Comics Studies: Collections & Exhibits

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"Comics are a gateway drug to literacy."--Art Spiegelman

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Collections & Exhibits

The largest publicly available collection of comic books in the United States is housed in the Serial and Government Publications Division. The collection includes U.S. and foreign comic books--over 6,000 titles in all, totaling more than 120,000 issues. Primarily composed of the original print books, the collection includes color microfiche of selected early comic book titles (such as Superman, More Fun, and Action Comics) and special reprints, as well as a number of web comics. The collection is most comprehensive from the mid-1940s on, with scattered issues from numerous titles dating back to the 1930s. For many of the earliest modern comic books (those which began publishing in the 1930s) the collection contains holdings beginning with the early 1940s but lacks many first issues.

The Comic Art Collection holds over 200,000 items. Most of these items are comic books, but also included are over 1,000 books of collected newspaper comic strips, and several thousand books and periodicals about comics. Although some archival material and a few dozen pieces of original comic book and comic strip art are held, the focus of the collection is on published work, in an effort to present a complete picture of what the audience has seen over the years of the twentieth century. The most important categories of material in the Comic Art Collection, based on current completeness and emphasis, are the U.S. comic books, the international comics collection, the newspaper strip books, and the historical and critical materials. Smaller sub-collections include animation-related material, Big Little Books, books illustrated by comic artists or written by comics professionals, propaganda comics, tie-ins to comic-related movies, the Eclipse Comics archive, and clipping and ephemera files.

The world's largest collection of materials related to cartoons art, including original art, books, magazines, journals, comic books, archival materials, and newspaper comic strip pages and clippings. 

Founded in 1984, the Cartoon Art Museum has something for everyone—from comic strips, comic books and anime to political cartoons, graphic novels and underground comix. People of all ages can view original cartoon art at exhibitions and screenings, produce their own comics and animation at classes and workshops, research deeply into our collection and library, and mix and mingle with professional and aspiring cartoonists. This unique institution houses approximately 7,000 original pieces in our permanent collection and attracts more than 30,000 visitors annually.

  • Cartoon Art Museum (San Francisco)

    Founded in 1984, the Cartoon Art Museum has something for everyone, from comic strips, comic books and anime to political cartoons, graphic novels and underground comix. People of all ages can view original cartoon art at exhibitions and screenings, produce their own comics and animation at classes and workshops, research deeply into our collection and library, and mix and mingle with professional and aspiring cartoonists. This unique institution houses approximately 7,000 original pieces in our permanent collection and attracts more than 30,000 visitors annually.

  • The Suzy Covey Comic Book Collection (University of Florida)

The Suzy Covey Comic Book Collection directly supports the Comic Studies Program offered by the Department of English at the University of Florida, but its holdings are open to all having an interest in the field. The collection is still growing, and is useful for those interested in the history and development of sequential art formats, particularly in the United States and includes original and reprint comic books, strips, caricatures and related items. The collection holds items from every recognized "Age" of comics as well as every genre, including daily humor strips and political satire as well as superhero, funny animal, and underground comics.

The Eaton Collection is the largest publicly-accessible collection of science fiction and fantasy literature in the world, consisting of over 300,000 items. The collection begins with the 1517 edition of Thomas More's Utopia and includes first editions of many seminal works including Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1818), Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897) and H.G. Wells' The Time Machine (1895). Eaton's outstanding comic book collection of more than 75,000 individual issues has been built entirely through donations from fans. Among the more significant contributions are the collections of Michael Brennan, Stephen Byrne, Michael Callahan, Adam Crities (UCR alumnus, 1995), Dr. Byran Kaul (UCR alumnus, 1975), anime scholar Fred Patten, and comic book writer Marv Wolfman.

An online archive of artwork by science fiction and fantasy artist Frank R. Paul.

An online gallery of comic covers from various publishers.

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