Student’s joy as ‘invaluable’ rare comics found in vault
Publications date to 1800s Finds include old Marvel creations
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.
Hailey Austin with some of the comics found in the archives