Rick Marschall's comics collection - the history of it all is held by the 'komics konnoisseur'
Nobody has a comics collection quite like Rick Marschall, and he loves to celebrate its history
Paul Fraser Collectibles, Wednesday 18 January 2011
Rick Marschall (born 1949) is the author or editor of more than 62 books and hundreds of magazine articles, mostly about popular culture with many on comics history (though the exceptions included a book on JS Bach).
A former editorial cartoonist, he served as comics editor at three newspaper syndicates. Marschall was also an editor at Marvel Comics, where he founded of Epic Magazine, and a writer for Disney comics.
Recipient of many awards for his projects including the Eisner, Harvey, and Friend of Fandom awards in the US; the RTL award in France; the Max und Moritz Prize in Germany; and the Torre Giunigi and Yellow Kid awards in Italy, Marschall has been the American representative of the Lucca, ExpoCartoon (Rome) and Angouleme comics festivals, and has worked for several European graphic novel publishers, including as Vice President of Dargaud USA.
He was consultant to the US Postal Service for the 20-stamp set of commemoratives marking the comic strip's centennial and has taught various popular culture and comics classes at the School of Visual Arts, Rutgers University, the Philadelphia College of Art (now University of the Arts), and the Summer Institute for the Gifted at Bryn Mawr University.
Marschall owns what is arguably the nation's largest private collection of comics and cartoon archives. He has used it to document the history of comic strips in two magazines he edited: Nemo, the Classic Comics Library and Hogan's Alley.
It is a collection comprised of thousands of original drawings; complete runs of newspaper comics beginning in 1893; complete runs of the major cartoon and humor magazines from American and Europe; comic books and reprint comics and graphic novels.
There are also political cartoons and protest graphics, specialty collections including posters, ads, toys and games, post cards and greeting cards, pinbacks; cartoonist letters and sketches; biographies and anthologies.
It is of course impossible to summarise the Marschall collection. But one item, soon to come up for auction in Texas, gives a feel for its style and quality.
This is a classic picture from the Calvin and Hobbes calendar of 1989-1990. Fans of the iconic cartoon featuring a hyperactive boy and his best friend - a stuffed tiger named Hobbes - will know that precious little memorabilia from the comic has made it onto the markets.
Bill Watterson has always avoided merchandising the philosophical comic strip, yet here is a flawless image of the pair at rest together. Watterson has inscribed the picture for Marschall, referring to him by his nickname of the 'komic konnoisseur'.
Marschall is a great example of how owning a collection can be part of preserved the history of and vitalising a medium. 2010 saw the establishment of a new line of books, Marschall Books, with Fantagraphics Books, an imprint devoted to comics, cartoons, and graphic humor.
"Marschall Books will offer a unique and wide range of comics and cartooning projects," said Fantagraphics Books publisher Gary Groth.
"The breadth and depth of Rick's historical vision is such that he will be editing anthologies of complete strips, 'Best Of' collections, critical appreciations, biographies, and some new multi-media projects."
Fans of comic and animation art should take a look at the art section of our stock, which includes offerings from Charles Schulz (Peanuts), Friz Freleng (Bugs Bunny), E H Shepard (Winnie the Pooh), Nick Park (Wallace and Gromit) and John Ryan (Captain Pugwash) amongst others.
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