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Will Eisner Week posterThis is your chance to learn about one of the greats of the comics world: Will Eisner. The library is celebrating “Will Eisner Week”—March 1- 7, 2014—with a series of events and an exhibit that will not only educate you, but entertain you, and hopefully enlighten you about one of America’s greatest writers and cartoonists.

On February 28, an exhibit featuring examples of Eisner’s work will open in the Reference Services area on the 1st floor of the Library Addition. Included in the exhibit are comics from the Word Balloons series created by SDSU illustration students. The exhibit will run through March 10.

On March 4, filmmaker Neil Kendricks will discuss “A Comic-Book Odyssey: Through the Paper Menagerie of Graphic Narrative to ‘Comics Are Everywhere!’ then Back Again.” Kendricks serves as film curator for San Diego’s Museum of Contemporary Art and is currently teaching a screenwriting class at SDSU. His documentary, Comics Are Everywhere, is currently in production. The lecture will be held at 2 p.m. in Room LL430.

The documentary Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential Artist will be screened on March 5 at 1 p.m. in Room LL430. The documentary details Eisner’s story and documents the influence his career had on the world of comics.

Eisner created one of the genre’s most lasting characters, The Spirit, whose adventures were first presented in the Sunday newspaper comic book inserts that Eisner produced for select American newspapers every week from 1940 to 1952. After then spending several years running American Visuals Company, which produced instructional manuals in comic book form for business and government, Eisner revived The Spirit in a series of reprints starting in the 1970s. It was also during that decade that Eisner began producing the works that would cement his reputation; a series of “graphic novels,” a term that he helped popularize and that helped bring a new level of seriousness to the comic arts. As an indication of his lasting legacy, the awards given out at Comic-Con International’s annual ceremony to honor the best works in the industry bear his name: the Eisner Awards.

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Urban HipsterWere you one of the many who didn’t get badges to Comic-Con? No worries. If you want to see some excellent comics, science fiction, graphic novels, drawn books, and zines by A-list authors and artists, we have them in our Special Collections and University Archives Department.

In the quiet of Special Collections, you can enjoy works by Alan Grant, Roberta Gregory, Bob Layton, and many more without waiting in long lines, jostled by stormtroopers and zombies. We have 1st edition books by science fiction writer extraordinaire Greg Bear and boxes of fantastic original works by drawn book writer/artist Donna Barr.

And if you do have Comic-Con tickets, great! Get your photo taken with Vampire Bill. Check out the latest steampunk fashions. Then take the trolley to SDSU. Special Collections is located on the 4th floor of the Library Addition. If you want a glance of what’s in store for you here, visit the Comics Collection Finding Aid. To use our collections, you don’t need a badge. Dressing as your favorite anime character is optional.

The Desert Peach, by Donna Barr

This illustration of “The Desert Peach” is one of the many extraordinary works Donna Barr has donated to the library.

So you’re attending Comic-Con. You were wowed by Scott Pilgrim vs. the World; you checked out the engine in the Green Hornet’s car; you could swear you saw Bruce Willis hanging out with some stormtroopers; and you’ve bought enough new comic books to paper the walls of Hogwarts…four times over. Closing night is Sunday, and you feel like you’re just getting started, like you need…more. Well, my friend…there’s still a lot to see, and it’s not all at Comic-Con.

The SDSU Library has a fantastic collection of comic books, graphic novels, zines, and science fiction. Housed in Special Collections, many of these works are first editions or original artwork by such notable authors and artists as Donna Barr, Dave Bort, Greg Bear, and Roberta Gregory. Special Collections doesn’t have Jedi Knights, but they do have knowledgeable, enthusiastic librarians who can introduce you to some phenomenal works. Catch the next starship (trolley) to the SDSU campus and prepare to be amazed all over again!

SDSU Library booth at Comic-Con, 2006

Did you know that, several years ago, the SDSU Library had a booth at Comic-Con? In this photo, library assistant Jossie Chavez and author/artist Donna Barr discuss our collections with Comic-Con participants.

More information:

Donna Barr’s blog: The Midnight Library

Here’s a nice article Donna penned about the SDSU Library and Comic-Con (thanks, Donna!): Casting Off And Out To Sea

SDSU Library at Comic-Con in 2006

Donna Barr Collection 1963-2006 in Special Collections

Elizabeth Chater Collection of Science Fiction

West Coast Zines

Comics Collection