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We all know what Comic-Con International is today: a mega pop culture event that serves as a dizzying gathering and show place for TV series producers, cosplayers, gamers, anime fans, graphic novelists, artists, movie industry wannabes, and, oh, yes…comic book dealers and readers. For it was a love for comic books that inspired the original Comic-Con, created and held together with hope and enthusiasm by a group of San Diego teenagers in 1970.

Comic-Con Kids WebsiteLest the modest origins of this four-day extravaganza become lost beneath the layers of glitz and time, the SDSU Library began an oral history project several years ago to collect the stories of Comic-Con’s remaining founders and early participants. The “Comic-Con Kids” project was funded through the Community Stories Grant Program from the California council for the Humanities. Funds from the grant made possible the new interactive Website that features the videos of the founders’ oral histories. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and block off a couple hours of time…you’ll want to explore and enjoy this site fully. In addition to the fascinating tales of early Comic-Cons told by Mike Towry, Greg Bear, and Scott Shaw!, additional resources are featured, including a page on “Comic Convention Memories.” Check it out!

To learn more about our “Comic-Con Kids” project, I’ve included links to recent news videos and articles at the end of this post. To get a quick taste of the interviews features on the Website, watch the video embedded below.

Fox 5 San Diego Report on the Comic-Con Kids Project

Daily Aztec

San Diego State NewsCenter

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Members of the library’s Comic Arts Committee are at San Diego Comic Fest today through Sunday, video recording more oral histories of the early Comic-Con organizers and participants for the library’s oral history project, “Comic-Con Kids: Finding and Defining Fandom.” Yesterday was set up day at the Town & Country Resort and Convention Center. Below are some photos of a few of our staff, faculty, students, and volunteers setting up the lights, sound, and camera equipment in the interview room.

comic fest

Waiting to unload the lighting equipment truck.

comic fest

One of the cool things about this project is that SDSU students are receiving real-world experience working with film/video production professionals.

Comic Fest

Setting up the lighting and camera equipment in the interview room.

Comic Fest

How do you know your lighting arrangement and camera angle are going to work? You get a patient soul to sit in for the interviewee while you test and make adjustments!

Many thanks to the California Council for the Humanities for the grant that’s making this exciting project possible!

Summer only appears to be a sleepy time around the SDSU Library. While you were away from campus, we’ve been busy!

Reference Services AreaReference Services Area Renovation
I have a feeling that Reference Services is going to be “the place to be” from now on. With its new carpet, paint, and comfortable furniture, it’s a functional—but attractive—place to study or relax. We’ve added more seating, as well as more collaborative learning and individual study spaces. Many of the lesser-used reference materials were weeded out—and replaced with online reference sources—creating more open space. More student computers were added, and we expanded the art exhibits. Tables can be rearranged to suit study groups, and portable white boards are available in various areas.

Comic-Con Kids
Around 40 years ago, an amazing thing happened here in San Diego: a group of teen-age comic book fans and an aspiring graphic artist pooled their meager resources and founded what would grow into Comic-Con International! It’s a story that should be told, and who better to tell it than the remaining members of that group and others who were a part of the convention’s early, magical years.

Early founders of Comic-Con, circa 1970With a $10,000 grant from the California Council for the Humanities, the library is developing an oral history project titled “The Comic-Con Kids: Finding and Defining Fandom.” The project will explore the emergence of comics, science fiction, and fantasy in the youth counterculture movements of the 1970s, with a primary focus on Comic-Con. Recording began on June 29, with SDSU student Jonathan Valdez interviewing Mike Towry and Jackie Estrada. The oral histories will be available to the public on a Special Collections-affiliated Web page that will also contain photographs, copies of original documents, and film excerpts.

SDSU Library iPhone App
Library assistant Tyler Rogers has developed an iPhone App for the library that can be downloaded from iTunes. With the app, you can view the library’s mobile catalog, see the latest titles added to the collection, find library hours on the go, view maps of the book stacks, browse the library’s book classification scheme, and send an email to the Reference Desk. Visit the SDSU Library iPhone App Web page to learn more about it.

The Papers of Richard AlfRichard Alf
Special Collections is the fortunate recipient of papers and documents once belonging to Richard Alf, one of the founders of Comic-Con International. Richard passed away in January 2012, and his mother, Martha, donated his collection to the library during the summer. The new collection, “The Papers of Richard Alf,” consists of approximately 20 linear feet of various materials and document types related to Comic-Con conventions, his comic book business and store, original art by Jack Kirby and Scott Shaw, and material on the Empire Sign Company and other ventures he was involved in.

Link+ Out, WorldCat In
As of May 31, the library discontinued its participation in Link+. Library patrons wishing to borrow books are now encouraged to use Circuit, WorldCat, or Interlibrary Loan.

Comic Arts Conference poster sessionComic Arts Conference Poster Session
Members of the library’s Comic Arts Committee presented a poster session titled “Comics, Comic-Con, and SDSU: A Symbiotic Relationship” on July 14 at the 2012 Comic Arts Conference, which is an academic conference held in conjunction with Comic-Con International. The presentation covered the library’s Comic-Con Kids Oral History Project, the work of the Comic Arts Committee, and the comic arts collections held by Special Collections.

Flickr Photos

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