maybe, for people who learned to read before newspaper comics were well established, the medium is less likely to be attractive because of the extra effort it takes to learn the rules. The idea that comics is a medium that takes a separate effort to learn to read may seem strange at first, but it does stand to reason. Comics are certainly different from printed text. Maybe those disapproving academics of the early 20th century were, without knowing it, just defeated by the complexity of the new medium. However it got started, it seems clear that there is a pre-World War I1 history of antagonism toward comics as a medium on the part of academics, including librarians. This attitude must have been either transmitted to, or at least shared by, many parents and other social opinion-leaders, because when comic books appeared on the scene there were thousands of grownups ready to condemn them.

14

Comics Librarianship.

The Status of Comic Books in Society.
Soon after the first regularly published newsstand comic book went on sale in 1934,2and especially by 1938 with the arrival of Superman in Action Comics, no. 1, comic books were established as a distinctly separate medium from newspaper strips. Early publishers were not subject to many restrictions, and some began to take chances by introducing violence and sex in order to improve their circulation. This caught the eyes of parents, teachers, librarians, and a psychiatrist named Dr. Fredric Wertham. Dr. Wertham's 1954 book, Seduction of the Innocent, helped to crystalize a feeling that comic books were responsible for juvenile delinquency.3 Hearings in the United States Senate, extensive media coverage, and the beginnings of industry-wide self-regulation through the Comics Code (1954) caused profound changes in the comic book during the middle 1 9 5 0 ~Creators and .~ publishers fled the industry, and the superhero, horror, and crime genres all but disappeared. With the adoption of the Code, comic books seemed to have admitted guilt, and any school or public library actively collecting them would have had angry parents to deal with. General and serious disapproval of comic books seems to have declined since the 1950s, but the image of comic books in the public eye still bears the scars. In the 1960s, college students discovered the Marvel Comics of Stan Lee. Together the students and Mr. Lee tried to convince the world that comic books had grown up, but despite their efforts what really set the tone of the decade was the "Batman" television show. The television "Batman" was a silly, self-lampooning comedy with lots of mindless action and drawn-in sound effects. "Bam!" "Pow!" A "comic-book plot, as the term is sometimes seen in movie reviews, is thus likely to be not only violent but also stupid. Results of society's general disapproval of and low esteem for comic books are easy to see in the bibliographic world. New Serial Titles (1953) and Ulrich's Znternational Periodicals Directory (1932) excluded comic books by policy from the beginning. New Serial Titles admitted comic books in 1979 but Ulrich's is holding Although it has modernized-to the extent of appearing on compact disc, Ulrich's not only excludes comic books, it also excludes even the subject heading for comic books and strips. Magazines about comic books and strips, even though some are listed in the Ulrich's Plus database, are therefore next to impossible to find. In addition, the Library of Congress has never provided cataloging for comic books as it does for almost every other category of

Comics Librarianship as a Specialty.

15

published material. Until the late 1970s, no librarian anywhere on Earth would have been able to prove, using any standard library catalogs, whether such titles as Wonder Woman, Superman, or The Amazing Spider-Man even existed as bibliographic entities. Several substantial general research collections of comic books, and a few dozen more specialized research collections, have begun in academic libraries since about 1970. Most have been taken seriously by the sponsoring institutions, and are growing to some degree, but comic books in research libraries are still viewed as something exceptional by most of the world. If daily broadcast and print reporters can be trusted to know how interested and informed the public is on any given subject, it can probably be proven that news of comic books in a library is about on an equivalent level to news of a new elephant in the zoo. Journalists are perpetually willing to exploit the image of the weird librarian surrounded by the colorful pages of Spider-Man and (Bam! Pow!) Batman comic books. Even among college librarians and in library literature, the idea of deliberately collecting comic books and strips is in some circles a novelty. Part of the reason that comics are not collected must be the inconvenience of the format. They are fragile, they are printed on bad paper, and if you want to read newspaper strips efficiently you have to clip them out or photocopy them. Thus comics are easy to exclude from a collection, as are videocassettes or phonograph records, because they are a different physical medium and require different kinds of care and storage. Currently there seems to be a willingness in the library profession to tackle new formats, which is lucky because there are so many new formats. Comic books are over fifty years old, however. Job listings for "media librarians" are becoming common, but so far nobody has included comic books in the list of responsibilities advertised. Maybe it seems silly to think about comic books and strips as communications media so different from the usual content of a library as to prevent their being collected. But, just as the possibility that it takes separate skills to read and understand comics is worth consideration, the possibility that it takes separate skills to properly acquire, organize, store and preserve comics must be raised. Although the comics medium may not always have been seen as valuable, there is a tradition of recognition that it is separate and different. As a good case in point, a review of the translation of a Japanese nonfiction comic book, called Japan Znc.: An Introduction to

16

Comics Librarianship.

Japanese Economics, appeared in the Library Journal for March 15, 1989. The reviewer never gets around to commenting on the quality or value of the book, but instead calls it "unusual" and concentrates on the fact that it is a comic book. The heart of the review is that, "given the title and publisher, one could assume it is a scholarly work. But, golly gee, Batman, it's a comic book!" An explanation follows, correctly stating that "the Japanese see nothing incongruous in presenting serious topics in what we consider comic book format." The intent of the review seems not to be to evaluate the book, but to entertain the reader with an invitation to shared condescension toward comic books.6 The review ofJapan Znc. was not written with the intent to be malicious in any way. It is presented in good humor and the book is actually given more positive ink than the rest of the books reviewed in the column. But the medium comes off badly, and thus in the final analysis so does the book. The librarian reading the review is hardly likely to notice how pointed are the remarks about comic books. It is precisely such matter-of-fact put-downs that some from the heart of a culture and a profession, and not just from the whim of an individual writer. The Japanese people are correct. There is nothing incongruous about being serious in the comics medium. Perhaps the general lack of positive attention given to comics by academic librarians can be explained simply by saying that comics are a subliterature for kids, appropriately beneath the notice of the general library profession. If that sounds right, then this book is probably not going to work for you and you should ask for your money back. On the other hand, perhaps librarians just need to be introduced to the idea of comics librarianship as a specialty involving both some substantial knowledge and some reasonable payoffs in terms of the usual goals of library service. Comics carry unique messages to a mass readership who, at least as comics readers, can expect little or no help from the library profession in choosing, finding, or understanding those messages. The situation does not seem healthy. In the future most libraries, it seems safe to predict, will represent the comic book and comic strip in their collections. Research library users will be able to examine firsthand the trends and landmarks of comics history. Public library readers will find the current best-sellers and enough old favorites to introduce their kids to the joys of comics reading. When that millennium arrives, most of the current "special" collections of comics will seem like normal parts of a research library. Seen from this perspective, most of today's research collections of

Comics Librarianship as a Specialty.

17

comics are "remedial" collections that bring the level of preservation of these cultural artifacts up to a point that might be considered normal if certain social pressures were relieved.

The Public Library Sector.
Most public libraries, unless they are also research libraries, are not going to be able to keep retrospective collections of comic books. Comic books are so fragile that it doesn't usually pay for a public library to even catalog them. The typical public library collection has a revolving stock, frequently kept going by trading with readers or by adding new comic books periodically. The flimsy physical nature of the medium, plus the presumption that kids can easily get comics elsewhere because they're cheap, probably accounts for the major fraction of public libraries that do not carry current comic books. The percentage of public libraries that don't provide comic books is unknown, but some do, and some don't.' Whether a public library circulates its comic books to death, trades them indiscriminately, confines them to a laundry basket near the 8-piece jigsaw puzzles, or refuses to let them in at all, a public library is not ordinarily the place to learn respect for the comic book medium. These problems with the comic book format are real and operative in public libraries, but social pressures against the comic book medium operate on public librarians as well. Unlike research librarlibrarians don't have the same arguments about hisians, torical value and the encouragement of research to back them up. Attitudes about comic books vary when they are admitted to the public or school libraries. Sometimes comics are presented to the readers in open recognition that they have their own unique and appropriate entertainment value, or in other words, without apologies to anyone. Probably as often, comic books are part of a "bait and switch" scheme. The comic books are used as a way of attracting young readers to the library, with the hope of sooner or later diverting their attention to "real" books. Although this practice tends to perpetuate the idea that comics are a subliterature, it can be used to get around parents, library administrators, and others who are against comic books. The "comics are valuable" and the "bait and switch attitudes can coexist in the same library, with one staff member being able to name
- -

:

Comics Librarianship.

all the X-Men, and another staff member trying to turn kids on to C.S. Lewis. It's not even unreasonable for one person to do both. Public and school library workers who believe in the value of any particular kinds of comic books can best spread the attitude by being able to talk intelligently about them to readers and fellow st& members. There are plenty of reprint volumes and graphic novels appearing currently that are more durable physically, and it is logical to expect that public libraries will begin to routinely buy them. Most of the reprints of older strips are not being marketed to libraries yet, however. Current favorites like "Garfield and "Calvin and Hobbes" are easy enough to get in book form, but the "Krazy Kat" and "Li'l Abner" volumes have less visibility. Public librarians can do their readers a favor by looking at the ads in the Comics Buyer's Guide or The Comics Journal, and sampling the reprints for sale there.

The Academic Context of Comics Research: Popular Culture.
ill11 11

/ !I
I
11

I ,I

I 11 l1 Ill I II

I
I

The reader will find that the term (as well as the concept) "popular culture" is not used in this volume, except in titles and in the names of collections. Popular culture studies was an academic movement that began to be noticed around the beginning of the 1970s. Scholars like Ray Browne and Russel Nye who wished to work outside the canons.of literature, history, sociology and art established at that time found it useful to apply the label "popular culture" to whatever it was they wanted to study. The term never had coherent boundaries, and any two "popular culture" scholars would have been hard pressed to agree on a useful definition. Because the category was created in reaction to a rigid canon, it is essentially a negative concept. It was once progressive in that it allowed academics to move forward in the direction of democratization of subject matter. Popular culture studies was an academic movement, like "pop art" was an artistic movement, and both can be treated as historical. A more up-to-date term is available: cultural studies. Cultural studies seems to mean the study of the day-to-day concerns of ordinary people. This is good, as long as everybody can be to some extent an ordinary person. Twentieth-century communications make most "culture" available, or at least visible, to most people. From the point of view of the research librarian trying to collect and organize documents of the 20th century, it does not seem to matter if some are called "popular" and

Comics Librarianship as a Specialty.

19

some "elite," or if some chronicle the working class and some the jet set. The audience of any mass medium is potentially universal, and the age of re-runs has hardly begun! Culture is being democratized, decades are being homogenized, classics are being colorized, and academic departments will have to recognize these things sooner or later. Academic libraries need to recognize it sooner, because the first full century of mass media culture is coming to an end, and there is much collecting to be done. An interesting observation, brought to America by a friend from Australia, is that Land Grant colleges seem to be in the forefront of this process of widening the scope of acceptable topics of research and teaching. Land Grants were given in the United States, and in Australia as well, to encourage the education of the general population. The population needed to know more about agriculture than about Plato, which was not the usual orientation for a university. As universities grow they can take on more, and the visible tendency is for the tradition of innovation in popular or populist subject matter to stay with the Land Grant colleges. Perhaps this is not true everywhere, but it works in Michigan and Australia. The implication seems to be that historical forces are at work within the larger academic community, and that not every institution is moving in the same direction. Even if special comics collections are not appropriate for every library, though, the content of the medium needs to be watched. If Japan Inc. really is a scholarly work, every research library should have it.

The Academic Context of Comics Research: Alternative Publications.
There is a movement in libraries (which are part of academia) that is also, like "popular culture studies," an attempt to expand the canons of the information community. Librarians use the word "alternative" to describe a heterogeneous mix of publications that are generally the kinds of things libraries have excluded in the past. Alternatives can be things we have been reluctant to collect out of moral or political squeamishness, or they can be things we were uncomfortable bringing into the library because some conservative administrator might object. Alternatives can also be things that we as a profession were heretofore

20

Comics Librarianship.

Alternative librarians like Sanford Berman are a kind of conscience for the library community. They remind us that our collecting habits, our relationships to readers and researchers, and even our subject headings exist in the real world. We do not have to be satisfied with the pronouncements of the professors and the mush from the mass media, is the message we get, and the message we need. Are comic books in some way alternative publications? There are small-press, avant-garde, experimental, left-wing, right-wing and religious comic books that clearly present unusual styles and messages. These are a treasure to a library, and calling them "alternatives" can't hurt. They are not "popular culture" in the usual sense, because they are not mass publications. Librarians who follow the alternative track do not necessarily approve of mass-medium comic books, anyway. The content of a comic book is apt to be as violent, sexist, racist, ageist and boring as anything else that gets excluded from a library. Alternative librarians, though, are used to looking for virtue in unlikely places, and there are plenty of unmistakably good comics to be found. Alternative librarians also like to adopt things that stuffier academics reject, and that gives comics a plus! Probably the only clear-cut way to say that comic books are an alternative, however, is to call them an alternative medium. Comic books are not all the same, and within the medium some are alternatives to others. Alternative collections in research libraries have their own appropriate class of scholars. They tend to concentrate on the social sciences, they have opinions on what's wrong with how the world operates, and they want to help it change. They may be in education, and be seeing comic books as children's literature. They may be in communications, and be seeing comics as propaganda. They will study the products of mass media with a suspicion that is not usually characteristic of the popular culture studies group, who are mainly humanities scholars.

Best of Both Worlds?
It is a misnomer to call a general comics collection "alternative," because so much of its content is mainstream entertainment. On the other hand suggesting that a comics collection fits wholly into the category of "popular culture" doesn't work, because so many comics are just not "popular" in any sense. A comics collection in a research library

Comics Librarianship as a Specialty.

21

can attract both the humanities and the social sciences scholar. The humanities scholar will study the art and writing styles, the social scientist will study the descriptions of indigenous populations, and the studies will overlap. While we can welcome, and assist, scholars from both the popular culture and the alternative movements, it's probably better not to get involved with either of these terms when describing our collections!

Yet Another World.
There is a third world of scholars, who in general might be expected not to identify either with "popular culture" or with "alternative culture." They call themselves "fans," and belong collectively to "fandom." Not all fans are scholars, of course, and members of the foregoing rather serious groups might not choose to recognize any of them as scholars. That's not our problem as librarians. Serious and concerned fans have always been a part of fandom, and these people, sometimes called "data nuts," have produced much of what has been written about comics. The publications of fandom are called "fanzines," and the annual professional meetings are called "cons," which is short for "conventions." Not all fans will use these words in the presence of a librarian, because librarians are "mundane~" and they wouldn't (or shouldn't) understand. Likewise librarians might want to wait until they've been to a few cons, pubbed a few zines and gotten a few big-name LOCs before they decide they understand fanspeak. Fans have a private language to some extent, and it costs nothing to respect that privacy. Fans also understand English. There is no other word for "fandom," however, and no other word for "fanzines." They represent new concepts that have come to be only in the twentieth century. Mass media, particularly science fiction magazines, and cheap private publishing, particularly ditto and mimeograph, have made this subculture possible. At some point early in the history of fandom, and it may even be possible to document this but for now I'm just making it up, a fan offered to help a librarian build a research collection of science fiction magazines. Fan " X was intrigued by the concept of a research library being the stored memory of a society, holding documents for future centuries to regard in awe, glee, or indifference. Fan X was convinced

1
i

I

1

I

22

Comics Librarianship.

I
I
I I

11
I
I

!I

11~1

I
I

I,!
111 1

11 l1
)Ill1

that anything as enjoyable as good science fiction was worth sharing with the future. Librarian " Y was not receptive. The idea of stockpiling a lot of flimsy, garish magazines about space flight and mad scientists in a respectable college library was outlandish in itself. The prospect of explaining the stuff if Professor "Z" noticed was horrifying. And the prospect of having to interact regularly with this weird person who actually read this sort of thing was too much to contemplate. The proposal was rejected, and Fan X was left with the bad tastes of rejection on moral, intellectual, and personal grounds, all conveyed in one grimace by Librarian Y, who was a master of nonverbal commu~lication from long practice at silently telling rowdy students to be quiet in the library. You didn't have to make pictures in stained glass for Fan X to catch on. Fan X had an IQ of over 160 and the librarian had mispronounced the word "scientifiction," and that was enough. The next issue of the Fan X-Press excoriated Librarian Y, defamed Librarian Y's profession and place of work, ridiculed Librarian Y's attitude, education, and hairstyle, and speculated on Librarian Y's private life, all in words of five syllables or more. Fan X went on to become well known and influential in fandom, and the sins of Librarian Y were recounted again and again. When Fan X died suddenly, his family, not being part of fandom, gave his collection of fanzines and pulps to Librarian Y's institution. After a couple of years stacked in a basement hallway, the zines were thrown out. Fandom found out about thiq, complained bitterly, the story was carried in every fanzine in the land, and nobody in the library seemed to care enough to even explain or apologize. Both Fan X and Librarian Y are caricatures, of course. One little sneer could never have such an effect. But the point is, that's how a lot of librarians think fandom feels about librarians, and that's how a lot of fandom thinks librarians feel about fans. Fandom has a long memory for attitudes, if not for details. How this got started is not as important as getting it stopped. Plenty of librarians are ready to admit that the fans were right about collecting and preserving stuff. We have buildings, we can get the technology, let's do it together!

Comics Librarianship as a Specialty.
Comics fandom is only a part of fandom, though it is a good-sized part. Science fiction, fantasy, Star Trek and animation fandom, for

Comics Librarianship as a Specialty.

23

example, can use friends in libraries as well, but one thing at a time. If comics librarianship can be established to some degree as a research library specialty, it can ease the way toward developing similar kinds of focused Iibrarianship for other new fields. The need for specialized skills, the needs of a specialized readership, and a sense within libraries that the time is right to begin giving comics more serious attention, all these things make it seem possible that comics is a field that can help librarianship as a whole break some new ground in terms of proactive information handling.

Special Skills.
Specialist skills are needed for comics librarianship because comics is essentially a throwaway medium. It is hard stuff to collect thoroughly, when it comes right down to it. The librarian needs to be able to see into the same corners that the monomaniacal collector is looking into, and still maintain enough professional formality to deal with the everyday academic world. Again, specialized skills are needed for comics librarianship because some comics are rare and all comics are fragile. Comic books and Sunday strips are the first and only mass media to be ~ r i n t e d color on newsprint, and thus they present unique in preservation problems. Comic books have historically been prime targets of paper drives and general disrespect, both of which social phenomena have created problems which require sharp professional judgment to get around. Special skills are needed just because comics are different than anything else that has ever been. They are not, apparently, fine art. They are not, apparently, literature. The unique conventions, history, and value of the various comics traditions are not transparently obvious to most people. As is the case with other media, some professional mediation between reader and collection is necessary. Somebody has to be there to say why this stuff is taking up space, at the very least!

Appropriate Constituencies.
Popular culture scholars are a natural public for the research library collection of comic books, strips, etc. Popular culture scholars

24

Comics Librarianship.

are fairly traditional academics these days, who happen to see value in studying certain things that were not regularly studied thirty years ago. One of those things is comics. "Alternative" scholars are another interested group of potential users. Alternative scholars are typically critical of the content of most comics, but willing to learn from nontraditional source material. A third large constituency of users is comics fans, who need to have access to "their" culture. Some fans are readers only, and some are scholars who have their own not-so-different research to perform.

Time to Begin.
Over three dozen research library collections of comics now exist, and some, like the collections at the University of Missouri at Columbia and the University of Tulsa, are just beginning. The problem of fragile paper is being noticed as comic books have reached their half-century mark, and comic strips will soon be a century old. The fact that there exists an overwhelmingly massive amount of comic art is being acutely felt by those libraries which have accumulated any interesting percentage of it. Most libraries with any comics at all are currently exploring ways to preserve and organize their collections. At the same time, more quality books about comics and more well-done books reprinting comics have been published in the past ten years than in all of previous history, and the trend seems to be continuing. It is suddenly much easier to provide reasonable support for high school and the undergraduate college level study of comics. Whether this will lead to an increase in such studies is hard to say, but the possibility seems reasonable. There are more academic library comics collections than there are college courses taught on comics, for sure. Libraries seem to be leading the way in introducing comics to academia right now. It is a good time to be a comics librarian.

How to Get a Job as a Comics Librarian.
The comics librarian will need to know a lot about comics just to begin, and that is the purpose of this book. The comics librarian will also need to be well-versed in the library sciences of selection, acquisitions, cataloging, reference, preservation, fund-raising and publicity. ~ o s t

Comics Librarianship as a Specialty.

25

librarians concentrate on just one of those, so this is not a job for the faint-hearted. Comics are just different enough that they will need intelligent advocacy at every point in the normal library process, at least at first. Probably the hardest parts are selection and cataloging. Selection is difficult because it requires in-depth knowledge of the field right up front, while the other activities basically react to the results of selection. Cataloging is difficult because cataloging is difficult, and trying to make somebody else catalog something they don't want to do is even more difficult. It's best to have very good friends in the cataloging department, or to be the cataloger yourself. An uncataloged comics collection is no better than any other uncataloged collection, and that is to say, not much good. Be willing to learn cataloging. There are comics fans in library school right now who are wondering how to become comics librarians, and hoping against hope that this occupation might be in their futures. Obviously, there is no one true path. It will help to be able to keyboard well, but until the first actual job offering is posted, we can't really know what the rest of the requirements for "Comics Librarian" will be. Of the fifty or so people in the universe currently in charge to some degree of university research collections of comics, it's safe to guess that none of us planned it that way. The first thing to do to become a comics librarian is to get a librarian's position in a research library. The following scenario is as reasonably possible as any, and is based on some serious advice. The serious advice is, there's room to make a difference but you have to be able to see beyond the job you're hired for. After you have the job, see if you can talk people into starting a comics collection. You might have to engineer a big donation to do that. Next, engineer some more donations. Mention the dollar value of a big donation to the Board of Trustees. When the collection gets big enough to be of use to somebody, start a newsletter and do some publicity in academic, alternative, and fannish publications. When researchers have trouble, be there to help. When the disorganization of the collection starts to impede reasonable use, argue for cataloging. When impecunious scholars start arriving from all over the world, let them stay at your house. When the comics start to crowd out the rare Shakespeare volumes, do some fundraising to help buy a new building for the Shakespeare volumes. If you start to have too much fun, read the New York Times. If the institutional climate is reasonably receptive, all of these things, except for the new

26

Comics Librarianship.

building, can be done from an entry-level position as cataloger, for example. And we're working on the new building.

Notes to Chapter 1.
1. Koch, Theodore Wesley. Reading: A Vice or a Virtue? (MSU Keepsake, no. 1.) East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1987. xiii, 28 p. My goodness, but this is an old-fashioned book! 2. Myers, Greg W. "Flashback, 50 Years Ago," The Comic Buyer's Guide, no. 549 (May 25, 1984), p. 1. 3. Wertham, Fredric. Seduction of the Innocent. New York: Rinehart, 1954.397 p. Although this book is resoundingly negative about comic books as a medium, and can be seen as illogical and amusing as an attempt at scientific research, it does stand as the first whole book about comic books. 4. Goldwater, John L. Americana in Four Colors. New York; Comics Magazine Association of America, 1974. 48 p. The Comics Magazine Association of America, 60 E. 42nd Street, New York, New York 10165, is the body responsible for enforcing the Comics Code, which this booklet spells out. 5. Comic Art Collection, no. 5 (February 1980). A letter from Mary E. Sauer of the Library of Congress' Serial Record Division is reprinted, which "admits" comic books into the ranks of regular serials. 6. DiMattia, Susan S., in "Business Books 1988," Library Journal (March 15, 1989), p. 35. 7. The U*N*A*B*A*S*HmE*D Librarian 15 (Spring 1975), p. 4; 18 (Winter 1976); p. 3. Short articles describing the use of comic books in public library branches, basically for public relations. At the time such behavior by librarians was thought of as daring and . . . unabashed.

Chapter 2.

Acquiring Comic Books and Strips.
Once a library or a librarian has made the decision to include comics material in the collection description, what then? A substantial donation or purchase was probably involved in provoking the decision to start with, but it should go without saying that a collection that is not growing in some way is a dead collection. Both comic strips and comic books are changeable media, and the representative collection of today will usually not serve to represent next year's comics. Since comic strips and comic books have enjoyed 100 years and 50 years respectively as mass media, there will probably always be new areas of historical study being opened up as well. Research libraries will need to increase retrospective holdings just to enable basic college-level scholarship. Two general problems are likely to inhibit the acquisitions of all kinds of comics material. The first is the fact that there is a collectors' market for almost all kinds of comics, both comic books and comic strips, both old and new. Competition among collectors has raised the going price of some materials until it is completely unrealistic for a library to expect to be able to purchase them, and still maintain credibility with sources of funding. ("You paid $6,000 for one comic book?!?") The idea that collecting comic books is a fad indulged in by a lunatic fringe of wealthy bachelors is, unfortunately, promoted in the popular press. It can be difficult to convince library administrators and boards of trustees that to collect comics is not automatically to abandon the last shred of academic respectability. Attitudes about comics within libraries and within the academic community are the second general problem confronting the library

I

I 111

11
11

28

Comics Librarianship.

I

I '
1 I
I

I

l 1
!
I

I

I

I 1
I

I
Ill

I
I

acquisitions program. The idea that collecting comics is crazy is not going to be corrected, if encountered, in time to get a few items into this year's budget. Collecting comics will only seem reasonable to some people when serious scholars and rich donors start to show up. The idea that comics are incredibly expensive, however, can be done away with right away. There is no reason for a library to pay collectors' prices for a comic book or strip. It could become important to fill in a gap quickly by purchase, in order to produce a key piece of evidence for someone's research, but this would be unusual. Normally such a crucial piece would not be available on the market when you want it anyway. Good reprint volumes are a better investment because they are more durable, and more likely to be cited and to be generally useful, than yellowing and fragile newsprint comic books. Reprint volumes of comics cost less than most other academic books. The point can and should be made that a pretty decent comics collection can be put together very cheaply. Perhaps one day, when libraries have exhausted the reasonable and inexpensive options, it will be appropriate to compete with collectors, but it's doubtful.

How to Buy Old Comics and Related Material.
Shops that specialize in comic books have been in business in most United States cities for 15 years or more. They can usually be found in the Yellow Pages under "book dealers," and recently the new rubric "comic book dealers" has begun to appear in some telephone directories. In the beginning these stores made a large percentage of the rent money by selling old, used and rare comic books. These stores have been experiencing a shift toward new material in recent years, but back issues remain important and available. The comics librarian should become familiar with comics shops as sources of retrospective material. Although competition with collectors will make old superhero and horror comic books seem outrageously expensi-ye,other kinds of comic books are likely to seem cheap. Collectors don't collect everything, and the typical collector is a boy or young man whose interests are in superhero and other fantasy and adventure genres. The back-issue dealer, in fact, may be stuck with a whole box of career girl comics (Millie the Model, Tessie the Typist, etc.) or something else that nobody in the local community wants. The dealer can either sit and watch them take up space, lug them to a convention

Acquiring Comic Books and Strips.

and hope to meet a dealer from another city with a rich, eccentric customer, or unload the whole bunch at a discount to the slightly eccentric librarian from the university. This last kind of behavior is worth encouraging. The retailer's other back issue customers will normally be looking for things they enjoy reading, or for things that will appreciate in dollar value. Neither of these criteria is likely to be important in a research library collection. Once the retailer starts to understand that the library would rather have something that presents or illustrates interesting facts about twentieth-century social history, and is cheap, he or she will start saving all the "junk for the library. Having a basically noncompetitive, low-cost "niche" in the backissue market can give the librarian an excuse to visit comic book stores regularly. Although such behavior may not fit in with the usual acquisitions procedure in a research library, there is really no substitute for personal acquaintance with the people and stock of the local specialty stores. Besides buying certain comic books, the librarian will probably want to improve the collection by adding books about comics, and books that collect and reprint comics. Although publishers are currently putting out more books in these categories than ever before, the typical research library will have missed most of the books published over the past 100 years. A comic-book store acts as a magnet for these out-of-print books, and they will turn up regularly. These are of prime value as research material, and again, there is likely to be little competition with collectors. Retailers will usually save old reprint books and books about comics for a librarian who comes in regularly, and will soon start looking about for more. They are most often priced reasonably and well worth it to the library. At some point near the beginning of this librarian-to-book dealer relationship it is going to be necessary to reach an agreement about invoicing, payment, and duplicates. Unless the librarian is using some form of bibliographic magic that has not yet been reported in the literature, there will be times when shopping in person (without the benefit of preorder searching) leads to mistakes. Probably a book dealer who sees the librarian as a steady customer will be glad to accept returns if they are presented within a reasonable length of time. This is not routine ~ r o c e d u r e most dealers, nor is it likely to be routine for for library receiving sections. The best way of handling the overall transaction seems to be to have the selector carry the material, along

30

Comics Librarianship.

(11
1:1~~
I

1
I I
11

I

I 1

l 1
I
l l

/

(1

I ( ! I(

11
11

! 1

1) I 1 1 ) 11 li1 lllliI1

(1

/,/I/( ( I l l 1 (1

1 111 I 11
'11~~

I 1

11

11

~ 1 1 1 111

11~11
I

'

I

I

I II 1

I

I

I

with an invoice prepared by the seller, to the receiving section of the library. After a preorder search, duplicates can be deleted from the invoice and returned to the seller on the next trip, along with a copy of the amended invoice as it will be paid. This procedure requires good faith and timeliness by all concerned, but nevertheless it can work well! A variation of the procedure is to have the dealer's invoice searched by the preorder searchers while the books are still being held by the dealer. This can be done in cases where the dealer doesn't quite trust the library to pay, or to pay promptly. Unfortunately, small business owners sometimes get the idea that a research library has to go through so many levels of bureaucracy to get a simple check written, that it isn't worth all the waiting and record-keeping it takes to deal with them. More unfortunately, this is sometimes true. Most mail-order arrangements with comics sellers will soon break down for this very reason. Comics dealers are relatively new to the antiquarian market, and many see no reason to exercise the level of patience it takes to deal with research libraries. Don't expect comic book stores to issue catalogs! When the prospective purchase is being searched without the books in hand, it is of course necessary to have a fairly detailed description on the invoice. At the very least, each item needs to be listed well enough so that the library can be positive that it's not buying a duplicate. Here again the dealer is likely to balk at spending the kind of staff time it might take to prepare an invoice to specifications that seem arcane. Retailers vary widely in sophistication, both in what they understand about bibliography and in what they practice in terms of bookkeeping. Don't be surprised if an exasperated store owner hands you a pencil and a sheet of paper and tells you to make out your own (blankety-blank) invoice. It might even be a good idea to bring your own paper. Unless the librarian doing the shopping is also the acquisitions librarian, the selector is almost certain to meet the same level of exasperation back at the library the first time an invoice is submitted on the grocery bag in which the merchandise was transported, or on the back of the store's business card. Two very different worlds are involved here, and it will take time to bring them together. At this stage of the game it is very important for the comics librarian to show up in person both in the comics store and the acquisitions department, and talk these things out. Besides making trips to a comics shop, there are other reasonably useful ways to spend money on old comics and related material. Flea markets or rummage sales have obvious drawbacks: you need to carry

Acquiring Comic Books and Strips.

cash, and you need to invest time in prowling the community in order to find anything interesting. Sometimes a staff member can be found who does this anyway, and is willing to become knowledgeable enough to help out. This can lead to some startlingly cheap and valuable acquisitions, or not. If the nature of the collection is going to be fairly general, there are probably things of interest circulating among the rummage crowd that people wouldn't ever think to take to a library or bookstore. Coloring books featuring comics characters are a good example of this, and some have very fine art samples or are reprinted from vintage strips. Private collectors who wish to sell their collections often look to libraries as sources of money, particularly after they've discovered how little a comics shop will offer them for their treasures. Buying from a collector may make sense if a library is just beginning and a large and varied collection comes along that will fit the budget. In some cases a specialized private collection will be attractive if it does not significantly duplicate current holdings. Most private collections donated to libraries to date have been similar to one another, however. The collection of Marvel and DC superhero comic books that you buy today is likely to be indistinguishable from the collection that will be donated to your library tomorrow. The situation may be changing, however. Since the publishing explosion of the mid-1980s, it is likely that some new kinds of private collections are building that will be of interest to libraries. Each collection that is offered does need to be looked at carefully. There is a more general drawback to buying comics from private collectors. If collectors learn that some libraries are paying cash, it will be harder to encourage donations. In dealing with private collectors there is a fine line to be walked. We have to convince them that we value their material so highly there's no chance it will be dumped into the next book sale (which has apparently actually happened). At the same time, we have to convince them that we don't have the need to pay collector's prices, since other collectors are predictably going to give up on the whole thing and donate their collections. Perhaps as more libraries try to remedy this fifty-year deficit in their collections of twentieth-century culture, a competition for private collections will emerge. It's doubtful. Probably some good color microfilm sets will appear before then. Before very much serious research has been done in a library comics collections, it will start to become obvious that no library can have

Comics Librarianship.

1I
I
i
I 1 1

I

I
l 1
I
II 11 1

'I

1 1 111
I 11 1 I II 1 ) 111

' 1 ' 111

I

I,
I

,I/ 1
(1
Il!

111

,Ill1 1

Ii I

1
I

II
1

[I

ill

II
I
I

I

I

I

1,
I
I

I
I

everything. Some things can be done without, but some will seem too important to ignore and a wantlist of out-of-print books will develop. It pays to advertise. A classified ad in the Comics Buyer's Guide1 will bring responses from specialist dealers and collectors everywhere. A printed wantlist circulated to both specialist and general antiquarian book dealers will bring good results. If the library advertises on the out-ofprint market for other kinds of books, try to get a few comics items listed each time. Before long a reputation will build, and dealers will be offering important books that you never heard of. There is a collectors' market in old newspaper comic strips, but most comics stores are not connected with that market and only rarely handle strips. Dealers and collectors can be contacted through the Comics Buyer's Guide classified ads under the heading "newspaper strips." The path of least resistance in collecting old strips is to collect only those which have been edited and reprinted in book form. Quite a respectable collection can be put together in this way. There are, however, two drawbacks to collecting only book collections. In the first place, only a small fraction of comic strips have ever been collected in book form. In the second place, most of the book collections are incomplete or are edited in ways that make it difficult or impossible to know exactly when a given strip first appeared, or even in what order they appeared. Some researchers can tolerate this, and find that the convenience of the book form outweighs the occasional uncertainty or missing episodes. Others, especially those doing studies that involve chronology or comparisons with current events, need better sources. Whatever the project, a scrupulous researcher wishing to provide exact citations will try to cite the date on which a syndicated strip first appeared in newspapers. Many otherwise important-looking books omit this information. There are collectors who have put together runs of strips, typically arranged either in shoe boxes or in scrapbooks, or maintained in the bound newspaper volumes as discarded by libraries. Libraries, according to the lore of the strip collectors, used to buy the microfilm and then actually just throw away the bound originals. This afforded a golden opportunity for the strip collector, and ~ r o v i d e d further reenforcement for the idea that research librarians are not to be trusted with the keeping of anything that is really valuable. Whether the practice was widespread enough to be materially destructive to comics research is a matter of opinion. The fact is that the library at the San Francisco the Academy of Comic Art, which is wholly or ~artially source of most

Acquiring Comic Books and Strips.

33

of the best reprint books, is the result of just such a salvage operation. It might be a good idea for the comics librarian to survey the newspaper holdings of her or his library with the poential for use in comics research in mind. Then again, it might not matter. Bulky bound volumes are difficult to use efficiently for examining runs of a comic strip. Especially if they've been indifferently cared for, the pages will be yellow and photocopying can be monumentally difficult both because of the yellowing and because of the bulky format. Microfilm, on the other hand, is similarly difficult to use and good photocopies are often not possible. If there is a library that can afford to spend st& time clipping or photocopying from its newspaper holdings to create files or volumes of comic strips for efficient use, that would be good. Until then, we should be happy that collectors are doing it, and support the publishers that are printing the results of their projects. A few large strip collections have been donated to libraries, but this is by no means as common as comic book donations.

How to Get Old Comics and Related Material Free.
Donated accumulations and collections of comic books can reasonably be expected once a comics collection has been established and word has gotten around. A mention to the local newspapers and television stations that the library has a comics collection will usually bring a reporter around to ask, "Why?" and "What is your most valuable comic book?" Whatever the resulting story looks like, it's likely to occur to somebody in the community that those comics in the attic might be better off in a library. Comic books are the kind of thing that people outgrow, but maintain a lingering fondness for. If the stereotypical house-cleaning mom can be gotten around, so that the collection is still intact when the owner has grown up, a lot of people can not quite bring themselves to throw them out. Ask the reporter to mention that the library is accepting donations of comic books. It can't hurt either the news value of the story or the acquisitions program of the library. Comic book donations to an educational institution can be tax deductible, but that's between the donor and the Internal Revenue Service. If this question comes up, it is legitimate to provide the donor with an inventory of the gift, and to assign values based on the Oficial

Comics Librarianship.

~! 1
(

(1' 1I
1

iI
I

I

I 1
I
)I

11
I

(

1iI
111

IA
)(I

I li11

/((I1
'I

I;
1 1

111
I l l

pi1
l1
1111

!I

1

Ill 1 1
1
l~

~ ~ ~ I I !

