Even Founders Memorial

By Brayton Cameron

NIU’s Founders Memorial Library holds a secret most students are unaware of.

“There are comic books at the library?” asked senior engineering major Kevin Bookland.

Indeed there are Kevin.

On the first floor of the library stands a few cases which display a “Battle of the Titans: DC versus Marvel” sign. In addition to these cases, there are some displaying books about the comic writing process, the writers themselves and books such as “Understanding Comics” by Scott McCloud.

However, the fourth floor is where the primary displays are held. The Rare Book and Special Collections department of the library recently received a large donation of comics, graphic novels and toys from Michael Thomas.

“I believe they are worthy of study by future scholars,” Thomas said.

The display cases upstairs are devoted to independent comic writers and companies. They include books by Alan Moore, Frank Miller and Neil Gaiman while other cases show comics from companies like Image, Vertigo, Dark Horse and Cartoon Book.

“The Comic Collection was established in the mid 1990s with a gift of some superhero stuff from DC and Marvel from the ‘70s and ‘80s,” said Lynne Thomas, curator of Rare Books and Special Collections. “[We’re] working on making this a comic research area.”

In addition, the Friends of the Library will be holding an event with comic writers and artists Jill Thompson and Brian Azzarello Nov. 16 in Room 402.

“There will be a Q & A session and they will be happy to sign any materials that folks bring in,” Lynne Thomas said.

Rick Berg, manager of Graham Crackers Comics, 901 C. Lucinda Ave., is not worried about the donations affecting business at the store.

“The vast majority of comic readers want to own their own comics so they can go back and read them again,” Berg said. “Growing up in a town that had a library with comics never stopped me from going to the comic book store.”