Mini-Comics in the Library Of Congress

Maybe comics still needs more popular respect as an art form (rather than as a development platform for superhero movies) but this is certainly a sign of respect from our nation’s curator of literature and culture. I don’t normally post press releases but what the hey:

SPX Acquires the Dean Haspiel Collection and Other Mini-Comics for the Small Press Expo Collection at the Library of Congress

Bethesda, Maryland; June 17, 2012 – Small Press Expo is pleased to announce that Dean Haspiel has generously donated his mini-comic collection to the Small Press Expo Collection at the Library of Congress. The Haspiel Collection is comprised of over 600 mini-comics spanning over 15 years. Among the collection’s rare holdings are mini-comics by Raina Telgemeier, Charles Burns, Sara Varon, Nick Abadzis, Kevin Huizenga, Ron Rege, Alex Robinson, Brian Ralph, Scott Morse, Leela Corman, Paul Hornschemeier, and others, including a rare promotional mini-comic for Craig Thompson’s Blankets and two limited edition mini-comics of political cartoons by Jeff Smith of Bone fame.

Emmy Award winner Dean Haspiel, creator of the Eisner-nominated Billy Dogma, said this about his donation:

“I can’t think of a more honorable home for my massive mini-comics collection than the Library of Congress. I’d like to publicly thank and commend Warren Bernard, Chris Oarr, Karon Flage, Greg McElhatton, Greg Bennett, Eden Miller, the late Jeff Alexander, and the rest of the SPX gang for years of allowing me to discover and enjoy so many diamonds in the rough that turn into comix gold.”

This generous donation is in addition to the mini-comics and tabloid newspaper comics donated by SPX exhibitors at last year’s show, thanks to a joint team of SPX and Library of Congress staff asking exhibitors to donate works to the collection. Over 120 mini-comics, tabloid comics, and graphic novels were added to the collection due to the generosity of creators and publishers. Showing its commitment to the collection, the Library of Congress has already sent a number of tabloid comics including Magic Bullet, Smoke Signals, and Pood for de-acidification to ensure the long term preservation of these publications on fragile newsprint.

Georgia Higley, head curator of the Serial and Government Publications Division of the LIbrary of Congress, has this to say about these additions to the Library of Congress’ holdings:

“A wealth of creativity was donated to the Library in this first year of the SPX-LC agreement.  I was impressed with the diversity of subject matter, formats, and artistic styles represented by this year’s comic book donations.  To an even greater extent I was impressed with the generosity of the creators and publishers who willingly gave their work to us for safekeeping.   From the tiny two-inch square mini-comic to the oversize hardback and from the promising newcomer to the long-established publisher, it’s obvious that the independent comic book is alive and well and now is represented at the Library of Congress.  We look forward to next year!”

The Small Press Expo Collection at the Library of Congress is a first of its kind partnership to preserve the legacy of the indie comics community by focusing on limited edition mini-comics and other publications that are created by SPX exhibitors.

About SPX

Small Press Expo (SPX) is the preeminent showcase for the exhibition of independent comics, graphic novels, and alternative political cartoons. SPX is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit that brings together more than 300 artists and publishers to meet their readers, booksellers and distributors each year. Graphic novels, mini comics, and alternative comics will all be on display and for sale by their authors and illustrators, as well as a series of panel discussions and interviews with this year’s guests.

As in previous years, profits from the SPX will go to support the the SPX Graphic Novel Gift Program, which funds graphic novel purchases for public and academic libraries, as well as the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF), which protects the First Amendment rights of comic book readers and professionals. For more information on the CBLDF, go to their website at http://www.cbldf.org.

SPX 2012 will be held Saturday, September 15  and Sunday, September 16.  For more information on the Small Press Expo, please visit http://www.spxpo.com.

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