I/

l l ~ dI l
'\!I 1)
I

il~l
]I
t

I

l1

'I//
1

I

I

Overstreet Comic Book Price G ~ i d e . should be clear in the cover letIt ~ ter with the inventory that the evaluations are not an appraisal, but are only the result of checking a standard price list. An appraiser might do no differently, but the ethics of the situation require that a third party should do the evaluation if it is to be called an appraisal. A qualified appraiser can usually be located by calling a local comic book store. The appraisal should be paid for by the donor, and the cost of the appraisal is also tax-deductible. The donor with a valuable collection will often have discovered the Overstreet guide independently, and sometimes will have formed an inflated opinion about the value of the collection because of unfamiliarity with the grading system. Donors will sometimes decide to be stubborn about the value they set on the material, to the point that they don't want any other figure mentioned in the acknowledgment letter. It then becomes necessary to phrase the letter like this: "Thank you for your gift, on December 31 of last year, of seven comic books which you value at a total of $65,000. . . ." It seems possible that an Internal Revenue Service auditor might require an appraisal later on, so it's a good idea to keep especially good track of inventory lists in cases like this. Most of the time, donors will drop off their comic books just because they seem to be getting a good home. An inventory isn't necessary and a polite thank-you letter mentioning the number of items serves to get the transaction into the library's correspondence files. Unless the dollar values appear to be outstanding, the library in this case doesn't normally need to know what such a routine donation is "worth in
numbers. Besides local media, donations can be discreetly solicited through staff newsletters, alumni magazines, and personal contacts. Regular visits to a comic book store will sometimes result in donors' being referred by the store owner to the library, since retailers can also recognize that financial and research values operate on two different scales. A box of comics with no collectors' value could turn out to be f a run of Adventures o the Big Boy that somebody in the Communications Department has been trying to write a paper on. Also, by attending the comic book store religiously, the librarian will get to know some of the other customers. You never know when a collector will decide to just pack it all in and get out of the field. The collectors themselves might not even have much warning of the impending decision, but if they're acquainted with a comics librarian the chances are much better that the library will benefit when the time comes.

I

i

(1 I
1

i

i

Acquiring Comic Books and Strips.

35

To reach outside the local area for contacts and donors, specialized national publications are the most valuable. An occasional letter to the editor or press release printed in Editor and Publisher or the Comics Buyer's Guide will attract some appropriate attention. At this level, trying to attract donors and trying to attract researchers become dual aspects of the same publicity. Potential scholars from far away will want to hear about how good the collection already is, and not how earnestly we desire to improve it. Until something special or unique can be claimed about a collection, most librarians will want to stick to locallevel publicity.

Buying Current Comics and Related Material.
For most of the first fifty years of comic books in the United States and Canada, distribution has been through the newsstand, or some variation such as "spinners" in convenience, stationery, candy, and even grocery stores. It is hard to imagine a distribution pattern less likely to intersect with the buying channels of a research library. During the 1970s, however, comic book shops that had been established on the strength of the back-issue market discovered that a lot of collectors would go out of their way to get the latest issues a few days earlier than the established outlets could supply them. This led to separate negotiations between the comic book stores and the wholesalers, and eventually to a separate distribution system. Established comic book publishers use the new distribution network by designating some of their titles "direct only," meaning they are sold only to comics shops and by subscription and never appear on the general newsstand. The distinction is now commonly made between the "direct" and the "newsstand markets. Most newsstand comics appear in the comic book stores, but not all. Occasionally a new publisher will float trial balloons onto the newsstand, apparently unaware of the direct market. Sometimes a local specialty store will decide that a certain category of comic books (Archie comics, for example) doesn't sell well enough to its mostly grownup clientele to be worth display space. The two distribution systems both need to be watched if complete representation is what the library collectors has in mind. In the past, a few new comic book publishers have tried to make a start only to back out, leaving the impression that the (newsstand)

36

Comics Librarianship.

distribution system did not welcome them. The situation has changed, and comic book stores are actively looking for good material to offer that is not available elsewhere. Besides encouraging dozens of new United States and Canadian companies, the direct market has attracted European and Japanese publishers hoping to distribute English-language editions of graphic albums and "manga." Besides comics themselves, comics stores also sell related books, posters and realia. In order to support all this, specialized wholesalers have appeared, but unfortunately none of these wholesalers is quite comfortable dealing with libraries to date. The librarian's best bet for acquisition of new material through the direct market is to establish an arrangement with a local comics shop. Arrangements with the store for invoicing, payment, and return of duplicates can be the same as described above for back issues and outof-print books. One big set of decisions needs to be made at the library, though, before the arrangements for new comics can be completed. If your library can afford to buy, check in, and store one of everything, your dealer will be glad to have a package (a large package) waiting for you every week. Meanwhile, back in the real world, an acquisitions profile needs to be written. This need not be laborious and difficult. For example, ask for copies of all locally published comics. Most communities that can support a research library can also support one or two small press comics publishers. (If your library is in New York City, you might need to limit the local angle to small presses.) Another reasonable part of the profile might be reprint books and magazines. Some reprint volumes will be too expensive for most of the store's usual customers, and the retailer might not order copies at all without a fairly firm commitment from the library. High-quality reprint volumes are currently running up to about $30 each, which is not a lot compared to other books that libraries purchase. Except for the few that are published by old, established publishing houses, these reprint books are under-advertised in the general book trade. Getting them into your profile with a direct-market dealer is quite possibly your only chance to get copies of reprint volumes published by Arcadia Publications, Blackthorne Publishing, Classic Comic Strips, Russ Cochran, Eclipse Books, Fantagra~hicsBooks, Nantier-Beall-Minoustchine, or Pioneer Books. After local publications and reprint volumes, the next logical addition to the profile is books and magazines about comics. As with reprint volumes, a percentage of books about comics will never show up in general book trade channels. Authors and ~ublishersin the direct

Acquiring Comic Books and Strips.

37

market will be directing their efforts toward an audience of fans, collectors, and speculators, rather than toward students and scholars. Examine some of these and decide how you will justify their purchase to library colleagues, administrators, and teaching faculty. Even the comic book dealer might question why on Earth you want some of this stuff. Compared to most other disciplines, comics research and history are in their infancy. A lot of checklisting, summarizing, interviewing, and general scouting for landmarks needs to be done before much really informed writing can be done. This is exactly the kind of thing the fan press is producing, and while some of the efforts may look a little shaky, nearly all of them make original contributions. If you have to choose between buying new comic books, or buying new books, pamphlets or magazines about comics, remember that donations of comic books to libraries are common and that at some point in the future almost any comic book might come in for free. Fan and small press books have much smaller print runs, go out of print immediately, and have not been turning up in donations to libraries. Often you only get one chance to buy them. If that small book that does almost nothing but summarize the plots of the "Batman" movie serials looks questionable, remember that The Batman is, like it or not, one of the more durable American contributions to world literature. Some day, someone is going to have to do a dissertation on the phenomenon. How is it going to look if the only two library copies of the only book on that particular manifestation of the character are held by the universities of Helsinki and Toulouse? Too many American academics (that includes librarians), even resolutely "alternative" or anticanonical academics, have an attitude problem when it comes to thinking seriously about comics. A lot of European scholars are way ahead of us. So buy the book, already!3 Most periodicals about comics fall loosely into the category of fanzines. With few exceptions, periodicals published by and for the comics collectors' market are either irregular or impermanent. Those that offer subscriptions do so in terms that easily defeat the best serials acquisitions module. The safest way to keep getting selected titles is to have with a comic book specialty dealer. Each them added to your ~ r o f i l e new issue, whether it's a monthly that appears semiannually or a wholly unanticipated title change, will appear in the save pile. The bibliographical details can then be worked out with the piece in hand, without having to incur the wrath and disbelief of a harmless not-forprofit ~ublisher thousands of miles away.

1
I

,I1
1

I/
'I

1 1

38
I
I

Comics Librarianship.

l1 I

1 1

11

I
1

I
I

II

1 1
I i

(I
I

IIIII
11 111

II!~,
lIll
/Illl

~

I

I i
111

11 : I
l l I!I 1
II~
I!I

I

1
I

I1)l

11
/
I
1

I1

l1

(1) l1
Ill

I

I

I
I

I

I
I I

I

(I

If it looks like there will be money left after the local publications, the reprint collections, and the history and criticism have been paid for, the next logical step is to ask the dealer to save samples of comic book series. One of everything on the rack every six months might be a good strategy, or a copy of every first issue can also work. Either way, sampling the current market can help ensure that the library user will find at least something in every category, and the course of collection development will be that much less at the mercy of random donors. If the cataloging department is going to help out, it might be a good strategy to present them with a flow of first issues of serials. It is much more satisfactory to catalog from the first issue of a serial under current rules, and thus the work of cataloging is more likely to actually get done. After a profile has been worked out with a local dealer or dealers, remember to ask for a discount. In return for a steady flow of business, the retailer should be willing to grant a standard 10 to 20 percent off on nearly everything the library buys. If comics acquisitions' best friend is the direct market dealer, its next best friend is the weekly Comics Buyer's Guide. The Buyer's Guide, or " C B G as it is usually called, began in 1971 as a hobbyists' monthly to facilitate mail-order buying. Currently CBG presents over 60 tabloid pages per week of advertising and information. The ads for back issues by mail are still there, but there is much more. News, interviews, reviews, retrospective articles, and a column on legal aspects of comics are regular or frequently appearing features. Directories of comic book stores and clubs and calendars of comics conventions and forthcoming publications appear regularly. A clipping service keeps track of how the comics industry and subculture are being seen in other media. An active letters page makes CBG a leading public forum not only for collectors, but also for the direct market businesspeople and for creators and publishers. All this information is context that will help the comics librarian understand what's going on, or at least to interpret the advertising. Subscription services, wholesalers, convention organizers, publishers, specialized collectors, writers, artists, editors, and even other librarians can be contacted through the ads and letters of CBG, and whether you answer any of the advertising or not, exposure to the pages of CBG will make the experience of dealing with the local comics retailer as an equal much easier. The CBG is required reading, or at least required browsing, for the profession of comics librarian. After the browse, have it cataloged for the collection. The Comics Buyer's Guide documents an industry and a subculture. Some day there may be an index.

Acquiring Comic Books and Strips.

39

Getting the New Stufffor Free.
It is possible to get some comic books and fanzines for nothing, without having to wait for collectors to get tired of them. Nearly all publishers have "comp" lists of people and organizations to whom free or "complimentary" copies are sent. Whether there is room for a library, or another library, on the list, depends on the kind of relationship that exists between the publisher and the library. If the publisher graduated from your college, ask. If the publisher is in your town, ask. If you don't mind sending letters that never get answered, ask. But please don't pester publishers unduly in the name of your library, or libraries in general. This is a kind of "goose that laid the golden egg" situation, and such arrangements are not likely to be permanent unless they are based on positive personal interaction. Another way of getting new material for free is to encourage staff members to "endow" the collection by subscribing to a favorite title, and then donating it to the library regularly when they're through reading it. Several people might share a subscription, to Mad or National Lampoon, for instance, with the library handy to settle the question of who gets to keep the magazine when everybody has read it. Schemes like this are also likely to be impermanent, but there's always the chance that somebody will take it seriously enough to really help out. One effective way to get samples of foreign comic books is to ask staff members and friendly teaching faculty who travel abroad to bring back comic books as souvenirs. This works well, and can add lots of surprises to a collection. The travelers will want to know what they should look for. Tell them, "Look at a newsstand, and any comic book that surprises you will be of interest to the collection. It can be a translation of a familiar feature, or something exotic-looking. When in doubt, bring US one of each!" This requires no long-term commitment on anybody's part, doesn't cost much, and gives the average tourist an excuse to get out of the hotel, poke around a bit, and get some new insight into the place they're visiting. Actually, they should thank us for asking! If these last few paragraphs give the impression that comics acquisitions can involve a certain amount of grasping at straws, it's no mistake. Routines and policies can be set up to catch the bare bones of a good collection, namely the outstanding creative publications and the products of research, but comics is a mass medium and an enormous field of study. No budget can cover it all. If a few items can be coaxed

A-

40

Comics Librarianship.

II

I

I
1I 11

I

1

1

/I
I
1

j

'1

1, I I
[/ /I I
/I(,

in for free, then perhaps a little more money can be found to catalog them. A good acquisitions program makes its basic contribution in establishing the depth and consistency that make research possible. The next step is to provide the surprises that make inspired research possible. If there were hundreds of massive research collections of comics, there would still be room for each of them to have unique specialties, and to some degree that involves beating the bushes for the stuff nobody has thought of. Set up a system, sure, but then get people out there prowling the flea markets. Maybe somebody will finally find that Back to the Bible pamphlet about comic books that will show what the Moody Press and its readers really thought about comic books in the 1950s4

11

'

I

I1 JI,l

)I

Getting Rid of Extras.
Before very long in the story of a comic book collection, whether public or private, the problem of what to do with duplicate copies comes up. Although it makes good sense to keep two copies of each issue for insurance, this only postpones the problem, since multiple copies are sure to come in. Some of the most serious and valuable donations are likely to be made only after the donor has understood and agreed with the library's policy for dealing with unwanted duplicates. Horror stories have circulated among collectors about libraries accepting donations of rare comic books and then selling them a month later at the Friends book sale for a nickel each. It is necessary to have a policy, and to stick to it. The optimum solution is to trade the unwanted duplicates for the unwanted duplicates of another comics research library, so that nothing goes to waste and all the comic books eventually find a home. This is to some degree practical, because even the largest of today's collections will find some percentage of new material in any random collection of comic books. To find a library home for every last comic book is completely impossible, if only because of the existence of the first issues of ~hazam (1973) and Howard the Duck (1976). Collectors were excited about the appearance of these and a few other first issues in the 1970s. Many bought large numbers of copies, certain that the market value would rise quickly. The magic that had made the first issues of The Amazing Spider-Man (1963) and Conan the Barbarian (1970) valuable collectors' items was gone, however. The new direct distribution

Acquiring Comic Books and Strips.

41

network included dealers who were former collectors. These dealers ordered more copies than normal as well, and stored some of them away for the future. Soon people realized that it was unrealistic to ask large sums for a comic book that nearly everybody had stacks of. By now, most of these amateur speculators have unloaded these titles and a lot of others that were hoarded throughout the 1970s, before the idea sank in that times had changed. Not a few have given their troves to libraries, and the boxes of extras that build up in comics libraries inevitably look similar from one library to another. Not only do the duplicate boxes look similar, but they take up a lot of space, and the situation can sometimes become urgent. It is theoretically possible to grade and evaluate each duplicate comic book, and make trades based on the collectors' values thus assigned, but this is incredibly labor-intensive. Even to put the duplicate comic books in alphabetical order normally seems like a waste of time. The recommended solution is to trade boxes of duplicates with another library with similar interests, or to find a library that is just beginning its collection, and send them duplicates until they start to complain. Looking through the duplicates from another library is a lot more rewarding than watching your own duplicates pile UP. There is no well-established way to find libraries willing to trade duplicate comic books, or even to accept them as research material. This is one of the purposes of this book. Please call around to the libraries listed in Chapter 7, once your collection of extra copies starts to get out of hand. After all the interested libraries have seen the comic books, it's time to call in a trustworthy local comic book dealer, and ask to trade for a credit slip (not cash!). A credit slip can be cashed in without involving the library's bookkeeper, for one thing. A dealer will also usually give you more for comics if the credit is to be used to get used comic books from the shop. The profit margin is high on used comics, and the ones the library is likely to want will be things less interesting to other customers, and on the low end in price per unit and thus taking up a lot of room anyhow. If information about this kind of trade reaches the public, it will be less provocative to donors than news that you are selling them in the library discard sale. By having the dealer make an offer, the library will be displaying wise stewardship in getting more comics based on the collectors' value of the material unloaded. Nothing h ur t s a comics research library's reputation like news of a valuable comic

42
I

Comics Librarianship.

I
I

book being sold for a nickel, even if it was Shazam no. 1 and it was only worth a nickel anyhow. The appearance of ignorance is bad public relations. It is also possible to trade with or sell to individual collectors, some of whom will be very interested and persistent. This is a dangerous route. If word gets around that the library is trading, just supervising the transactions will take a lot of staff time. Inevitably, collectors will start to brag about the great deals they got from the stupid librarians, and whether we've acted stupidly or not, the reputation of the collection suffers. It's better to deal with other libraries on a basis of research value rather than financial value, or to deal with professional comics retailers who have their own reputations to maintain.

I
I

i
I

/I

I

I

111

I/!!'

Notes to Chapter 2.
1. The Comics Buyer's Guide is published weekly by Krause Publications, 700 E. State Street, Iola, Wisconsin 54990. This publication is vital to all aspects of information gathering about comics, as well as a major communications medium within the comics community. A sample issue will be sent upon request. 2. Overstreet, Robert M. The Ojicial Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide. New York: House of Collectibles, 1987- . This annual publication began in 1970 as The Comic Book Price Guide. The prices quoted are based on the averages paid over the previous year. 3 . Van Hise, James. Serial Adventures Presents the Serial Adventures of Batman. Las Vegas, NV: Pioneer Books, 1989.98 p. This book is listed as an example not to especially recommend it, though it does what it sets out to do perfectly well, but to stand for a class of books that will probably be unfamiliar to research librarians. 4. Johnson, Ruth I. The Truth About Comic Books. Lincoln, Nebr.: Back to the Bible Publishers, 1955? Does this exist?

I
I

Chapter 3 .

Storing and Preserving Comics.
Appropriate storage and preservation of comics (both comic books and comic strips) have always been major concerns for advanced private collectors. The properties of newsprint, both chemical and physical, are mysterious, whether they need to be or not, and individual collectors are rightfully frightened at the prospect of carrying out mass deacidification programs while still making mortgage payments. The publicly owned collection is no less a ~ r o b l e m this regard, but the motivain tions, and therefore the priorities, need to be different. The private collector is typically protecting a financial investment, or at least engaging in a kind of hoarding behavior (an ego-investment). The first and most basic level of protection for the private collector, therefore, is not to deacidify, but to restrict use. There is a chance the comic books can be sold before the acid problem gets too bad, but if somebody rips the cover, condition goes from mint to fair in one second and hundreds of potential dollars are out the window. Typically only the owner is allowed into the magic room, with a very few friends receiving temporary annointments. In order to be sure the friends will be careful if they touch the comics, or in other words to protect the financial investment, the private collector will need to emphasize the value of the collection. To protect one's reputation for sanity among one's noncollecting friends, it sometimes helps to show off the most exciting or intriguing items for their intrinsic value. Colorful displays presented along with the mention of large sums of money will do the trick, but both of these ways of making an impression are basically counterproductive. If the comics are

'

I

!I
11
I

44

Comics Librarianship.

permanently displayed they are usually not well protected from light and accidental handling damage. If the display is only temporary, there is potential for added damage in taking the materials back and forth in and out of their permanent containers. Even for a library, displaying comics safely is a serious problem. The most direct way to impress some noncollectors is through numbers alone. "This is Detective Comics no. 26," the collector might say. "A copy of Detective Comics no. 27 sold for $35,000 in 1988, according to Overstreet." The implication is that since no. 26 is even older, it must be worth more.' The suitably impressed friend might pass the word along, thinking to impress still more people with the offbeat wisdom of this comic book collector. "He's got this comic book worth over $30,000 just sitting in the room over the garage, two blocks from here!" So what happens to preservation? This may sound like the way the Beagle Boys do business, but plenty of nonprofessional burglars get their start tearing apart somebody's comic book room trying to decide which one is worth the big money. Even if the career in crime ends right there, the damage is likely to be done. For the private collector, privacy is job one. A public comics collection, on the other hand, is set up to encourage the use and study of its content. The ambience has to be different. In order to justify the expense of special storage strategies and large commitments of space and staff time, the librarian needs to be able to show that the collection is being used, preferably a lot. The material is just as fragile, and the potentially large dollar values still beckon, but the librarian, unlike the private collector, typically does not have the option to completely restrict any part of the collection. "What's your oldest comic book?" and "What's your most valuable comic book?" are the main questions that comics librarians get from tourists and journalists. An honest answer is necessary, of course: "Our most valuable comic book is our copy of Walt Disney's Comics and Stories no. 1, which is worth about $1,000. I'll show you the cover, but it has been handled a lot and unless you have a special reason to look inside I'd rather show you a different issue that you can look through." Research library special collections of comics (and other twentieth-century media) are relatively new, and a relatively new level of tension between publicity and preservation has arrived along with them and can't be ignored. Comics make great Sunday supplement journalism. There's enough controversy about "adult" comics, and enough

Storing and Preserving Comics.

45

hype from movie companies pushing the latest comics-related movie, to keep the subject before the public eye. When journalists discover that a local library has a collection, that collection gets mentioned often. Soon there is a steady stream of tourists, ten-r ear-olds, burned-out college students looking for escape, and of course the occasional visiting scholar. For most people, the idea that these everyday materials, even the ones published last week, need to be treated with respect, is a difficult one. The skateboards have to be put up on the hatrack, and the rare book room will never be the same. Although recreational users of other new media (fiction and film) can often be referred to public libraries, when it comes to comic books there is usually no such option. Although the Beagle Boys are not apt to be able to get into the average research library special collections department, security is still a part of reservation. Early experiences at the Michigan State University collection included readers trying to stick comic books in their coats or newspapers, trying to switch comics they'd brought in for the ones they'd paged, and the actual theft of The Amazing Spider-Man no. 1. By the time Spider-Man had been missed, the local comic book store had already bought and resold it, all within about one hour. Soon thereafter some new steps were taken. Coats and other clothing must be placed on a coat rack. Backpacks and briefcases may not be kept near the reading table. The reader's other books and papers, except what is needed for taking notes, are no longer allowed with the reader at the table. Although it makes collectors in the private tradition cringe, the comic books are now rubber-stamped with a fairly small but very noticeable ownership stamp. Local dealers are aware of the stamp and pledge not to buy our comic books; in fifteen years of stamping no further thefts have taken place. The stamp appears at the bottom of page one of each issue, and appears to have removed our holdings from the collectibles market. Policies need to be established that will allow the researcher to use the collection to best advantage. Typically, since comics are a mass medium, the researcher will need to compare, contrast, or even read large numbers of comic books. The recreational reader, on the other hand, will sometimes want to read The Uncanny X-Men from start to finish uninterrupted, which can easily take three weeks. Both users will require big investments of staff time in retrieving large numbers of comic books, supervising their use, and reshelving them. Sooner or later the librarian will discover that it is more satisfying to help develop

46

Comics Librarianship.

a thesis on the presentation of the Korean War in American comic books, than to cover the same miles from shelf to reading room in pursuit of the original first appearance of the Swamp Thing, which the reader might then attempt to steal. The current policy at the Michigan State University Libraries is to restrict recreational users to three comic books at any one time, and to a maximum of twelve issues per day. Research users (whether working on high school term papers, dissertations, or articles for publication) have no such restrictions.

Preservation by Careful Handling.
Perhaps the following could go without saying, but certain warnings about handling comic books seem appropriate, and worthy of being phrased as commandments. It is normal to treat rare books with respect for the physical item, but it is a rare reader or librarian who will automatically treat a comic book with the same respect. The average plain old comic book is probably more fragile than the average Gutenberg Bible, after all. The paper in comics is fragile. Do not let the readers fold the spines of comic books backwards, or roll them up, or wave them around. "Spine curl" and wrinkling and tearing will result. Comic books should be opened flat on the table or held open gently if necessary. Ink pens, including ballpoints and all kinds of felt markers, are dangerous. Do not let the readers use any kind of ink pen to take notes while reading the comics. Occasionally someone gets the idea to copy a drawing from a comic book or strip, and will bring art supplies to the reading room. Let them sketch in pencil, or let them have a photocopy to work from. Ink spills and smudges are forever. Food and drink should be kept out of the room. Do not let the readers eat, drink, smoke, chew, dribble, or even have dirty hands while reading the comics. Let the readers put their backpacks or briefcases on a shelf far enough away from the reading table so that they can't sneak refreshments from a hidden can or candy bar. Strawberry jam stains are forever, too. Some ~erfectly normal office supplies are very dangerous. Do not let the readers (or the staff) put little yellow stickies on the covers or the pages that they want to have photocopied. Sometimes those things lift images. Paper clips will tear brittle paper and should not be used with comic books at all.

Storing and Preserving Comics.

47

Comic books are extremely vulnerable during photocopying. The lights are bright and repeated copying of the same page will cause yellowing. It is better not to photocopy on one of those machines that moves the original back and forth. Unless you can jam the cover down to hold the comic book in place, it's likely to get torn on the return trip. If you jam the cover down, on any sort of photocopier, the staples in the spine are likely to tear through some of the pages. Safe photocopying takes practice, and should be done by the staff and not self-service by readers. Do not use regular sticky tape to repair comic book covers or pages, or to strengthen the paper around the staples. There are archival supplies that can help with some limited do-it-yourself mending, but plain old tape is bad news. If an ordinary comic book gets badly torn, it can sometimes be replaced inexpensively at the local comics store. If a rare item is torn, it's better to photocopy it and let the readers use the photocopy than to introduce dime-store glue into a collection that is supposed to last for many years. The glue is only now starting to let go of the comic books that were repaired with tape in the 1950s, and even in the luckiest cases there is more visible damage from the tape than from the problem it was supposed to have mended. Today's tapes may be better in the long run, but we don't know that. Collectors in the 1950s didn't have Mylar sleeves to hold the pieces together, but now we do. Do not use tape to seal comic books into plastic bags. When comic books are being taken out of bags that have been taped, remove the tape completely first. If the tape is left hanging on one side of the bag, it will usually try to snag the comic book and rip a little piece off. A bit of research encountered not too long ago proposed a startling thesis, that wristwatches were invented so that comic book collectors would have a place to stick the tape while they slide the comic book out of the bag. That's not a bad idea, but afterwards, throw the tape away!2

Storage Containers.
Since research libraries do not allow library users direct browsing access to their special collections, storage can be in relatively compact form. Archive boxes or filing cabinets can be used as long as appropriate finding aids have been prepared to lead the staff to desired items efficiently.Large boxes and cabinets are likely to cause ~ r o b l e m s a in

48

Comics Librarianship.

rapidly growing collection, however. The larger the number of items that needs to be disturbed each time a single item is retrieved, the more routine wear is introduced to the collection. When additional donations or purchases are filed into an existing system, efficiency requires that all the issues of a given title be stored together. This can mean that boxes are constantly being shifted and relabeled, with the accompanying risk to the contents. Archive boxes are designed for static collections, or collections to which it is appropriate to add new material by adding a new box at the end of the row. Comic books need to be classified, or at least alphabetized, and thus require a more flexible storage scheme. At Michigan State University, the comic books are shelved standing up on normal library shelving, in magazine files called Magafiles. A Magafile can hold between twenty and thirty comic books. Flaps inside the box hold the contents firmly upright, for safe intershelving with other boxes and books of various sizes. As a shelving and retrieval unit, a Magafile is small enough to handle easily and large enough so that requests for consecutive issues can usually be filled from a single box. Magafiles have closed tops, so that dust and light are kept away from the contents. The only drawback to Magafiles is that they are not made of acid-free material. They are normally used for temporary storage of periodicals prior to binding or disposal, and in fact most periodicals are not on particularly acid-rich paper, as are comic books, so it normally doesn't matter.3 Although there is room in the supplies market for an acid-free equivalent to the Magafile, the boxes as they are need not be seen as chemically dangerous. For now the solution to the problem of the acid content of Magafiles, for comic books, is always to enclose individual or small numbers of comic books in acid-free envelopes or Mylar sleeves before putting them in the boxes. Both envelopes and sleeves are easily available through library and archival supply channels. Besides giving the comics additional protection against acid, light and dust, this interior packaging gives the individual comic book an important little bit more support to help it stay upright, thus preventing the warping that virtue of can happen in almost any kind of storage. The main ~ractical individual packaging, though, is that it makes it possible to transport comic books back and forth from shelf to reading-room table without damage either to the desired item or to the items shelved around them. The drawback to this system, if it is a drawback, is that extreme care is necessary in sliding fragile items in and out of their sleeves. In a way

Storing and Preserving Comics.

49

this can have a good effect overall, because it helps the staff person to focus on the moment of finally peeling off that last layer of protection in the presence of the reader. Getting comic books in and out of sleeves and envelopes safely is a skill that takes practice. The staff member should do it, not the reader, but it doesn't hurt the reader to see that the materials are being treated with almost exaggerated care. The call number system described in Chapter 4 was set up to take advantage of the uniform-sized units that result when a single size of Magafile is used. Items classified within the range from PN6728.1 to PN6728.6, which takes in all of the special "non-Library of Congress" numbers, are restricted to comic books that measure 28 cm. (magazine size) or 26 cm. (normal comic book size), with few exceptions. Both sizes fit into the same envelopes and boxes, so that shelves can be placed a uniform distance apart throughout the range. By excluding books or magazines that are larger or smaller, much potential damage during shifting and other handling is avoided. In the two sections where smaller comic books are the rule, PN6728.15 (8-pagers) and 6728.55 (mini-comix), the little comic books are placed in larger envelopes to keep them from getting lost. This system was developed with the idea in mind that some form of compact shelving might have to be used eventually. At the Michigan State University Libraries, flexible plastic bags of the kind commonly used by private collectors are used for temporary storage only. Temporary storage is in open-top, angle-cut magazine boxes. The title of the comic book is visible through the transparent plastic bag, making it possible to alphabetize new acquisitions rapidly into the temporary shelf. This visible temporary storage is an efficient way to sort comics before they are cataloged and labelled, and still give them some protection against handling accidents. Labelling for permanent storage is done by typing the call number on an acid-free bookmark and hanging the bookmark on the final leaf of the comic book. If the paper is too fragile to support a bookmark, the bookmark~label dropped into the Mylar sleeve, the sleeve is put inside is an acid-free envelope, and the call number and title are typed on the envelope. The call number and title are typed directly on all acid-free envelopes in the MSU collection. Ordinary labels, like those used for manila folders, were at one time used, But they have begun to peel off by themselves after only about fifteen years. If we're in it for the long haul, adhesive labels should be avoided.

50

Comics Librarianship.

For permanent storage, plastic bags do offer basic protection against dust and accidental damage, but they do not provide the stiffness that is needed for optimal upright shelving. Plastic bags can be used inside Magafiles if the Magdle is always going to be kept full or nearly full, but otherwise even inside the Magafile the force of gravity will begin the permanent bending of the comic book. The Overstreet guide5 says that most plastic bags used for comic book storage "contain harmful acids." If this is true, this adds a chemical reason to the already good physical case against using plastic for permanent storage. There is also some concern that ordinary polyethelene or other plastic will allow acid to "migrate" through it from container to comic book, or from one comic book to another. The situation is not really well understood to date, because claims by sellers of various products have tended to conflict. It is certainly true that most plastic bags turn yellow and get sticky after a few years, and need to be replaced if only for appearance's sake. Acid-free (and sometimes just plain cardboard) backing boards are commonly used by collectors. These are placed inside the plastic bag with the comic book to provide stiffness. The backing boards with the plastic bags are fine for display purposes, and they do provide needed physical protection. When Mylar and or acid-free envelopes are in use, however, the backing boards are unnecessary.

Acid Content.
The problem of the acid content of typical comic book and newspaper paper was a concern of private collectors for years before libraries began to be involved. In a sense librarians can afford to feel less urgency about acid content, since our profession is presumably working around the clock to solve the problem in our collections at large. This wasn't always true, though, and when the comics collectors began to understand the problem they felt a justifiable panic. There were no libraries that seeked to feel that comics were worth collecting and preserving, and even those libraries that did have significant holdings of bound newspapers containing comics pages, or comic books obtained through copyright depository, were leaving them on open shelves exposed to constant light, mutilation and pilferage. Libraries were seen as the enemies of comics preservation by comics collectors of the 1960s and earlier, and the stigma has by no means been completely removed.

Storing and Preserving Comics.

51

Bill Blackbeard, who is a comics scholar and curator of a private library of comics, goes so far as to blame the " m y t h of selfdestructing newsprint on librarians. Librarians have spent the past century or so storing acid-rich paper in broad daylight or under constant fluorescent light. Naturally, since light dramatically accelerates the yellowing of newsprint, all this old paper turned yellow. Blackbeard can produce plenty of examples of old newsprint from his collection that had been stored for decades in the dark and is still white and strong. Librarians, he is apt to say if you rub him wrong, are suddenly crying about a problem that's their own fault. If and when deacidification becomes available to research libraries to some practical degree, decisions will have to be made about what to deacidify. Meanwhile, Bill Blackbeard's implied advice is clear and relatively inexpensive: Keep the comics out of the light when they're not being used.

Preservation by Reproduction.
Preservation by reproduction may ultimately be the only solution that libraries can realistically adopt. Reprints on good paper, in wellbound volumes, are obviously a very fine solution. It's predictable that such activity will proceed slowly, though reprinting has accelerated during the latter half of the 1980s. Microfilming is another ~ o s s i b i l i which seems attractive. Some t~ microfilming projects are being done, or have been done, but the universe of comic books represents a real big project, and to do it right it has to be done in color. The AMS Press filmed some daily strips, and announced a project in 1973 to film all of Marvel Comics, but the project apparently was discontinued before it began.5 An article in the Comics Buyer's Guide recently announced that a company called Microcolor International is considering a project to produce and sell color microfiche of "the most celebrated titles of a major publishers."6 Both the AMS and the MicroColor projects, even if they were completed as planned, would be drops in the bucket compared to the magnitude of the preservation problem faced by libraries. The approach in both cases was to choose those titles most desired by collectors. The catch is that libraries need the titles the collectors don't care about, as well, and there are more of those. The comic books that the collectors

52

Comics Librarianship.

don't want are probably deteriorating even more rapidly than the collectible ones, since they have fewer friends. The marketplace is not yet working on the side of libraries, at least not directly. Two major private microfilming projects, one on black and white 16mm film and one on color fiche done by slipping 16mm film into jackets, are currently underway. Both have impressive lists of golden age (1930s and 1940s) comic books already filmed, but neither project is commercial. The work is being done to share among collectors, who have basically given up on libraries. One important practical strategy that should not be overlooked is photocopying. Sometimes an old and interesting comic book is so fragile that even reading it once is sure to destroy large parts of it. In this case a good photocopy should probably be made for library readers, and the remnants of the original should be sealed in Mylar against the possibility that someone will benefit from seeing the published fragments. Color photocopies are currently good enough to satisfy almost anyone, if the comic book in question is scarce enough to justify the expense. In any event, photocopies or facsimiles (of which dozens have been professionally or semiprofessionally published) should always be given to the casual or recreational reader in order to prolong the life of the fragile originals.

Saving Multiple Copies.
From the beginning of the Comic Art Collection at Michigan State University, the collection has had a tradition of keeping the best two copies of each comic book or other item printed on newsprint, or published nonprofessionally. This began because the first two large acquisitions that began the collection were practically duplicates of each other, and nobody knew what to do with the extras. Soon it was noticed that this was a handy thing, in that if a coupon was clipped from one copy, the other copy was likely to have that particular page intact. If one copy was missing the center four pages, the other copy might be coverless, and so on. For the time being, it was easier to store both copies than to look through each of the 6,000 comic books to be sure each was absolutely complete. Besides helping to ensure the availability of complete copies, this policy turns out to have preservation implications. For popular series of comic books, copies can be rotated to reduce the handling of a given

Storing and Preserving Comics.

53

item by 50 percent and thus extend its life. For certain series, and here The Uncanny X-Men must be mentioned again, three copies are maintained to good effect. In the long run, this kind of depth can be used to provide copies for microfilming or other kinds of preservation by reproduction.

Preserving Strip Collections.
Collecting newspaper comic strips is, in the private sector at least, a hobby that is almost completely separate from comic book collecting. The most common way of collecting newspaper strips, in both personal and library collections, is to collect books that assemble and reprint the strips. For a research collection or an advanced collector, however, the incompleteness and haphazard editing of book collections in general make it necessary to collect and preserve strips in newsprint form. OCcasionally syndicate proofs and original art do become available, and the library lucky enough to own comic art in these forms will need large flat shelving or map cases. The usual collection of daily comic strips consists of strips clipped and arranged chronologically, and kept in bundles in boxes. Private collectors find this satisfactory because they have nobody coming around to put them out of order by fumbling through them. Although private collectors do not currently recommend gluing strips in scrapbooks, collectors have not always been in close enough communication with one another to pass such recommendations back and forth. The major comic strip collections at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin and at the Michigan State University Libraries are in scrapbooks as assembled by private collectors. Even if scrapbooks are not the best way to go, because of the adhesive being introduced to their environment, for example, they are extremely easy to use. So far the strips seem to be holding up well, some of them for over fifty years. A collection that is donated in wellorganized and durable scrapbooks can hardly be improved upon except to ask for more. What should a library do when a collector donates comic strips in a shoebox? Glueing them into scrapbooks, even with the help of workstudy students, seems too labor-intensive, but bringing them to the reading room in little bundles is bound to be nerve-wracking both for user and for staff. The answer seems to be clear, given present

I
I
I

I
I l l

I

54

Comics Librarianship.

technology: quality photocopies need to be made, preferably a week to a page in chronological order so that the pages can be collected in a convenient notebook. (Before doing this, find out if another library listed in Chapter 7 of this book might want to pay for a copy. It's an opportunity to cooperate, and five or six copies can be made as easily as one!) The originals should then be placed in (acid-free) shoeboxes and kept out of the light against the time when the photocopies are worn out and new first-generation copies need to be made. Collecting Sunday comic strips is yet another specialty with yet another set of storage problems. Typically a whole page or even a whole Sunday section will be preserved intact, since cutting out an individual strip is likely to mutilate another strip or strips on the other side of the leaf. Photocopyi~lg not yet an attractive solution because the Sundays is are in color. The best strategy seems to be to keep the complete sections chronologically in boxes (big, flat, acid-free boxes). If the sections are all from the same newspaper, chances are the user will be able to follow a given strip by looking in the same position in each successive piece. The Sunday sections can to some degree be placed inside one another, for example, a month at a time, to minimize the amount of page turning necessary to follow a given strip. No academic library is currently collecting Sunday comics in a systematic way.

