Erica Flores

The University of South Carolina received a library of 180,000 …

The University of South Carolina received an unusual donation recently – the entire collection from an Ohio comic collector, totaling more than 180,000 comics, books, magazines, and other items, worth an estimated $ 2.5 million.

Some of the comics in the collection will be on display at the Thomas Cooper Library on August 29. The collection’s debut will also be accompanied by a series of events at the school, such as talks by comic book authors and artists.

The collection includes a number of rarities, including Avengers # 1, which represented Stan Lee’s first team of creations in 1963, along with titles that introduced characters like Spider-man, Batman, Black Panther, Iron Man, and more. The university says it is “one of the largest collections of its kind” and a “phenomenal and transformative gift,” according to associate dean for special collections at university libraries Elizabeth Sudduth.

South Carolina Post and Messaging He says university archivists have begun reviewing the collection, a process that is expected to take years. The collection was the life’s work of an Ohio collector named Gary Watson who began buying comics in 1958 and continued until his retirement in 2010. He had resisted the idea of ​​dividing the collection or selling it privately, eventually starting to sell it. Talk to officials at the University of South Carolina. He told the newspaper that he is “glad that someone can take better care of them now.”

The university notes that while it seems strange for such a collection to end up in the hands of an academic special collection, it is “precisely what the special collection is really about,” according to Sudduth. David Shay, a cataloger with the school’s Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, notes that “comics are truly a reflection of American interests and anxieties,” and that researchers can learn a lot about contemporary attitudes about race. , politics and gender. .