(?) Adventures in Reading Starring: The Amazing Spider-Man.
(New York: Marvel Comics, 1992?)
"Developed in conjunction with the
Baltimore City Literacy Corporation" and advertised in Library
Journal. I'd say the odds are great that at some point a library is
shown somewhere in the story, given the pattern of such one-shot comics. I
haven't actually seen this story myself.
Bates, Cary. "Who Is Invading Central City?" [1st story]
Adventure Comics #465 Oct. 1979 (NY: DC).
The librarian thinks
the Flash (incognito) is "a strange man" because he insists that he can
listen to all of the audio tapes in stock in the 33 min. he has the room
signed out for ("I'm a fast listener"). The drawing of the interior and
exterior of the library is rather dull, IMHO.
On page 63 of Mike Benton's Science-Fiction Comics: The
Illustrated History (Dallas: Taylor, 1992), he mentions that superhero
"Captain Comet" (DC Comics) was a "mild-mannered librarian" in his secret
identity, a fact ommitted in his profile in DC Who's Who.
Burns, Charles. "Doomed Marriage (?)" [3rd story]. In His Skin
Deep: Tales of Doomed Romance [edited by Art Spiegelman and R.
Sikoryak] (New York: Penguin, 1992).
A lesbian love story! The central
character, not getting satisfaction (no explanation necessary ;) at home,
goes to the library to do some pleasurable reading. She befriends the
librarian who is courteous, helpful and friendly. She also looks like the
stereotypical librarian (kinda old, a woman, bifocals), but...later on,
when the husband tries to kill the central charac- ter, the librarian
saves the day, shooting him and freeing the central charac- ter who
realizes she loves the librarian. There's even a lesbian kiss. Now how
often are lesbian librarians represented anywhere?
Batman: A Word to the Wise. (NY: DC).
Batman comic shows a branch of the Toronto Public Library and has a
librarian in it [at least they showed diversity by making her disabled;
where are the men? 8( ]. I think it's a lame attempt that shows why not
everyone is cut out to make educational/social issues comics. (For a
fantastic example, BTW, check out the semi-autobiographical To the
heart of the storm; it's a "normal" comic, but gives powerful messages
about racism in our midst. It's available from one of the libraries in
Montreal. For a good example of bad messages in a fairly good format,
check out Chick publications - tracts available all over the bloody
Cadillacs and Dinosaurs Book 1 (3rd story). Reprinted from
No librarians in this one, but one of the main
characters, a female scientist is taken by the adventurer Jake to a place
that has a library in it. The people living there are uncomfortable with
her being there. Towards the end, it is discovered that their fear is due
to their concern that, once again, the knowledge of the weapon of
destruction that caused the world's devastation (which the reader knows is
the atomic bomb) will be learned again. They try to destroy the library in
a flood, but Jake helps the scientist save it by clo- sing its steel
Claremont, Chris. "Slaughter on 10th Avenue." Marvel Team-up
#83 July 1979. (NY: Marvel).
Here, superhero "Spider-Man" can't think
of where to find S.H.I.E.L.D. (kinda like CIA) HQ, until he remembers how
highly the city editor rec- commended the woman at "the morgue" (what a
dreaded name for a LIBRARY!). Good portrayal coming up, right? Hardly! She
is showed as unattractive (nothing new), arrogant and rude. She does
unrealistically remember the exact page number of the phone book he needs.
Gee, I wish library school taught us how to do that. 8)
Conway, Gerry. "Reprise." Justice League of America #182
Sept. 1980 (NY: DC).
A former felon (Felix Faust) tries his hand at
being a librarian, only to get possessed by the spirit of an evil sorcerer
whose essence had been trans- ferred to a book in his castle. It is not
explained why a seemingly ordinary library (Star City Public) has a
special curator or acquires century-old books.
DC Comics. Reproduction of a pro-library comic ad in their
Greatest Stories Ever Told (New York: DC Comics 1990), pg. 321. The
message is don't read Green Arrow comics OR the book Robin
Hood. If you like one, you'll like the other, too. So, read them both.
A sophisticated approach, compared to what I read in Newsletter on
Intellectual Freedom about the trading of comics for "real stories"
initiated by American libraries.
Eisner, Will. "Mortal Combat." [3rd story]. In His Invisible
People. (Princeton: Kitchen Sink Press, 1992).