Library Binding.
One available technique that could be applied to the preservation of both comic books and strips is binding. Some collectors and comics professionals have had runs of comic books bound and find them convenient, but most do not bind their collections because the resale value of rare comic books is drastically diminished by either sewing or glueing. Binding daily comics pages with or separately from Sunday comics sections is also a possibility. Binding might be a good option for a library, with enough in its budget, especially if the books or strips are bound without trimming, in a style that will allow them to lie flat for no-hands reading and safe photocopying. On the other hand, newsprint is not strong and the temptation would be to treat these volumes like other books. They would still have to be kept out of the light to keep the edges from yellowing, and would have to be handled more carefully than regular books. Upgrading the collection would be a problem as well. When magazines or pages are stored separately, a damaged or faded

Storing and Preserving Comics.

55

copy can be replaced by a better one easily when the opportunity presents itself. This is a basic practice of good collecting that would be defeated by binding. Although a row of tastefully decorated spines might make for a more elegant-looking collection than a row of dull brown Magafiles, for purposes of collection management and preservation binding is unlikely to be a good strategy. Binding is not all bad, however. Binding makes shelving and retrieval more convenient for libraries as well as for collectors. Volumes bound by collectors are finding their way into libraries, and they are a welcome addition to the store of research material available to the comics scholar.

Attitudes on Preservation.
It should be said at this point that almost any kind of publicly available collection, regardless of whether it is optimally preserved, stored, or organized, is of great value in a field so ~ o t e n t i a lvast but l~ which has had so little library support in the past. Our heritage of comic art is fragile, but not so fragile that we don't have some time to experiment with how best to preserve it. If each library collects what it can and stores and preserves it as it seems sensible to do, we'll soon work out what's best. Binding and mounting into scrapbooks may not be our preservation techniques of choice, but if somebody does it for us there's no need to look a gift horse in the mouth. Few questions of preservation and storage have final answers so far. Serious private collectors are apt to see normal library procedures as insensitive to preservation needs, whereas in most cases library procedures have been arrived at through years of practice and experience and are better than the critics understand. A call-number label may deface a small portion of a cover or spine, for example, but the main negative effect is in the reduction of the collectibility of the piece. Attached labels of any kind are not recommended, of course, but the point is that collectibility is not a library criterion at all. A messy workroom may have comic books sitting around in piles waiting to be processed. The room should be straightened up, but a library works from chaos towards order in a professional manner that may not be apparent to someone who has not worked in libraries. If it becomes necessary to explain or even defend a proced ure (to a potential donor, for example) the best tack is to make it clear from the

56

Comics Librarianship.

beginning that whatever the apparent problem, the intent is to preserve the material in the best possible way. Until the nonlibrarian is convinced that we're acting in good faith, he or she won't want to believe that we're working at or near the state of the art for research libraries. And the state of the art for research libraries is the same as it probably was in the Middle Ages: keep your stuff out of bright light, out of damp basements, and handle it carefully. All the promises of better preservation through space-age chemistry don't change that advice. It'll be a long time before either color reproduction or mass deacidification gets around to the less collectible comic books, and even then, who knows if the first few attempts at high-tech preservation will even work?

Notes to Chapter 3.
1. Overstreet, Robert M. Oficial Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, no. 19. New York: House of Collectibles, 1989. p. 120. The twenty-seventh issue of Detective Comics featured the first ever appearance of Batman, and has truly exceptional collectors' value. Detective Comics no. 26 is nothing special contentwise, and is likely to be worth less than $500, but the person being impressed need not know that! 2. The idea of using a wristwatch to hold the bag tape while reading a comic book is a good idea. The idea that wristwatches were invented for that purpose is a wonderful idea, and would be credited here if the source could be found. It probably comes from an issue of the Comics Buyer's Guide, which through no fault of its own is unindexed. An index to CBG is badly needed. 3. Magafiles are produced by the Magafile Company of Box 66, Vandalia, Missouri 63382, and available through normal library channels. Size " 8 - D holds about two dozen comic books in individual 9 by 12 inch acid-free envelopes or individual "super golden age" size Mylar ("Mylar" is a registered trademark of the DuPont Company) sleeves. "Archival quality Mylar envelopes," size 8 % by 10% inches, and "acid free perma/dur archival quality envelopes," size 9 by 12 inches, can both be ordered from University Products, Inc., P.O. Box 101, Hol~oke, Massachusetts 01041, and also through other suppliers. 4. "Storage of Comic Books" in Overstreet, Robert M. Official Over-

Storing and Preserving Comics.

57

street Comic Book Price Guide, no. 19. New York: House of Collectibles, 1989. p. A-16. Based on the best available information, Overstreet updates his recommendations about storing, preserving and restoring comic books in each annual edition of this title. Sources of supplies and companies that do restoration work are also listed. 5 . "Now You're Taking Us Seriously." New York: AMS Press, 1973. A poster printed to announce and advertise a project to microfilm comic books and comic strips, with an essay by Stan Lee. 6. Thompson, Maggie. "Old Comics for $5 Each? Go Fiche!" Comics Buyer's Guide no. 821 (August ll,1989), p. 60,20. It is a sign of the times, and a good one, that a firm is seriously considering quality color microfiche of old comic books. Whether some even more permanent format of the kind now under development might be better, such as some kind of digital storage, is a question we need not wait to answer. No project is going to be "complete" in our lifetimes, and we should support what preservation efforts there are. Libraries are the obvious potential customers for this kind of product, but the people expected to show interest are apparently the collectors and fans. This was a front page article in the Comics Buyer's Guide, which is not a publication primarily directed toward libraries, and indeed libraries are not mentioned. Whether news of this project has appeared or will soon appear in a library publication is doubtful.

Chapter 4.

Cataloging Comics.
The idea of deliberately assembling comic books and other comics material for a permanent collection in a library dates back to about 1970. At the beginning of 1990, there are over 40 libraries with permanent comics collections. Research libraries have devoted large amounts of expensive storage space to comic books with the expectation that these collections will prove to be resources for cultural investigation. Now that these collections are becoming well established, research librarians are beginning to consider the possibilities for cataloging comic books. It is discouraging to note that for the past 50 years, when American comic book companies have been building up a phenomenal publishing record (at least 5,000 titles), most American research libraries have done almost nothing to record the medium bibliographically. Cataloging of comics will have to be done before large collections can be used efficiently, because the universe of comics is large and potentially bewildering. Serious research can scarcely be expected to flourish until it is possible to gauge the completeness and extent of a given collection in some detail. To date, the Michigan State University (MSU) Libraries' collection of over 60,000 comic art items is the only major collection being systematically cataloged. Insights, practices, and examples derived from experience with the MSU collection follow.

Books o Comic Strips. f
*

Bibliographically speaking, comics are a little more complicated than most entertainment media. The naturally occurring "unit" of
59

I/
I
1

60

Comics Librarianship.

,

,
I
1

I
I

1

1 i

publication is the comic strip, which is not published by itself but appears inside some other bibliographic entity: a newspaper, book, or magazine. Of these three common formats, only the book form has a long history of cataloging by libraries. Comic strips published in books are usually reprint collections from newspaper or magazine comics. A typical book collection will display a strip title either as the title of the book or as a series title. Occasionally the strip title is less prominent, but it should still be traced by the cataloger when known. The Library of Congress (LC) is the leading supplier of cataloging and cataloging rules to research libraries, and has given instructions to this effect, in an interpretation of rule 21.30Jof the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules1: When cataloging an item that is about or consists of selections from a comic strip, single panel cartoon, etc., make an added entry for the title of the comic strip, etc., if this title does not also begin the title proper for the item being cataloged. If necessary, justify the added entry by a note. Trudeau, G.B., 1948[Doonesbury. Selections] Stalking the perfect tan. . . I. Title. 11. Title: Doonesbury.

l l 1 1 11 1 I I 11 I
liIl

I

;

I I

I
I

I
I

I

1 1
i l l 1

1 I
I

1

1
I

I

It's kind of amazing that such a specific instruction had to be printed in order to get the most basic unit of all comics, and the most important identifier of any comic strip, its title, into the catalog. It should be noted that the strip title, even when it is not presented by the book publisher as a series title, often functions similarly to a series title. The strip title can usually be recorded and searched as a series title much more elegantly than through the rather unfriendly uniform title construction. Unfortunately, the series title for fictional works in series is not universally made searchable either, and although that is another discussion, it is a related blind spot of traditional library cataloging. Some of the problems with comics cataloging are special cases of library attitudes towards all fiction cataloging, and the strip titlelseries title mechanism, though well-established in publishing and marketing of popular comics and fiction, is a good example. The instruction to trace the strip title somehow is vitally important for all book collections of newspaper strips, and equally important for the relatively new "graphic novel" format. Even though the material may be original and not reprinted from a newspaper strip or comic book, it will often have a strip title as well as book and or episode titles.

Cataloging Comics.

61

In a relatively new development, books that reprint comic book stories are now being published in some quantity in the United States. Some of these approximate the "graphic album" format. The "graphic album" is the same as the "graphic novel" format except that, based on the French tradition, the word "album" implies reprint material. Strip titles are usually involved in the case of albumtype reprint books. Some of the reprint books are more strictly collections or "treasuries" of comic book stories. If the stories all have the same strip identification, the strip title needs to be searchable as well. The Library of Congress, and a few other research libraries, have contracted the habit of attaching the qualifier "Comic strip" to strip headings for some books of reprints. Using this for the works of Charles Schulz-"Peanuts (Comic strip)"-makes sense, because there is an herb whose seeds are roasted to feed elephants which is spelled the same way. Why they should be using the forms "Doonesbury (Comic strip)" or "Goofy (Comic strip)" is hard to fathom. There are no vegetables named Doonesbury or Goofy with which to confuse the terms. Actually there never was a "Goofy" comic strip that I know of, and this heading should be changed to "Goofy (Fictitious character)," if the number of Goofies in the catalog has indeed grown so large that distinctions need to be made. The qualifier "Cartoon character" was formerly used by the Library of Congress, but for newly cataloged characters the qualifier has been changed to "Fictitious character." The Library of Congress has been convinced that any character famous enough to have a book printed about him or herself, is probably a multimedia character already, and shouldn't be given the more limiting designation.3 It makes no sense to add either "(Comic strip)" or "Fictitious character)" routinely to a distinctive name or title, however. When such qualifiers are added without a particular reason, the implication seems to be that the cataloger who set up the entry for the title was unfamiliar with comics, or expected the catalog user to be unfamiliar with comics. Perhaps the idea is to protect the basic formality of the catalog by not admitting comics titles on the same footing as titles of "real" books, but that's probably an unworthy suspicion. If the boss requires it, or if there's a vegetable or something with the same name that could cause confusion, go ahead. Like a lot of cataloging rules, these things are just a matter of attitudes, and don't do any real

62

Comics Librarianship.

The Comic Book Format.
About a half-dozen research libraries have begun to catalog comic books on the OCLC network as of the end of the 1980s, and it turns out they're not so difficult after all. Still, they have some peculiarities that need to be mentioned. Comic books can be thought of as "magazines devoted to the publication of comic strips," which emphasizes that strip titles are involved here as well as with reprint books. The overwhelming majority of comic books are serials which are published in monthly, bimonthly, or quarterl y cycles. Ordinary serials cataloging methods have theoretically always been available for libraries to use in cataloging comic books, but no library in the United States had cataloged more than a handful of titles before 1980. When the present writer, not yet fully fledged as a cataloger himself, raised the prospect of cataloging comic books with some serials catalogers in 1974, he was surprised at the level of surprise he provoked. "Can they really be cataloged?" asked the catalogers. "Do they even have numbers?" It was as though they were being asked to catalog Barbie dolls, or feathers from birds, or corks from wine bottles. That comic books were even produced as part of the normal publishing industry seems not to have been common knowledge in research libraries in the middle 1970s. Comic books do, however, have titles and numbers and except for the massive volume of uncataloged material that they represent, they are no particular problem to catalog. Luckily, libraries do not have to start completely from scratch. Most collections of twentieth-century media products are "by the numbers," and collectors have done a good job with comic books. The price guides compiled by collectors provide publishing information that is vital for cataloging accuracy and completeness. For United States comic books, the Overstreet, Kennedy, and Lowery guides are indispensible, and guides for Canadian, British, German and Norwegian collectors (and catalogers) also exist.2 Comic books are often published with whole numbers and months on the cover, and a more complicated system of whole numbers plus volume numbers, months and years listed in the masthead or "indicia." Many long-running comic books have been "volume 1" for hundreds of issues, and others change volume numbering while keeping the whole numbers going, instead of beginning each volume with issue one. A few r the comic books, often those on the ~ e r i p h eof~ industry, have treated volumes "normally," beginning each with a first issue and ending after a predictable number of issues. Treasure Chest o Fun and Fact, a f

Cataloging Comics.

63

Catholic Guild educational comic book, is an example of this renegade practice of publishing one volume per year. The serials cataloger, knowing that the industry standard has been to use whole numbers consistently and treat volume numbers capriciously, will want to use the note "Has also volume numbering" regularly. Before 1980, this could have been a blanket instruction to comics catalogers, but the development of the direct distribution system has made the situation more complicated. It has been discovered that, in the collectors' market, first issues sell better than second or subsequent issues. The opposite was true on the newsstand, with dealers sometimes returning unfamiliar titles without displaying them, because display space was limited. In the past, this quirk of the newsstand led to a general scarcity of first issues, and translated to a general premium on "number ones" among collectors. To cash in on this in the direct market, which has a very high percentage of collectors as its customers, publishers have been looking for ways to produce more first issues. One of the ways that publishers have been using to create first issues is to suddenly decide, when the story takes some novel turn, to begin "volume two" in the small print, and start the cover numbering over. For "living" serials, therefore, it has become unpredictable whether a volume will last forever or for just a few issues. Another relatively new development (1980s) is the "limited series," which should be the job of a monographs cataloger to catalog. They are easy to identify, as they will normally bear numbering like "no. 1of a special limited collectors' series of 6!!"or "no. 6 in a 12-issue maxi-series!!!" on the cover. Sometimes these will also have volume numbering, raising the spectre of series within series. It's perfectly true, these things happen. As a further complication, though it's not a new development, catalogers should be aware of the practice of reviving long-dead titles. It doesn't happen every day, but it happens often enough that it's not worth "ceasing" a comic book title in the catalog unless it has been defunct for at least a decade at the time of cataloging. The most interesting feature of descriptive cataloging of comic books is choosing the main entry. Since with AACR2 they are nearly all entered under title, this might not seem to be worth mentioning, but it seems that the comic book industry has developed its own traditions that do not mesh particularly well with library rules. The convention in the comics industry is to keep the indicia or masthead title constant and to allow the editor some flexibility with the cover title. Once this is

64

Comics Librarianship.

known, the cataloger will have little difficulty identifying even very complex-looking titles. This publishers' practice is explained at the beginning of the alphabetical listing in each year's Oficial Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide. Unfortunately for comic book catalogers in libraries, the Anglo American Cataloguing Rules, 2nd ed. (AACRS), specified that the cover title should be preferred as a source of information over the masthead title.4 A more recent interpretation (quoted below) has eased the situation, but common sense and flexibility are still required to keep the cataloger from creating silly and unnecessary title changes where none may have actually occurred. The bottom line rule has to be this: Always at least trace the indicia title (the part conventionally printed in all capital letters) because that's how standard bibliographies outside the library are going to cite the title. The following exchange of letters reprinted from the MSU comics newsletter gives an example, quotes the new interpretation, and illustrates the depth of the problem.
From Catherine Yronwode, Editor-in-Chief Eclipse Comics December 7,1987 An official note on catalog procedure- the title of a comic is what's in the indicia, not a conflation of cover blurbs and title logo. Thus Scout is "Scout," not "Timothy Truman's Scout." Please read the indicia. If the slug above the logo were part of the title, you could validly establish several other entries for new titles in the run of this series: Extra-Length Special Issue! Scout (#6) The Adventure Continues Scout (#7) Premiering This Issue Monday: The Eliminator Scout (#11) Monday: The Eliminator and Scout (#17) Special 3-D Issue! Scout (#16) Special Flexidisc Inside! Full Soundtrack by Tim Truman Scout (#19) Most fans would be able to tell the difference between the blurb and the

logo, and you should be able to do likewise.

I

/

I

From Randall Scott, Catalog Librarian MSU Libraries December ll, 1987 We don't really have a disagreement, but as a cataloger I serve two masters. On the one hand are the editors-in-chief like yourself, who have evolved a consistent system of titling their comic books, and on the other hand there are the Anglo-American cataloging rules, 2nd ed. (1978), and their interpretations. The rule for serials says that the title should be taken

Cataloging Comics.

65

from the title page, cover, caption, masthead, editorial pages, colophon, or other pages, in that order of preference. What we in comics call "indicia" come closest to being a "masthead in this list. Since comics almost never have title pages, until recently the cover was the only legal choice and exceptions had to be carefully justified. A 1986 rule interpretation now states: In anv instance in which the item has two or more different titles and the title that appears in a less preferred sources is known, because of a trademark or other symbol that appears with it, to be the stable title that does not vary from issue to issue, use the source with the stable title as the title page substitute. Apply this exception also in any instance in which two or more issues are at hand and the title appearing in a less preferred source remains stable from issue to issue (e.g., if the masthead title remains stable but the cover title changes from issue to issue, use the masthead title as the title page substitute) [LCRI Cumulated 12.OBl:CSB34]. So, you are correct. The title Timothy Truman's Scout should be cataloged as just Scout, and the rules now allow for that. Unfortunately, I did it in 1985. There is another aspect of the question, however. You saw the title in a partial listing and not in our full catalog. There is an entry for just Scout in our complete list and in our computer database. If I were doing this title over again, I would put it under Scout, but then I would give an added entry or Timothy ~ r u k a n ' s Scout, because almost every issue has that phrase prominently on its cover. Whether you call it a slug, a blurb, or whatever, if it appears consistently in title position, especially grammatically tied to the title, I have to transcribe it as a title. It needn't be the main title, but it is reasonable for a searcher to look under it. The difference between "Timothv Truman's Scout" and "Walt Disnev's Comics and Stories" is not obvious to everybody. It isn't my business to penalize anybody because they don't know the comics publishers' system.

From Catherine Yronwode, Editor-in-Chief Eclipse Comics December 1987 Thanks for the prompt response to my letter. Whatever heat you perceived in my first letter arose through my dislike of dumb jokes made possible by the incorrect title ("Timothy Truman's Scout? I wonder what Timothy Truman's Comic Book looks like!"). The problem with cataloguing comic book titles by their cover copy in preference to masthead copy seems to have arisen because the LC or whoever writes the rules does not realize that both over-the-logo and under-the-logo copy are advertising material. Any comic book editor will tell you that. Sometimes these slugs actually look like ad matter, but even when they don't, they still are. Rather than ask for an exception to be made

66

Comics Librarianship. in cataloguing comics, to determine the title from the indicia instead of the cover copy, one might try to determine the root of the problem. Why are these errors being made? I believe the answer is that cataloguers become confused as to what on a comic book cover is a logo and what is ad copy because the appeals made by the ad copy ("buy Tim Truman") are obscure to the non-comics-reading public, unlike similar ad copy on a mass-market periodical ("buy salads"). To further confuse things, there is that rule about looking for a "to determine which word or phrase is the logo. This flatly will not work on a comic book when the ad matter concerns another character or series title-you'll just have two TM notices affixed, one for the logo and one for the ad slug, especially in material of recent vintage, since protection has become big business in the comics field. In short, unless one is a comic book expert who has memorized a great deal of unwritten comics history prior to cataloguing, one should at least try to check the cover copy against the indicia, because otherwise mistakes will be introduced into the system. Please pass these comments along to the Library of Congress, or whomever is making the rules around here. As the daughter of a retired librarian, I have more interest than most comic book editors in how my products are catalogued. I realize that asking for an exception to be made in the case of comics (to check the indicia rather than the cover-copy) is probably futile; however, it seems that it would not be taken amiss if one were to disseminate a warning to the effect that confusing over-the-logo and under-the-logo ad copy with title logos is more common with comics than with other magazines.

From Randall Scott, Catalog Librarian MSU Libraries Early 1988 Before I became a cataloger I was a clerk in a comic-book store. In that capacity I assisted dozens of collectors in learning how to tell what the title of a comic book is. Based on that experience, I have to say that the industry's efforts to be consistent are laudable but that a lot of people don't get it. Those same people use our library. As a cataloger, I examine dozens of titles every month. Especially with all the new publishers lately, there are lots of wrong indicia, or comics without indicia. Even with all the rules and all the industry conventions, it often comes down to me guessing what the thing will be known by. There's plenty of opportunity for decisionmaking. The most important rule, in terms of access, is to make an entry for every reasonably "title-like" phrase. In the computer databases we are beginning to use, I doubt if the concept of a "main entry" is going to last long anyhow. When you're searching, if YOU can get a hit with the first title you try, that's good enough. The whole business of preferred sources of title information is a holdover from single-entry lists and card catalogs.'

Cataloging Comics.

Files of Newspaper Strips and Comics-Related News Clippings.
Newspaper comic strips have never been accorded entries when cataloging newspapers, and are not normally accessible through newspaper indexes either. It is convenient, however, to collect clipped comic strips in files (or shoe boxes) and to catalog those files. Similar files can be made of newspaper and magazine articles about a given comic strip or comics-related topic. When such a file reaches the point that it constitutes a likely information source for researchers, the library has assembled something important and worth cataloging. This is particularly important to be able to do in a new field like comics, because there are so many topics on which no books or even journal articles have been written. The OCLC MARC format allows libraries to create records with the designation "bib lvl c," which can be translated to mean "a locally assembled collection, not a published work." Here are some samples from the MSU ~ a t a l o g . ~ SpecColl PCVF COMICS Sports comics : clipping file. -- [19--11 portfolio ; 25 x 38 cm. Collected at Michigan State University in the Russel B. Nye Popular Culture Collection's Popular Culture Vertical File (PCVF).
1. Sports comics--History and criticism. I. Russel B. Nye Popular Culture Collection

SpecColl PCVF COMICS Women characters in comics : clipping file. -[19--I1 portfolio ; 25 x 38 cm. Collected at Michigan State University in the Russel B. Nye Popular Culture Collection's Popular Culture Vertical File (PCVF).
1. Women in popular culture. 2. Superheroine comics--History and criticism. 3. Women in art. 4. Women in literature. I. Russel B. Nye Popular Culture Collection.

68

Comics Librarianship. SpecColl PCVF COMICS Mosley, Zack. Zack Mosley : clipping file. -- [19--11 portfolio ; 25 x 38 cm. Collected at Michigan State University in the Russel B. Nye Popular Culture Collection's Popular Culture Vertical File (PCVF). Includes material on Smilin' Jack.
1. Mosley, Zack. 2. Aeronautics--Comic books, strips, etc.--History and criticism. I. Russel B. Nye Popular Culture Collection. 11. Smilin' Jack. 1 1 Title. 1.

SpecColl PCVF COMICS Underground comics : clipping file. -- [196-11 portfolio ; 25 x 38 cm. Collected at Michigan State University in the Russel B. Nye Popular Culture Collection's Popular Culture Vertical File (PCVF).
1. Underground comics--History and criticism. I. Russel B. Nye Popular Culture Collection.

Librar y of Congress Subject Cataloging.
The Library of Congress' classification schedules are the standard for most researh libraries, and are generally thought of as practical tools for shelving rather than as an intellectual system. Likewise the LC subject headings are the basis for most of our subject catalogs, and they are demonstrably "practical," if by that is meant, inconsistent and difficult to figure out. Before launching discussions on the classifying and subject cataloging of comics material, it's time to go on record with a rather ambivalent "defense" of the LC system and way of doing things. The idea that knowledge or information can be divided up logically in some "correct" way that will satisfy all thinking people has a certain nineteenth-century charm. Bookstore managers will testify, however, that no matter how much thought you put into a system of grouping books, somebody is going to complain that it makes no sense. Not only that, but typically each complainer will have a different complaint, and they'll cancel each other out. Complaining about LC's classification and subject headings is a

Cataloging Comics.

69

popular occupation among librarians, and as information professionals our complaints usually have good substance. That LC continues to hear our complaints, and sometimes to act on them, is a tribute to its essential strength and stability as an institution, and proof enough of its contention that no evil theory or ideology lies behind the many insulting and discriminatory categories it has perpetuated. Change in the LC subject system, both call numbers and subject headings, is more likely to occur in response to practical considerations than to theoretical considerations. Since the responses can be very slow, they are by definition conservative, and can logically be taken for ideological enmity toward progress of every kind. However, because this "practical" bent ultimately wins out most of the time, and because of basically good management, the LC system has been able to grow with the twentieth century, and find room for some of its novelties. If LC really was stuck in a nineteenth-century paradigm (decimals, for example) things could be much worse.

The History of LC Classijication of Comics Material.
At some point in the late 1960s or early 1970s, LC inaugurated a special range of classification numbers for comics. It took approximately 70 years to get around to, but we have it now and let's not complain! The new range "PN6700-PN6790" is part of "General literature," and provides for shelving most comics and related material, but for many years comics were a "lost" art. Early LC cataloging of books of reprint comics are found shelved with the individual cartoonists of a given nationality, arranged by the cartoonist's last name. Plenty of "Pogo" books, for example, can be found at "NC1429.K..," which is the section for individual American graphic artists producing "pictorial humor and satire." We might never know whether the art librarians objected to comics in their "fine arts" classification, or some literature librarian attuned\to comics noticed that they seemed out of place among the endless cartoon books. The change was for the better. The question of PN (literature) or N C (caricature) has not been settled in research libraries, however. The nature of the distribution heme for cataloging is that older call numbers are still being stributed for older books, and a comics library is just as likely to get book classified in "NC" as one in "PN"when it comes through a normal ataloging department. This gives rise to some real discouragement. If

70

Comics Librarianship.

Walt Kelly's books are scattered, not only theoretically because of historical development in the schedules, but in practical terms are to be found on shelves all over the room or building, what good is having them cataloged? Why not just put them all in a box, and put a sign over it. On one side of the sign, write "Kelly, Walt," and on the other side, write "Pogo." This kind of situation is an everyday frustration for research libraries. Although it's possible and desirable, most catalog departments will not be willing to go through wholesale and change the old NC "art" numbers for the new PN "literature" numbers. This kind of thing happens in every field, not just comics, and is just part of doing business. It's probably reasonable to expect that some of the worst old numbers can be changed, however, if arguments are made in terms of the amount of time wasted and number of extra steps required by having two systems in operation at once. As a sidelight that has probably puzzled more than one librarian and researcher, the peripatetic art of comics did not move directly from art to literature in the LC scheme of things. There was a brief but noticeable stop in journalism along about 1965, just long enough for Jules Feiffer's book The Great Comic Book Heroes (New York: Dial, 1965) to get itself shelved at "PN4784.C68." This is a number, since disallowed, that placed comics among special topics in practical journalism. Proof that in once existed can be found on research library shelves, and in Nancy B. Olson's 1974 i n d e ~ e s . ~ Another byway from the Olson indexes is a hint that Buck Rogers can be found at "NC1426.3.B8." This seems to have been used briefly for comic strips that the classifier could not prove to be the work of a single cartoonist. Problems with trying to list every comics item under the name of a cartoonist are probably the reason that a separate section for comics was eventually established. If there is a single "correct" way to list comic strips, it has to be by title. Cartoonists change, writers come and go, but the strip title identifies a continuity from beginning to end. This is not the kind of thing the art schedules were set up for, and especially not to classify the works by writer's name. The new section for comics introduces the concept of "authorship" of a comic book or strip, and does not mention art or cartooning at all. The apparent lapse of recognition that comics do contain some aspects that might be considered art, as opposed to literature, was soon corrected. The numbers "NC1764" and "NC1764.5" were created for "works on how to draw comics," and can be found in the Gale ~ e s e a r c h Company's cumulated additions and changes for the fine arts schedule,

Cataloging Comics.

71

I

published in 1987.8 Although this development did give catalogers a place to put "how to draw" books, it splintered the medium again. There will probably be future developments in the art versus literature dialectic that seems to be unfolding. Whether future changes make sense or not, there is enough history permanently embedded in the system that, like the correct spelling of the English language, it will never really make sense.

Current LC Class$cation of Comics Material.
An outline of the Library of Congress classification schedule for comics appears below.g

1
6702 6705 6707 6710 6712 6714 6720

Comic Books, Strips, Etc.

PN 6700 Periodicals, societies, etc.

!
i
I

Congresses Exhibitions, museums, etc. Encyclopedias. Dictionaries General works including history Moral and religious aspects Other special topics General collections By region or country:

6725-6728 United States 6731-6734 Canada 6735-6738 Great Britain 6745-6748 France 6755-6758 Germany 6765-6768 Italy 6775-6778 Spain 6790 Other regions or countries, A-Z This system divides the four numbers for each country as follows: (1) History (2) Collections (3) Individual authors or works, A-Z (4) ~ndividual comic strips by title, A-Z

I

1

72

Comics Librarianship.

I

I
I
I

I

The application of this system presents some difficulties. What do you do with a book that collects and criticizes the "Donald D u c k stories by Carl Barks? It could be argued into any of the four categories. Most books that reprint comics appear to fit into any of the three latter categories, because they are collecting material from various places of original publication and because they focus on a single writer, a single artist, and a single strip. What do you do with the comic book Walt Disney's Comics and Stories (WDC&S) which has published dozens of different strips (by dozens of different writers and artists) that cover more than 40 years? WDCGS is a perfectly typical comic book, but it appears to be left out of the Library of Congress scheme. The second category, "collections," is typically used for reprint books and reprint serials that collect more than one strip title, whether from comic books or newspaper strips. Some comic books could fit there, but most comic books are not collections in this sense. The third category, "individual authors or works," is usually used for books about single writers or artists and for collections of their works that go beyond reprinting a single strip title. A comic book is rarely the work of an individual, although there are some cases in which a monographic comic book might be classified as an individual author's work. The fourth category, "individual comic strips, by title," catches most of the reprint collections of newspaper comic strips, since they are typically edited by collecting a single strip. This fourth category is probably the most nearly logical place to put comic books, although they would have to be entered by comic book title and not by strip title. This works well for small collections and can be used especially for countries that do not publish very many comic books. It would be best to add a fifth category specifically for comic books, and indeed the way the schedule is constructed it would be possible for the Library of Congress to add one someday. A solution to the problem has been adopted by the Michigan State University Libraries and has been working well for over a decade, as enumerated below. The four-number ranges do work passably well for Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. The Canadian numbers are a new addition, and although it would have been logical to separate the French and English industries in Canada, this is certainly better than trying to wedge all Canadian comic books into "PN6790.C3.." before. It would as make even more sense to set up four-number ranges for Japan and Mexico, since their comic book industries are so large and productive.

Cataloging Comics.

LC Classijication Numbers Outside the Basic Comics Schedule.
HQ784.C6 is the Library of Congress call number for books about comic books and children. This places such books among other special aspects of child life and child development, in the general area of "the family," within s o c i ~ l o g y . ~ ~ HV9076.5 is the Library of Congress call number for books about special topics in juvenile delinquency. This is not restricted to comic books, but comic books are the only example given. This places such books among other books on penology, criminal justice administration, in the general area of social pathology within sociology.10 N8217.C475 is the Library of Congress call number for books about comics as a special subject of art. This places such books between clocks and cookery in the general area of the visual arts." NC1764 is the Library of Congress call number for works on how to draw comics. The next number, NC1764.5, is for works on how to draw comics arranged by region or country, A-Z. Under each region or country, works are grouped with general works first, and then works by individual artists listed alphabetically by artist. This places comics art (drawing only) next to the art (drawing only) of movie cartoons, within the area of pictorial humor and satire. The general category NC is drawing, design, and illustration, and both animation and comics cartooning are by implication thought of as illustrating stories rather than as being storytelling technique^.^ NK7500.C65 is the Library of Congress number for books about comic strip character clocks and watches. This places such books with other books about clocks and watches, in with jewelry in the general area of applied arts.12 Z5956.C6 is the Library of Congress number for bibliographies of comics. This places bibliographies on comics in with special topics in visual fine arts or arts in general.13

The LC Comics Schedule: Examples and Suggestions.
The MSU call number system differs from the LC schedule mainly in its treatment of United States comic books. Grouping is by decade in which a serial begins, with subgrouping by publisher. With this System, the &elflist becomes a tool for chronological studies as well as

74

Comics Librarianship.

a publisher index to the collection. Items in the classifications PN 6728.1 through PN6728.6 are restricted for the most part by size to the normal comic book dimensions of 26 or 28 cm., and thus shelving of this massive collection can be done with uniform shelf spacing. Odd-sized comics, such as tabloids, digests, and Big Little Books, are grouped in the LC class number PN6728 by inserting a publisher cutter. Following is an annotation of the LC schedule from the viewpoint of MSU practice. PN 6700 Periodicals, societies, etc. Class here only the most general of periodicals about comics. Since each country has its own number for history, periodicals about the comics of an individual country should get the individual numbers. PN6700 is almost never used. PN 6702 Congresses. Class here convention programs, arranged by the name of the convention, which is often also the name of the city in which it takes place. Examples in use: .C47 Chicago Comic-Con .C56 Comicon (London, England) .D44 Detroit Triple Fan Fair .S3 San Diego Comic-Con PN 6705.AlA-Z Exhibitions, museums, etc. General works. .A2-Z Exhibitions, museums, etc. By region or country A-Z. Individual institutions are classed by country without further subdivision. Examples in use: .A8 J6 John Ryan Collection (National Library of Australia) .B4 C6 Comic Strip Art from Belgium (Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinke) .C3 S75 The Structure of Comics (Winnipeg Art Gallery) .G7 M3 22 Comic Artists (Manchester Polytechnic Library) .U5 A5 The American Comic Book (Ohio State University Libraries) PN 6707 Encyclopedias. Dictionaries. This is an excellent new addition to the schedule, and is being well-used: .B76 Bronson, P. Guide de la ~ a n d Dessinbe e
I

Cataloging Comics.

.G5 Gifford, D. Encyclopedia of Comics Characters .R6 Rovin, J . Encyclopedia of Superheroes

PN 6710 General works, including history. This would be an important number if there were more works that were international in scope. A few have appeared, but so far this number is underutilized:
.C65 Comics and Visual Culture: Research Studies from Ten Countries .G5 Gifford, D. The International Book of Comics .H5 Historia de 10s Comics

PN 6712 Moral and religious aspects. This classification supposes a literature will develop around these issues. It has not yet happened, and this number is scarcely used at MSU. Similar numbers exist for radio and television, but not for movies. Examples: .C6 Comics und Religion: eine interdisziplinare Diskussion .F3 Facts about the Comics Code PN 6714 Other special topics (not A-Z). This number has been used to good advantage for books that are international in scope and focus on a single aspect of comics. It is also sometimes used for works that treat topics limited to one country, but not provided for in the schedules for individual countries. Examples: .B4 Benton, M. Comic Book Collecting for Fun and Profit .C635 Comics Career Newsletter .H677 Horn, M. Sex in the Comics .H68 Howard, D.W. Investing in Comics PN 6720 General collections. This classification supposes that there will be collections of comic books or strips that are international in scope. This has not happened, and this number is not used, at least at Michigan State University Libraries. PN 6725 History of the comics of the United States. At MSU, this number is used for bath history and criticism, and for both monographs and periodicals. This is the normal

76

Comics Librarianship. classification number for comics fanzines that are not amateur comic books themselves, whether or not the content of the fanzine is, strictly speaking, history or criticism. Monographs of history and criticism, plus indexes and other works about specific titles, are included here and grouped under the author of the criticism, history, or index, rather than grouped with the title in PN6728. This keeps the 6728 number "all comics," and helps the library be able to gauge the extent of the works about comics in comparison to works of comics. Examples: .A47 Amazing Heroes .C17 D3 Cannon, M. Dark Knight: An Analysis .C4753 Classics Journal .S55 Small Press Comics Explosion .V33 S5 Van Hise, J. Silver Surfer: An Analysis oflssues #1-9 .W34 T4 Ward, M . Oficial Teen Titans lndex

PN 6726 Collections of the comics of the United States. Here are
entered anthologies and periodicals that are retrospective collections, and that are not based on a single comic strip or on the work of a single person. Current comic books that might be thought of as anthologies (because they feature the works of various persons, doing various comic strips) are classed in PN6728 rather than here. Examples: .B4 Best of the Tribune Co. .C6 Comics Revue .M5 Mighty Marvel Team-Up Thrillers .M58 Menomonee Falls Gazette .T4 Teen-aged Dope Slaves and Reform School Girls ,PN 6727 Individual authors or works of United States comics, A-2. LC reminds us to "prefer classification of comic strips by title," by which is meant "books of comic strips." Graphic novels by American writers and artists are logically classed here. The MSU practice is to enter and classify by the first name on the title page, when a graphic novel is presented as by an artistlwriter or a

Cataloging Comics.

