Thursday, June 19, 2008


Miscellany Day

Gordon Campbell's Collection Found!
Regular blog readers know that I've been bemoaning the disappearance of Gordon Campbell's incredible vast collection of early tearsheets and original art. He'd talked to me shortly before his death and said he still hadn't made any final decisions about the final disposition of his collection. I suggested Ohio State University, but I knew that they hadn't been the lucky recipients.

I've been asking around for years now, trying to find out what exactly did happen to it, but no one seemed to have an inkling. My worst fear was that the whole collection ended up in a landfill, a fate that would have been a loss almost too horrible to bear.

Finally an anonymous source has come forward to tell me that Steve Geppi, owner and president of Diamond Comic Distributors, now has the collection. It is reportedly all boxed up at his Geppi's Entertainment Museum, presumably someday to be used in the displays. No word on how exactly Geppi came to be the owner; whether Gordon or his heirs sold it to Geppi, or if it was a donation (highly doubtful, I think).

I can't say I'm exactly happy about the new ownership. I would have much preferred to have it end up in a research facility rather than a ballpark pop culture attraction. It seems to be without any facilities or, apparently, interest in serving researchers (I note that the Educational Programs link is empty, for instance). On the other hand, it's better than a landfill. But it seems a little like having Neil Armstrong's spacesuit end up at an MTV museum if you know what I mean.

Jackie Ormes Book
I had originally planned to review Nancy Goldstein's fabulous book Jackie Ormes - The First African American Woman Cartoonist on the blog but instead I will be reviewing it for the next issue of Hogan's Alley. Given the publication schedule of HA and the speed at which books go out of print these days, I just wanted to give you folks a heads-up that you will definitely want to purchase a copy. It's a first rate piece of research, entertaining, and reproduces wonderful material that is about as rare as it comes.

Pittsburgh Courier on Proquest
I know at least a few blog readers have access to Proquest, the digitized newspaper archives. If you do I'd like to ask you a favor. I'm currently in need of good quality comic strip reproductions from the Pittsburgh Courier and the microfilm is in terrible condition. I know that Proquest recently added the Courier to its list of digitized newspapers.

The nearest facility to me that has the Courier from Proquest is about 120 miles away, and with the price of gas these days I'd rather not make that trip only to find out that the digitized version is no better than the microfilm. If you have access could you please do a little spot-check for me (I'm mostly interested in the 1930s-50s) and report back regarding the quality of the scans? Some Proquest material is stunningly good, others are so low resolution and pixilated that they're of no use for my purposes.

Having gotten to know Gordon in his later years, I'm glad to see this. However, I'm curious at what exactly has turned up, as I know at least some of the originals from his collection were sold a few years ago in one of Russ Cochran's comic art auctions. Gordon's favorite part of his collection was the set of scrapbooks in which he was hoping to mount one published example of every comic strip ever created. He spent a lot of time in his retirement years trying to track down obscure titles he didn't have. This is what I'm hoping has turned up in the museum for people to view. As for his many file cabinets full of collected strips and the attic full of unclipped newspaper pages, maybe those will spark the publishing by Diamond of some reprint collections that would otherwise have not found their way to market. He used to sell strips from this stock for "pocket money" after he retired, and I can't help but wonder if somewhere in the collection there's still a bunch of Batman strips in an envelope with my name written on the outside, which he had pulled together to sell to me before he became too ill to continue his hobby. As for how Geppi got the collection, I only know that the materials most likely went to a nephew who helped him a lot after his wife passed away, as the Campbells had no children. I do remember Gordon saying there were several who were interested in getting his collection as a donation, but that he was hoping the collection could bring a financial reward to him or his nephew. Unfortunately, it was several months after his death before I learned he had died, so I do not know the story of what happened to the collection, and of how parts of it got to Cochran and Geppi.
Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]