Friday, June 16, 2017


If you live anywhere near the DC metropolitan area, go to the Library of Congress tomorrow, where, in the Jefferson Building, they have an exhibit of some of their comic book collection.

Including a few you might recognize:

The Capitol actually glows just like that. It glows with freedom.

"Back off, boys, I am WAY more popular than all of you combined, and still will be 70 years from now."

"Don't worry, after my sassy entrance, I'll break down in tears remembering that my entire world has been destroyed!"

Angry-Black Lantern's origin!

It took Batman hours with a whip to train him to do that.

"Well, see, that's yer problem right there; a leak in your crystal ball's radiator."

I still hate you.

Oh, yeah; I went there.
If they let them touch they would break through the fourth wall into the multiverse and a host of characters would pour in until the Jefferson Building looked like the JLA satellite during the Crisis.

Despite having lived in DC for 30 years, despite working on the Mall, despite having been to the Madison Building where these are stored about 10,000 times, I have never seen these comics. Until today.

I tried not to be That Guy went I showed up, wading through the streams of school groups in identical tee shirts. just kept happening.

"Here's a sheet that explains what the comics on the display are, sir, if you'd like." 
" !!!! Thank you, but that won't be necessary. I know what they are."

And, yes, I said "!!!!" out loud.

"Oh, I'm a history teacher and I use comic books in my classroom; did you know the Captain America was fighting World War II before we were?" 
"Uh-huh. And other characters were fighting thinly-veiled substitutes for the Axis even earlier, such as Superman versus Rakhal the dictator of Oxnalia or MLJ comic's The Shield versus the Moscovians.  You should read The Shield."

Well, he SHOULD. Everyone should.

"And with that modern cover of Princess Leia compared to this early space comic book you can certainly see how the role of women in such literature has changed!" 
"The princess is posing.  THIS women is firing a laser cannon at the threat. AND her clothes are less revealing than her male sidekick's.  There are certainly examples of sexism in Golden Age science fiction comics, but this isn't one of them."

Yeah.  I was TOTALLY that guy.

But it was okay. When some of the librarians realized what an obnoxious know-it...
I mean, a useful resource I could be, we exchanged info so they could consult with me about online sources for current comic book analysis and criticism.  I think they were also impressed by the fact that I was the ONLY person who said, "NO, I don't want to TOUCH the comics, are you MAD?!"

I don't think you should touch them, either. But I do encourage you to go to the exhibit, whose last day is tomorrow.


TomPrice said...

Thanks for sharing! I have most of them but may go down to see the Planet Comics, which is new to me.

jk, but I do still have the JLA issue with the first JSA cross-over! Now it is almost laughable that the cover declares "Back after 12 years!"

Scipio said...

Tom, consider including the Library of Congress in your will; that sort of bequest is how their collection came into being for future generations to enjoy!

Anonymous said...

If this were Gotham City, the logical consequence of this museum exhibit would be the debut of a supervillain obsessed with comics. On this world, well-informed smartypantses are the equivalent of supervillains. Well done sir!

SallyP said...

Fighting the good fight, Scipio!

cybrid said...

"If you live anywhere near the DC metropolitan area"

If we did, wouldn't we be camped out on your doorstep, eager to hear your every word of wisdom and/or whimsy? ;-)