77

writerlartist team. A new wrinkle is that some of the graphic novels, though clearly self-contained works mainly by one or two people, also have strip titles, such as "Thor" or "Beetle Bailey." Whether to put these in 6727 or 6728 is not critical, since a reader is as likely to request books by strip as by artist or writer. Since most graphic novels fit in 6727 it probably makes more sense to put doubtful cases here too. This section includes biographies, checklists or bibliographies of the works of individuals, and artist portfolios. Some examples of "author" cutters in use:

I
I I

I
1

.A3 Adams. Neal, 1941.A722 Aragones, Sergio .B35 Barks, Carl, 1901.B354 Baron, Mike .B356 Barr, Mike W. .B36 Barry, Lynda, 1956.B43 Berg, Dave .B45 Beyer, Mark .B6 Bode, Vaughn .B9 Byrne, John .C3 Caniff, Milton Arthur, 1907-1988 .C65 Corben, Richard .C7 Crumb, R. .C73 Cruse, Howard .D56 Ditko, Steve .E35 Eisner, Will 3 3 7 Feazell, Matt .F4 Feiffer, Jules .F7 Frazetta, Frank .G35 Geary, Rick .G73 Grell, Mike .H4 Los Bros. Hernandez .H6 Howarth, Matt, 1954.J3 Jaffee, A 1 .J6 Jones, Bruce .K27 Kane, Gil

.K4 Kelly, Walt .K53 Kirby, Jack .K58 Kirchner, Paul .K59 Knerr, Harold H. .K8 Kubert, Joe .K83 Kurtzman, Harvey .M33Mantlo, Bill .M37Martin, Don .M39 Marx, Christy .M44Messner-Loebs, William .M48Miller, Frank .M54 Moench, Doug, 1948. 0 5 O'Neill, Dan .P4 Perez, George, 1954.R46 Roberts, Scott Alan .S15 Sakai, Stan .S47 Shanower, Eric .S49 Shooter, Jim .S554 Simon, Joe .S73 Stevens, Dave .W48 Wildey, Doug .W49 Williams, J.R. (James Robert), 1888-1957 .W6 Wood, Wallace .W7 Wrightson, Berni

78

Comics Librarianship.

PN 6728 Individual comic strips or comic books of the United States, by title, A-Z. Use for books of reprints of individual strips, early comic books (before 1935) and comic books in unusual formats, e.g., Big Little Books and tabloids. If useful to group unusual formats on then by entry. Examples of shelf, cutter by ~ublisher, comic strip cutters in use:
.A15 Abbie an' Slats .A28 Agatha Crumm .A43 Alley Oop .A5 Amazing Spider-Man .A72 Archie (books) .B14 B.C. .B3 Barnaby .B37 Batman .B4 Beetle Bailey .B44 Belvedere .B55 Blondie .B57 Bloom County .B67 Brenda Starr .B68 Brick Bradford .B7 Bringing Up Father .B74 Broom-Hilda .B8 Buck Rogers .C25 Calvin and Hobbes .C26 Captain America .C32 Casey Ruggles .C37 Cathy .C65 Conchy .C9 Cynicalman .D4 Dennis the Menace .D5 Dick Tracy .D63Donald Duck .D65Doonesbury .E932 Eyebeam .F27 Family Circus .F37 Far Side $55 Flash Gordon 9 6 4 Foxy Grandpa .F8 Funky Winkerbean .G28 Garfield .G63 Gordo .G74 Green Lantern .H3 Hagar the Horrible .H33Half Hitch .H4 Heathcliff .H5 Hi and Lois .J64 Johnny Hazard .K37 Katzenjammer Kids .K7 Krazy Kat .K8 Kudzu .L49 Life in Hell .L5 Li'l Abner .L535 Little Lulu .L55 Little Orphan Annie .M3 Mad ( ~ a ~ e r b a c k s ) .M372 Mark Trail .M379 Marvin .M46Mickey Mouse .M353 Male Call .M375 Marmaduke .M475 Mike Hammer .M62Momma .M63Moon Mullins .M72Mother Goose & Grimm .M9 Myra North .P4 Peanuts .P47 The Phantom .P57 Pogo Popeye: see .T5

Cataloging Comics.

79

.T5 Thimble Theater .P7 Prince Valiant .R4 Red Ryder (Popeye) .T516 Tiger .R535 Rip Kirby .T57 Tizzy .R58 Robotman .T7 Travels with Farley .S22 Sally Forth (G. .T8 Tumbleweeds Howard) .U2 U.S. Acres .S36 Secret Agent X-9 .U5 Uncle Scrooge .S47 Sherlock Holmes .W374 Wee Pals .S475 Shoe .W475 Winthrop .S56 Smilin' Jack .W5 Wizard of Id Spider-Man: see .A5 .W62 Wonder Woman .S8 Superman .W7 Wright Angles .S97 Sylvia .X2 X-Men .T27 Tank McNamara .Z48 Ziggy .T4 Terry and the Pirates .Z52 Zippy .T46 There Oughta be a Law Publisher cutters in use: .A385 Alcoholics Anonymous .A7 Archie (digests) .C29 Campus Crusade for Christ .C47 Chick Publications (Jack T. Chick) .M378 Marvel Comics (tabloids and digests) .M6 Modern Promotions .N333 NationallDC Comics (tabloids and digests) .W47 Whitman and Western (Big Little Books and digests) .W6 World Syndicate PN 6728.1 Golden Age comic books of the United States, titles beginning in the years from 1935 and 1949, by publisher, A-Z, then by title. Publisher cutters in use: .E5 Enwil .A2 Ace1A.A. Wynn .A5 American Comics .F3 Fawcett Group (ACG) .F5 Fiction House .A7 ArchielMLJ .F6 Fox Features .A85 Avon .G5 Gilberton .G55 Lev Gleason .C6 Columbia DC: see National .H3 Harvey .D4 Dell .H5 Hillman

80

Comics Librarianship.

MLJ: see Archie .M25D. McKay .M27Magazine Enterprises .M3 TimelylMarvel .M4 Melverne .N3 National (DC) .N4 Nedor .N6 Novelty .P3 Parents Magazirie

.P7 Prize .Q3 Quality .R8 Rural Home .S73 Standard .S75 Street & Smith Timely: see Marvel .US United Features Wynn, A.A.: see Ace .Y6 Your Guide

PN 6728.15 "Eight-pagers" or "Tijuana Bibles": pornographic comic books illegally using newspaper comic strip characters of the 1920s through 1950s, by title. PN 6728.2 Fifties comic books of the United States, titles beginning in the years from 1950 to 1959, by publisher, then by title. Publisher cutters in use: .F3 Fawcett .A3 Ajax .G5 Gilberton .A5 American Comics .H33 Harvey Group (ACG) .M25Magazine Enterprises .A7 ArchielRadio Atlas: see Marvel .M3 MarvelIAtlas .N3 National (DC) .A85 Avon Radio: see Archie .C47Charlton .Q3 Quality .D4 Dell .Z5 Ziff-Davis . E l 4 E.C. PN 6728.25 Propaganda, educational and giveaway comic books, published in the United States, by publisher, A-Z, then by title. Educational and propaganda comics are sometimes classified by subject matter elsewhere in the LC schedules. Since the subject matter is always searchable through subject headings, a preference has been formed at MSU for classifying these together in PN 6728.25, because the genre "educational and propaganda comics" is in itself of interest to some researchers. Publisher cutters in use: .G4 General Electric .C3 Catechetical Guild .C6 Consumers Power .G5 Gilberton .H6 Howard Johnson's .D3 DC Comics .F4 Fearon .K5 King Features

Cataloging Comics.

81

.L5 Literacy Volunteers of Chicago .P6 Ponderosa, Inc. .R3 Radio Shack .S6 Socialist Labor Party .S62 Soil Conservation

Society of America .T93 Tyndale House .U5 United States government .W3 Walt Disney

PN 6728.3 Silver Age comic books of the United States, titles beginning in the years from 1960 to 1969, by publisher, A-Z, then by title. Publisher cutters in use: I.W.: see Super .A7 ArchielRadio .K5 King Features .C47Charlton .M3 Marvel DC: see National .N3 National (DC) .D4 Dell Radio: see Archie .E32 Eerie Publications .S8 Super1I.W. .F5 Fitzgerald (Golden Legacy) .T6 Tower .G56 Gold Key .W3 Warren .H3 Harvey PN 6728.4 Seventies comic books of the United States, except undergrounds, titles beginning in the years from 1970 to 1979, by publisher, A-Z, then by title. This category includes some religious publishers that were classified before PN6728.25 was set up, and some "ground level" publishers that if classified later might have been placed in PN6728.55. Publisher cutters in use: .H3 Harvey .A7 Archie .M3 Marvel .A8 Atlas .N3 NationallDC .C47 Charlton .C48 Chick Publications .R4 Fleming H. Revel1 (full-size comic .S53 Skywald .S74 Star*Reach books) .W33 Warren DC: see National Western: see Gold .E32 Eerie Publications .G56 Gold KeylWestern Key PN 6728.45 underground comic books of the U.S., titles beginning in the years from about 1967, by publisher, A-Z, then by title. Sample publisher cutters in use: . ~ Publisher unknown 2 .A3 Adam's Apple

Comics Librarianship. .A6 Apex Novelties .A8 Austintatious .C3 California Grimpet .C35 Cartoonists Co-op .C6 Company and Sons .D7 Dragon Seed .E25 Ecomix .E87 Everyman .F7 Fragments West .F8 Fuller .G7 Warren Greenwood .H5 C.P. Himes .K3 Karma Komix .K5 Kitchen SinklKrupp .L3 Last Gasp .L5 .N3 .P4 .P7 .Q3 .R4 .R5 .S3 Limestone Press Nanny Goat Harvey Pekar Print Mint Sal Quartuccio Recycled Reality Rip Off Press San Francisco Comic Book Co. .S33 Saving Grace .S5 Siege1 & Simon .S75 Stampart .Y3 Yahoo .Y4 Yentzer & Gonif

PN 6728.5 Eighties mainstream or color comic books of the United States, titles beginning in the years from 1980 to 1989, by publisher, A-Z, then by title. The distinction between this classification and the following one (PN 6728.55) is not always clear, as publishers passed back and forth from color to black and white, or developed from direct-only to newsstand distribution. At the beginning of the 1990s, each surviving publisher will be reassigned a number in PN6728.6 for new titles in standard comic-book format, whether in color or black and white. Publisher cutters in use: .A5 AC/Americomics Apple: see WaRP .A7 Archie .B2 B-Movie .B55 Blackthorne .C47 Charlton .C6 Comico .C63 Continuity .D3 DC (formerly National) .E25 Eclipse 3 2 8 Fantaco .F3 Fantagraphics

.F5 First .G45 Gladstone .H3 Harvey .H4 Hero .K5 Kitchen Sink .M3 Marvel National: see DC .N4 New Media .P3 Pacific .P5 Pioneer .R35 Renegade .R4 Fleming H. Revell . S5 Silverline

Cataloging Comics.

83

.W3 WaRPlApple .W47 Western

.Z6 Ray Zone

PN 6728.55 New wave comix, minis, other amateur and self-published stripzines of the U.S., including black and white explosion comic books. Titles beginning about 1980, by publisher or creator, A-Z, then by title. Publisher cutters in use: .H6 Matt Howarth .A2 Publisher unknown .J3 Jabberwocky Graphix .A3 Adventure .A36 Aircel (California ad.M3 Rick McCollum dress) .M335 Malibu .A47 Amazing .M5 Mirage Studios .A53 Antarctic .N6 Not Available .B53 Blatant Image .N63 Now .B55 Blue Comet .P34 Paragraphics .B6 Jacques Boivin .P47 Phantasy Press .C48 Chrome Tiger .P9 Pyramid .C6 Comix World .R9 J. Ryan .D34 Dark Horse .S5 Jim Siergey .D345 Darkline .S65 Spotlight .D5 Clark A. Dissmeyer .S7 Starhead .W45 Steve Willis .E83 Eternity .Y3 E. Yarber .F25 Fandom House .F46 Fictioneer .Z4 Zeke Publishing PN 6728.6 Nineties mainstream comic books of the U.S., titles beginning in the years from 1990 to 1999, by publisher, A-Z, then by title. Publisher cutters in use: .A6 Apple .D3 DC .E25 Eclipse .E83 Eternity .F5 First .M3 Marvel

PN 6731-6734 The comics of Canada, both French and English language. These four numbers are so new that no MSU examples are available. Most Canadian comics are still squeezed into the numbers PN6790.C3 to PN 6790.C34.
PN 6735 History of the comics of Great Britain. This section includes criticism, and also British comics famines, of

Comics Librarianship.

which there are many. British comics fanzines tend to emphasize the American comics scene in their content, but are still normally classified here by MSU, for their British content. Some examples: .B38 Barker, M. A Haunt of Fears .F3 Fantasy Advertiser .G5 Gifford, D. Stap Me! The British Newspaper Strip .S63 Speakeasy .U12 U.K. Comicdon PN 6736 General collections of British comics. Examples: .C6 Comics at W a r .G5 Gifford, D. Happy Days: A Century of Comics PN 6737 Individual authors or works of British comics, A-Z. Includes biographies and artist portfolios. Sample author or artist cutters in use: .B4 Bellamy, Frank .L3 Lawrence, Don .M6 Moore, Alan .B7 Briggs, Raymond .E57 Emerson, Hunt .W5 Wilson, Roy .G3 Gaiman, Neil PN 6738 Individual British comic books or comic strips, by title, A-Z. Sample title cutters in use: .A43 Ally Sloper .J8 Judge Dredd .M6 Modesty Blaise .A5 Andy Capp .N4 Nemesis the Warlock .B8 Bunty .C3 Captain Britain .R88 Rupert .S63 Spider-Man .D27Dan Dare .T3 Tammy .F7 Fred Basset .T9 2000 A.D. .G3 Garth .J26 James Bond .W3 Warrior PN 6745 History of the comics of France. It has been decided for the MSU collections that the whole Franco-Belgian comics world will be included here, so that the range PN6745-PN6748 is used for all European comics that originate in the French language. The LC numbers for Belgium, in PN6790, are therefore not used. Examples of works on French or Belgian comics: .B7 Brun, P. Histoire du journal Spirou

I

Cataloging Comics.

85

.C5 Chaboud, J. Quai des bulles: Le train duns la bande dessinde .H5 Histoire de la bande dessinde en France et en Belgique des origines h nos jours PN 6746 General collections of French or Belgian comics. Examples: .D4 La Ddcouverte du monde en bandes dessindes .N3 National Lampoon Presents French Comics PN 6747 Individual authors or works of French or Belgian comics, A-Z. Includes biographies and artist portfolios. Sample author or artist cutters in use: .A2 .B5 .B7 .C3 .D7 .D8 .G5 Adamov Bilal, Enki Bretkcher, Claire Caza Druillet, Philippe Durand, Ren6, 1948Gir, 1938Giraud, Jean: see .G5 .G6 Goscinny, 1926-1977 .H3 Harley, Laurence .H4 Herg6 .J3 Jano Moebius, 1938.G5 .L4 Letendre , 0 3 4 Ollivier, Jean .R34 RamaYoli .R6 Rosinski .T7 Tronchet .V5 Vink

:

see

PN 6748 Individual French or Belgian comic books or comic strips, by title, A-Z. Sample title cutters in use: .P47 Picsou .A4 Ah! Nana .B8 Bufalo Bill, le conqud.P53 Pilote rant du far west .S57 Smurfs (Schtroumpfs) .C53 Circus .S65 Spirou .F6 Fox et Crow .T48 Tintin (magazine) .T483 Tintin .H8 Hulk .V3 Valerian .J77 Judge Dredd .L8 Lucky Luke .Z5 Zig et Puce PN 6755 History of the comics of Germany. Austrian works are included here by MSU practice. This section includes criticism, and also German language comics fanzines, of which there are many. Although European comics fanzines tend to emphasize the international comics scene in their content, they are still normally classified

86

Comics Librarianship.

here by MSU, for their German content. Some examples: .C6 Comic Forum .N4 News Panel .S63 D e Sprechblase i available. .TI4 Tschernegg, M. Das war Zack

PN 6756 General collections of German comics. No examples

PN 6757 Individual authors or works of German comics, A-Z. Includes biographies and artist portfolios. Sample artist cutter in use: .B6 Bonvi PN 6758 Individual German comic books or comic strips, by title, A-Z. One problem in classifying German comic books is also noticeable in the cataloging of most other European comics, except those of Great Britain: many of the comic books on the stands are translations of comic books from other countries, and are therefore not strictly speaking "German" works. It would be possible to group the "Superman" or "Uncle Scrooge" comics from every country and in every language in PN6728, by analogy to what is done with translations in the cataloging of literature. However, the cataloger is often not able to discover whether the stories are actual translations. It is sometimes the case that comic book stories represent the licenced use of American or other characters for stories otherwise wholly created in another language. The policy at the MSU Libraries is to shelve comic books which are or may be translations, with the publications of the country in which they are published. Thus "Superman" comic books can appear on the shelves with the comics of any number of different countries. Collections of comic strips in book form, even if they are translated, are shelved with the language they originated in, because this ambiguity is usually not present with books. Thus "Peanuts" paperbacks, although appearing in many languages, are all found together in PN6728. Sample title cutters in use:

Cataloging Comics.

.A37 Akim .B8 Bufilo Bill, der Held des Wilden Westens .F3 Falk .F5 Fix und Foxi .G4 Der Gewaltige Hulk .I4 lllustrierte Klassiker

.M4 Micky Maus .P7 Prinz Eisenherz (Prince Valiant) .S62 Die Spinne (SpiderMan) .S63 Spuk Geschichten .Z3 Zack

PN 6765 History of the comics of Italy. This section includes criticism. Example: .Z3 Zanotto, P. Grande libro del Fumetto PN 6766 General collections of Italian comics. No example available. PN 6767 Individual authors or works of Italian comics, A-Z. Includes biographies and artist portfolios. A problem raised in cataloging Italian comics is apt to appear elsewhere as well: The Italian comics master Hugo Pratt's most famous work, "Corto Maltese," is written in French, with original publications both in France and Belgium at different times. Because of the way this schedule is devised, this second most famous of all French adventure story comics appears on the shelves with the Italian comics. If nationality were strictly regarded, however, the American comics artist and writer Sergio Aragones (born in Spain, raised in Mexico) should not be classified in PN6727. This is not an air-tight system, and until the day that comics are considered an international phenomenon, problems like this will continue to appear. Sample author or artist cutters in use:

.B5 Biagi, Enzo, 1920.C7 Crepax, Guido .G5 Giardino, Vittorio .L5 Liberatore, Tanino .M36Manara, Milo, 1945.M37Mattioli

.M38Mattotti, Lorenzo .M5 Micheluzzi, Attilio .P3 Patrito, Marco .P7 Pratt, Hugo .S35 Scarpa, Laura

PN 6768 ~ndividual Italian comic books or comic strips, by title, A-Z. Sample title cutters in use:

Comics Librarianship. .B3 Batman .C6 Corto Maltese .R3 RanXerox .T6 Topolino

Ill

PN 6775 History of the comics of Spain. This section will include criticism, and also Spanish comics fanzines. Example: .C6 Comicguia
1

PN 6776 General collections of Spanish comics. No examples available. PN 6777 Individual authors or works of Spanish comics, A-Z. Includes biographies and artist portfolios. Sample author or artist cutters in use: .F4 .G5 .M6 .N3 .P6 FernBndez, Fernando Gimknez, Juan Moreno, Pepe Nazario Pons .R5 .S3 .S4 .T6 Riera, Marti SBnchez Abuli, E. Sergrelles, V. Torres, Daniel, 1958-

PN 6778 Individual Spanish comic books or comic strips, by title, A-Z. Sample title cutters in use: .C34 CapitBn Amkrica .C8 Curro Jimknez .H6 Hombre Arafia (Spider-Man) .I45 Ilustracidn + Comix lnternacional .T6 T6tem el Comix .V4 Los Vengadores (The Avengers) .V5 El Vibora .Z6 Zona 84

PN 6790 Other regions or countries, A-Z. Each country, other than those itemized above, gets a cutter number that is expanded as in this example for Argentina: .A7 History .A72 Collections .A73 Individual authors or works, A-Z .A74 Individual comic books or strips, A-Z Some of these numbers are quite crowded, particularly those for Canada (which has recently moved) and Mexico, which probably produces more comics than any other country. Country numbers in use at MSU:

Cataloging Comics.

.A4 Algeria .A7 Argentina .A8 Australia Austria: see PN6755PN6758 Belgium: see PN 6745-PN6748 Canada: see PN6731PN6734 .B7 Brazil .C4 China .C47 Chile .C6 Colombia .E34 Egypt .F5 Finland .G7 Greece .I5 India .I9 Ivory Coast

.J6 Japan .K6 Korea .L29 Latin America .M4 Mexico .M6 Morocco .N4 Netherlands .N5 Nigeria .N6 Norway .P47 Philippines .S4 Senegal .S5 Sierra Leone .S6 South Africa .S9 Sweden .T77 Tunisia .U34 Uganda .V4 Venezuela .Z3 Zaire

I

Subject Headings.
The heading C O MI C BOOKS , STRIPS, ETC. is the central Library of Congress term for comics material. It can be used both as a primary heading, and as a free-floating subheading. The MSU practice is to apply the heading, alone or with subheadings, to anthologies. Works about comics are given the subheading HISTORY AND CRITICISM or other appropriate subheadings. The Library of Congress uses the subheading HISTORY AND CRITICISM part of the time and does not apply the heading COMIC BOOKS , STRIPS, ETC. to anthologies. The result is inconsistent and serves to minimize the number of items found in the subject catalog. In its Subject Cataloging Manual (1988) the Library of Congress spelled out a policy of not using the subdivision C O MI C B OO K S , S TRIP S , ETC. under individual literary authors. Catalogers are instructed to use the phrase [AUTHOR'S NAME] IN FICTION, DRAMA, POETRY, ETC. intead.l4 The disadvantage of this practice is that it conceals the comics rmat by lumping it in with fiction, drama and poetry, not even preserthe word "comics" in the subject listing. In libraries that particuy wish to emphasize the comics format to their users (and this

'

90

Comics Librarianship.

probably includes many public libraries and all serious special collections), this LC instruction should probably not be followed. (Actually, a comic book about a literary author is rarely seen. The matter is mentioned here to show that the possibility is recognized by the Library of Congress but only in order to present an instruction telling us not to use the term! The idea that comics might be a unique and important literary and artistic medium is only very slowly penetrating the nation's most conservative thesaurus.) Comics can be fiction (stories) or nonfiction (educational or propaganda). Whichever is the case, every comic book or reprint collection that through its setting, characters or theme gives insight into a place, a person or a topic, should have the name of that place, person or topic assigned to it as a subject heading with the subdivision C O MI C BOOKS, STRIPS, ETC. The kind of information that is conveyed by fictional and nonfictional comics is different than that conveyed by the typical nonfiction text-oriented book. We owe it to our readers to flag as much as we can of this underrepresented format. Comics already have their own readership, which will appreciate the service. It also can't hurt to surprise people that comics exist relating to the topic in which they are interested. The most important distinctions in subject matter among comics themselves are recognized in most bookstores, but rarely make it into the subject catalog. They are spelled out in the genre labels that most comic books carry. The genre designations (such as "western") are just as informative to the prospective reader as the word "chemistry" on a chemistry book. The Library of Congress has allowed six generic headings to be born, but most such distinctions are not acknowledged in the LC subject headings. The most common genres (and the recommended headings) are R O MAN C E CO MI C S , S U P E R H ER O COMICS, WESTERN
COMICS, WAR COMICS, UNDERGROUND COMICS, SCIENCE FIGTI O N C O MI CS , F U NN Y A N I M A L COMICS , F UNN Y KI D COMICS, and TEEN HUMOR COMICS. Most of these headings fit in nicely with ex-

isting Library of Congress headings that describe other kinds of storytelling.

Subject Headings for Comics Material.
These headings are applied to both monographic and serial comics items. Works about these kinds of comics are given the appropriate

Cataloging Comics.

heading as below, with the added subdivision "- HISTORY A N D CRITI CI SM" or other appropriate subdivision. Of the headings listed COMIC BOOKS, here, only those six which have the form STRIPS, ETC." are used by the Library of Congress. The remainder are local practice of the Michigan State University Libraries.
"

Adventure story comics xx Comic books, strips, etc. sa Prehistoric adventure comics Jungle adventure comics SCOPE: Comic books and strips that involve travel or exotic locations, and that concentrate on stories that do not fit into the other adventure genres, or that include stories in three or more of those genres. Examples: Indiana Jones, Tintin. Afro-American comics xx Comic books, strips, etc. SCOPE: Comic books and strips directed to an African American readership. Example: Golden Legacy. Career girl comics xz Comic books, strips, etc. SCOPE: Comic books and strips about women in the workplace, usually young and single. Examples: "Brenda Starr," Nellie the Nurse. Comic book artists xx Artists Cartoonists SCOPE: Use this heading for works about artists who draw comic books
I

Comic book writers xx Authors SCOPE: Use this heading for works about writers who do plots or scripts for comic books. Comic books, strips, etc. -Publication and distribution xx Publishers and publishing NOTE: The LC subdivision "Publication and distribution" is not free-floating, but is used regularly at MSU with the heading "Comic books, strips, etc." Example: Plant, B. Distribution in the Direct Market (1984).

92

Comics Librarianship.

Detective and mystery comic books, strips, etc. x Mystery comics Crime comics Detective comics Crime and criminals - Comic books, strips, etc. Detectives - Comic books, strips, etc. xx Comic books, strips, etc. SCOPE: Comic books and strips about police, private detectives, or crime. Example: "Dick Tracy." Erotic comic books, strips, etc. xx Comic books, strips, etc. Sex- Comic books, strips, etc. SCOPE: Comic books and strips purposely erotic, or discussed as such (with subdivision "History and criticism"). Example: Barbarella. Fantasy comics xx Comic books, strips, etc. sa Sword and sorcery comics SCOPE: Comic books and strips that take place on alternate worlds where magic or different physical laws operate. Example: The Wizard of Oz graphic novels. Funny animal comics xx Comic books, strips, etc. Animals- Caricatures and cartoons SCOPE: Comic books and strips with anthropomorphic animal characters, whether strictly funny or not. Examples: Critters, "U.S. Acres." Funny ghost comics xx Comic books, strips, etc. Funny horror comics SCOPE: Comic books and strips featuring ghosts as sympathetic, humorous characters. Example: Casper, the Friendly Ghost. Funny horror comics xx Comic books, strips, etc. Horror comic books, strips, etc. sa Funny ghost comics SCOPE: Comic books and strips, except Funny ghost comics, in which normally frightening characters and situations are

Cataloging Comics.

93

treated humorously. Examples: The Munsters, Hot Stufthe Little Devil. Funny kid comics xx Comic books, strips, etc. sa Rich kid comics SCOPE: Comic books and strips in which most of the characters are children. Examples: "Peanuts," "Wee Pals." Funny military comics x Military comics Funny soldier comics Funny war comics xx Comic books, strips, etc. War comics sa War comics SCOPE: Comic books and strips about military life, treated humorously. Examples: Sad Sack, "Beetle Bailey." Girls' comics xx Comic books, strips, etc. SCOPE: Comic books and strips directed toward a readership of girls. These are more commonly British than American. Examples: Mandy, Debbie. Gothic romance comics x Love comics xx Comic books, strips, etc. Horror comic books, strips, etc. Romance comics SCOPE: Comic books and strips that combine a dark, threatening atmosphere with a romantic story. There are not a lot of these. Example: The Sinister House o Secret Love. f Horror comic books, strips, etc. xx Comic books, strips, etc. sa Gothic romance comics Funny horror comics SCOPE: Comic books and strips with scary stories, about monsters, graveyards, bug-eyed aliens, and more. Examples: Shock SuspenStories, Swamp Thing. Jungle adventure comics xx Comic books, strips, etc.

94

Comics Librarianship.

Adventure story comics. SCOPE: Comic books and strips with stories that take place in tropical jungles. Examples: "Tarzan of the Apes," Rima, the Jungle Girl. Kung fu comics x Martial arts -Comic books, strips, etc. xx Comic books, strips, etc. SCOPE: Comic books and strips with stories that center on or involve oriental martial arts. Examples: Judomaster, Karate Kid. New wave comics x Nuwave comics xx Comic books, strips, etc. Underground comics SCOPE: Self-published comic books, or comic strips published in alternative periodicals, from about 1980. Example: Morty Comix. Prehistoric adventure comics x Caveman comics xx Comic books, strips, etc. Adventure story comics SCOPE: Comic books and strips that feature stories set in prehistoric times or conditions. Examples: "Alley Oop," Turok, Son of Stone. Robot comics xx Science fiction comic books, strips, etc. SCOPE: Comic books and strips featuring robot characters. EXamples: Silverhawks, "Robotman." Romance comics x Love comics xx Comic books, strips, etc. sa Gothic romance comics SCOPE: Comic books and strips that feature stories of love and romance, usually without involving adventure. Example: M y Secret Romance. (1950) Science fiction comic books, strips, etc. xx Comic books, strips, etc.

C t l g n Comics. aaoig

95

sa Robot comics SCOPE: Comic books and strips that feature stories of space travel, future life, or other scientific of pseudo-scientific extrapolation, except for superhero comics. Examples: Planet Comics, "Buck Rogers." Sports comics xx Comic books, strips, etc. SCOPE: Comic books and strips that feature stories of athletes and athletics. Example: "Joe Palooka." Spy comics x Espionage - Comic books, strips, etc. Spies - Comic books, strips, etc. xx Comic books, strips, etc. SCOPE: Comic books and strips that feature stories of espionage, secret agents, and cold war intrigue. Example: "James Bond." Superhero comics xx Comic books, strips, etc. SCOPE: Comic books and strips that feature male or mostly male characters with extraordinary personal powers, usually wearing strange costumes and fighting evil. Examples: Superman, Super Goof: Superheroine comics xx Comic books, strips, etc. Women's comics sa Women's comics SCOPE: Comic books and strips that feature female or mostly female characters with extraordinary personal powers, usually wearing strange costumes and fighting evil. Examples: Wonder Woman, Supergirl. Sword and sorcery comics xx Comic books, strips, etc. Fantasy comics SCOPE: Comic books and strips that feature stories of fantasy in which magic operates, and modern weapons are not available or do not operate. Qxamples: Conan the Barbarian, Groo the Wanderer.

Comics Librarianship.

Teen humor comics xx Comic books, strips, etc. SCOPE: Comic books and strips featuring stories about the lives of teenagers in humorous situations. Examples: Archie, "Harold Teen." Underground comic books, strips, etc. x Head comics Comix xx Comic books, strips, etc. Underground press sa New wave comics SCOPE: Comic books and strips connected with the underground comix movement beginning in the 1960s and which took its name from the alternative newspapers of that time. Example: Zap Comics. War comics x War-Comic books, strips, etc. Military comics xx Comic books, strips, etc. Funny military comics sa Funny military comics SCOPE: Comic books and strips that feature stories set in a realistic (or at least not mainly humorous) context of war and military life. Example: Sgt. Rock. Western comic books, strips, etc. x Cowboys - Comic books, strips, etc. xx Comic books, strips, etc. SCOPE: Comic books and strips that feature stories set in the "old west" of America. Example: "Cisco Kid," Kid Colt, Out-

law.
Women's comics x Feminism - Comic books, strips, etc. xx Comic books, strips, etc. Superheroine comics sa Superheroine comics SCOPE: Comic books and strips directed to a women's readership. Example: Wimmen's Comix.

Cataloging Comics.

Sample Catalog Records from the MSU Libraries
SpecCoU PN 6738 Mills, Pat. The A.B.C. warriors. Book 1 / by Pat Mills, Kevin O'Neill and Mike McMahon. -- London, England : Titan Books, 1983. 79 p. : ill. ; 28 cm. 1. Science fiction comic books, strips, etc. 2. War comics. I. O'Neill, Kevin. 11. McMahon, Mike. 111. Title. IV. Title: The ABC warriors. SpecColl PN 6728.3 .M3 F3 Fantastic four. -- New York : Marvel Comics Group, v. : col. ill ; 26 cm. Began with no. 1 (November 1961), cf. Official Overstreet comic book price guide. All issues also called v. 1. 1.Superhero comics. SpecColl PN 6728.25 .A53 H5 1960 The history of natural gas / prepared by the Educational Service Bureau, American Gas Asssociation. -- New Your : American Gas Association, 1960. 15 p. : col. ill. ; 26 cm. Cover title. 1. Gas, Natural--Comic books, strips, etc. I. American Gas Association. SpecColl PN 6728.2 .Z5 H6 Hot Rod King. -- No. 1 (Fall 1952) -Chicago, Ill. : Approved Comics, 1952. 1 v. : col. ill. ; 26 cm. Bimonthly. Ziff-Davis comic group. Title from cover.
1 Sports comics. 2. Automobile racing-. Comic books, strips, etc.

A 2
M5 1983

Comics Librarianship.

SpecColl Mason, Brenda D. George Foster : man of dreams, man with a purpose / [written by Brenda D. Mason ; story layout and character art by Morrie Turner ; lettering and color by Ray Salmon]. -- [Tempe, Az.] : George Foster Enterprises, 1982. [16] p. : col. ill. ; 26 cm. Title from cover. Caption title: George Foster, a dream comes true. Received through CAPA-alpha. 1. Foster, George, 1948 Dec. 1- --Comic books, strips, etc. 2. Baseball players-Biography--Comic books, strips, etc. 3. Sports comics. I. Turner, Morrie. 11. Title. SpecColl Shelton, Gilbert. Six snappy sockeroos from the archives of the fabulous furry Freak brothers and Fat Freddy's cat / Gilbert Shelton. -- San Francisco, CA : Rip Off Press, 1980. [48] p. : ill. ;26 cm. -- (Fabulous furry Freak brothers ;no. 6) Title from cover.

1. Underground comics. 2. Funny animal comics. I. Title. 11. Title: Fat Freddy's cat. 111. Series.

SpecColl

PN 6790 .E344

n

1978

Tarzan wa-La'nat al-APa. -- [Cairo] : Matb'at al-Ma'rifah, [1978?] 17 p. : ill. ; 24 cm. Title from cover. In the Arabic alphabet. Tarzan comics translated to Arabic.
1 Jungle adventure comics. I. . Tarzan. Arabic.

Cataloging Comics.

SpecColl PN 6728.1 .N3 W6 Wonder Woman. -- New York : Wonder Woman Pub. Co., v. : col. ill. ; 26 cm. Quarterly, Monthly. Began with no. 1 (Summer 1942); title from cover. Description based on no. 6 (Fall 1943)
1. Superheroine comics.

Notes to Chapter 4.
1. Library of Congress. Cataloging Service Bulletin no. 27 (Winter 1985) p. 24. 2. Bell, John. Canuck Comics. Montreal, Quebec: Matrix Graphic Series, 1986.154 p. Price guide and bibliography covers both English language and French language Canadian comic books. Eide, Knut, and Stig Kjelling. Norsk Tegneserie Index. Bodo, Norway: NTI. Biennial. Plenty of cover reproductions to help those of us who don't speak Norwegian. No. 3 (1988189)has 354 pages. Gifford, Denis. The Complete Catalogue of British Comics, Including Price Guide. Exeter, England: Webb & Bower, 1985. 224 p. Hethke, Norbert, and Peter Skodzik. Allgemeiner Deutscher Comic-Preis Katalog. Schonau, West Germany: N. Hethke l Verlag. Annual. Includes cover reproductions. Nr. l (1986) has 254 pages. Kennedy, Jay. The Oficial Underground and Newave Comix Price Guide. Cambridge, Mass.: Boatner Norton Press, 1982. 273 p. Unfortunately, this guide is out of print and plans are not currently being made for another edition. Nevertheless it covers the biggest years of underground comix production and is invaluable. Lowery, Larry. The Collector's Guide to Big Little Books and Similar Books. ~ a n v i l l e ,Calif.: Educational Research and Applications Corporation, 1981. 378 p. An illustrated descriptive bibliography and price guide for Big Little Books, which are precursors to comic books, and often created from the plots and

I

I

Comics Librarianship. pictures of newspaper strips. They are often found coverless or missing title pages, and this bibliography can usually identify them. Plans for a second edition are unknown, but this is a pretty stable list and will never really be outdated as a bibliography. Overstreet, Robert M. The Oficial Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide. New York: House of Collectibles. Annual. The Overstreet guide is cited in nearly every chapter of this book, and is a boon in every area of comics librarianship, but for cataloging it is the bible. Please, catalogers, if you find something in your collection that contradicts bibliographical information in Overstreet, send in a correction with photocopied proof just like you would to OCLC. The Overstreet guide is carefully re-edited and corrected each year, and is a fine way to share bibliographical information with other comics librarians. Subject Cataloging Manual: Subject Headings, 3rd. ed. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1988. Page H1430h-2. This gives the instructions for using the qualifier "(Fictitious character)," with the example given being "Snoopy (Fictitious character)." Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, 2nd ed. Chicago: American Library Association, 1978. Page 249. And 2nd ed., revised. Chicago: American Library Association, 1988. Page 276. Rule 12.OB1. The more liberal interpretation from Cataloging Service Bulletin 34 (1986) did not get itself included in the new edition of AACR2. This exchange appeared in Comic Art Collection no. 38 (May 2, 1988), p. 5-6. Comic Art Collection (MSU Libraries, East Lansing, Michigan 48824-1048) is the quarterly newsletter of the Michigan State University Libraries' Comic Art Collection, available free to comics librarians. Online Systems Books Format. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC, 1984. Page FF-3. Bibliographic Level code "c" applies to collections arbitrarily formed by the cataloging or inputting library, when the cataloging library does not consider the individual items . significant enough to warrant separate cataloging. One of the beauties of this practice is that once a file has been started, for example, for Jim Davis's "Garfield comic strip, that little toy Garfield on a skateboard from McDonald's can be dropped into the file and forgotten. Also the Garfield bedroom slippers. A few "realia" can thus be added to the collection without

3.

