Special Collections at UF’s Smathers Library has as a large and growing collection of comic books, strips, graphic novels, historical and contemporary anthologies, original Sunday pullouts, artist’s proofs and original artwork. Originally consisting mostly of Silver and Bronze Age (1960’s on) superhero comics, donations and acquisitions have more than doubled the size of the collection in recent years.
Of particular note is the Penny and Sol Davidson Collection, which has made the collection a leader in Victorian and Platinum Age (19th and early 20th Century) Comics, including collections of work by Rolophe Topffer, Frederick Opper and Windsor McCay. The Davidson Collection also includes a large sub-collection of Special Purpose Comics, most of which were originally freebies, given away to promote causes as different as employee safety, science education and sales of outboard motors. Other items of interest include the original art for a comic book promoting Adlai Stevenson for president and Science Fiction #3, with Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster’s first “Superman” story – about an evil ubermensch.
There have been a number of library exhibitions featuring comics at the University of Florida Libraries, including 2008’s “National Obsessions: Twentieth Century Pop Culture, Comics and Cross-promotional Merchandizing,” 2006’s “Comics and Childhood: From Katzenjammer to Klarion” which was featured during that year’s Conference, 2005’s “75 Years of Blondie: 1930-2005,” and 2004’s “Help is On the Way! Comic Books and Superheroes in Special Collections.” The aid and interest of librarians in Special Collections has been invaluable to the Comics Program at UF, and we cannot thank them enough.
Visit the Comics Collection at UF Libraries.