Though, it is an
anthology, all three stories have a common theme. The title refers to the
way that in modern urban society most of us are "invisible" - nameless,
faceless, unknown - to most of the people around us (neighbours, workplace
associates, schoolmates). People like the homeless and the poor are easily
forgotten and ignored. Some would say that Jews are invi- sible (because
they are a minority) and others would say that librarians are invisible
(people don't acknowledge us until they really need us...at five minutes
to closing, yet 8) Eisner combines these metaphors by telling a doomed
love story about 2 Jewish librarians who are made even more invisible by
taking care of their ailing, opposite sex parent. When her father dies,
she seeks romance in a male librarian (so few of these shown) who falls in
love with her, but can't abandon his mother. She tries to adjust, but the
jealous mother makes life difficult, until, over the edge she causes an
explosion (or was it an accident?) that has negative consequences (can't
remember who lived or died, except the son lived, but was
The Evergreen State College Library Calendiary : featuring Lynda
Barry's look at other libraries. (Olympia, Wash. : Evergreen State
College Library, 1985).
(?) "The Girl Who Didn't Believe in Superman". (197?) Reprinted in
Superman and Batman Annual (London: Brow, Watson, 1974, 5th
Superhero "Superman" discovers with his X-ray vision that
Alice's blindness is the result of a piece of glass embedded behind her
optic nerve. Since only he can see the glass, Superman (who is licensed to
practice medicine) decides to operate himself. First though, he goes to
the hospital's medical library, where he learns "everything about eye
operations" in a few minutes. No medical librarian is shown.
Grant, Joseph W. Adventures of the Incredible Librarian =
Aventuras de la Bibliotecaria Increible (Tempe, AZ : Preservation
Graphics, 1990.) "Sampler, April 1990."
Hall, Allison. "Batgirl Was a Librarian." Canadian Library
Journal 49 (Oct. 1, 1992): 345-3??.
Strictly speaking, not a
source, but has a good overview of our image and does (briefly) talk about
Batgirl. Also shows Allie in her Batgirl costume. (How many librarians
dress up as other librarians on Halloween? "Who are you supposed to be?"
"Melville Dewey, of course!" "Who the hell's that?").
Handman, Gary. Bibiotoons: A Mischievous Meander through the
Stacks and Beyond. (Jefferson: McFarland, 1990).
Some likable stuff
(like LC thought baloons for the "Oz" characters) and some stuff that's
too long or not funny.
Hartman, Tim. The Amazing Adventures of Super Bard.
(published in cooperation with the Dept. of University Relations,
University of Pittsburgh, 1989).
"Mild-mannered prof" Stern Rosencrantz
looks at an old volume of Shakes- peare's plays at the Hillman Library and
encounters Puck (a faerie) who trans- forms him into superpowered Super
Bard. SB tries to "save Pittsburgh from ma- laise and the summer of
Hope, L. Agent Street. OH #7 (May 1994), pgs. 39-52 Reprinted
in Sanford Berman and James P. Dansky (eds.) Alternative Library
Literature, 1994/1995 (Jefferson: McFarland, 1996), pgs. 45-58.
anarchist falls for Emerald Street, a lesbian librarian. Great line to a
patron looking for the 'c' section: "before invitro births".
Lee, Richard. "You Can Tell Your Kid Will Grow Up to Be a
Librarian when...": Cartoons about the Profession. (Jefferson:
Some likable stuff (like prison library: "due in 1-10
yrs.") and some stuff that's too long ("My Story") or not that
Lee, Stan "New York Public Library" (My Friend Irma) D.D. 5 p. in
My Friend Irma, no. 11 (Oct. 1951) Begins: Where ya going, Oima? Al
told Irma he'd marry ...
The Librarian. No. 1 (July 1988)- (Scottsdale, AZ :
Librarians for Social Change, no. 9
L f S C Comix : in
this issue, the history of LfSC woman, unexpurgated. (Brighton, Sussex :
Librarians for Social Change, 1974).
Library Comix. (Olympia, Wash. : Evergreen State College,
Maggin, Elliot "Who Stole the Gift from Nowhere?" (Robin) story 9 p.
in Batman, no. 245
NOTES: Library story.
Milligan, Peter. "The library of souls." Detective Comics
#643 April 1992. (NY: DC).
A library whodunnit. This was mentioned in
American Libraries. A renegade male librarian starts killing people
and classifying the bodies according to DDC. Superhero Batman solves the
murders with the assistance of a librarian. Hmmm, why didn't he just go to
Batgirl. She was a librarian, too.