4.

5.

6.

Cataloging Comics.

I

I

having to bother the cataloger who knows the audiovisual format. 7. Olson, Nancy B. Subject Keyword Index to the Library of Congress Classijication Schedules 1974. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Historical Documents Institute, 1974. Both examples given here were found on p. 778 of volume 2. 8. Library of Congress. Classijication, Class N, Fine Arts, 4th ed. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1970. Page 140. When this was published, the numbers for drawing movie cartoons (NC1765-NC1766) were present, but comics were still stuck in with general cartooning. Savage, Helen. Class N, Fine Arts: Library ofCongress Classijication Schedules, a Cumulation of Adds and Changes through 1986. Detroit: Gale Research, 1987. Page 121is the source of the new NC1764-NC1764.5 section on drawing comics, which also appeared in LC Classijication Additions and Changes, list 222 (1986), page 56. 9. Library of Congress Classijication, Class P, Subclasses PN, PR, PS, PZ, 2nd ed. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1978. Pages 88-89 present the basic comics schedule. Savage, Helen. Class P, Philology G Literature, Subclasses PN, PR, PS, PZ: Library of Congress Classijication Schedules, a Cumulation of Additions and Changes through 1981. Detroit: Gale Research, 1982. Page 21 adds the number for encyclopedias and dictionaries to the schedule. LC Classijication Additions and Changes, list 230 (1988). Page 87 is the source for the new range of Canadian numbers. 10. Larrabee, James. LC Cumulative Classijication Series: Sociology, HM-HX. Albany, Calif.: Livia Press, 1986. Page HQ-12 places comics within child life, but refers us to juvenile delinquency in the same breath, as it were. Page HV-87 shows comic books as a special topic in juvenile delinquency and gives no other examples, but refers the user on the next line to a number for "Alcohol and youth." An old advertisement for Ripple wine included the catchy phrase, "travels in the same circles with beer." Add comic books to that list, I guess! 11. LC Class$cation Additions and Changes, list 230 (1988). Page 72 is the source for the number for comics as a special subject of art. 12. LC ~lasst$cationAdditions and Changes, list 229 (1988). Page 57 is

Comics Librarianship.

the source for the new special number for works about Felix the Cat clocks and Mickey Mouse watches. 13. Library of Congress. Classification, Class Z, Bibliography and Library Science, 5th ed. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1980. Page lLl.The reason for footnoting all these ins and outs of the classification schedule and its cumulations, additions, and indexes, will probably be clear to anyone who has gotten to the 13th note and is still reading. Most people will be ignoring these notes because the LC schedules are such a labyrinth to go through for such small apparent reward, and reading about the page numbers where the fine points appear is not real healthy. Better to be crouched i11 a corner reading comic books. 14. Subject Cataloging Manual: Subject Headings, 3rd. ed. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1988. Page Hll55.416. This manual includes a section called "Comics and comic characters" (p. H143011-2) which addresses only the cataloging of books about comics.

Chapter 5 .

Being the Comics Expert.
Once a comics collection has been established, whoever's in charge becomes a de facto expert. A reputation among other experts may take time to establish, but regular people assume that the librarian has read all the books. A certain generation of users will expect you to know what's happening with the X-Men, and another generation will want to know what you remember about "The Outbursts of Everett True." As with any specialty in librarianship, we can't be all things to all readers. Still, it is preferable to know something! Journalists will naturally want to interview someone when they get on the track of a comics-in-a-library story, and they too will assume that the person in charge is an expert. Print journalists will write down everything you say and quote you whether you know anything or don't. People will come to you later and remark about the inaccuracy of the "facts" in the resulting articles. Sometimes you will be able to blame the reporter, and sometimes that won't be fair. Inexpertise in broadcast interviews is not so easy to cover up, but even television interviews can be handled without significant in-depth knowledge. Mistakes are easy to make even for an old hand, since comics is a big field and nobody can display a real expertise in all parts of it. Still, it's not pleasant to hear yourself spreading misinformation on television! A comics librarian needs to start with a general idea of the landmarks and directions of comics history. This a minimum requirement for doing a good job of selection, organization or reference, the three main intellectual functions of librarianship. Actually, looking at it cynically, selecting and organizing can be done indifferently well and the public need never find out, because those processes are invisible to the user and any deficiencies can be blamed on budget problems.
103

104

Comics Librarianship.

Reference work is where it really comes down to cases. To really help a sophisticated user with a specific research need, it can be necessary to know quite a bit of stuff. There are few really excellent reference books available in the comics field, because library attention to the field is so new. Only the simplest questions can be looked up directly, and then sometimes it's hard to know where to look. This chapter presents a minimum of information about the history, scope, and current issues of the comics world, that will give the new comics librarian a reasonable chance. This is not taught in library schools. This is written not by a historian but from the practical perspective of a librarian with fifteen years of experience in the library working with comics, and two years before the mast in a comic book specialty shop.

The History of Comic Strips.
Comic strips are a twentieth-century phenomenon, with a few thin roots in the nineteenth century and earlier. Two eccentric comics historians, Denis Gifford and David Kunzle, have made the point at length that graphic storytelling and humorous illustration did not begin with what we now recognize as comic strips.' If there is a point in insisting that something existed before it was invented, then these two scholars may not be so eccentric. Perhaps, on the other hand, if the idea is that comic strips are not a separate medium of communication but simply the logical development of cave painting and the rebus, comics never were invented. An emphasis on the eternal presence of graphic storytelling in human history is not useful for a librarian in charge of a collection of comics. If there is a fine arts library somewhere that has included all of modern comics (Sad Sack, Little Dot, and Baby Huey too) in its collecting scope, such a continuity might be believable, but art librarians and art historians ordinarily have very little trouble in excluding comics from their purviews. It is appropriate that a collection of comics should have its own unique content, and its own tradition of research to nurture. Studies of the history ofgraphic humor, caricature, and the history of European broadsides are not new and separate in the way any serious study of twentieth-century comics will necessarily be. It is also convenient that the scope of a comics collection should have a beginning, and the logical beginning is likely always to be with the publication of the first of Richard F, Outcault's "Yellow Kid"

Being the Comics Expert.

I

I1
1

\

1

in 1895.2The Yellow Kid was the first continuing character of a batch that by 1910 included Mutt and Jeff, Foxy Grandpa, and the Katzenjammer Kids. As has happened again and again in the brief history of comics, a rash of imitators and variations on a theme is the surest way to spot an innovation. The first two decades established the medium as something unique, and masterpieces followed. Big names like "Krazy Kat" (1916) and "Little Orphan Annie" (1924) stand out among hundreds of strips that flourished or faded before World War 11. The 1930s were a kind of golden age for comic strips, with "Buck Rogers" (1929), "Blondie" (1930),"Dick Tracy" (1931),"Tim Tyler's L u c k (1928),and many others going strong. The generation of comic strips that began after the war, typified by "Pogo" (1948),"Peanuts" (1950),and "Beetle Bailey" (1950),downplayed storytelling in favor of the gag-a-day format which had always existed side-by-side with the continuing type. Although "Pogo" and "Li'l Abner" (1934) flirted with political issues, it was "Doonesbury" (1970) that brought explicit politics to the comics page and is still the most successful merger of political cartooning and the comics. Currently there are only a handful of continued adventure or drama strips running, but newspaper comics as a medium are very healthy. The strip "Calvin and Hobbes" (1986) had reinvolved a lot of readers with the comics page, and proved that innovation is still possible in a syndicated strip for a general audience. A current issue of concern among newspaper strip creators, readers and collectors, is that comic strips have been steadily shrinking in size, and decreasing legibility has forced reduction of detail in some strips. Many cartoonists and readers have complained to newspaper editors about this, but the trend toward reduced space for individual strips seem to be continuing. Meanwhile, in the 1980s a new style of strip has been evolving, usually carried by weekly arts or alternative papers in metropolitan areas. The name "new wave" is sometimes applied to these strips, which are commonly drawn more idiosyncratically than the established syndicates were at first willing to embrace. Some are local, and appear in only one newspaper, and some are self-syndicated to similar papers elsewhere. There is a new market, in other words, outside the channels of syndication to major daily newspapers. Some success stories (now appearing in paperback) from this new tradition are Bert Dodson, Matt Groening and Lynda Barry.

106

Comics Librarianship.

The most important reference book for the librarian to have on hand, in order to be able to distribute facts and identify names and titles, is Maurice Horn's The World Encyclopedia of Comics. This book is essential to the reference function of a comics library, for information both on comic strips and on comic books.3

The History of Comic Books.
The comic book as a distinct medium dates from the mid-1930s. Before then, there were reprint collections of newspaper strips that began to appear around the turn of the century. These were mostly in stiff covers and were distributed as children's books or as premiums for newspaper readers. The physical comic book format that we know today began as collections of reprinted strips as well, with the first regularly published title being Famous Funnies starting in 1934.4 The second title to remember is Action Comics. The first issue of Action Comics, dated June 1938, contained the first appearance of Superman. Superman was the first comic book superhero, and spawned a host of imitations and derivations within a very few years. A few notable examples of early super-characters are Batman (1939), Captain America (1941), Captain Marvel (1940), and Wonder Woman (1941). The superhero formula became nearly synonymous with the popular idea of a comic book before long, and is certainly a major contribution of the comic book medium to world literature. The period from 1935 to about 1950 is usually called the Golden Age of comic books. After the Second World War the superhero genre of comic books lost momentum for several years. The 1950s were distinguished by experimentation with the crime, war, western, and romance genres, and are particularly memorable for the anti-comic book crusade of Fredric Wertham and others, and for the horror comic books published by E.C. Comics. The situation basically involved well-meaning parents and educators expressing alarm over the content of a medium that had grown in popularity by communicating to young people without adult supervision. The situation was (and is) similar to the concern some parents feel about the content of television broadcasts. Comic books were the first mass medium that kids could claim for themselves, and in general not have to worry too much about parental interference. Newspaper comics didn't raise concerns to anything like the same degree, because they were published in an adult medium. Motion

Being the Comics Expert.

k

pictures, phonograph records and radio broadcasts, which arrived on the scene at essentially the same time as comic strips, do not seem to have provoked initial moral objections as media. This probably indicates that adults were participating along with the kids the whole time and weren't taken by surprise. Television and comic books also arrived together. To complete the picture up to the present, the newest kids' media are role-playing games, MTV, and videolcomputer games, all of which are under suspicion by the adult world. The 1960s are usually referred to as the "Silver Age" of comic books. There is some disagreement and indecision about whether the Silver Age has ended, and if so, when. The landmark issue of the Silver Age is Fantastic Four no. 1 (dated November 1961). This comic book marked Marvel Comics' re-entry into the superhero genre, and was soon followed by The Incredible Hulk (1962), "Thorn (1962), The Amazing Spider-Man (1963), and The X-Men (1963). Under the editorship of Stan Lee, the Marvel Comics Group set a more informal tone than had yet been seen in superhero comic books, and sparked the interest of a whole new generation of superhero fans. The next comparably influential landmark on the comic book newsstand involved a move away from the newsstand, when Dean Mullaney of Eclipse Enterprises ~ublished Sabre graphic novel in the 1978. Distribution was through the new network of comic book shops, and Eclipse allowed the creators to retain the rights to their creations. Within a few years dozens of ~ublishers were publishing graphic novels, as well as regular comic books, for the specialty store market and were offering more favorable terms to creative personnel, including royalty payments and retention of rights. The 1980s are distinguished by the five-part move to specialty distribution, more small publishers, less attention to the comics code, better quality paper, and more creator rights. Sabre by Don McGregor and Paul Gulacy innovated, or participated in the innovation of, all five trends. Some of the newer publishers are now moving toward adding newsstand and bookstore distribution for some of their products, and currently it appears that parallel systems are a permanent state of affairs. The Comics Code Authority still exercises some control over the content of the newsstand comic books, but the direct market for the most part ignores the comics code. Since comic books printed in black and white are relatively cheap there have been "alternatives" to the newsstand comics to ~ r o d u c e , since the beginning. Pornographic "eight-pagers" or "Tijuana Bibles"

108

Comics Librarianship.

lasted from the 1920s through the 1950s. Propaganda comics have appeared regularly, against such things as communism and drug abuse and in favor of such things as electricity, soil conservation and eternal salvation. Educational comic books exist in great numbers as well, including the famous Classics Illustrated. Recently there have been dozens of comic books about AIDS. Beginning in the late 1960s the underground comics movement showcased a new generation of creators and publishers operating with an almost unprecedented lack of restraint. Zap Comics no. 1, a landmark first issue by R. Crumb, appeared in 1967. Underground comics were at first distributed through counterculture bookstores and head shops, and this channel contributed to the setting up of the direct distribution system years later. The underground comix are not dead yet, and Zap Comics no. 12 appeared in 1989, but they are an attenuated strain in the comic book world today. The spelling "comix" has been adopted by most people to mean undergrounds and the later "mini-comix" of the 1980s. With the 1980s, the next wave of alternative comic books arrived with yet another distribution system. The 1980s alternatives were the self-published mini-comix, typically produced on photocopy machines. These little comix are the vehicle for another generation of creators freed not only from social constraints, but also from financial constraints. They cost almost nothing to produce, and are distributed by exchange through the mail. Creative control has been achieved. The most recent comic-book publishing phenomenon, which took place in 1985 and 1986, was called the "black and white explosion." A few enterprising creators had had good success publishing black and white comic books for the direct market, notably Cerebus the Aardvark (1977) and ElfQuest (1978). After the appearance and wild success of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in 1984, dozens of small presses sprouted, providing what at first seemed like a rich flowering of the medium. Unfortunately most of the new black and whites were not very well done, if only in terms of number of misspelled words per page. The price per issue was typically more than the standard color comic book on the newsstand, and the comics-buying public soon ran out of money and patience. Comic book stores were stuck with boxes of expensive nonreturnable comic books and began cancelling orders for future issues. The "explosion" was renamed a ''glut" by early 1987. Comics librarians were left with the mission, if we decide to accept it, of collecting and cataloging at least a thousand new short-lived titles.

Being the Comics Expert.

109

Currently new titles do appear, both in color and in black and white, through newsstand, direct, and other distribution plans. Several smaller publishers have suspended publication, or merged to become slightly larger publishers, but the comics racks are neither empty nor overloaded. The quantity is sufficient to overwhelm any single serials catalog librarian, but the situation seems stable, for now.

Some Thoughts on Censorship.
Censorship is a curious issue, and since it often comes up in connection with comic books, it seems appropriate to comment. Censorship is when someone with the power to do so (a censor) makes decisions about what someone else can read or view, based on the moral or political standards of the censor. Librarians are fond of being against censorship, but in practical terms probably do more censorship than any other occupational group (besides evil dictators). It is usually considered unobjectionable to censor the reading matter of children, but "adults only" messages are a kind of censorship. Comics librarians are likely to become involved in frustrating discussions like the following, and it can't hurt to get a head start. Fredric Wertham's Seduction of the Innocent (1954) blamed juvenile ~ r o b l e m from blackheads to murder on comic books, and ads vocated censorship for those reasons. This kind of accusation is still delivered seriously, and is difficult to sort out. There is no question that comic books contained racist, sexist, and sadist attitudes in the 1940s and 1950s, and these sins can still be found in today's comics. Comicbook stories are works of imagination, but not everyone is willing to make a firm distinction between imagination and reality. Demonstrating that imaginary evils exist within a piece of fiction, and concluding that such fantasies encourage similar evils in real life, is for some people an obvious step. Campaigns against war toys and pornography are the results of similar conclusions about the power of directed fantasy. Research of the type that correlates incidences of particular crimes with movies or television shows that depict them is interesting, but whether such correlations help to prove anything in general about cause and effect is hard to say. There are other ways to look at the relationship of literature to actions. Literature, including comic books, is part of a universe of human creation that also includes music, mathematics, science and visual art.

110

Comics Librarianship.

This people-made universe is like another dimension that stands beside our reality. It is a dimension in which people can describe, interpret, and make sense of the things and happenings of physical and social reality. The ephemeral can be made eternal by good description, motivations can be ascribed that the participants in history were scarcely aware of, sequences can be established that sound more logical than what really happened, and all in all this abstracted dimension is a very useful tool for dealing (or not dealing) with life. The literature dimension is mutable in ways that our more real reality is not. We can all fly with Superman, because the laws of gravity can easily be suspended. We can go places nobody else has ever seen by describing those places ourselves. Dreams, passions, revisions of history, whatever, all can find fruition in the literary dimension. Because the universe that humans have built is so complex and complete, and so nearly corresponds to and so apparently shapes our understanding of reality, there is a temptation to confuse the abstraction with the reality. For many people the confusion is a permanent state of affairs. Frustration at dealing with reality can lead a person to wage a campaign in abstraction, hoping that the results will transfer. The cataloger in the library, for instance, may tell you that getting information well-organized is a way of doing something about the chaos in our society. This amounts to an attempt at sympathetic magic. Sticking pins in comic books in the hope that juvenile delinquency will say "ouch" is another case in point. Whether censorship of comic books, movies, television, or of any repulsive (to the censor) fantasy is justified in terms of social results is ultimately a matter of faith. Believing that religion is an opiate is a far cry from believing that religion is the cause of unfair distribution of wealth, however. Similarly, the main social effect of directed fantasy may be similar to the effect of daydreaming on an individual. Collective fantasy gives the society a chance to confront issues and possibilities safely. The fact that similar things really happen only proves that the content of the fantasy is relevant to real life. People who look at fantasy as a possible cause of war and crime are, as likely as not, blaming a messenger. Comic books can be studied for insight into how the real world works, but to prevent the reading of comic books will not change how the real world works. Greed and economic inequity, which are more likely than comic books to be real-life villains, cannot be changed through censorship. Unfair or demeaning representations of minority and majority

Being the Comics Expert.

11 1

:

women and men in mass media and not usually the reasons adults give for censorship. Too much violence, sex, or profanity are more normal complaints, but in any case the object of the censorship seems to be to prevent children from adopting behaviors and attitudes that are portrayed in the media. If the transference was direct, immediate, and uniformly bad, there would be nothing to discuss, but the influence of the mass media is not so easy to pin down. Young children spend major parts of their lives looking for role models, however, and it's a natural impulse to try to provide the best ones possible. When kids look to comics or television for role models, they are comparing the suggestions they see there with the realities they see around them. Real adults count more than fictional ones in this regard, because children can tell the difference. How real adults react to the media images is an important clue that children can use in evaluating both the real and the fictional possibilities. An adult who is willing to censor the reading or viewing of children is providing a model for censorship. This can be done in a spirit of discussion and explanation, in which case the child will be learning about rational censorship. If the explanations are believable, the child will be impressed with how powerful and dangerous fantasy can be and with how wise and persuasive adults can be. If rational censorship is not the approach, either because the kid doesn't believe the explanations or because the adult doesn't feel an explanation is necessary, the child will be learning about irrational censorship. The child will also be learning about how powerful and inscrutable adults can be. The stuff that is being forbidden is apt to seem all the more attractive and mysterious. Both kinds of censorship amount to an imposed denial of the natural desire to find out about the world in as many ways as possible. Being burned by a hot stove is worth preventing, but being shocked by a comic book doesn't normally leave scars. Children will usually avoid things that they find unpleasant. Adults who insist on censoring the information intake of children, rationally or not, are telling children that they shouldn't trust their own perceptions, and that the real role models around them are not secure enough in their own right to counteract the negative parts of fictional role models.

112

Comics Librarianship.

The International Comics Scene.
Although the United States can claim to have originated the newspaper comic strip in its modern form, and likewise the superhero in its comic-book form, in the international context the United States does not play the only leadership role in the production, consumption or study of comics. American comic books and strips are actively exported to most European and Latin American countries, where they are received as contributions to rich comics traditions that most Americans are completely unaware of. The European comics world is particularly fertile, with creators and publishers in Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Scandinavia, and Spain, but especially in France and Belgium. Belgium, with a built-in market in France, has released two major contributions on the face of world literature: Tintin (1929) and The Smurfs (1957). A typical kind of European comic book is on slick paper with features from various countries serialized. When enough episodes of a given feature have appeared to make a 48- or 64-page album, the album appears in hardcover format, full color, in bookstores. Newsprint comic books exist as well, but the top of the line comic books are a medium of unbelievable quality when compared to the throwaway productions of the American industry until very recently. Through the direct market, translations of European graphic albums have begun to appear in the United States. The British tradition is somewhat different, with a predominant format being weekly comic papers on newsprint and only partly in color. The Japanese comic book industry is large, producing weekly 200-page issues of many different manga, as they are called. Until recently Americans have had little contact with the Japanese medium, but again with the direct market to support the ventures, since 1987 several series are being translated and published for U.S. readers. Latin America, and ~articularly Mexico, is big comic book country. There is a distressing tendency to introduce this fact with the gratuitous opinion that comic books are so often read in Mexico because "the level of literacy is so low." This "explanation" is never brought forward to account for the comic book industries of Europe, Japan, or the united States, so perhaps it needs to be rethought. There is a tradition of adults reading comic magazines, to a greater extent than in the United States, throughout Europe, Japan, and Latin America. This probably says nothing about anybody's level of literacy. For a librarian in charge of a comics collection to argue that comics are a subliterature for sub-

Being the Comics Expert.

1

p

literates anywhere is a bit self-defeating, particularly if the librarian wants to remain on good terms with creators, publishers, and potential donors who typically will not trust someone with that attitude. Fotonovelas are an important medium in Latin America, as well as in France and the rest of Mediterranean Europe and North Africa. Fotonovelas appear and are produced similarly to comic books, except the word balloons are pasted on photographs rather than included in drawings. Actors and actresses can build reputations by appearing in fotonovelas, and it is not uncommon for popular singers or other celebrities to appear as guest stars. Most fotonovelas, or photoromans as they are called in French, are of the romance or soap opera kind, targeted at adult women readers. Since research collections don't exist, it is probably a good idea to look out for them and include them at least as samples in any comics collection. Besides Japan, several Asian countries have comic book industries and most countries have at least something similar to comics. Comic books from Hong Kong, the Philippines, and South Korea have the highest visibility in the United States. It is likely that improving international communications will bring even more significant crosspollination among the comics traditions of the world. Even countries without advanced printing, film or television facilities can produce comics and fotonovelas. Research librarians need to look with care at both domestic and Third World illustrated publications that may appear to have been stapled together after hours in the back room of a discount print-shop. In the new era of decentralized publishing, these may be and probably are state-of-the-art comics.

The Anatomy of Comics.
There is plenty of terminology unique to comic books and strips, and the collectors' guides by Mike Benton, Marcia Leiter and Krause Publications each present glossaries. Another important (but quite different) guide is Mort Walker's The Lexicon o C o m i ~ a n a . ~ terms f The and concepts presented here are, hopefully, the ones librarians will need first when faced with scholars, readers, or donors who might seem to be slipping off into another language occasionally. For more comI prehensive coverage, and sometimes for contrasting opinions, please [ consult one or more of the works mentioned above. The topics and concepts presented here are not alphabetical,

114

Comics Librarianship.

but they can be found listed in the index at the back of this book. As a cataloger, the present writer finds it irresistible to apologize for presenting a glossary in other than alphabetical order.

Panel Art.
The structure of a typical comic strip is a good place to start exploring for terminology. A strip is usually divided into three or more successive pictures, called "panels." Comic book pages are similarly subdivided into panels most of the time, and comics art in general is sometimes called "panel art." Some scholars have styled themselves "panelologists." There are some syndicated features which appear on the daily comics page, such as "Dennis the Menace," "Family Circus," and "Frank and Ernest," that are not subdivided into panels. These are commonly called "single panel" features. The "panel borders" around each panel are straight for real or current narrative, and curved, wavy, or otherwise different for flashbacks or dream sequences.

Words in with the Pictures.
Within the panels, characters are likely to communicate using "word balloons," which have sharp tails pointing to the originating speaker. "Thought balloons" are for communication directly from the character to the reader, and usually have a little row of bubbles rather than a sharp point reaching toward the originator of the thought. Nonwords or dramatic sounding words like "Bam!" "Pow!" and "Shazam!" are used as "sound effects," a practice probably adopted from radio serials. These are not usually enclosed in balloons, though they may appear in clouds of smoke or flashes of lightning for emphasis. ~ c t u a l l y these are not sound effects, because no matter how hard you listen and no matter how close to your ear you put the page of comics, you can't hear anything. They are just called sound effects, okay? If the story has a narrator, the narration can be in squared-off boxes which can be called captions. Some strips, for example "Prince Valiant," use captions that are essentially separate from the pictures and do not use word balloons. The use of captions in newspaper comics has declined with the decline of the continued strip, but comic books use the convention regularly.

Being the Comics Expert.

115

r

Episodic by Nature.
A single day's portion of a comic strip is called an "episode" by Bill Blackbeard and some other comic scholars, but the word is also used to mean the several days, weeks or months of a continued strip that make up a single plotline. Newspaper episodes divide naturally into "dailies" and "Sundays," and in some cases dramatic strips will have separate plotlines or "continuities" for dailies and Sundays going simultaneously. Comic books are organized into "stories," which may be episodes of a continuing saga, stand-alone stories involving continuing characters, or completely separate stories. A single issue of a comic book may contain from one to several stories. A unique "story title" may be found identifying the current issue's story, and a "strip title" may also be present identifying the continuing series of which the story is a part. European comic books often present episodes of a feature that are only a few pages long, but the American convention is to run stories that are anywhere from 6 to 64 pages in length and are more or less complete in themselves even if they are continued.

The Splash and the Indicia.
A comic book story typically begins with, or has near the beginning, a "s p lash page or panel on which the individual story title, the strip or series title, and the credits will be displayed. Splash pages have been giving relatively full lists of credits only since the mid-1960s. In earlier comic books there were always pages or large panels that presented the title of the story, but typically only an artist's signature would appear, if any credits at all were given. Writers labored in relative obscurity for the first 30 years of comic books. Early splash pages did not always give a unique title for stories in a series. When citing a story from an early comic book, it is often necessary to mention the name of the villain or some other salient feature of the story for positive identification. The small print usually found at the bottom of the first page of a comic book is called the "indicia," and serves the functions of a masthead by listing addresses, corporate officers, copyright information The indicia almost always begin with the title of the and ~eriodicity. comic book printed in all capital letters, and this title is the basis for consistency in comic book bibliography. The cover title of a comic book

116

Comics Librarianship.

may seem to vary wildly to the uninitiated, but the indicia title is conservative about changing.

Division of Labor in the Credits.
Newspaper strips are usually done by one or two people, who will often sign their work. Newspaper cartoonists who are doing well will sometimes hire assistants, who normally work under close supervision and are not credited. A comic book, on the other hand, may seem to have been done by a committee. The credits on the splash page may include up to a dozen or so people, or all of the functions may be performed by as few as one or two. The job of writing a comic book story is often divided between a "plotter" and a "scripter." Sometimes the script is not actually produced until the story has been completely illustrated from a plot outline. The word "writer" will usually include both plotting and scripting, but the word "storyteller" is likely to cover some or all of both writing and drawing. Some writers produce a script that looks much like a playscript, with instructions to the artist that make it seem that the writer considers the artist a hired hand. Some artistlwriter teams appear to consider the medium as integrating words and pictures to an extent that neither verbal nor graphic creativity is primarily responsible for the product, and "storyteller" is a neutral word that calls attention to this mode of cooperation. The drawing of a comic book is commonly divided between a "penciler" and an "inker." The degree of detail provided by a penciler to the inker varies, but the penciler at least roughs out the pages, designs the flow of the story and laces the figures in the panels. The inker finishes the product with pen and brush, to make it ready for printing. Sometimes the story is prepared for the penciler by another person, who might be a more experienced penciler or who might even be the writer, doing "layouts" or "breakdowns," which to one degree or another begin the arrangement of events into pages and panels. The coloring and lettering of a comic book are typically handled by specialists. Many beginning collectors confuse the function of colorist with that of inker, but the two are rarely done by the same person. Although colorists and letterers are normally given less critical attention and credit for creativity in the production of a comic book, both have crucial influence on how the final story looks. The editor of a comic book story is also listed in the credits. An editor is an overseer who

Being the Comics Expert.

117

handles the workflow and whose job it is to maintain perspective on the story.

Genre Distinctions.
The standard twentieth-century popular fictional and film genres or formulas are all represented in comic books and strips. They are commonly applied to a series by the publisher and explicitly named or transparently implied right on the cover. Readers often approach comics, as well as other fiction, in this way, and publishers use the labels to attract those readers. These terms are also of use in the library, and the list of genre names used as subject headings in Chapter 4 is pretty near complete.

'I
i

Above All, Read!
To get (and keep) a firm idea of what the comics world is all about, it is necessary to read. The information given here should help the beginning comics librarian to more efficiently start learning about comics. Three reading chores are necessary to be reasonably current: (1) read at least one newspaper comics page per day, (2) read, or at least leaf through, a couple of comic books each day, one of which is something new, and (3) read something about comics every day in a book or magazine. Even this will not finally make you an expert, but you will have the tools to assist the experts intelligently, and the tools to help budding scholars develop expertise. As a side-effect, you will be able to deal with reporters and curiosity-seekers easily. You will probably find that the more you know about comics, the more fascinating a world they become.

Further Reading.
This is a short list of books that should appear early on the reading list of the new comics librarian. These seven books, with follow-ups to ,I most of them, have been chosen not because they are perfect and complete even in the areas each covers, but because taken together they constitute a thorough introduction to much that is the best, and to some

118

Comics Librarianship.

of the most diverse reading the field has to offer. Besides these, new volumes by Mike Benton (a history of American comic books) and Martin Barker (on cultural politics of comics) have been announced for 1990. Based on the previous works of these authors, both of these books merit attention. None of these are reference books, but rather they are books that should be read and experienced as background. Barrier, Michael, and Martin Williams, editors. A Smithsonian Book of Comic-Book Comics. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press; New York: H.N. Abrams, 1981. 336 p. Enough comic books are reprinted here to give the flavor of the Golden Age of comics, and the selection is broad and well-done. As a companion volume, if these reprints spark your interest, the books All in Color for a Dime (New Rochelle, N.Y.: Arlington House, 1970; 263 p.) and its sequel The Comic-Book Book (New Rochelle, N.Y.: Arlington House, 1973; 360 p.), both edited by Dick Lupoff and Don Thompson, are a series of essays in appreciation of some of the same features reprinted in the Smithsonian book. Blackbeard, Bill, and Martin Williams, editors. The Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press; New York: H.N. Abrams, 1977. 336 p. A selection from about 100 comic strips, showing the whole scope of American strips from 1896 through 1976. Once through this book, you still haven't seen everything, of course, but this is the best general collected volume. An earlier book in a similar vein edited by Thomas Craven, Cartoon Cavalcade (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1943) is also excellent. Brabner, Joyce, and Alan Moore, et al. Brought to Light: A Graphic Docudrama. Forestville, Calif.: Eclipse Books, 1989. 78 p. Two Christic Institute cases involving covert U.S. and Contra action in Nicaragua are treated in what is the comic book equivalent to a documentary film. This is something different, and an important statement about the possibilities of comics as an alternative educational and informational medium. This might be compared to the U.S. government's comic book, Manual del Combatiente por la Libertad (no imprint given, of course, but published around 1984)7 which advises Nicaraguan citizens to help bring down their government by dropping typewriters and other petty and not-so-petty acts of sabotage. Comics are in the thick of things.

I

I

11

I

Being the Comics Expert.

119

Jacobs, Will, and Gerard Jones. The Comic Book Heroes. New York: Crown, 1985. 292 p. This is the only book to date that focuses on the Silver Age of U.S. superhero comic books, essentially from the beginning of the 1960s on. These are the world's most collected comic books, and most large donations to libraries will fall into this category. Acquiring minds need to know. The next step in comprehending the Silver Age is to get acquainted with some early 1960s Marvel Comics. Stan Lee's book Origins of Marvel Comics (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1976; 253 p.) provides reprints of the origin stories of the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man, Thor, and Doctor Strange. Lee's introductions give enough of the flavor of the original informality in the presentation of the stories to make this book the next best thing to reading the originals. Robbins, Trina, and Catherine Yronwode. Women and the Comics. Guerneville, Calif.: Eclipse Books, 1985.127 p. Although the scope of this book is so broad that many women comics writers, artists, editors, and publishers are only mentioned, for most it is the first time they have been included in comics history. It is a real eyeopener to see so many women identified (over 500), with samples of the work of most of those that are or were artists. Jerry Robinson's The Comics begins its less than one-third of a page of text on women artists and writers with the line, "The female contribution to newspaper comics has been more than merely decorative." Likewise Maurice Horn's Women in the Comics (New York: Chelsea House, 1977; 229 p.) is an illustrated history of women comics characters (Robbins calls it a "compilation of pinups") which appends a short list of female cartoonists. Robinson, Jerry. The Comics, An Illustrated History of Comic Strip Art. New York: G.P. Putnams' Sons, 1974.256 p. The illustrations overshadow the text in this volume, which consists of chronological chapters that cover twentieth-century American comic strips, with plent y of samples. Ron Goulart's The Adventurous Decade (New Rochelle, N.Y.: Arlington House, 1975; 224 p.) covers most of the ground of one of Robinson's chapters (on the 1930s) in more detail. Goulart supplies separate chapteis on "Wash Tubbs" and "Tarzan," ~ l u chapters organized by the different kinds of adventure strips: s science fiction, detective, aviation, sports, westerns, and military strips.

E

120

Comics Librarianship.

Wertham, Fredric. Seduction o the Innocent. New York: Rinehart, 1954. f 397 p. This is the first book on comic books. It is also the most negative book about comic books that has ever been written. Most people do not take it seriously as investigation, but some of the arguments will not go away. Few people who argue against it have actually read it. It faces complicated issues and deserves careful consideration. As follow-up, Martin Barker's A Haunt o Fears f (London: Pluto Press, 1984; 227 p.) describes and analyses the anticomic book campaigns in Britain during the 1950s, and investigates the ideologies of Wertham and of the British Communist Party. The anticomics movement, both in Britain and in the United States, seems to have included an uneasy alliance between communists and ultraconsewatives.

Notes to Chapter 5.
1. Gifford, Denis. Victorian Comics. London: G. Allen & Unwin, 1976. 144 p. Mostly reprints from British humorous papers of the nineteenth century, connected through annotations to the development of the comic strip. Kunzle, David. The Early Comic Strip: Narrative Strips and Picture Stories in the European Broadsheet from c. 1450 to 1825. (History of the Comic Strip, vol. 1.) Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973.471 p. The second volume of this work, subtitled "The Nineteenth Century," appeared in late 1990. Books on comics published by university presses are vanishingly rare, and it is to be hoped that better library collections will encourage more of this. 2. Olson, Richard D. The Yellow Kid Notes: The Oficial Newsletter o f the Yellow Kid Society vol. 1, no. 1 (March 1989). According to this newsletter, the first panel appeared on February 17,1895, in the New York World. Previous researchers have listed the first Yellow Kid appearance as 1896. The earlier date announced in this newsletter moves the centennial of American comics one year closer. Librarians, prepare your exhibit cases! 3. Horn, Maurice. The World Encyclopedia o Comics. New ~ o r k : f Chelsea House, 1976. 790 p. Many of the dates given in this chapter were found or confirmed in this encyclopedia. In a fast-moving field like comics, a fourteen-year-old book is to

Being the Comics Expert.

121

some degree outdated by new developments in the industry and by new discoveries about comics history. Work has begun on a new edition, but the library that does not yet have this title should not wait. 4. Inge, M. Thomas. "A Chronology of the Development of the American Comic Book," Oficial Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, no. 19, p. A-66 to A-70. New York: House of Collectibles, 1989. This summary of the history of the comic book is updated annually. This feature in the Price Guide does a thorough job of identifying landmarks in comic book history, but it is too compact and detailed to be an introduction to the field. 5. Benton, Mike. Comic Book Collecting for Fun and ProfEt. New York: Crown, 1985.149 p. A very good general guide for the private collector, though it is now dated. Krause Publications. The Guide to Comics Collecting, 4th ed. Iola, Wisc., 1989. 28 p. Free upon request by writing to "Guide to Comics Collecting," 700 E. State St., Iola, Wisconsin 54990. Although this is a brief introduction to comics collecting, it is updated often and sufficient for most purposes. Leiter, Marcia. Collecting Comic Books. Boston: Little, Brown, 1983. 162 p. This book is in some way outdated, but can be used to compare advice with other sources. Some of the terminology is suspicious, as for example the guide it provides to "overground" comic books. Walker, Mort. The Lexicon of Comicana. Port Chester, N.Y.: Museum of Cartoon Art, 1980. 95 p. This is not a verbal, but rather a visual lexicon. The terminology here is more than suspicious, it is fabricated out of whole cloth. But though the words started out in fun, the real conventions they describe mostly have no other appropriate vocabulary and some have apparently been taken up by other comics professionals. This is a serious catalog of the tricks of the newspaper cartooning trade, but reading it is almost as much fun as reading comics.

Chapter 6.

