Stu­dent’s joy as ‘in­valu­able’ rare comics found in vault

Publi­ca­tions date to 1800s Finds in­clude old Marvel cre­ations

The Scotsman - - News Digest - By TIM BUGLER

A trea­sure house of rare comics dat­ing back to the 1800s has been found in the vaults of a Scot­tish uni­ver­sity.

An Amer­i­can stu­dent was de­lighted to find rare comics, some dat­ing back to the 1800s, amongst thou­sands she cat­a­logued at the Uni­ver­sity of Dundee.

Comic gems in­clud­ing early is­sues of Punch mag­a­zine, first is­sues of rare DC and Marvel comics, as well as drafts and proofs of early DC Thom­son comics, were dis­cov­ered by PHD stu­dent Hai­ley Austin while cat­a­logu­ing ma­te­ri­als do­nated to Dundee Uni­ver­sity’s Ar­chives. The mam­moth task took more than three months. The job in­cluded enu­mer­at­ing Punch comics from 1895 do­nated by the late Stephanie Wolfe Mur­ray, who founded Ed­in­burgh pub­lish­ers Canon­gate.

Ms Austin, 24, said: “The uni­ver­sity houses a huge col­lec­tion of comics.

“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 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.”

As well as cre­at­ing a de­tailed on­line cat­a­logue for the huge col­lec­tion, Ms Austin also led the creation of Chron­i­cle: The Archive and Mu­seum An­thol­ogy – it­self a 40-page comic telling 13 dif­fer­ent sto­ries be­hind the do­na­tions and in­spired by the comics col­lec­tions in the ar­chives as well as the large col­lec­tion of orig­i­nal comics art in the Uni­ver­sity’s Mu­seum Ser­vices.

Ms Austin added: “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.

“There are 19 con­trib­u­tors, in­clud­ing stu­dents and even some­one who do­nated into the col­lec­tion. Calum Laird was an ed­i­tor at DC Thom­son and he do­nated his Com­mando scripts.

“These are amaz­ingly valu­able to comics stu­dents as they are in­te­gral to the cre­ative process and are tough to get your hands on.” Chron­i­cle: The Archive and Mu­seum An­thol­ogy will be launched to the pub­lic on Thurs­day at the Dundee Comics Cre­ative Space, part of the uni­ver­sity’s Fes­ti­val of the Fu­ture.

The fes­ti­val run­ning from this Wed­nes­day to Sun­day will cel­e­brate the worlds of science and cul­ture.

PIC­TURE: DO­MINIC YOUNGER

Hai­ley Austin with some of the comics found in the ar­chives

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