The VCU Libraries’ Comic Arts Collection began in the 1970s with the donation of a modest comic book collection and the papers of a noted Richmond newspaper editorial cartoonist. The collection later grew with the help of numerous donors over the years – especially that of Dr. M. Thomas Inge, an expert on the history of popular culture and the comic arts.
Today, the collection includes thousands of comic books dating primarily from the 1960s through today (though we have many before 1960 as well); the papers and drawings of political cartoonist Fred O. Seibel and Charles Henry “Bill” Sykes; Billy De Beck’s personal library and the door to his studio apartment, featuring an original painting of his famous characters Barney Google and Sparkplug; a number of set design paintings from the 1960s Batman television show and movie; an extensive collection of fanzines; and many other materials. In addition, VCU Libraries has been the repository for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards Archives since 2005. You can learn more here.
In 2017, VCU Libraries launched an endowment to support Special Collections and Archives’ rare and unique materials with a challenge grant of $30,000 from an anonymous donor. VCU Libraries met the challenge and created the endowment. Gifts have continued to grow this fund and the endowment is steadily growing toward a goal of $1 million.
Special Collections and Archives collects rare and unique materials for research and teaching. VCU’s focus is in subject areas such as comic arts; artists’ books; Richmond history, including businesses, civic associations and professional organizations; African-American, women’s and LGBTQ community histories; social movements and activism; materials on the history of healthcare in the Commonwealth and medical artifacts.
A gift to the Special Collections and Archives Fund is a powerful giving opportunity for those interested in helping VCU strengthen its Special Collections and Archives. A gift to the fund helps us acquire materials for our collections, and then preserve those collections for many generations to come. This fund also provides revenue to support projects and programs focused on our collections, improve access to collections through contract work and fund continued staff development. You can learn more here.
Give now and help preserve this treasure trove of comics history.