Suggested Research Topics.
Although a recent bibliography was able to list almost 1,000 separately published English language items that might be considered contributions to the history and criticism of comics, the number of "substantial" (meaning book-length treatments of book-length topics) works is considerably smaller.' A recent international bibliography of about the same size includes periodical literature worldwide, but does not reveal any massive tradition of scholar~hip.~ Dozens of writers, artists, editors and other comics industry personnel in every country should have book-length biographies and analyses done about them, but few have appeared. Dozens of comic strips need volumes of discussion and analysis by someone who has studied the full run, but even fewer books of this sort have appeared. Books that collect and reprint the complete run of a comic strip are extremely rare, although in the latter half of the 1980s a movement to publish well-printed and complete sets seems to be taking hold. This is important because availability of complete sets is a precondition for much of the historical and analytical work that needs to be done, especially if it is to be done well. Most of the scholarship that has been done and published has appeared in fanzines. The best single source for critical articles, interviews, and in-depth reviews of comic books is The Comics Journal, published by Fantagraphics Books.3 Nemo, a journal from the same publisher, covers the field of newspaper comic strips better than any other, but these are not typical of the fan publications of the past 30 years.4 Most of the time the more-or-less informal world of fanzine publishing naturally emphasizes the concerns of the amateur enthusiasts who publish them: collecting comics more intelligently and getting to know the professionals in the comics industry. Older fans may

124

Comics Librarianship.

even be motivated by nostalgia, which gets books published but does not usually satisfy the nonfan scholar. Over the years most nearly scholarly fanzine products, generally speaking in terms that the "mundane" or nonfan world can recognize, have been "indexes" and interviews. A fannish index usually has as its basis an attempt to list the contents of a comic book or strip series, or to list the work of a single artist, in order to guide collectors in assembling collections. These indexes may include elaborate abstracts and cross-indexes, and so become valuable for more genera1 purposes. Fan indexes that list the work of a particular artist are the beginnings of biobibliography, but they are only rarely done with the idea of giving insight into the life and work of their subject. The idea is often mainly to build and show off a collection. Nevertheless, interviews with comics professionals are common in fanzines and some of them are quite long and detailed. These interviews, along with thousands of journalistic interviews that have appeared over the years in magazines, syndicated stories and local newspapers, are of potentially great value as raw material for future scholars. The comics librarian is in the middle, between fandom and the mainstream academic world. Although we are part of academia, we are the collectors and hoarders of academia and some of our motivations are similar to those of the private collector. We provide and organize material for others to use, and the checklists and appreciations written by fans help us to do that job. When academic researchers complain that collectors have not done the work that a "real" scholar would have done, they are only pointing up the fact that fans and collectors have not consulted professors before putting ink to paper. Up to now, collectors have been the ones with access to the material, and it's no surprise that the concerns of collecting show in the ~ublications they ~ r o d u c eThe . opposite mistake, that of putting ink to paper without a collection to consult, is at least not made by collectors. Academic dissertations on comics are few and far between, and major published works from university scholars or university presses are even more rare. There are articles about comics in the journal literature of several fields, which can be found using standard indexes, but university libraries are in general ahead of other university departments in accepting the need to document and understand comics. To some degree this is because scholars trained in the stud y of literature, art or other social phenomena are at a loss when faced with all three

Suggested Research Topics.

125

ii

rolled into one package. The current generation of high-school and college students is interested in studying comics, and we need to help them use our collections to practice on. It is not uncommon for teachers to send students who are interested in doing papers to a comics librarian for help in choosing or refining a paper topic. The following list of possible research topics is presented with the hope that it will help librarians encourage thought, research and writing about comics. It is likely that we can learn lessons about the life and art of the twentieth century from comics that might not be as clearly visible in other media. Comics librarians are in an ideal position to help puzzled students get started, or to encourage recreational readers to channel their interests productively. There are questions here that will probably appeal to whatever bent a prospective scholar possesses, be it nostalgic, sociological, artistic, bibliographical, comparative, or structural. The topics are suggestions that can usually be adapted, limited or expanded to fit any level of study, and the topics are recyclable. Even if a topic is found to be already covered in the literature, a high school student could base a report on it. Even if a topic seems impossibly broad for actual research, a paper of intelligent speculation is often as useful. This list was developed over several years and through several brainstorming sessions. A letter to the editor published in the Comics Buyer's Guide, no. 642 (March 7,1986), brought long lists of suggestions from Elizabeth Holden, Ron Schwartz and Ken Kirste. Smaller but still valuable lists came from Roger Dutcher and Leonard Rifas. Ed Buchman and especially Lynn Scott also contributed ideas that appear here. Thanks to all these people. And librarians: If you help somebody with a paper and it looks like it's going to be a good one, don't forget to ask if your library can have a copy!

Questions of Defining the Medium.
1. Write a definition of comics. What are the essential characteristics that distinguish comics from illustrated prose, or from any series of pictures that tells a story, such as an illustrated instruction manual? 2. Are single-panel illustrated features, such as "Dennis the Menacewor "Ripley's Believe-It-or-~ot," comics? 3. Is the Bayeux Tapestry, which tells in pictures the sequence of

126

Comics Librarianship.

events surrounding the Norman invasion of England in 1066 A.D., a comic strip? 4. Some comic strip creators rely more on words or more on pictures, as for example most of Jules Feiffer's work might seem to emphasize text, and Carl Anderson's "Henry" mostly avoided words. What are the extremes, in terms of balancing words and pictures, that are still accepted as comics? 5. Who first used the term "comic strip," and when? In Britain comic strips are also called "strip cartoons," and in France they are "bandes dessinkes." What other names have they been called? Is the fact that new vocabulary had to be introduced some kind of proof that comics were recognizably something new?

How the Medium lmpacts the Message.
6. How does the physical format of the comic strip help to structure its content? 7. Examine the history of reductions in the size comics are printed. Have full figures given way to talking heads? Is there less detail in the drawing, in general? Can you draw a graph to show the way newspaper strip size has changed over several decades? 8. As strip size has decreased, has the number of panels per strip also decreased? What has this done to the rhythm of the humor in gag strips? 9. With decreasing strip size, devoting a whole panel to "what has gone before" may have become too much of a luxury. Have new strategies been developed by creators of continued strips to help readers remember what's been going on? 10. What differences are there between the drawing, pacing, etc., of a daily strip and its Sunday counterpart? How do these differences relate to the strips being a different size, and the use of color on sunday? 11. Examine definitions of the novel. Can a comic book, some of which are called "graphic novels," really be a novel? Why or why not? Have any been published that fit the definitions, such as Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen (New York: DC Comics, 1987; 413 p.), for instance? 12. How do printing and production techniques affect comic book art? Do different methods of printing, latem making, etc., or different qualities of paper produce noticeable changes in the way an artist works?

Suggested Research Topics.

127

13. How is color used in comic book art? Background colors, monochromatic backgrounds, shades, contrasts and intensity are all deliberately manipulated in comic books. Catalog these techniques and others, with examples. 14. Compare a comic book story in its original form printed on cheap porous paper, to a reprint of the same story printed on shiny, more expensive paper. What differences appear? Are there reasons to prefer one form over the other? How much has bad quality paper contributed to the ambience of comic book reading over the years? 15. Based to some extent on pricing strategies, and on the availability of paper, the length of the "standard American comic book story has varied widely over the years. How does length affect the content of a comic book story, in terms of such things as number of subplots, number of chatacters, or other variables?

The Plot and Its Progress.
16. What plotting conventions are unique to comic strips? Is the daily (or weekly in the case of some Sunday strips) episodic structure of continued strips consistently different from that of soap operas, sitcoms, epic poetry, or other forms of serial fiction? 17. Trace the decline of the continuity newspaper strip as more and more of the story line strips yield to the gag-a-day variety. Is this tendency mainly concurrent with the decline in strip size, or are other factors such as decreasing attention span, sunspot activity, or competing media, involved? 18. How are classic tales, such as myths, fairy tales, epic poems, Shakespeare, or old "Honeymooners" episodes, influential in comic book stories? If fiction is based on the retelling of old plots with new settings, what are the characteristic comic-book plots in a given genre, and where did they originate? 19. Are comic books, with their wide distribution among young and impressionable readers, creating new myths in twentieth-century cultures? For example, is protecting the secret identity from the inquisitive girlfriend, which is a characteristic of the Superman myth in the popular mind, new and important enough to be considered an analytical key to our society?

:

128

Comics Librarianship.

The Medium Conscious of Itself.
20. A1 Capp once had a "Terry and the Pirates" character seek
work in the "Li'l Abner" strip, and did takeoffs on Mary Worth, Dick Tracy, and others. Sam of "Sam's Strip" consistently met characters from other strips. Berke Breathed's Bill the Cat is considered a parody of Jim Davis's Garfield. Find and compare occasions when one comic strip creator references another strip or creator. 21. When a comic strip comes to an end, the characters are sometimes aware that something is happening, and sometimes not. Compare the ending sequences of various strips. 22. A few comic books, for example, Mad, Not Brand Ecch and Normalman, feature parodies of other comic book and comic strip features. Compare a parody with its referent, to discover and evaluate what the parodist thought were the distinguishing features or contradictions within the original. 23. Especially in comic books, panel borders are sometimes used for other purposes than for separating distinct and sequential drawings. The apparent panels may form part of a larger design, for example, or characters may be able to see and comment on action taking place elsewhere on the page. Find and discuss a number of examples of atypical or violated panel borders.

Language in the Comics.
24. What writing conventions are unique to comics? Based on interviews or other evidence, do comics writers consider their craft to be a genuine specialty? A good source of interviews is the monthly magazine Comics Interview (New York: Fictioneer Books, 1983- ). 25. How does language used in comic books differ from that used in other fiction? Do word counts, for instance, show consistent differences in the size of the vocabulary used in comics and other fiction? 26. How does the language used in comic books differ from natural speech? When Spider-Man and a villain exchange more words than blows during what otherwise seems to be a rapid and desperate struggle, how and why is this different from the communication that might occur during a real physical confrontation? 27. In the comic strip "Pogo," and to some extent in other strips, different styles of lettering are used to establish that certain characters

Suggested Research Topics.

I29

speak differently. Examine different styles, and discover what typefaces they are meant to represent and what sort of character or emotional state each variant is used to evoke. 28. The comic book character Thor speaks, although with doubtful grammar, using the archaic English second person singular forms "thee" and "thou," and an occasional " h a t h or "doth." What does this practice add to the character and ambience of Thor comic books? Are there other examples of consistently different speech patterns used to create character identity in comics or other media, and how do they compare? 29. How is baby-talk handled in the comics? Compare "Rose Is Rose," where baby-talk is just defective speech directed from child to parent, "Mother Goose and Grimm," where baby-talk is an obnoxious attempt by an owner to express love for a pet, and Sugar and Spike, where baby-talk is a complete language used for private communication among babies. Are there other uses for baby-talk in the comics? 30. What words, compound words, or names are used more frequently in comics than elsewhere? The refixes "super-" and "spider-" come to mind, but are there others? What is the origin of each as specialized comics vocabulary? 31. From listing and comparing examples of onomatopoeic sound effects in both comic books and strips, can rules for their construction be deduced? Do different types of words appear for different situations, such as falling onto concrete from a great height, getting burned to a crisp by a dragon, or disintegrating a mighty spaceship in outer space? 32. Illuminate the role of puns in Walt Kelly's "Pogo," and in other comic strips such as Thaves's "Frank and Ernest," "Family Circus," or the 1989 revival of "Pogo." 33. There was a time when it was common for every sentence of a superhero comic book to end with an exclamation point, whether the context made it appropriate or not. Most readers didn't notice this, but it tended to add excitement to the experience of reading the story nonetheless. When did this practice begin and end, and what in general is the history of the use of the exclamation point in comic books? 34. early every history of comic strips mentions a few words or phrases that were coined by cartoonists or comics writers and subsequently made their way into everyday speech. Compile a glossary of these and discuss the etymology of each.

130

Comics Librarianship.

Anatomy in the Comics.
35. Discuss trends and differences in the treatment of human or animal anatomy, comparing different kinds of comics (romance, funny, or superhero comic books, for example) or different time periods, or different artists. 36. How does the physical morphology of any given kind of comics characters differ from reality, and why? Are all funny-animal ducks exaggerated in the same way, for example? 37. Why do some characters have big noses, like Snuffy Smith, and others have big feet, like Alley Oop? Is this a signal to the reader about how seriously we should take them? 38. Why do so many comics characters, especially babies and animals, have such enormous eyes? Compare eye size to head size and head size to body size among funny kids and funny animals.

Graphic Styles.
39. What are the conventions, and what have been the trends, in the graphic composition of a comic strip? The balancing of light and dark areas, the use of close-ups, full figures, etc., and the use of perspective, are among the routine decisions that cartoonists make and can experiment with. 40. Discuss the graphic composition of a comic book page. Do some patterns sacrifice the overall look of the page in order to help the reader follow the story? Is the opposite sometimes true? What is the role of light and dark areas? Of color? Of varying perspective? 41. Study trends and patterns in the use of lighting in comic art. Do different artists place shadows and apparent light sources differently? Are there different conventions for different genres, for example horror versus romance comic books, or humor versus adventure strips? 42. Relate George Herriman's art style in "Krazy Kat" to the fine art school of surrealistic painting and drawing. 43. What is Bill Sienkiewicz doing to comic book art? 44. What special conventions exist for the covers of comic books? How do covers differ from interiors of comic books, and from splash pages? Are certain subjects preferred or avoided? 45. What styles of lettering and placement are used for logos and titles of comic books? Compare and contrast styles and effects among different titles, different companies, or different decades.

Suggested Research Topics.

Writing Styles.
46. Are the symbolic and metaphoric aspects of comic book storytelling more likely to appear in the drawing than in the text? Does the presence of integral illustration, in other words, decrease the use of figurative language? 47. Does the superhero genre of comic books have a unique or cognate symbolism? Why are some of the trappings of superheroism, for example costumes and logos, so consistently applied as to almost define the genre? 48. Examine relationship between writing and drawing of comic strips. When the tasks are done by separate people, how is the workflow arranged? When a single person produces the strip, are the results likely to be consistently different in any way from strips produced by collaborators? 49. Which comic book artists are also writers? Examine stories by these artists to see if there are differences between the work they produce solo and the work they produce working with another writer.

The Characters.
50. How is characterization developed in newspaper comics? How long does it take to establish a new character? Once established, do characters evolve over time? 51. When writers or artists change, do comic strip characters normally become different as well? 52. Some long-running comic book series have had many writers. Do characters routinely evolve or change when new writers are assigned? Examine and analyse a specific character, for example Wolverine, Jimmy Olsen, or Archie. 53. How does John Stanley's comic book treatment of Little Lulu differ from Marge's original magazine cartoon character? 54. Some comic book characters appear simultaneously in more than one title, handled by more than one writer and artist. How successful are the editors at keeping these characters consistent? Examine and analyse a specific character, for example Batman or Spider-Man. 55. Is characterization in comics established mainly through text? What different roles do words and pictures play in delineating a character?

132

Comics Librarianship.

The Super-Characters.
56. What is the underlying psychology of the superhero? What are the reasons why this character type is the most successful in the comic book medium? 57. Batman seems to fight crime as a way to avenge the deaths of his parents. Is it really more complicated than that? What are the motivations of other crime-fighting superheroes? 58. Choose a villain from comic books, and investigate what specific evils the character is designed to represent. Does Dr. Doom, for example, personify a particular political persuasion, or is he an exaggeration of the faceless bureaucrat type? 59. Compare super-villains with superheroes. Why are the villains, superficially at least, often more interesting? Compare The Joker with The Batman, or the Green Goblin with Spider-Man, for example. 60. Why was there a need for superheroes to have sidekicks in the Golden Age of comic books (the 1940s)? Why, most often, were they humorous characters? Examples are Green Lantern's Doiby Dickles, The Spirit's Ebony, The Flash's Three Clowns, Captain America's Bucky, Batman's Robin, and Wonder Woman's Etta Candy. 61. What factors determine the design of superhero costumes? How are characters and their costumes related? Are the colors used in costumes significant? 62. Do superhero costumes reflect the time in which they were designed, and how do they change with time? 63. Are there differences in criteria for the creation of superheroines' and superheroes' costumes? 64. Are superhero costumes used ~rimarily hide identities, or to to establish identities? 65. Is Superman really real?

The Non-Super-Characters.
66. Are there stock characters in the various kinds of comic books? Write a generic dramatis personae for a particular type of comic book story, such as the teen humor comic book, the rich kid comic book, the group of superheroes working together conlic book, or the jungle adventure comic book. Are there Jungian archetypes to fit the stock characters?

Suggested Research Topics.

133

67. How and why are anthropomorphic characters (funny animals) used in comics? 68. How come Goofy can talk, but Pluto can't? What becomes of the role of "pet" in a funny animal context? Consider also Snoopy, Garfield and Odie. 69. Consider Garfield's ancestry. Trace the influences of earlier comic cats on the appearance and style of Jim Davis' "Garfield." Cats to consider might be Krazy Kat, Felix the Cat, Cicero, Fat Freddie's Cat, and as a presumed "descendant" of Garfield, Bill the Cat. Consult Great Comic Cats by Bill Blackbeard and Malcolm Whyte (San Francisco, Calif.: Troubador Press, 1981; 157 p.). 70. Examine why there has been a decrease in the popularity of the all-American comics hero, such as Steve Canyon, Terry (of "Terry and the Pirates"), etc. 71. How have cartoonists and writers translated the fame of various movie comedians into the comics? Comic strips featuring Charlie Chaplin and Woody Allen were done, for example, and W.C. Fields appeared in "Chief Wahoo." Comic books were devoted to the adventures of Jerry Lewis and Bob Hope. 72. Compare the screen versions of famous cowboys, such as Roy Rogers, Monte Hale, and Red Ryder, with their comic book or comic strip incarnations.

The Setting.
73. Examine and analyse the use of setting in a particular comic book or strip feature, or a particular kind of feature. Are there "average" rural, urban, and small-town settings, and how similar are they to reality? 74. Subterranean societies are a common setting in comics. Find, analyse and compare some of these. What do they have in common? How plausible are they? 75. Hidden nations are a common setting in comics. Find, analyse and compare some of these. What seems to be the writer's purpose in creating such a place? 76. Why has New York City been so often used as a setting in superhero comics, and how accurately is it used? 77. ~ n a l y s e map any coherent comic-book universe or special or setting. ~ x a m p l e s might be the world of the Legion of Super-Heroes,

,

'

I34

Comics Librarianship.

any DC universe, the Marvel universe, the Hyborean Age of Conan, the world of Cerebus the Aardvark, the dimensions of Dr. Strange, the worlds of American Flagg, Dalgoda, ElfQuest, or Dreadstar, or the alien empires of the Skrull, Kree, or Shi'ar. 78. Compare the settings of two or more comic strips that seem to have little else in common. Examples might be "Tumbleweeds" and "Red Ryder," "Asterix the Gaul" and "Hagar the Horrible," "Brenda Starr" and "The Amazing Spider-Man." 79. Study how comics in general, or some subset of comics, have portrayed a given place or culture. Of interest might be portrayals of Latin America, Africa, Eastern Europe, Ancient Egypt, Cleveland, etc. 80. How do European comics portray North American places, such as Chicago with its perennial infestation of gangsters, or Suburbia, or The West? How do Japanese or Latin American comics portray the same? 81. Prepare a gazetteer of comics geography, identifying recognizable real or fictional settings as an aid to future studies about the settings of comics.

How Comics Relate to Current Events.
82. Discuss the relationship between the then-current social context and the comic books or strips of a given time period. How are war, depression, recession, prosperity, new technology, political campaigns and other social events and issues portrayed? 83. According to some, Milton Caniff had the ability to depict future events in his comic strips, for example the 1944 invasion of Burma, the 1972 kidnapping of Patty Hearst, the 1985 Beirut skyjacking and the Mexican earthquake. Evaluate the claim. To get started, see Peter Poplaski's article, "Comics Prophecy: Milton Caniff Sequence Precedes Real-Life Hostage Crisis" in Comics Buyer's Guide no. 6U (August 2, 1985), p. 3. 84. What is the international political role of Latveria, the oppressed fiefdom of Doctor Doom in Marvel comics (found especially in Fantastic Four and Super-Villain Team-Up). How would it function diplomatically in the real world of today? Who would be its enemies and allies, and what would be its domestic and foreign policies? Compare it with any modern state, or with the country in "The Wizard of Id."

Suggested Research Topics.

135

85. Some comics have used historical settings or characters. Examine any example of such for historical accuracy. Examples might be Caesar and the Roman legions in "Asterix," medieval Japan in Ronin or Usagi Yojimbo, ancient Greece in Wonder Woman, World War I1 in Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos, Viking culture in "Tales of Asgard," any of the time-travel stories involving Superman, any western comic book or strip, or Christ and Biblical times in religious comics. 86. Trace the changes in certain strips as they updated to reflect changes in society. For examples, Blondie goes from gold-digger to housewife, Mary Worth goes from depression poverty to upper middle class, and Gordo goes from peasant to sophisticated Lothario. 87. Would a fifty-year-old daily newspaper comics page, if republished today in a newspaper, be interesting or intelligible to readers? Find such an old page and look for differences in social context that seem to underlie any aspects that we would not expect to see in today's strips. Are some differences due to change or evolution within the medium itself? Are some types of strips more dated than others? 88. Africa has been thoroughly explored in comic books and strips. What can be learned about Africa from portrayals in jungle adventure strips and comic books such as "Tarzan of the Apes,""Tim Tyler's Luck," etc. Is Africa treated any more realistically than Mars as a setting for adventure? 89. What can be learned about changes in North American attitudes toward the Third World by comparing images of Asia, Africa or Latin Arrlerica over time in comic strips or comic books?

How Comics Relate to Politics.
90. Examine how various comics creators have incorporated political comment into their newspaper strips. Likely examples to study are A Capp, Berke Breathed, Jules Feiffer, Walt Kelly, and Garry 1 Trudeau. 91. Trace the apparent swing from liberal to conservative in A 1 Capp's political stance as represented in his "Li'l Abner" comic strip. Capp discusses this himself in the introduction to a book of selected il reprints from his strip, called The Best of L' Abner (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1978; 190 p.). 92. Describe the ways in which Harold Gray's political philosophy was communicated in his comic strip "Little Orphan Annie." Has this

136

Comics Librarianship.

I
I
I

I
I
I

I

I

aspect of the strip been carried over into the "Annie" strip of the 1980s? 93. Examine political ideology in comic books. For example, is the progress of the Cold War visible in American comic books? 94. Examine the relationship between superheroes or superhero teams and the United States government. When the relationship is adversarial, how do the heroes manage to remain patriotic? 95. How has the United States' role in war been portrayed in comic strips, from World War I through Vietnam? Have alternatives to simple patriotism been shown? 96. Can the ideas behind democracy, pacifism, neutrality, fascism, imperialism, and either revolutionary or Soviet communism be understood or deduced through reading war comics? 97. Is the libertarianism so apparent in Steve Ditko's noncommercial comic book work also detectable in his more mainstream comic books? When Ditko is not the writer of the story, is a political aspect still present? 98. Are United States party politics important to the plot of many comic book stories and continued newspaper strips? How do writers disguise the parties involved so as not to offend the political sensibilities of their readers, or their parents? 99. How are single-issue politicians and groups portrayed in terms of sincerity or cynicism, and how are the issues they espouse presented? Are political reasons for activism included, or are personal reasons more common? 100. Compare comic books distributed as campaign literature for and against political candidates. Do they address similar issues? Based on the level of discussion and the points of emphasis found, is it possible to determine why the comic book format was chosen? 101. How are labor unions ~ o r t r a y e d comic books and strips? in Is it possible to understand the basic reasons for the labor movement from any comic book produced primarily as entertainment? 102. How was antiwar activism and protest portrayed in comic books or strips during the time of the Vietnam War, and have the images since changed? Were antiwar characters treated differently in war comics than in other kinds? 103. How are feminism and feminists represented in comic books or strips? Have the images and motivations changed over the years? Are feminist characters treated differently in romance comics than in other kinds of comics?

Suggested Research Topics.

How Comics Relate to Religion.
104. Do religious issues, or combinations of religious and political issues such as abortion and capital punishment, appear as often in comic books and strips as more strictly political issues? Why might this be true? 105. How is the religious right, for example the Moral Majority or political televangelism, portrayed in comics? 106. How is "real" religion used in the plots, settings or characterizations of "supernatural" comic books such as Tomb of Dracula, The Spectre, "Deadman," or "Dr. Strange"? 107. Is it appropriate to assume that most comic strips will exhibit an individual religious philosophy, or is there a "generic" religious philosophy that can be deduced from the comics page? 108. Is Charles Schulz's "Peanuts" a religious strip? 109. Compare images of the clergy in comic strips, for example "Brother Juniper," the chaplain in "Beetle Bailey," the television preacher in "Kudzu," and the priest in "Geech." What accounts for the similarities and differences? 110. How is religion handled in the strip "Wee Pals," by Morrie Turner, which is multicultural and multiethnic? 111. How are churches and organized religion portrayed in comics? Compare depictions in religious or church-sponsored comics with mainstream comics. 112. How is Hell portrayed in comics? Compare Stig's Inferno, "The Far Side," Son of Satan, and others. 113. How are devils and demons portrayed in comic books? Is there a generic profile for such characters? Compare Jack Kirby's The Demon, the motorcyclist Ghost Rider, Blue Devil, Hot Stuf the Little Devil, and others. 114. How are Eastern religions represented in comic books? Is representation usually of a specific religion, or is there a generic one available to writers? Is a "guru" more likely to be a bad guy than a good guy? Why? 115. Is the Jewish religion accurately portrayed in comics? Are Jewish holidays ever noted in newspaper comics, as Christmas and Easter commonly are? 116. what could one learn about the Muslim religion from North American comic books and strips?

138

Comics Librarianship.

How Comics Relate to Social Pathology.
117. Superheroes are commonly crimefighters who work outside the law. How would charges of vigilantism be answered by particular superheroes or superheroines? 118. How is vigilantism as a social problem dealt with in supervigilante comic books like The Vigilante and The Punisher? 119. Examine comic strips for depictions ofviolence. How has the use of violence changed with time, for example in "Dick Tracy"? 120. How is violence used in comic books, in comparison with other media such as live or animated television, movies, or novels? 121. How does the presentation of violence in comic books differ from genre to genre, for example comparing western to science fiction comics, or from company to company? 122. Comic books have sometimes been regarded as a social pathology in and of themselves. How have sociologists, psychologists, clergy, et al. criticized comic books? Can a given criticism be proven true or false? 123. How is drug abuse presented in comic books? Examine issues of Cloak and Dagger, or Green LanternlGreen Arrow, or other stories featuring drug problems. 124. Does the comic books Heroes for Hope (New York: Marvel Comics Group, 1985), which was published to help the famine relief effort in Ethiopia, adequately reflect the Ethiopian situation? 125. Study how newspaper strip creators responded to an appeal to devote their 1985 Thanksgiving Day strips to the subject of world hunger. The results of the "Cartoonists Thanksgiving Day Hunger Project" were published in book form as Comic Relief (New York: H . Halt, 1986; 91 p.). 126. Using Chester Gould's "Crimestopper's Textbook ane el at the top of each "Dick Tracy" Sunday strip, examine trends in American concerns about crime. 127. Trace the decline of smoking in comic strips as Americans change their attitudes about one of their longtime habits.

Family in the Comics.
128. Examine the portrayals of marriage in comic strips. Compare, for example, the Flagstons and the Bumsteads ("Hi and ~ o i s , "

Suggested Research Topics.

139

"Blondie"). Have their relationships changed over the years? A book of selected "Blondie" reprints from 1930 to 1980 has been published, edited by Dean Young and Richard Marschall: Blondie G Dagu;ood's America (New York: Harper & Row, 1981; 144 p.). A book of selected "Hi and Lois" strips, with selections dating from 1954 to 1986, has been edited by Brian Walker as The Best of Hi and Lois (Bedford, N.Y.: Comicana Books, 1986; 140 p.). 129. Have the family relationships in "Gasoline Alley" changed since 1919 in ways similar to the changes experienced by their readers? 130. Why do the kids in Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck comics and cartoons have uncles and aunts, but no parents?

Weight and Fashion.
131. Compare and discuss characters who are kidded about being overweight, such as Gordo, Humphry in "Joe Palooka," Hagar the Horrible, and Fat Stuff in "Smilin' Jack." How do these characters compare with the women in "Cathy" and "Sylvia," for whom weight is not just funny? 132. Explore comics which display an unusually high responsiveness to fashion, from "Tillie the Toiler," who was so fashionable that patterns were sold for some designs, to Katy Keene, who allows her readers to dress her each month. What is the relationship between real world fashion and its depiction in comics?

i

i

Science and Technology.
133. Discuss assumptions about future technology that are made in order to make science fiction comic books and strips look futuristic. Are architectural materials stronger, or have tastes just changed? Are communications and transportation the main areas of change? 134. Are superheroes a kind of science fiction? Do the powers of most superheroes derive from scientific possibilities, or are they mostly 135. postulate a genetic rationale for superhero mutants in
136. Discuss the scientific or technical explanations given in the origin story of a super-character.

140

Comics Librarianship.

137. Albert Einstein, his theory of relativity, and especially the formula "e = mc2," have become symbols in our culture for inscrutable intelligence. Find and compare several references to Einstein or relativity in comic books or comic strips. What could you learn about relativity from comics? 138. The comic strip "Dick Tracy" is particularly full of inventions and death traps. Is there in some sense a competition going on within the strip between positive and negative images of technology? 139. Trace the relationship of Chester Gould's fantasy technology in "Dick Tracy" to actual developments in scientific police work. 140. Compare images of the scientist as inventor, for example Gyro Gearloose, Doc Wonmug in "Alley Oop," and Reed Richards in The Fantastic Four. In general, how is the professional scientist regarded in the comics?

People and Peoples in the Comics.
141. Comics help to shape and reinforce images of the categories of people that their characters represent. What have American comic strips presented as the idealized self-image of the American? Has the image changed in 100 years of comic strips? 142. How have American comic strips portrayed the enemies of America, especially during wartime? What kinds of negative images were produced, that emphasized or fabricated differences between Americans and enemies? 143. Did the American self-image become more positive and idealized than usual during World War 11, if comic books and strips are an indication? If so, what characteristics were exaggerated? 144. Were Japanese stereotypes shown in comic books during World War I1 harsher than those of Germans or Italians because of racism? 145. Were there any positive images of Japanese, German, or Italian people in comic books or strips during World War II? -146. Compare images of German ~ e o p l in American comic strips e during the two world wars. 147. How are communists depicted in American comic books or strips? Are they always foreigners? Are they ever portrayed sympathetically? 148. How have comic books responded to the civil rights move-

Suggested Research Topics.

141

ment? Can a general improvement in sensitivity in portrayal of minority characters be documented? 149. Compare images of African Americans in 1940s and 1980s comic strips. What has happened to the drawing styles used? Has the social status of the African American character changed? 150. Compare Native American characters in superhero comic books; for example, Danielle Moonstar in The New Mutants, Wyatt Wingfoot in The Fantastic Four, and Dawnstar in Legion o Superf

Heroes.
151. How are Native Americans portrayed in traditional western comics? Compare Tomahawk, The Lone Ranger, and others. What differences exist when the title character is Native American, such as in White Eagle Indian Chief, or The Lone Ranger's Companion Tonto? 152. Is the portrayal of Japanese people and culture in American comic books changing as more and more Japanese comic books are being translated for the American market? Based on the content of the translated comics, what are American readers learning about Japan and the Japanese? 153. Examine the "yellow peril" mentality toward Asian peoples, as found in World War I1 and Korean War era comic books, and in the comic book Yellow Claw (1956-1957). Compare the images in the more recent "kung fu" genre with the 1950s depictions. 154. Compare the images of Mexican people as found in the comic strip "Gordo" and in the comic book Love and Rockets. 155. How do images of Mexican people in United States comic books compare with the images found in Mexican comic books, for example La Familia Burrbn or Los Agachados? 156. Explore how cartoonists and comics writers have depicted women through the years. Are women's roles dependent or independent, and have they changed? Choose a long-running strip and compare two different years, or compare whole comics pages for different years. 157. The character Miss Buxley in Mort Walker's "Beetle Bailey" is often pointed to as a sexist image. Some newspapers have dropped the strip for that reason. Do you think such an action is justified? Mort Walker presents some of the evidence in his book, Miss Buxley: Sexism in Beetle Bailey? (Bedford, N.Y.: Comicana Books, 1982; 95 p.). 158. Investigate how gay and lesbian people are alluded to (or avoided) in the comics, including the withdrawal of Winnie Winkle's son announcing he was gay, Gay Comix, and treatments in strips such as onesbur bury" and "Sylvia."

142

Comics Librarianship.

159. How are old people portrayed in the comics? Study "Gasoline Alley," where characters age along with real time, and "Crankshaft," who has never been young. Are there many other examples? 160. Why are "funny k i d strips like "Peanuts," "Nancy," and "Wee Pals" so popular? Why aren't the characters animals, or adults, instead of children? Are these supposed to be like real children, or are they mainly used to remove the setting from real adult life, like the funny animals are? 161. Compare "imaginary friend strips "Barnaby" by Crockett Johnson and "Calvin and Hobbes" by Bill Watterson. Why are these strips successful? What role do the adult characters play? 162. What is a "native"? Early adventure comics often visited faraway places, sometimes identified as Africa, and came upon darkskinned, ignorant people with bones in their noses and a thing for boiling people in pots. Where did this offensive stock character come from, and does it still exist? 163. Analyse the portrayal of aliens in comics. Are humanoid aliens used differentl y than reptilian, other mammalian, or unrecognizable aliens?

Walks of L$e in the Comics.
164. Examine how specific professions and occupations are treated in comic strips and comic books. Pirates, doctors, lawyers, spies, bankers, bakers, judges, hitmen, taxi drivers, cooks, housekeepers, dogcatchers, and real estate agents all appear, along with soldiers, police, firefighters, garbage collectors, barbers, musicians, teachers, bank tellers, psychiatrists, plumbers, sailors, professors, criminals, dentists, bus drivers and office workers. Any one of these occupations could be studied in detail to produce a profile of its cultural image. 165. Prepare an occupational directory for comic books, comic strips, or both, to help future scholars locate images of working people in specific jobs more efficiently. 1.66. What lifestyles are shown in comics? How do family size, type of dwelling, apparent income level, etc., compare with "real" statistics? How do comics depictions compare with those in other media? 167. Examine characters and themes associated with royal or aristocratic families in comics, e.g., emperors, queens, kings, and titled nobility.

Suggested Research Topics.

Fiction by Formula?
168. List and define the various formula-based categories that are commonly used in comics, such as humor, underground, war, western, funn y animal, funny kid, spy, detective, kung fu, funny ghost, funny military, romance, science fiction, fantasy, horror, teen humor, or crime comics. Are they all represented in other media? 169. Trace the popularity of the various categories of comic strips or books by charting the number of, for example, detective strips that were running at selected times, and the number of detective comic books that were ~ublished selected months. Do the numbers inin crease and decrease together? 170. Perhaps it is time to reexamine the relevance of the 1960s revolutionary stance of underground cartooning. Are underground comix still a recognizable genre, except historically speaking? 171. Bill Griffith's underground comix hero Zippy appears in such papers as the San Francisco Examiner and the Detroit News. Has Zippy changed? Have the establishment newspapers changed? Or has nothing changed and is laundry still the only deeply viable antimetaphor? 172. Trace the history of the western story in comic books, from Western Picture Stories in 1937, listed in the Oficial Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide (19th ed.) as the first western comic book, to the French parody Lucky Luke or to the hybrid westernlscience fiction comic book Scout: War Shaman. Has the West been won in comic books, or is there more to come? 173. Romance or love comic books have all but disappeared from the American market, or have they? Have increasingly complicated and dramatic personal relationships among superheroes and superheroines attracted some of the readership that used to buy the soap-opera style titles? 174. How did war comics respond at the time to the Vietnam war (1961-1975)? Compare Tales of the Green Beret (1967-1969) with The 'Nam (1986- ) or Vietnam Journal (1987- ). 175. What war comics have portrayed the problems of Vietnam veterans? How have other kinds of comics used this theme? 176. Compare and contrast humor strips across the nearly 100 years of newspaper comics. What has happened to ethnic, sexual, matrimonial, or golf jokes? 177. IS Archie Andrew America's typical teenager? Has he ever been? Trace the popularity of the teen humor comic book. When was

I

144

Comics Librarianship.

the heyday of Archie and his pals and imitators? Michael Uslan and Jeffrey Mendel have edited a book that will be a good place to start: The f Best o Archie (New York: Putnam, 1980; 255 p.). 178. A new subgenre of fantasy comic books seems to have begun with the publication of Conan the Barbarian no. 1 in 1970. This "sword and sorcery" comic book soon had spinoffs and imitators. Trace the development of this relatively new kind of comic book. Does it have roots within earlier comic books? What is the connection with the newer comic books based on "Dungeons and Dragons" and other fantasy role-playing games?

Specialized, Educational, Propaganda, and Pornographic Comics.
179. Find and describe a comic strip developed and produced for a specialized audience. Examples might be, strips in military publications such as Stars and Stripes, strips in professional or occupational journals, and strips in college newspapers. 180. The AIDS crisis has been the occasion for dozens of educational comic books, presumably targeted at high-risk populations. One of the earliest educational comic books was Doc Carter VD Comics in 1949. What is the reasoning behind this choice of format to deliver information about sexually-transmitted diseases? 181. Examine any educational or propaganda comic book for accuracy in the information it presents. Compare, if possible, two different nonfiction comic books with similar themes. 182. Examine how comic strip characters were presented in the highly graphic and overtly sexual "eight-pagers," small comic books produced in Mexico that plundered United States comic strips for their characters.

