Special Collections

Those who have followed my ramblings for a while might have noticed my love of libraries.

The origins of this affair reach back to those awkward years of youth. Sports weren’t really my thing, so I’d ride my 10-speed to the local county library and spend hours reading books, looking at art, or making photocopies at 10 cents a pop. Eventually my 10-speed would be stolen which stung at the time, but it didn’t affect my love of the book buildings.

I was informed earlier this week that the VCU Special Collections had recently installed an AdHouse exhibit. Smack dab between a zombie comic collection (Love Eats Brains!) and a Richmond crime display. Heck, there was also a nice Los Bros. and 9/11 show, too.

Honestly, I have been meaning to make it over to SC for a while, but nothing acts like bait more than an ego boosting display. I really liked the touch of the graph paper used for the AdHouse exhibit. It pulled everything together rather nicely. Almost like blue prints for the publishing foundation. Thanks to Celina for such a great job!

After taking a few pics of the exhibit, my first contact from the SC… Cindy (aka “that comic book lady”) Jackson offered to walk me around and show me the collection. The first thing that she pointed out to me was the famous Billy Debeck Office Door with Barney Google and Spark Plug. When I asked about James Branch Cabell, I was taken through the proverbial wardrobe into his personal library. It was a weird sensation. One minute you’re in a 1970’s library, and the next you drop back in time 70-some years.

We then ventured out into the “guts” of the operation, where acquisitions are continually processed into the collection. I was told that literally TONS of comics and books about comics arrive each year to be processed, and I believe it. They appeared to have almost anything you might want to read. From Screw magazine to the Comics Journal to locally produced zines from Richmond (Throttle, anyone?). One of my personal highlights was seeing Kelly Alder’s Mama Zu’s comic book in the collection as well.

Before I left, Cindy showed me how to search their database of comics and comic-related books. If you have a chance, you should check it out, and better yet, try and make time to visit the library. You can read almost anything you might want. AND… if you can’t make it, you can even browse certain parts of the collection online… like PS magazine!

Thanks to the Cindy, Celina and the staff of the Special Collections for all your hard work!

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