Stu­dent finds thou­sands of rare comics at uni­ver­sity

Amer­i­can Hai­ley dis­cov­ers trea­sure trove of unique items in Dundee ar­chives – in­clud­ing for­got­ten first is­sues

The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition) - - NEWS - STE­FAN MORKIS smorkis@the­courier.co.uk

An Amer­i­can stu­dent has un­earthed thou­sands of rare comics, some dat­ing back to the 1800s, in Dundee Uni­ver­sity ar­chives.

Hai­ley Austin, 24, a PhD stu­dent from Colorado, spent three months cat­a­logu­ing the col­lec­tion.

She dis­cov­ered a trea­sure trove of comics that in­clude rare first is­sues of in­flu­en­tial ti­tles.

Among the gems are early edi­tions of Punch mag­a­zine, drafts and proofs of early DC Thom­son comics cre­ated in Dundee and rare DC and Marvel comics from the US.

These in­clude a first is­sue of DC Comic’s New Gods. Writ­ten and drawn by Jack “King of Comics” Kirby, it ex­plores a uni­verse where the hero fights his evil fa­ther Dark­seid – pro­nounced Dark Side – and wields a power called the “Astro Force”.

First pub­lished in 1971, it has been hailed as a ma­jor in­flu­ence on Star Wars.

The archive also in­cludes thou­sands of DC comics do­nated to the uni­ver­sity by renowned Scot­tish writer Grant Mor­ri­son.

Hai­ley said: “The uni­ver­sity houses a huge col­lec­tion.

“They are not only his­tor­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant but in­valu­able for stu­dents and en­thu­si­asts, es­pe­cially those study­ing comics here in Dundee.

“We have Punch comics from 1895 do­nated by the late Stephanie Wolfe Mur­ray – the pi­o­neer­ing fe­male pub­lisher who founded Canon­gate.

“These sit along­side thou­sands of DC comics do­nated to the uni­ver­sity by fa­mous Scot­tish comics writer Grant Mor­ri­son. We also have a size­able amount of comics scripts, a unique re­source.”

As well as cre­at­ing a de­tailed on­line cat­a­logue of the col­lec­tion, Hai­ley over­saw the creation of Chron­ice: The Archive and Mu­seum An­thol­ogy, a 40-page comic telling the sto­ries be­hind 13 of the do­na­tions.

“Nat­u­rally be­ing a comics PhD stu­dent, my first thought was to cre­ate a free comic that would high­light ex­actly what the Uni­ver­sity’s Ar­chives and Mu­seum Ser­vices have to of­fer,” said Hai­ley.

“Calum Laird was an ed­i­tor at DC Thom­son and he do­nated his Com­mando scripts. These are amaz­ingly valu­able to comics stu­dents as they are so tough to get your hands on.

“His daugh­ter, Catriona, then cre­ated the art to tell the story of the life of a Com­mando script.”

Chron­i­cle: The Archive and Mu­seum An­thol­ogy will be launched to the pub­lic at 5pm on Thurs­day at the Dundee Comics Cre­ative Space .

Any­one in­ter­ested can book a free ticket to at­tend the launch at: https:// www.dundee.ac.uk/fu­turefest/ pro­gramme/2018/18-10-18--comic­sopo­lis.php.

Not only his­tor­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant but in­valu­able for en­thu­si­asts, es­pe­cially those study­ing comics here in Dundee. HAI­LEY AUSTIN “

Pic­ture: Do­minic Younger

Hai­ley Austin with a comic from the ar­chives.

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