Past'and Future in the Comics.
183. Dozens of strips set in the future treat our future as their past. Sometimes time has caught up with the predictions. How accurately has the future been portrayed in such strips as "Flash Gordon," rick Bradford," and "Buck Rogers"?

Suggested Research Topics.

145

184. How was the future foreseen in the comics of the 1940s? How did or might the war have affected that viewpoint? 185. Examine the view (or views) of history presented in comics. What historical periods seem to be of the most interest, and why? 186. Discuss time travel as a device for routine changes of setting in the comics. Examples can be found in "Alley Oop," in Superboy joining the Legion of Super-Heroes, and the treadmill used by The Flash. 187. Propose an anthology of time-travel stories that would show the comic-book approach to this literary device to its best advantage.

International Scene.
188. Compare and analyse the differences in style between United States comics and those of another nation, for example, France, Italy, Spain, Norway, Japan, Mexico or Canada. 189. What special difficulties arise in translating comics into or out of English? Compare comic books or strips that have been translated, with their originals. Are some of the subplots missing in translated comic books? Can humorous strips always be translated? 190. In translating to Hebrew or Arabic, how is the fact that these languages read from right to left taken into account in the sequencing of the pictures? 191. What is the influence of Japanese comics and animation on American comics? Has this influence been seen in newspaper strips and newsstand comic books, or is it so far confined to comic books in direct distribution? 192. Trace the graphic album or graphic novel format from its European origin to its adoption by most American companies. 193. Are there comics in China, the Soviet Union, or other socialist or communist countries? Examples that have been published in the United States and labelled "comics" do not seem at first glance to be connected to the rest of the international comics scene. See The People's Comic Book (Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Press, 1973) and Soviet Humor: The Best of Krokodil (Kansas City: Andrews and McMeel, 1989).
!

Relating Comics to Film, Video, and Theater.
194. Demonstrate the influence comics have had on the silver screen by preparing an annotated filmography of comics characters who

146

Comics Librarianship.

have been translated into movies or serials. Examples are: Dick Tracy, Blondie, Flash Gordon, Superman, The Batman, Howard the Duck and Popeye. 195. What changes are made when a comics character's adventures become the basis of a movie, television show or animated series? Choose a character, like The Incredible Hulk, Dennis the Menace, Red Ryder, or Wonder Woman, and compare its treatment in two or more media. 196. Some artists have said that the study of cinematic technique has been important in developing their own styles of graphic storytelling. Find evidence in interviews and other sources, and in the work of comics artists, that will illuminate the extent of this kind of debt to another medium. 197. Analyse the treatment of any movie in a comic book adaptation. How successful or unsuccessful was the change of medium? What changes were made? For examples to study, see the titles beginning with the word "movie" in the Oficial Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide (p. 275-277 in the 19th ed.). 198. Are comics getting more sophisticated, as their publishers periodically announce, or does this question even make sense? In comparison with television, what are the directions in which change seems to be happening? How do the new comic book publishers and the new distribution schemes compare with the advent of cable networks, independent stations, and public access television? If less sophisticated shows or comics can be targeted toward a less sophisticated audience, is the net result more sophistication? 199. Compare theater to comic books. The media are similar in that the text is mostly dialogue. Can a reasonably successful comic book be drawn from any reasonably successful play script, or do difficulties arise which help to point out differences between the two kinds of storytelling? 200. Compare various adaptations of Shakespeare's plays to comic book format. Are they novelties, or do they succeed in making the plays accessible to a wider audience? '201. A number of comics characters have been used to make musical comedies. Have these adaptations been similar in terms of changes to individual characters, change -in cast of characters, or other aspects? Examples of characters are Li'l Abner, Little orphan Annie, Charlie Brown, Doonesbury, Neil the Horse, and Superman.

Suggested Research Topics.

Relations Among Graphic Media.
202. "Pop art" adopted comics briefly in the 1960s, and artist Roy Lichtenstein became famous for paintings that looked like panels stolen from comic books. "Modern art" in the comics, on the other hand, is practically a standing joke represented by nonsense squiggles and usually hung upside-down or made by chimpanzees. Explore the relationship between fine-arts painting and comics art. 203. Editorial cartooning is a different but parallel medium to newspaper comics, and sometimes the distinctions blur. What are the distinctions? Choose an event that has attracted the attention of cartoonists both on the editorial page and on the funnies page. Are there differences in timeliness? On which page does "Berry's W o r l d belong? 204. When a comic book character gets a comic strip (for example, Spider-Man or Archie), or when a comic strip character gets a comic book (for example, Beetle Bailey or Blondie), what changes are made? Is the cast of characters different? Do the characters themselves behave differently?

Multi-Medium Studies.
205. The character Batman began in a comic book, and has been featured as well in a newspaper strip, in movie serials, in a live-action television series, in animated cartoons, and in two full-length movies. The character has been through some drastic changes. What are the "essential" Batman characteristics? When the character is reinterpreted in one medium, do stories in the other media change to conform? 206. The readership of American comic books is mostly boys and young adult men. Do the portrayals of women in comic books, particularly those most favored by the male readership, differ from portrayals in media with a more homogeneous audience, such as comic strips, television, film, or science fiction? 207. Many comic books and strips are based on sources in other media: Tarzan, Master o Kung Fu, the many Dracula series, Star Wars, f Mickey Mouse, Doc Savage, Dallas, The Muppets, and dozens of other television show spinoffs. Analyse the use of source material in one or more of these, and then catalog the changes made for the comics medium. 208. Comic books that are based on toys often end their runs soon

t

148

Comics Librarianship.

after they begin, but some seem to persist. Examine the Marvel comic books The Transformers and G.I.Joe, A Real American Hero in relation to their manifestations in the toy, television, and children's book media for clues to their longevity. 209. What good things are there about comics that make them different from other media?

History and Progress of the Industry.
210. Research and write a history of any of the companies that produce or have produced comic books, or that print and distribute comic books. Early art "shops" that produced comic book stories for publishers, and the more recent specialty wholesalers that supply the direct market need to be chronicled, as do the publishers themselves. 211. What individuals and organizations have contributed to the history of comics, and how? Compile a list. The possibilities for biography and evaluation seem endless. Examples that need to be written more about include nearly every name in the index to this book, or in the index to any book about comics. 212. How do the products of independent comic book publishers, i.e., small comic book publishers, differ in content and style from those of the big companies? Compare the small publishers of the 1940s to the giants of that time. Are any of the same differences visible? 213. Investigate the history and workings of newspaper syndication of comic strips. 214. Examine the difficulties and successes of self-syndicated cartoonists and their strips, for example Nicole Hollander's "Sylvia."

Censorship and Self-Regulation.
215. Explore censorship of comic strips, from Southern neurspapers' refusing to print Kelly's "Pogo" strips dealing with integration, to ~ t a papers' deleting the pipe from Mark Trail's mouth. h 216. Should children be allowed to read whatever comic books they choose? If restrictions are appropriate for young children, at what age should unlimited freedom to read be granted, and why? 217. What is the Comics Code? What difference did it make when it began to be used in the 1950s?

Suggested Research Topics.

149

218. What differences are there between comic books of the 1980s that display the Comics Code seal, and those which do not display the seal? 219. Should comic books adopt a rating system (G, PG, R, X) like movies?

Relating to the Readers.
220. What are the demographics of comic book readership? Who reads comic books, and why? 221. Newspapers in various parts of the United States run periodic surveys of their readers to determine which comic strips are favorites. From the results of these surveys, can regional or historical preferences for various types of strips be determined? 222. Examine the relationship between marketing and content in comic books. How are comics intended for children different from those aimed at adults? How do "girls"' comics differ from other comics? 223. Investigate ways newspaper comic artists and writers have asked for reader participation. There were contests for naming Blondie and Dagwood's son and daughter, A Capp ran an ugliest girl 1 contest, Milton Caniff held a vote for the best American movie, and Tom Armstrong let the readers help name Marvin's teddy bear. Does this happen in comic strips more often than in other entertainment media? 224. Comic books commonly print reader reaction in letters pages, which are often a very interesting part of each issue. Is public communication with the audience so extensive and institutionalized in any other entertainment medium? 225. Analyse the letters pages of various comic books. What are common concerns? Do the readers appear to influence the editors and creators of the comic books? 226. On television, it's usually the dumb one, like Gomer on the "Andy Griffith Show," or the immature one, like Radar on "M.A.S.H.," that likes comics. Even the comic strips do it, in "Beetle Bailey," for instance. What is the comics medium's image of itself and its readers?

i
Y

:

150

Comics Librarianship.

Journalists.
227. Were there newspaper articles on comic books, comic strips, and their writers and artists, in the 1940s? How did the public of that time seem to view comics? 228. Sometimes it seems like every newspaper article about comic books begins and ends with, "Slam! Bang! Pow! Comics aren't just for kids anymore!!!" Collect and study a number of newspaper articles about comic books. Is it fair to assume that, unlike specialty journalists who cover sports, television, books or movies, no special knowledge or information is required to write about comic books? Discuss the contradictions inherent in treating a fifty-year-old medium as though its products were ephemeral and its meanings self-evident. 229. Is newspaper cartooning, either editorial or entertainment, a branch of journalism? Is it "commercial art"? 230. Why doesn't the New York Times have comics? Why doesn't USA Today have comics?

Extra Credit Questions.
231. What does "Notary Sojac" mean? 232. Why can't some people understand Gary Larson's "The Far Side"?

Notes to Chapter 6.
1. Scott, Randall W. Comic Books and Strips: An Information Sourcebook. Phoenix, Ariz.: Oryx Press, 1988.152 p. This book lists a
basic research library of 100 titles, plus 889 other annotated entries for books and serials about comics, or that collect and reprint older comics. Entries are limited to works in the English language published since 1970. The index to Comic Books and Strips will ~ r o v i d starting points for many of the research e topics suggested here. 2. Neumann, Renate. Bibliographie zur Comic-Sekundarliteratur, Frankfurt am Main: P. Lang, 1987. 267 p. 3. The Comics Journal. Seattle, Wash.: Fantagraphics Books, 1977- . This periodical started life as The Nostalgia Journal in 1974,

Suggested Research Topics.

15 1

but has lost the emphasis on nostalgia and taken to serious criticism of the comic book medium. It is not indexed. The publisher's address is 7563 Lake City Way, Seattle, Washington 98115. 4. Nemo. Seattle, Wash.: Fantagraphics Books, 1983- . This periodical includes articles and interviews on newspaper comics, but also reprints of early strips. It is not indexed.

Chapter 7.

Comics Research Libraries.
The 48 libraries in this list all have some special collecting interest in the area of comics or cartoons. Many of the collections listed here fit into related but more general collections. Therefore, each entry begins by describing the part of each collection that makes it of special interest to comics researchers, and then, if appropriate a few words are given about the scope of the general collection at that institution. Most of the libraries listed will provide photocopies. In every case, however, libraries will not photocopy materials if they believe that to do so would violate copyright or privacy (in the case of personal letters or papers), or if the act of photocopying would endanger fragile materials. Call or write these libraries before visiting. Most keep their collections in rare book rooms and restrict their use in the interest of preservation. By contacting them ahead of time, you will have established that you are a relatively serious user, and the librarians will be better prepared to handle your needs.

Boston University.
Boston University's library is the depository for Harold Gray's original art for "Little Orphan Annie." This holding is the source for what is hoped to be an ongoing series of quality reprint volumes from Fantagraphics Books. This collection focuses on the papers of mystery and science fiction writers, and film, radio, and television writers,

154

Comics Librarianship.

performers, etc. The collections built around papers of individuals are then supplemented by their printed works. Contact: Director, Special Collections, Mugar Memorial Library, Boston University, 771 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, Massachusetts 02215. Phone: (617) 353-3696.

Bowling Green State University.
Bowling Green State University's library holds over 36,000 comic books of all descriptions, and extensive comics-related miscellany including Big Little Books, famines, pulps and trading cards. The comics are part of the Popular Culture Library, which is undoubtedly the largest collection anywhere of everything on paper that has ever been called "popular culture." Posters, manuscripts, files, artifacts, 65,000 books and hundreds of magazine titles cover all kinds of popular entertainment and mass culture in depth. The books include major collections of science fiction, fantasy, mysteries, westerns, romances, and juvenile series fiction. A related collection, the Sound Recordings Archive, includes 450,000 sound recordings, mostly of popular music. Bowling Green offers degrees in Popular Culture Studies, and this collection supports that program, but also is seen by scholars in popular culture studies worldwide as a place to get advice and referrals, and to renew embattled enthusiasms. Although this collection began with and is the "flagship collection" of the popular culture studies movement, fans and "alternative" scholars are advised to take it seriously as well. Fanzines are collected as a matter of course, and the definition of popular culture used includes a lot of what other collections might consider radical and counter-culture materials. The holdings (besides comics) are 75 percent cataloged on OCLC. The comics are well organized within the library and can be found using internal finding aids (notebooks). Photocopies can sometimes be supplied, but the collection is noncirculating and interlibrary loan is not available. Contact: Popular Culture Librarian, Jerome Library, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio 43403. Phone: (419) 372-2450.

Comics Research Libraries.

California State University, Fullerton.
California State University at Fullerton holds about 2,000 comic books, including some underground comix, which are part of a larger collection including science fiction manuscripts, Star Trek scripts, and a circulating collection of most kinds of popular fiction. Contact: Archivist, Archive of Popular Culture, California State University Library, Box 4150, Fullerton, California 92634. (714) 773-3444.

Cartoon Art Museum.
The Cartoon Art Museum holds a broad collection of original daily and Sunday comic strip art, editorial and political cartoons, animation cels, magazine panels, comic book pages and covers, and cartoonrelated toys. The museum holds periodic programs and exhibits, and membership is open to the public. Contact: Administrator, Cartoon Art Museum of California, 655 Third St., San Francisco, California 94107. Phone: (415) 546-3922.

The Cartoon Museum.
The Cartoon Museum is a private museum, which includes original art for more than 2,500 cartoons of all kinds, especially including comic art. The museum supports itself by selling original cartoon art and cartoon miscellany, including duplicate books from the owner's very extensive library of books about cartooning. Research questions will be handled by telephone if they do not require extensive searching. Contact: Jim Ivey, The Cartoon Museum, 4300 S. Semoran Blvd., Suite 109, Orlando, Florida 32822. Phone: (407) 273-0141.

f

156

Comics Librarianship.

College de S herbrooke.
The Collkge de Sherbrooke collects American comic strips and comic books, but mostly European and Canadian publications in French. The largest and most complete collection of European comics in North America (more than 5,000 items classified with 300 books and theses). A reference guide is in preparation. A course on comic art and narrative has been given since 1970. Contact: Richard Langlois, Information Center on Comics, Collkge de Sherbrooke, 475 Parc St., Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada JlH 5M7.

Comic Research Library.
The Comic Research Library is a private collection of newspaper strips and related items, with over 200,000 daily strips of over 250 titles from the 1920s through the 1950s, sorted and organized by title for easy use. Numerous Sunday pages are filed chronologically. Over 400 books of the Big Little Book and Cupples and Leon type, and over 1,000 comic books from the 1930s through the 1950s are collected because they reprint newspaper strips, and to sample various comic book genres. Several hundred reference books and periodicals about comics are included, with minor sections on animation, magazine and editorial cartoons, and comics from around the world. Reference questions are handled through the mail. The curator is a library school graduate. Contact: Doug Kendig, Curator, Comic Research Library, Tappen, British Columbia, Canada VOE 2x0. Phone: (604) 835-8529.

Comics Magazine Association of America.
The Comics Magazine Association keeps a small library of about 2,000 comic books and some books about comics. This is the industry's self-regulation body that was set up in the 1950s to monitor the content

Comics Research Libraries.

157

of comic books (the Comics Code people). Although aiding research is not the purpose of the organization, and the library is not normally available for public use, it does function somewhat as an industry association in providing information. Contact: Executive Secretary, Comics Magazine Association of America, Inc., 60 E. 42nd St., New York, New York 10165. (212) 682-8144.

Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Fairleigh Dickinson University's library holds 4,000 pieces of original comics art, with 1,250 volumes of supporting material, and some comic books. The late Harry Chesler donated a large portion of the art collection, and for several years worked on the collection at the library a couple days each week, guiding visitors and answering questions. Chesler ran one of the art studios that created comic book stories on contract for various publishers during the Golden Age of comic books (1940s). An exhibition catalog is available for $5.50, and list of the artists represented in the original art collection is available free. An old but still useful list of the supporting books is available from Comic Art Collection, MSU Libraries, East Lansing, Michigan 48824-1048, or on ERIC fiche E D 207 572. Contact: Curator of Special Collections, The Harry "A ' Chesler Collection of lllustration and Comic Art, Fairleigh Dickinson University Library, Madison, New Jersey 07940. Phone: (201) 377-4700.
7

Indiana University.
The Lilly Library at Indiana University has an "extensive" Marvel comics collection, and " much Brenda Starr original art by Dale Messick. The collections include science fiction, fantasy, detective fiction, and filmscripts. This library does not seem to have been on the "popular culture studies" track and is a little embarrassed by the comics it does have, preferring to emphasize a "folklore" orientation which includes important fairy tale collections.

158

Comics Librarianship.

Contact: Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana 47405. Phone: (812) 335-2452.

Iowa State University.
Iowa State University's library has the best underground comix collection in a research library anywhere, still growing with over 3,000 of them already acquired. The collection also includes 84 E.C. comic books, which is also probably the best research library collection of E.C.'s, and some science fiction. Contact: Department of Special Collections, The Parks Library, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 500ll. Phone: (515) 294-6672.

Kent State University.
Kent State University's library has a collection of 125 comic books, some of them Golden Age and some of them in the Spanish language. The collection holds original art by Chuck Ayers, Rog Bollen, and Tom Wilson. The Saalfield "Big Little Book-style books are in the collection, which also includes Raymond Chandler, Stephen R. Donaldson, movie and television material, and the Saalfield Publishing Company archives. Contact: Curator of Special Collections, Kent State University Libraries, Kent, Ohio 44242. Phone: (216) 672-2270.

Library of Congress.
The Library of Congress has a comic book collection of about 71,000 items (the largest collection in any library), and keeps them alphabetically arranged in covered, acid-free archive boxes. Although the collection in theory should be complete because of copyright

Comics Research Libraries.

159

depository, for many years comic books seem to have disappeared regularly. In addition, until the 1970s the comics were not well protected from light. Consequently, the older collections are brittle and incomplete. A researcher who recently had the experience of working both in the Library of Congress and the Michigan State University collections had an interesting way of comparing the collections: "The MSU collection was built by donations from collectors, and reflects what the collectors thought was valuable. The LC collection has what collectors didn't think was valuable enough to steal." The opinions of collectors are not the same as the needs of any given scholar, of course, and the Library of Congress collection was still important to the research of the person who made this comment. The Library of Congress does not catalog its comic books, nor does it make a list available. A list of the LC collection as it was when there were about 45,000 comic books in it is available from Comic art Collection, MSU Libraries, East Lansing, Michigan 48824-1048. Contact: Head, Periodical Section, Serial and Government Publications, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20015. Phone: (202) 707-5467.

Michigan State University.
The Michigan State University Library's comics collection includes about 55,000 comic books, and over 3,000 additional Golden Age comic books are held on black-and-white microfilm. The collection includes over 5,000 books, magazines and fanzines about comics, and tries to collect every reprint volume and book about comics. The collection includes 530 scrapbooks of daily newspaper strips representing nearly 100 titles from the 1920s to the 1970s. Strong sample collections of Big Little Books, fotonovelas, and tiein books are maintained. Books about animation, cartooning, and about Walt Disney Productions are included. A large vertical file holds clippings and miscellanea about most topics, persons and institutions in the comics field, and also the Eclipse Comics dead issue files. A comic book writers' collection has been begun with some comic book scripts and the complete account books of Gaylord Du Bois, who wrote for Dell and

i

160

Comics Librarianship.

Gold Key comics (Western Publications) from the late 1930s until the late 1970s. The Comic Art Collection is part of a larger popular culture collection, which includes popular fiction of every kind. The related American Radicalism Collection will be of interest to researchers looking for alternative viewpoints and, by policy, materials that fit both the comics and the radicalism categories are especially prized. Organized comics fandom has been important in the growth of this collection through extensive donations and publicity. A quarterly newsletter is available free or by exchange to librarians with a continuing interest in comics. The collection is completely cataloged, and over 70 percent appears in OCLC. Some photocopying is available, but all materials are noncirculating and unavailable for interlibrary loan. Contact: Librarian, Russel B. Nye Popular Culture Collection, Michigan State University Libraries, East Lansing, Michigan 488241048. Phone: (517) 355-3770.

Murdoch University.
Murdoch University's library holds underground comix, and samples of most other comics. The collection also includes extensive science fiction, both books and periodicals. Contact: Librarian, Alternative and Contemporary Documents, Murdoch University Library, P.O. Box 14, Willetton, 6155 Western Australia.

Museum of Cartoon Art.
The Museum of Cartoon Art has 60,000 pieces of original newspaper comics and cartoon art, with extensive collections of the works of Hal Foster, Walt Kelly, Gene Byrnes, Tad Dorgan, and Chester Gould. The collection also includes about 800 animated cartoons and a strong Disney collection. Samples are maintained of ~i~ Little Books,

Comics Research Libraries.

161

foreign comics, fanzines, cartoon-related games, posters, pulps, and underground comix. Special exhibits are changed quarterly, with celebrity guest lectures the first Sunday of each month, except holiday Sundays. A brochure is available for a stamped, self-addressed envelope. Contact: Museum of Cartoon Art Library, Comly Ave., Portchester, New York 10573. Phone: (914) 939-0234.

National Library of Australia.
The National Library of Australia holds an extensive collection of comic books assembled by the late Australian comics historian John Ryan. Besides writing his monumental history of Australian comics, Panel by Panel (Stanmore, N.S.W.: Cassell Australia, 1979; 223 p.), Ryan was active by correspondence in U.S. comics fandom and the acquisition of his collection by the National Library of Australia was an occasion for celebration among fans and scholars in both countries. The Ryan collection is the only major collection of Australian comics in the public domain. An inventory of the collection, MS6514, 81 pages, can be purchased as a photocopy from the Manuscripts Librarian. Contact: Manuscripts Librarian, National Library of Australia, Canberra, ACT 2660 Australia.

New York Public Library.
The New York Public Library's Rare Book and Manuscript Division holds 25 archive boxes of comic books, plus a sampling of educational and foreign-language comics. Contact: Librarian, Rare Book and Manuscript Division, New York Public Library, Fifth Ave. and 42nd St., New York, New York 10018. Phone: (212) 930-0801.

162

Comics Librarianship.

Northwestern University.
The Northwestern University Library holds ll,500 comic books and about 100 Big Little Books, plus some fanzines. The collection is not being actively enhanced. Contact: Curator, Special Collections Department, Northwestern University Library, Evanston, Illinois 60201. Phone: (312) 491-3635.

Ohio Historical Society.
The Ohio Historical Society holds two oversize scrapbooks containing "King of the Royal Mounted comic strip page proofs in its Zane Grey materials. Contact: Archivist, Ohio Historical Society, Archives-Library Division, Interstate 71 and 17th Ave., Columbus, Ohio 432ll. Phone: (614) 466-1500.

Ohio State University.
The Ohio State University's Cartoon, Graphic, and Photographic Arts Research Library holds extensive original art of Milton Caniff, Will Eisner, and Dick Moores, and original editorial cartoon and comic strip art by several hundred artists. Archives of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists and of the National Cartoonists Society have been deposited. The OSU holds the She1 Dorf Collection of comic strips and related materials, and the Woody Gelman Collection of original Winsor McCay cartoons. The collection includes a few thousand comic books, and a collection of books on cartoon art. Cataloging is on OCLC, and materials do not circulate. The collection also includes movie posters and stills, and archives of photographers. Ohio State sponsors a Triennial Festival of Cartoon Art. A brochure is available. Contact: Curator; Cartoon, Graphic, and Photographic Arts Re-

Comics Research Libraries.

163

search Library, 27 West 17th Ave. Mall, Wexner Center for the Visual Arts, Room 023L, Columbus, Ohio 43210. Phone: (614) 292-0538.

Oldenburg University.
Oldenburg University Library has about 4,500 British comic papers from the 1880s through the 1930s, mainly those issued by the Harmsworth Brothers (later Amalgamated Press). These are stored in the rare books division of the library, and available to all bona fide researchers. This collection was the basis of the exhibit cataloged in Kevin Carpenter's Penny Dreadfuls and Comics (London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1983). Contact: Oldenburg University Library, Uhlhornsweg, 2900 01denburg, West Germany.

San Francisco Academy of Comic Art.
The San Francisco Academy of Comic Art's library includes 4.5 million comic strips and several thousand comic books. Just the comic books would make this private library rank high among comics research libraries, but comic books are not really an emphasis. The newspaper strip collection overshadows the rest of the collections in the building, and overshadows every other newspaper strip collection. For comparison, the Michigan State University collection of strips is the largest in a university library, and it numbers about 300,000 strips. Most projects to research and reprint comic strips either begin or end at the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art. The Academy library also includes collections of science fiction, crime fiction, pulp magazines, and a large reference book collection. Use is by appointment, and some photocopying is available. Contact: Bill Blackbeard, San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Library, 2850 Ulloa, San Francisco, California 94ll6. Phone: (415) 681-1737.

164

Comics Librarianship.

Smithsonian Institution Libraries.
The Smithsonian Institution has lent its name to two important reprint books, one of comic strips and one of comic books. This has brought many people to conclude that the Smithsonian must have some kind of amazing comics collection, which just isn't true. The Smithsonian does have a few important specialized collections, however. The Archives Center of the National Museum of American History owns 28 bound volumes of "Winnie Winkle" strips by Martin Branner. The "Winnie Winkle" volumes cover 37 complete years of dailies and Sundays, 1920, 1922 through 1945, and 1950 through 1961. An Ed 1 Dodd (Mark Trail) collection includes abstracts of 1 "Outdoors with Ed D o d d radio programs. The Mrs. Curtis B. Patterson collection is a comic book collection dated 1901 through 1917, and includes three "Foxy Grandpa," one "Pore Lil Mose," one "Happy Hooligan," one "Military Willie," one "Charlie Chaplin," one "Gumps," and nine "Buster Brown" reprint books. A small collection of Superman art, scripts and promotional material was donated by DC Comics in 1987. Two loose-leaf volumes of William Moulton Marston's letters and papers, and 13 bound volumes of comic books featuring "Wonder Woman," dated 1941-1948, are part of the Special Collections of the Museum. Contact: Chief, Special Collections, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution Libraries, Washington, DC 20560. Phone: (202) 357-1568.

Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.
Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville has 1,500 comic books, which it has begun to catalog on OCLC. Contact: Rare Book Librarian, Lovejoy Library, SIU, Edwardsville, Illinois 62026. (618) 692-2665.

Comics Research Libraries.

State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
The Mass Communications History Center of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin has August Derleth's comics collection, which includes dozens of bound volumes of daily and Sunday comic strips. The collection holds original art by Frank King, George McManus, H.T. Webster, Carl Anderson, William Donahey, and Gene Ahern. Kitchen Sink Press publications are collected on a standing order. The collection also includes 800 Warner Bros. films and 2,000 Ziv television films. Contact: Mass Communications History Center, State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 816 State St., Madison, Wisconsin 53706. Phone:

(608) 463-6594.

Syracuse University.
The George Arents Research Library at Syracuse University has Harold Foster's personal scrapbooks and correspondence, with printers' proofs of "Prince Valiant" original art. The collection also includes science fiction, fantasy, fanzines, horror, mystery, series books, westerns, radio scripts, and the Street & Smith archives. Contact: George Arents Research Library, 600 Bird Library, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York 13244-2010. (315) 423-2585.

University of California, Los Angeles.
The UCLA library reports an "extensive" comic book collection, and a collection of first issues of comic books (as well as other popular magazines). It is more difficult than normal to get a clear idea of what they have, and in 1988 a request for information was returned to the present writer with the suggestion that a graduate student from their library school be hired to find out what they have. Their library school's telephone number is (213) 825-4351. The collection also includes some science fiction, television, radio and movie materials.

!

166

Comics Librarianship.

Contact: Department of Special Collections, Research Library, University of California, 405 Hilgard Ave., Los Angeles, California 90024. Phone: (213) 825-4988.

University of California, Riverside.
The University of California at Riverside has the amazing Eaton Collection of science fiction, with over 50,000 items in all media. As a sideline that seems to be growing, they have some 3,000 comic books, of which 1,200 are in French, making this an important North American source for the study of the Franco-Belgian tradition. The comics collection is being cataloged on OCLC. Contact: Eaton Curator, University Library, P.O. Box 5900, University of California, Riverside, California 92517. Phone: (714) 787-3233.

University of Chicago.
The University of Chicago has 45 boxes of comic books, with an internal finding aid but no formal cataloging. Contact: Curator of Special Collections, Joseph Regenstein Library, UOO E. 57th St., Chicago, Illinois 60637. (312) 702-8705.

University of Connecticut.
The University of Connecticut Library's Alternative Press Collection includes about 150 underground comix. Contact: Alternative Press Collection, Special Collections, Homer Babbidge Library, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut 06268. Phone: (203) 486-2524.

Comics Research Libraries.

University of Iowa.
The University of Iowa has a collection of original art for 6,000 various cartoons. The collection also includes film and television scripts, dime novels, series books, and Iowa authors including Janet Dailey. Contact: Special Collections Department, University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa 52242. Phone: (319) 353-4854.

University of Kansas.
The Special Collections Department at the Spencer Research Library has about 500 Big Little Books, and extensive science fiction and fanzines. Contact: Spencer Librarian, Department of Special Collections, Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas 66045. Phone: (913) 864-4334. The Kansas Collection at the Spencer Research Library has original art by Albert T. Reid and 600 other cartoonists. Contact: Curator, Kansas Collection, Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas 66045. Phone: (913) 864-4274.

University of Kent at Canterbury.
The Cartoon Study Centre is an indexed archive of British twentieth-century original cartoon drawings (72,000) and related material. Holdings include Vicky, Low, Strube, Steadman, Jensen, Dyson, Kal, Cummings, Emmwood, Garland, and Haselden. Serious researchers are welcome with advance appointments. Research, access and reproduction fees are charged. Contact: Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Caricature, The Library, University of Kent at Canterbury, CT2 7NU England. Phone: (0227) 764-0000.

168

Comics Librarianship.

University of Kentucky.
The Special Collections department at the University of Kentucky library holds "some" comics and fanzines, and also 1,000 volumes of science fiction. Contact: Special Collections, Margaret I. King Library, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky 40506. Phone: (606) 25786ll.

University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
The University of Maryland, Baltimore County, has about 1,000 comic books, including some Air Fighters and extensive underground comix. The collection also includes a Kelly Freas art collection, 10,000 fanzines dating as far back as the 1930s, and about 10,000 items in a science fiction collection. Contact: Special Collections Librarian, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Catonsville, Maryland 21228. Phone: (301) 455-2353.

University of Minnesota.
The University of Minnesota's Children's Literature Research Collections hold some 1,200 comic books and 500 Big Little Books. chi1dre.n'~ literature collections do not normally include comics material, and including them here was a far-sighted move on somebody's part. Unless there's been some mistake? Contact: Curator, Children's Literature Research Collections, 109 Walter Library, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455. Phone: (612) 624-4576.

Comics Research Libraries.

University of Missouri-Columbia.
The University of Missouri at Columbia is just beginning a comic art collection as of 1989, with a donation of 300 underground comix and a complete set of the published comics reprint books by Andrews and McMeel. Andrews and McMeel will be donating all future books of comics to this collection as a depository. Contact: Special Collections Librarian, 402 Ellis Library, University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, Missouri 65201-5149. Phone: (314) 882-0076.

University of New Brunswick.
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Collection at the University of New Brunswick includes science fiction comic books in its scope. The collection totals about 30,000 items, but comic books are not a major emphasis. Contact: Curator, Science Fiction and Fantasy Collection, Ward Chipman Library, University of New Brunswick, P.O. Box 5050, Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada E2L 4L5. Phone: (506) 6485700.

University of Oregon.
The University of Oregon is the home of the Gardner Fox collection of comics, fanzines and fiction, also including Fox's letters and papers. Fox was a writer for DC Comics, and also wrote fiction in various popular genres. The collection also has westerns, pulps and manuscripts of radio and television westerns. Contact: Curator of Special Collections, University of Oregon Library, Eugene, Oregon 97403. Phone: (503) 686-3068.

I

i
i

1

170

Comics Librarianship.

University of Pittsburgh.
The University of Pittsburgh's Archive of Popular Culture includes a collection of over 8,500 comic books, plus 600 comics fanzines, some original comic art, and a sampling of Big Little Books. This collection was for a time built and nurtured by the Pittsburgh Comix Club, which brought the library into positive contact with fandom. The Archive also includes science fiction, a Mary Roberts Rinehart collection, pulps, detective fiction, and material on film, radio and television. Contact: Coordinator, Special Collections, 363 Hillman Library, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260. Phone: (412) 624-4428.

University of Sydney.
The University of Sydney holds a collection of more than 12,000 comic books, mostly from the United States. An indexlcatalog listing the comic book collections is available for $A6.00 (Dickinson, Pauline. Index

to the Comics in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Collection, University of Sydney Library. Sydney: University of Sydney Library, 1984.54 p.). The
collection also includes science fiction, crime fiction, and fanzines. Contact: Collection Building, University of Sydney Library, Sydney, New South Wales, 2006 Australia. Phone: (02) 692-4162.

University of Tulsa.
The University of Tulsa is the new home of the E. Nelson ridw well collectibn of about 1,000 comic books and some Bridwell papers, plus original Inferior Five and Secret Six art. Bridwell rose from the ranks of fandom to become an editor, writer and historian for D C Comics. This is not the complete Bridwell collection, but is a memorial and the start of a good research collection. This library also holds an R.A. Lafferty manuscript collection and some science fiction.

Comics Research Libraries.

171

Contact: Department of Special Collections, McFarlin Library, University of Tulsa, 600 S. College Ave., Tulsa, Oklahoma 74104. Phone: (918) 631-2496.

University of Virginia.
The University of Virginia has original art of Bernard Meeks, Fred 0 . Seibel, and editorial cartoons by Oscar Cesare, Jeff MacNelly, Art Wood, etc. Examples of many political and comic artists working in the mid-twentieth century. Contact: Curator of Manuscripts, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Virginia 22901. Phone: (804) 924-3025.

Virginia Commonwealth University.
Virginia Commonwealth University collects cartoons and caricatures, both books and original works. This library has the personal library of Billy DeBeck, and the door from his studio apartment with a painting of Barney Google and Sparkplug on it. Papers and drawings of James Branch Cabell, Frederick 0. Seibel and Charles Henry "Bill" Sykes are also in the collection. Contact: Special Collections Department, James Branch Cabell Library, 901 Park Ave., Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia 23284. Phone: (804) 257-ll08.

Walt Disney Archives.
The Walt Disney Archives is a comprehensive Disney collection, including a complete set of United States and most foreign Disney comic books. The comics are not available to researchers for preservation reasons, but much material may be consulted by appointment.

172

Comics Librarianship.

Contact: Archivist, Walt Disney Archives, 500 S. Buena Vista St., Burbank, California 91521. Phone: (818) 840-5424.

Washington State University.
Washington State University's collection of 2,500 underground, new wave and self-published mini-comix, is called the Counter-Culture Comix collection. Librarian and comix artist Steve Willis was instrumental in setting this collection up when he worked at WSU. A catalog of the collection is currently out of print (Willis, Steve. Folkornix, a Catalog of Underground, Newave, and Small Press Comix in the Washington State University Rare Books Collection, 2nd ed. Pullman, Wash.: Morty Dog Publishing House, 1985. ll0 p.). Contact: Curator, Modern Literary Collections, Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington 99164-5610. Phone: (509) 335-5517.

