Thursday, June 19, 2008
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.