Speaking of Batgirl, after the Joker shot her, she took a less
active role. Now she provides what we'd call free reference services
(usually in-depth and difficult stuff) to some superheroes under the name
Oracle. Why didn't they just call her "SuperLibrarian"? (also see Peterson
Moore, John Francis. "Harvest of a Quiet Eye." Doom 2099 #13
Jan. 1994 (NY: Marvel). Reprinted in _Best of Marvel 1994_.
Theodore, a librarian of a small Byzantine monastery, whose job is to keep
the collection hidden from outsiders, is killed by supervillain "Necrotek"
while trying to access information from a database. Superpowered "Doom"
performs a successful database search ("cross reference visual search name
and variations: nekrotek) which provides him with the spell needed to
Peterson, Scott. "A Little Knowledge". Showcase 94 #12 (1st
story) Dec. 1994 (NY: DC).
Oracle defends herself from vengeful
stalkers. Pg. 13 recounts her life story: "[after her spine was shattered]
I worked with what I had. From my days as Gotham's head librarian I knew
how to find out whatever I needed. If I could do that for citizens, I
could do it for colleges, non-profit corporations, private investigators
and superheroes. Having been blessed with photographic recall, I studied a
dozen newspapers, four dozen magazines and... the computer bulletin
boards...Nowadays, I can do so much more as Oracle than I ever could do as
Batgirl. There's nothing I can't find out. No problem I can't
"Quiet in the Library" (Li'l Wise Guy) 1 p. in Atomic Mouse,
no. 34 (Jan. 1960)
Begins: Pssst, Tommy!
Spiegelman, Art. "Words, Worth a Thousand." New Yorker Feb.
20-27, 1995, p. 196-199.
History and description of the New York Public
Library Picture Collection, started in 1915 by library clerk Romana
W. S. "Cold Fish Ladder: A Possible Origin of Marty the Dog!" In
Alternative Library Literature 1986/1987, Sanford Berman and James
P. Dansky (eds.) [reprinted from Gosky Comics].
Morty was a disatisfied librarian who gave up the job to be a dog - an
easier occupation. Among some disagreeable statements are "That guy
[librarian] looks like he has an easy job", "in the front row [in a
library school classroom]...were the people who wanted to be librarians
since they were small children!...geeks", "Only the bibliogeeks in the
first row survived [library school]" and "The [library school] professor
liked books more than people".
Sacco, Joe. "Voyage to the End of the Library." Yahoo #3
(April 1990). Re- printed in Alternative Library Literature
1992/1993 pgs. 30-38.
Critique of library policy, user demand,
workload and similar library topics, as told from the fictional library
page-narrator's point of view. Funny, but at times, too harsh. I
personally was offended by his stereotyping of science-fiction
Sturm & Dikkers. Kimberly Crotchet, Librarian of Tomorrow
Van Horn, Penny. The Librarian (Seattle: Fantagraphics,
Reviewed in journal Libraries and Popular Culture. This
story is about a librarian who is a cruel landlord on the side. The story
is almost completely focused on his seedy life outside the library, making
one question the appropriateness of the title.
Walters, Rocky. Howard Stern: The Unauthorized Lampoon #1
(Vineland, NJ: Concept Comics, 1994), pg. 10.
Stern sneaks into the
public library after-hours to deface a book by gluing his photo over
Marconi's picture under the caption "Inventor of Radio".
Wise, Ronnie W. and April Stewart. "Literacy Southern Style." In
Archie and His Friends Help Raise Literacy Awareness in
Mississippi. (Mamaroneck, NY: Archie Comic Publications, 1994).
this first story, Veronica Lodge takes her friends to Mississippi to learn
about what they can do to help people improve their literacy. Among the
sights they visit is the Cleveland Depot, which "has been transformed into
a division of the local library system" and is the headquarters of the
local literacy council.
That's it, folks. Not much, but it's the only list I've seen (maybe
I just don't do research that well 8) . If anyone doesn't have
access to these sources, I might have them at home and can photocopy the
requisite pages for .25 US/pg (.09 US/pg if I can use the university's
copier). I plan to purchase whatever I don't have, but some of it's hard
to come by. 8(
Steven M. Bergson
With the acknowledged assistance of Chris Dodge and Sanford Berman
(both of Hennepin County (MN) Public Library), Kivi Shapiro (University of
Western Ontario), Norman Stevens (Molesworth Institute) and Randall W.
Scott (Michigan State University Libraries).