Index.
Afro-American comics (heading) 91 Los Agachados 141 Ageism 20 Ahern, Gene 165 AIDS comics 108, 144 "Album" implies reprint material 61 Aliens in comics 142 All in Color for a Dime 118 Allen, Woody 133 Alley Oop 130, 140, 145 Alternative scholars 19-20, 24, 37, 154 Alternatives to newsstand comic books 107-108 The Amazing Spider-Man 15, 40, 45, 107, ll9, 131, 132, 134 American Flagg 134 AMS Press 51, 57 Anatomy in comics 130 Anatomy of comics (terminology) U3117 Anderson, Carl 126, 165 Andrews and McMeel 169 "Andy Griffith Show" 149 Anglo-American Cataloging Rules (AACR2): choice of main entry 6365; citation, 100; LC interpretation on "stable titles" 65; LC interpretation on strip titles 60 "Annie" 135-136 Antagonism toward comics medium 13

Abortion in comics 137 Academic attitudes towards comics 9, 11-13, 19, 27-28, 37 Acid-free envelopes 48, 49 Acid in paper 48, 50-51 Acid in plastic bags 50 Acknowledgment letters (for donations) 34 Acquisitions (library science) 24, 2742 Acquisitions profile 36-38 Action Comics 14, 106 Activism in comics 136 Adaptations from other media 146, 147 Adenoic errand boys 12 Adhesive labels 49 Adults only 109 Adventure story comics (heading) 91 Adventure strips 12, 105 Adventures of the Big Boy 34 The Aduenturw Decade ll9 Advertising material on comic book covers 65-66 Advice on how to become a comics librarian 25-26 Advocacy for comics within the library 25 Africa in comics 135, 142 African American characters in comics 141

174

Index.
Background reading recommended U8-120 Backing boards 50 Bait and switch 17 Bancroft Library 5 Bandes dessinkes 126 Barbie dolls 62 Barefoot Cen 3-4 Barker, Martin 118, 120 Barks, Carl 7, 72 "Barnaby" 142 Barney Google 171 Barrier, Michael, 120 Barry, Lynda 105 Batman 14, 15, 16, 37, 56, 106, 131, 132, 147 Bayeux Tapestry 125-126 Beagle Boys 44, 45 "Beetle Bailey" 105, 137, 141, 147, 149 Belgian comics 84-85, 112 Benton, Mike ll3, 118, 121 Berman, Sanford 1-4, 10, 20 "Berry's W o r l d 147 The Best of Archie 144 The Best of Hi and Lois 139 The Best of Li'l Abner 135 Biblical times in comics 135 Bibliographic world and comics 1415 Bibliographie zur Comic-Sekundarliteratur 150 Bibliographies of comics 123; call number 73 Big Little Books 74, 78, 79; library collections 154, 156, 158, 159, 162, 167, 168 Bill the Cat 128, 133 Binding 54-55 Biobibliography 124 Biographies needed 123 Black and white explosion 83, 108 Blackbeard, Bill 51, ll5, U8, 133, 163 Blackthorne Publishing 36 "Blondie" 105, 135, 138-139, 147, 149 Blondie 61 Dagwood's America 139 "Bloom County" 128, 133, 135

Anthologies: call numbers 76; proposal suggested 145; subject headings 89 Anthropomorphic characters 133 Antiquarian book dealers 30, 32 Antiwar activism in comics 136 Appraisals 34 Arabic translations 145 Aragones, Sergio 87 Arcadia Publications 36 Archie Comics 35, 143-144, 147 Architecture in comics 139 Archive boxes 47-48 Archive of Popular Culture (Fullerton) 155 Archive of Popular Culture (Pittsburgh) 170 Aristocratic families in comics 14 2 Armstrong, Tom 149 Art, comics as subject of, call number 73 Art depicted in comics 147 Art librarians 104 Art or literature? 69-71, 124 Asia in comics 135 Asian comics 113 Assistants to cartoonists U6 Association of American Editorial Cartoonists 162 "Asterix the Gaul" 134, 135 Attitudes: academic, towards comics 9, ll-13, 19, 27-28, 37, ll2-ll3; expressed as cataloging rules 61; toward fiction 60; about preservation 55-56; Australia 19 Australian comics 161 Austrian comics 85 Authorship of comics 70 Avant-garde comics 20 Ayers, Chuck 158

Baby-talk 129 Back-issue market 29 Back to the Bible pamphlet 40

I

, I

C
I

\
f

Blue Devil 137 Blurbs on comic book covers 64, 65 Bollen, Rog 158 Bones in noses 142 Bookkeeping: by dealers 30; by libraries 41 Bookstore classification 68, 90 Boston University 153-154 Bowling Green State University 154 Brabner, Joyce 118 Branner, Martin 164 Breakdowns 116 Breathed, Berke 128, 133, 135 "Brenda Starr" original art 134, 157 "Brick Bradford 12, 144 Bridwell, E. Nelson 170 British comics 62, 72, 83-84, 93, 99; library collection 163 British Communist Party 120 Broadsides 104 "Brother Juniper" 137 Brought to Light: A Graphic Docudrama ll8 Browne, Ray 18 Browsing access 47 Buchman, Ed 125 "Buck Rogers" 12, 70, 105, 144 Bureaucracy 30, 132 Burglars 44 "Buster Brown" 164 Byrnes, Gene 160

I

6

i

t

Cabinets, storage 47-48 California State University, Fullerton 155 Call numbers 49; classification of comics 48, 69-89; outline of classification 71 "Calvin and Hobbes" 18, 105, 142 Campaign literature comics 136 Canadian comics 36, 62, 72, 83, 88, 99; library collections 156 Candy stores 35 Caniff, Milton 134, 149, 162

Cannibals in comics 142 Canons 18, 19, 37 Canuck Comics 99 Capital punishment in comics 137 1 Capp, A 135, 149 Captain America 106, 132 Captain Marvel 106 Captions 13, 114 Card catalogs 66 Career girl comics 28; (heading) 91 Carpenter, Kevin 163 Cartoon Art Museum 155 Cartoon Cavalcade l l 8 "Cartoon character" qualifier 61 Cartoon, Graphic, and Photographic Arts Research Library 162-163 The Cartoon Museum 155 Cartoonists Thanksgiving Day Hunger Project 138 Cataloging (library science) 2425, 38, 103; attitudes 61; different from listing 65; as sympathetic magic ll0 Cataloging Service Bulletin (citations) 99,100 Catalogs from comic dealers 30 "Cathy" 139 Cats 133 Cave painting 104 Ceasing a serial record 63 Censorship 109-LU, 148-149 Center out 52 Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Caricature 167 Cerebus the Aardvark 108, 133 Change in colleges and universities 19 Changes in comics 131, 135, 139 Chaplin, Charlie 133 Characters and characterization 131133 "Charlie Chaplin" 164 Checklisting as scholarship 37 Chesler, Harry 157 Chicago 134 "Chief Wahoo" 133 Children and comic books: call number 73; concern about 106-107, 148 Children depicted in comics 142

176

Index.
Comic Book Collecting for Fun and Projit 121 Comic book format 106 The Comic Book Heroes 119 Comic book stores 28-30, 34, 35, 45, 66 Comic book writers (heading) 91 Comic Books and Strips: An Infomation Sourcebook 150 Comic Relief 138 Comic Research Library 156 Comic strip a "unit" of publication 59-60 The Comics, An Illustrated History of Comic Strip Art ll9 Comics Buyer's Guide 18, 32, 35, 38, 42, 51, 56, 57, 125, 134 Comics Code 14, 107, 148-149, 156-157 Comics Interview 128 The Comics Journal 18, 123, 150-151 Comics Magazine Association of America 156-157 "Comix" vs. "comics" 108 Commercial art 150 Communications media 18-19 Communist countries, comics in 145 Communists 120; in comics 140 Compact shelving 49 Competition with private collectors 27-28 The Complete Catalogue of British Comics, Including Price Guide 99 Complexity of comics 13 Complimentary copies from publishers 39 Composition, artistic 130 Computer games 107 Conan the Barbarian 40, 134,144 Condescension toward comic books 16 Conservatism: in academia 9; in the Library of Congress 69, 90 Constituencies of a comics collection 23-24 Containers for storage 47-50 Content and form 126-127 Continued stories in comic books 115

Children's literature 20, 168 Children's Literature Research Collections 168 Chinese comics 145 Christ and Biblical times in comics 135 Christic Institute ll8 Chronological studies 73 "A Chronology of Development of the American Comic Book 121 Churches in comics 137 Cicero (cat) 133 Cinematic technique 146 Citation: of comic strips 32; of early comic book stories l l 5 Civil rights 140-141 Classic Comic Strips 36 Classics Illustrated 108 Classification: bookstores 68, 90; of comics 48, 68-89; library science 68-69; outline 71; schedules (LC) 101-102 Clergy in comics 137 Cleveland 134 Clipping comic strips 33 Clipping files, cataloging 67-68 Clipping service 38 Cloak and Dagger 138 Clocks and watches, comic character 73 Cochran, Russ 36 Cold War in comics 136 Collaborations 131 Collecting Comic Books 121 The Collector's Guide to Big Little Books and Similar Books 99-100 Collectors' market 27-28 College courses 24 Collbge de Sherbrooke 156 College students and comics 14, 24, 145 Color: as content 126, 127; color photocdpies 52; coloring of comics ll6; of costumes 132 Coloring books 31 Comedians in comics 133 Comic Art Collection 100 Comic book artists (heading) 91 The Comic-Book Book U8

Continued strips ll4, ll5, 126 Continuities 115 Convenience stories 35 Conventions 21, 28-29; call numbers for programs 74 Cooperation among libraries 41, 54 Copyright depository 158-159 Corks 62 "Corto Maltese" 87 Costumes 131, 132 Coupons 52 Cover title 63, 64, ll5-116 Covers of comic books 130 Cowboys in comics 133 "Crankshaft" 142 Craven, Tomas ll8 Creator credits 115, ll6-117 Creators' rights 107 Credit slips, duplicate comics 41 Credits 115, ll6-117 Crime and comics 138 "Crimestopper's Textbook 138 Criteria: acquiring comics 29; preservation 55 Criticisms 138 Crumb, R. 108 Cultural studies 18-19 Current events and comics 134-135

Dailies l15; see also Sunday comic strips Dalgoda 134 Data nuts 21 Davis, Jim 128, 133 DC Comics 31, 164, 169,170 Deacidification 43, 51 "Deadman" 137 DeBeck, Billy 171 Decade of publication 73 Decentralized publishing 113 Decimals 69 Definitional questions 125-126 Dell Comics 159 Democratization 18-19 The Demon 137 Demons in comics 137

"Dennis the Menace" ll4, 125 Derleth, August 165 Description on invoices 30 Detail 105, 126 Detective and mystery (heading) 92 Detective Comics 44, 56 Detective comics 143 Devils in comics 137 Dialogue 146 "Dick Tracy" 105, 138, 140 Dickinson, Pauline 170 Dictionaries, call numbers 74 Digests 74, 79 Dimensions 134; literary vs. real 109-ll0 Direct distribution 35-37, 63, 82, ll2 Discard sales 40, 41 Discounts from dealers 38 Disney archives 171-172 Display space, retail 63 Displaying a collection 43-44 Dissertations 124 Distribution of comics 35-37, 63, 82, 107, ll2, 145 Ditko, Steve 136 Ditto machine publishing 21 Division of labor ll6, 131 Doc Carter VD Comics 144 Doctor Doom 132,134 "Doctor Strange" ll9, 134, 137 Dodd, Ed 164 Dodson, Bert 2, 105 Donahey, William 165 Donald Duck 7-8, 72,139 Donors and donations 28, 31, 33-35, 39-40, 53, 55-56 "Doonesbury" 60, 61, 105, 135, 141 Dorf, She1 162 Dorgan, Tad 160 Drama strips 105 Drawing comics 116 Dreadstar 134 Dream sequences 114 Drug abuse depicted 138 Du Bois, Gaylord 159 "Dungeons and Dragons" 144 Duplicates (acquisitions) 29-30; disposing of 40-42; keeping as insurance 52-53

178
Dust 48 Dutcher, Roger 125

Index.

I

I

I
I

The Early Comic Strip: Narrative Strips and Picture Stories in the European Broadsheet from c. 1450 to 1825 120 Eastern religions in comics 137 Eaton Collection 166 E.C. Comics 106; library collection 158 Eclipse Books 36 Eclipse Comics 64-66; dead issue files 159 Eclipse Enterprises 107 Editor and Publisher 35 Editorial cartooning 147 Editors of comics 64, 65, U6-117 Educational comics 80, 108, 144 Eight-pagers 49, 80, 107-108, 144 Einstein, Albert 140 Eisner, Will 162 Elegance 55 ElfQuest 108, 134 Elite attitudes 9, 11-13 Encyclopedias of comics, call numbers 74 Endings of comic strips 128 Enemies of America in comics 140 Episodes 115 Erotic (heading) 92 Ethiopia 138 Ethnic humor in comics 143 Etymology 129 European comics 36, 86, U2, U5, 134; library collection 156 European scholars 37 Exaggeration: anatomy 130; national characteristics 140 Exclamation points 129 Exhibitions: call numbers 74; museums 155, 160-161, 164; Ohio State University 162 Expertise 103, 117 Extras, disposing of 40-42 Eyes in comics 130

Facsimile editions 52 Fairleigh Dickinson University 157 Faith U0 La Familia Burrdn 141 "Family Circus" U4, 129 Family in comics 138-139,142 Famine 138 Famous Funnies 106 Fans and fandom 21-22, 24, 25, 37, 160, 161, 170 Fantagraphics Books 36, 123 Fantastic Four 107, U9, 134, 140, 141 Fantasy comics 139, 144; subject heading 92 Fantasy vs. reality 109-ll0 Fanzines 21-22, 37, 123-124; call numbers 75-76; library collections 154, 170 "The Far Side" 137, 150 Fashion 139 Fat Freddie's Cat 133 Feathers 62 Feiffer, Jules 70, 126, 135 Felix the Cat 133 Feminism in comics 136 Fiction cataloging 60 "Fictitious character" qualifier 61 Fields, W.C. 133 Figurative language 131 Filing cabinets: for clipped strips and articles 67; for comic books 47-48 Filmography of comics-related movies 145-146 Fine art 23, 69, 104, 147 First issues of comic books 38, 4041, 63, 165 The Flash 132, 145 "Flash Gordon" 144 Flashbacks 114 Flea markets 30-31, 40 Flexibility in storage 48 Folkomix, a Catalog of underground, Newave and Small Press Comix in the Washington State University Rare Books Collection 172 Forbidden fruit syndrome Il l Foreign comics 39

I

Foreigners in comics 140 Form and content 126-127 Formality of academia U Formality of the catalog 61 Format (physical), comics 15, 17, 33 Formula labels ll7, 143-144; subject headings 90 Foster, Hal 160, 165 Fotonovelas ll3; library collection 159 Fox, Gardner 169 Foxy Grandpa 105,164 Fragility 17, 24, 28, 46, 49, 55 "Frank and Ernest" ll4, 129 French comics 61, 72, 84-85; library collection 156, 166 French photoromans 113 Fund-raising (library science) 24 Funny animal comics 133; subject heading 92 Funny ghost comics (heading) 92 Funny horror comics (heading) 92 Funny kid comics 142; subject heading 93 Funny military comics (heading) 93 Future: depicted 134, 139; in libraries 16-17; prediction 144-145

Gag strips 126, 127 Gale cumulated adds and changes 70; citations 101 "Garfield 18, 100, 128, 133 "Gasoline Alley" 139, 142 Gay Comix 141 Gay people in comics 141 Gazetteer of comics 134 "Geech 137 Gelman, Woody 162 Generation gap 13 Generic demons 137 Generic religion 137 Genetics in comics 139 Genre labels 117, 143-144; subject heading 90 George Arents Research Library 165 German comics 62, 72, 85-87, 99

Germans 140 Ghost Rider 137 G.1. Joe, A Real American Hero 148 Gibbons, Dave 126 Gifford, Denis 104, 120 Girls' comics (heading) 93 Giveaway comics 80 Glossary, comics terminology U3-117 Glue 47, 53, 54 Gold Key Comics 160 Golden Age comics 79 Golden Age of comics 106, ll8 Golf humor 143 Goofy 61, 133 Gordo 135, 139, 141 Gothic romance comics (heading) 93 Goulart, Ron U9 Gould, Chester 138, 140, 160 Grading of comics 34, 41 Grammar, Thor comic books 129 Graphic albums 36, 61, U2, 145 Graphic novels 18, 60-61, 107, 126, 145; call numbers 76 Graphic styles 130, 146 Gray, Harold 135-136; original art 153 Great Comic Cats 133 Greece 135 Green Goblin 132 Green Lantern 132 Green LanternlGreen Amow 138 Grey Zane 162 Griffith, Bill 143 Grocery bags, invoices 30 Grocery stores 35 Groening, Matt 105 Ground level comics 81 The Guide to Comics Collecting 121 Gulacy, Paul 107 "Gumps" 164 Gurus in comics 137 Gutenberg Bibles 46 Gyro Gearloose 140

"Hagar the Horrible" 134, 139 Hale, Monte 133

180
Handling of comics 43, 46-47, 48, 52-53 "Happy Hooligan"l64 Harmsworth Brothers 163 A Haunt of Fears 120 Hebrew translations 145 Hell in comics 137 Hennepin County Library 2-4 "Henry" 126 Heroes for Hope 138 Herriman, George 130 "Hi and Lois" 138 Hidden nations 133 High school level study 24, 46, 124 History, comics: British 83-84; call number 75; need for histories 148; summarized 104-109; U.S. 7576 History in comics 135, 145 Holden, Elizabeth 125 Holidays 137 Hollander, Nicole 148 "Honeymooners" 127 Hong Kong, comics from 113 Hope, Bob 133 Horn Maurice 106, ll9,120 Horror 28; subject heading 93 Hot Stuff the Little Devil 137 "How to draw" books 70-71, 73 Howard the Duck 40 Humanities scholars 20, 21 Humor strips 143, 145 Hunger and starvation in comics 138

Index.
Indicia (masthead) 62; definition 115-ll6; source of title 63, 65 Individual packaging, storage 48 Inferior Five 170 Informality ll, 107, ll9, 123 Inge, M. Thomas 121 Inkers 116 Innovation 105 International comics scene 112-ll3, 145 International politics 134 Interviewing, scholarship 37, 124 Interviews, journalists 103 Inventories of gifts 33-34 Inventors 140 Invoicing 29-30 Iowa State University 158 Irrational censorship ill Italian comics 72, 87-88 Italians 140 Ivey, Jim 155

Ideologies in comics 136 Images of peoples 140-142 Imaginary friends 142 Imitators- 105, 106 The Incredible Hulk 107, l l 9 Index to the Comics in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Collection, University of Sydney Library 170 Indexes, comics 124; call number 76 Indiana University 157-158

Jacobs, Will 119 Japan 135, 141 Japan Inc. 15-16,19 Japanese comics 15-16, 36, 72, 112, 134, 141, 145 Japanese people in comics 140, 141 Jewish religion in comics 137 Job postings 15, 25 "Joe Palooka" 139 Johnson, Crockett 142 Johnson, Ruth I. 42 The Joker 132 Jones, Gerard l l 9 Journal indexes 124 Journalism and comics 150 Journalism classification (LC) 70 Journalistic attitudes 15, 27, 33, 4445; interviews 103 Jungian archetypes 132 Jungle adventure comics 135; subject heading 93-94 Justification of purchases 37 Juvenile delinquency 12, 14, 110; call number 73,101

Index.

181

Katy Keene 139 Katzenjammer Kids 105 Kelly, Walt 70, 160, 135 Kendig, Doug 156 Kennedy, Jay 62, 99 Kent State University 158 Keyboarding 25 King, Frank 165 "King of the Royal Mounted 162 Kirby, Jack 137 Kirste, Ken 125 Kitchen Sink Press 165 Korean comics 113 Korean War 46, 141 Krause Publications ll3, 121 "Krazy Kat" 12, 18, 105, 130, 133 "Kudzu" 137 Kung fu comics 141; subject heading 94 Kunzle, David 104, 120

I

1 i
i

1
I

Labelling for permanent storage 49, 55 Labor unions in comics 136 Land Grant colleges 19 Langlois, Richard 156 Language in comics 128-129 Larson, Gary 150 Latin America 134; comics from ll2; fotonovelas ll3; in comics 135 Latveria 134 Laundry in comics 143 Layouts ll6 Lee, Stan 14, 57, 107, ll9 Legion of Super-Heroes 133, 141, 145 Leiter, Marcia ll3, 121 Length, comic book story 127 Lesbian people in comics 141 Lettering 116, 128 Letters 149; acknowledgment (donations) 34; to editor (LOCs) 21 Lewis, Jerry 133 The Lexicon of Comicana ll3,121 Libertarianism in comics 136 Library collections 153-172

Library Journal 16 Library of Congress 14, 66; citations 101-102; classification, call numbers 49, 69-89; classification, labyrinth 102; comics collection 158-159; outline, call numbers 71; qualifiers added to titles 61; rule interpretation, stable titles 65; subject cataloging 68-69; subject headings 89-98; on tracing strip titles 60. See also Subject Cataloging Manual Library school 25 Library sciences 24-25 Licensed characters 86 Lichtenstein, Roy 147 Lifestyles in comics 142 Light 44, 47, 48, 50, 51 Lighting 130 "Li'l Abner" 18, 105, 128, 135 Lilly Library 157-158 Limited series, monographs 63 Listing vs. cataloging 65 Literacy 13,ll2 Literary authors as subjects 89-90 Literature 23, 109-ll0, 124 Literature or art? 69-71 Little Lulu 131 "Little Orphan Annie" 12, 105, 135-136; original art 153 Livia Press 101 Logos: on comic book covers 64, 65, 130; on superhero costumes 131 The Lone Ranger 141 Love and Rockets 141 Love comics 136, 143 Lowery, Larry 62, 99 Lucky Luke 143 Lupoff, Dick 118

McCay, Winsor 162 McGregor, Don 107 McManus, George 165 MacNelly, Jeff 171 Mad 39 Magafiles 48, 49, 50, 55, 56 Magazine indexes 124

182

Index.
Moore, Alan ll8, 126 Moores, Dick 162 Moral aspects of comics: call number 75; concern 107 Moral Majority in comics 137 "Mother Goose and Grimm" 129 Motivations: of collectors 43-44, 124; of superheroes 132 Movies, comics-related 45, 133, 145146 MTV 107 Mullaney, Dean 107 Multimedium fictitious characters 61 Multiple copies: disposition 40-42; keeping as insurance 52-53 Murdoch University 160 Museum of Cartoon Art 160-161 Museums of comics 155, 160-161, 164 Musical comedy and comics 146 Muslim religion in comics 137 Mutants in comics 139 Mutt and Jeff 105 Mylar sleeves 47, 48, 49, 52, 56

Mail-order buying 30, 38 Main entry, choice 63-66 Manga (Japanese comics) 36, 112 Manuel del Combatiente por la Libertad 118 Map cases 53 Marge 131 Mark Trail 148, 164 Marketing and content 148 Marriage in comics 138-139, 143 Marschall, Richard 139 Marston, William Moulton 164 Marvel Comics 14, 31, 51, 107, 119 ''Marvin" 149 Mary Worth 135 "M.A.S.H." 149 Mass Communications History Center of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin 165 Mass media 18-19, 20 Masthead see Indicia Media librarians 15 Mendel, Jeffrey 144 Messick, Dale 157 Metaphor in comics 131 Mexican comics 72, 88, ll2, 141 Mexican people in comics 141 Michigan State University Library: cataloging practices 59-102; comic strip scrapbooks 53, 159, 163; comics collection 159-160; multiple copies 52; restrictions on use 46; storage scheme 48, 49; thefts 45 Mickey Mouse 139 Microcolor International 51 Microfilm 31, 32, 33, 51-52, 53, 57; in libraries 159 Migration of acid 50 "Military Willie" 164 Miller, Henry 6-7 Millie the Model 28 Mimeograph publishing 21 Mini-comii 49, 83, 108, 172 Minority characters in comics 141 Miss Buxley: Sexism in Beetle Bailey? 141 Misspelling in comic books 108 Modern art in comics 147 Moody Press 40

The 'Nam 143 "Nancy" 142 Nantier-Beall-Minoustchine 36 Narration 114 National Cartoonists Society 162 National Lampoon 39 National Library of Australia 161 National Museum of American History, Archives Center 164 Nationality of comics, indeterminate 86, 87 Native American characters in comics 141 "Natives" in comics 142 Nemo 123, 151 Neumann, Renate 150 The New Mutants 141 New Pages 10 New Serial Titles 14 New wave comics 83, 105; library collection 172; subject heading 94 New York City 133

Index.
New York Public Library 161 New York Times 25, 150 Newspaper comics: library collections 156, 159, 163, 165; preservation 53-54; private collectors 32-33, 53; size shrinking 105, 126, 127; status in society U, 12-13 Newsstand distribution 35-36, 63, 82 Nicaragua, documentary comic book L18 Nonfiction comics 90, 144 Norske Tegneserie Index 99 Northwestern University 162 Norwegian comics 62, 99 Nostalgia 124, 125, 151 Notary Sojac 150 Novels 126 Nuke 2 Numbering schemes 62-63 Nye, Russel 18

I

r
I

i
I
f
I

E

I

I

Occupations in comics 142 OCLC 62, 67, 100, 154, 160, 162, 164, 166 Office supplies 46 The Oficial Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide 33-34, 42, 44, 50, 56, 62, 64, 100, 121, 143, 146 The Oficial Underground and Newave Comix Price Guide 99 Ohio Historical Society 162 Ohio State University 162-163 Old people in comics 142 Oldenburg University 163 Olson, Nancy B. 70 Olson, Richard D. 120 Origin stories 139 Original art, library collections 153, 155, 157, 158, 160, 162, 165, 167 Origins of Marvel Comics U9 Out-of-print books 29, 32 The Outbursts of Everett True 103 Outcault, Richard F. 104 Overground comics 121 Overstreet, Robert M. 42 Ownership stamps 45

Panel art U4 Panel borders ll4,128 Panel by Panel 161 Panelologists L14 Panels 114 Paper quality: improving in comic books 107; relation to content 127 Parents in comics 139 Parodies 128 Party politics 136 Patriotism in comics 136 Patterson, Mrs. Curtis B. 164 Payment (acquisitions) 29-30 "Peanuts" 61, 86, 105, 137, 142 Pencilers U6 Penny Dreadfuls and Comics 163 People in comics 140-142 The People's Comic Book 145 Percival, Olive 6 Periodicals 37 Personal contact, comics market 29, 30, 24 Pets 133 Philippine comics U3 Phonograph records 15 Photocopying 46; color 52; comic books 47; comic strips 33; dangerous to materials 47, 153; for Inter-Library Loan 153; as preservation 52, 54; as publishing 108 Photoromans 113 Physical format of comics 15, 17 Picture-reading 13 Pictures and words, balance between 126 Pioneer Books 36 Pittsburg Comix Club 170 Plastic bags 47, 49, 50 Plots: "comic-book plots" 14; research 12 7 Plotters U6 Pluto 133 "Pogo" 69, 70, 105, 128, 129, 135, 148 Politics and comics 105, 135-136 Pop art 18, 147 Poplaski, Peter 134

184

Index.
Rating systems 149 Rational censorship ill Readers: boys and men 147; participation 149; women 113 Reading, comics: comics librarians 117-120; complexity 13; effects 12; rules for reading room 45, 46; special skills 13, 15 Realia 100-101 Reality vs. fantasy 109-ll0 Rebus 104 "Red Ryder" 133, 134 Reference (library science) 24, 104 Reference books 104,106 Reid, Albert T. 167 Relativity in comics 140 Religion 110 Religious aspects 137; call number 75 Religious comics 20, 135 Remedial collections 17 Representative collections 27, 35, 38 Reprint volumes 18, 24, 28, 29, 36, 51; classification 72, 78; comic book stories 61; library collection 159; newspaper strips 32, 53, 59-61, 123, 163 Reproduction as preservation 51-52 Reputation 32, 41-42, 43 Research collections 15, 24, 59 Research library, as stored memory of society 21 Research: on comics 18-22, 46, 123-125; topics 125-150 Respectability 27 Restricting use 43-44, 46 Returns (acquisitions) 29-30 Reviews 123 Revival of dead titles 63 Rifas, Leonard 125 "Ripley's Believe-It-or-Not" 125 Ripple wine 101 Robbins, Trina l l 9 Robinson, Jerry U9 Robot comics (heading) 94 Rogers, Roy 133 Role models lll Role-playing 107, 144 Romance comics 136, 143; subject heading 94

Popular Culture Library 154 Popular culture scholars 18-19, 23-24,154 "Pore Lil Mose" 164 Pornography 80, 109, 144 Pratt, Hugo 87 Prehistoric adventure (heading) 94 Preorder searching 29-30 Preservation (library science) 24 Preserving and storing comics 43-57 Price guides 62 Prices 28, 43-44; collectors' market 27 "Prince Valiant" ll4, 165 Priorities of collecting 43-44 Private collectors: buying from 31; competition with 27-28; concern, acidic paper 50; as donors 159; as scholars 123-124 Proactive information handling 23 Profanity l L l Professionalism of libraries 55 Professions in comics 142 Professors ll,13, 20, 124 Profile for acquisitions 36-38 Profit margin on used comics 41 Propaganda 20; comics 80,108,144 Public libraries 10, 14, 17-18 Public relations 42 Publicity (library science) 24, 35; conflicts with preservation 44 Publisher index in shelflist 74 Publishers of comics 39 Publishing: decentralized ll3; selfpublished comix 108 The Punisher 138 Puns 129

Qualifiers added: "cartoon character" 61; "comic strip" 61; "fictitious character" 61

Racism 20, 109, 140-142 Radio serials U4

Index. Ronin 135 "Rose Is Rose" 129 Royal families 142 Rubber-stamping comic books 45 Rummage sales 30-31 Russel B. Nye Popular Culture Collection 159-160 Ryan, John 161 Ryder, Red 133, 134

185

Saalfield archives 158 Sabre graphic novel 107 Sadism 109 St. Fury 135 Salvaging strips from discards 32-33 Sampling 38 "Sam's Strip" 128 San Francisco Academy of Comic Art 32-33,163 Sarcasm 12-13 Scholars 28, 37, 45; alternative scholars 19-20, 24, 37; European scholars 37; humanities scholars 20, 21; popular culture scholars 18-19, 23-24; social science scholars 20, 21 School libraries 14 Schulz, Charles 137 Schwartz, Ron 125 Science 139-140 Science fiction 139; library collections 166, 169; magazines 21-22; subject heading 94-95 Scientists in comics 140 Scott, Lynn 125 Scott, Randall W. 150 Scout 64-66, 143 Scrapbooks of comic strips 32, 53, 55 Scripters ll6 Secret identities 127 Secret Six 170 Security: physical 45; psychological lll Seduction o the lnnocent 14, 109; f citation 120 Selection (library science) 24-25, 103 Self-published comix 108

Senate hearings on comics 14 Serial Adventures Presents the Serial Adventures o Batman 42 f Serial fiction 127 Serials: acquisitions 37; cataloging 38, 62, 66,109 Series titles 60, 115 Setting 133-134 Sex 111 Sexism 20, 109, 141 Sexual humor in comics 143 Sexually-transmitted diseases, comics 144 Shakespeare adaptations 146 Shazam 40, 42 Shelflist, chronological and publisher index 73-74 Shoe boxes, comic strips 32, 53, 54, 67 Sidekicks 132 Sienkiewicz, Bill 130 Silver Age comics 81, 107, l l 9 Single-issue politics in comics 136 Single panel features ll4, 125 Skateboards 100 Skills, specialized: comics librarianship 23; reading comics 13, 15 Slugs, comic book covers 64, 65 Small press books 37 Small press comics 20, 36, 107, 108, 172 Small publishers 148 "Smilin' J a c k 139 A Smithsonian Book o Comic-Book f Comics 118 The Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics 118 Smithsonian Institution Libraries 164 Smoking in comics 138, 148 The Smurfs 112 Snobbishness, academia 9 Snoopy 133 Snuffy Smith 130 Social context 134-135 Social pahtology and comics 138 Social science scholars 20, 21 Soliciting donations 34-35 Son o Satan 137 f Sophistication in comics 146

186

Index.
Subject cataloging 68-69 Subject Cataloging Manual 100, 102 Subject headings 20, 89-98; books of comics 2-4 Subject Keyword Index to the Library of Congress Classtjication Schedules 1974 101 Subliterature 16, 17, 112-113 Subscription services 38 Subscriptions 37, 39 Subterranean societies 133 Sugar and Spike 129 Summarizing as scholarship 37 Sunday comic strips 54, ll5; see also Dailies Super (prefix) 129 Super powers 139 Superboy 145 Superhero comics 28, 31, 106,107, 131, 132,133, 136,138, 139, 143; personal relationships among 143; psychology 132; subject heading 95 Superheroine comics (heading) 95 Superheroines 132 Superman 14, 15, 86,106, ll0, 127, 132, 135; library collection 164 Supernatural in comics 137 Super-Villain Team-Up 134 Support for comics, envelopes and sleeves 49, 50 Surrealism 12, 130 Surveys 149 Swamp Thing 46 Sword and sorcery comics 144; subject heading 95 "Sylvia" 139, 141, 148 Symbolism in comics 131 Sympathetic magic U0 Syndication of strips 105, 148 Syracuse University 165

Sound effects 14, ll4, 129 Sources for main entry 63-66 Southern Illinois Unversity at Edwardsville 164 Souvenirs solicited 39 Soviet comics 145 Smiet Humor: The Best of Krokodil 145 Space flight 12, 22 Space requirements and problems 41, 59 Spanish comics 72, 88 Specialty journalism 150 The Spectre 137 Speculators 29, 37, 40-41 Spider (prefix) 129 Spider-Man 15, 40, 45, 107, ll9, 131, 132, 134, 147 Spine curl 46 The Spirit 132 Splash page or panel ll5, 116 Sports comics (heading) 95 Spy comics (heading) 95 St& time 45, 53 Stamping, ownership 45 Standards: academia ll; censors 109 Stanley, John 131 Staples in comic books 47 "Star T r e k 22 State Historical Society of Wisconsin 53, 165 State-of-the-art preservation 56 Stationery stores 35 Stealing comics 45, 46, 50, 159 Stereotypes in comics 140-142 Steve Canyon 133 Stig's Inferno 137 Stock characters 132 Storing and preserving comics 43-57 Story title 115 Storyteller U6 Storytelling 73 Street & Smith archives 165 Strip cartoons (British) 126 Strip title: in cataloging 60-61, 77; definition 115 Stripzines 83 Structure of comic strip U4; form and content 126-127 Stupefaction of comics readers 12

Tabloids 74, 78, 79 "Tales of Asgard 135 Tales of the Green Beret 143 Target audiences 144, 146 'Tarzan" ll9, 135

Index.

4

Y

Tax deductions, donors 33-34 Technology in comics 139-140 Teen humor comics 143-144; subject heading 96 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 108 Televangelism in comics 137 Television and comics 146, 147, 149 Temporary storage 49 Terminology U3-U7, 121 "Terry and the Pirates" 128, 133 Tessie the Typist 28 Theater and comics 146 Theft of comics 45, 46, 50, 159 Third World comics 113 Third World in comics 135 Thompson, Don U8 "Thorn 107, U9, 129 Thought balloons U4 Tijuana bibles 49, 80, 107-108, 144 "Tillie the Toiler" 139 "Tim Tyler's Luck 105, 135 Time investment, servicing collection 45, 53 Time-travel stories 135, 145 Timothy Truman's Scout 64-66 Tintin U2 Title 63-65, US-U6; changes 64 Title pages 65 Tomahawk 141 Tomb of Dracula 137 Tonto 141 Tourists: souvenir comic books 39; as visitors 44, 45 Toy-based comics 147-148 Toys: cartoon-related 155; war toys 109 Trademark symbols 65, 66 The Transformers 148 Translated comics ll2, 145; classification 86 Treasure Chest of Fun and Fact 6263 Trudeau, Garry 135 The Truth About Comic Books 42 "Tumbleweeds" 134 Turner, Morrie 137

USA Today 150 Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory 14 Ulrich's Plus 14 The Uncanny X-Men 45, 53,103 Uncle Scrooge 7-8, 86 Undergraduate level study 24 Underground comics (heading) 96 Underground comix 81, 99, 108, 143; library collections 155, 158, 160, 166, 168, 169, 172 Uniform titles (cataloging abstraction) 60 Universes 133-134; literary vs. real 109-110 University of California, Los Angeles 165-166 University of California, Riverside 166 University of Chicago 166 University of Connecticut 166 University of Iowa 167 University of Kansas 167 University of Kent at Canterbury 167 University of Kentucky 168 University of Maryland, Baltimore County 168 University of Minnesota 168 University of Missouri-Columbia 24, 169 University of New Brunswick 169 University of Oregon 169 University of Pittsburgh 170 University of Sydney 170 University of Tulsa 24, 170-171 University of Virginia 171 University presses 124 University Products 56 Upgrading collections 54-55 Usagi Yojimbo 135 Uslan, Michael 144

Van Hise, James 42 Vegetables 61 Vertical files, cataloging 67-68

188
Victorian Comics 120 Video games 107 Videocassettes 15 Vietnam Journal 143 Vietnam veterans in comics 143 Vietnam War in comics 136, 143 The Vigilante 138 Vigilantism 138 Vikings in comics 135 Villains ll5, 132 Violence 14, 20, ill,138 Virginia Commonwealth University 171 Vocabulary in comic books 128, 129

Index.
"The Wizard of I d 134 Women and the Comics l l 9 Women: characters 132, 141, 147 Women in the Comics U9 Women's comics (heading) 96 Wonder Woman 15, 106, 132, 135; library collection 164 Word balloons 13, 113, 114 Words and pictures 126 Working people in comics 142 The World Encyclopedia of Comics 106, 120 World War I1 in comics 135, 140, 141, 145 Wristwatches: comic character, call number 73; to store tape 47, 56 Writers of comics ll6, 128 Writing styles 131

Walker, Brian 139 Walker, Mort ll3, 121, 141 Walks of life in comics 142 Walt Disney Archives 171-172 Walt Disney's Comics and Stories 44, 65, 72 Wantlists 32 War comics 135, 136, 143; subject heading 96 "Wash Tubbs" 119 Washington State University 172 Watchmen 126 Watterson, Bill 142 Webster, H.T. 165 "Wee Pals" 137, 142 Weight and fashion in comics 139 Werfel, Franz 7 Wertham, Fredric 14, 106, 109, 120 Western comics 133,135, 141, 143; subject heading 96 West Publications 160 Wholesale of comics 36 White Eagle Indian Chief 141 Whyte, Malcolm 133 Williams Martin 118 Willis, Steve 172 Wilson, Tom 158 Winnie Winkle 141, 164

X-Men 45, 53,103 The X-Men 107

Yellow Claw 141 "Yellow K i d 104-105 The Yellow Kid Notes: The Oficial Newsletter of the Yellow Kid Society 120 Yellow Pages 28 "Yellow peril" mentality 141 Yellowing 51 Young, Dean 139 Yronwode, Catherine 5-8, 64-66, ll9

Zap Comics 108 Zippy 143