There’s an interesting article over at the San Francisco Examiner about individuals who are set to collect vintage comic strips with the hope of getting them reprinted in a collection. From the article, it appears that many of these collectors are fanatics who have spent a great deal of money to grow their collection. At least with the popularity and success of many of the complete volumes published by Fantagraphics – it shows that there is indeed an indeed an interest in these older classic comics.
It’s a habit Matt has had for some time. He clipped his first strip, a “Li’l Abner,” at the age of 9, in 1972. He now seeks out obscure work with little chance of getting reprinted, and King is a prime example. His collection forms the bulk of “Walt & Skeezix” (retitled from “Gasoline Alley” for licensing reasons), a decadelong, multivolume reprinting of King’s complete works published by D&Q (Drawn & Quarterly). (Volume 3 arrives in June.)
Matt is not unique among collectors. Peter Maresca, whose day job is creative director of GoComics/uClick Mobile, self-published his own collection of “Little Nemo” Sunday tearsheets as “So Many Splendid Sundays.” Fantagraphics’ “Popeye” and “Krazy Kat” series are made possible by the archivist Bill Blackbeard, and IDW’s “Complete Dick Tracy” relies on a legion of fans, because no single run is known to exist.
Their compulsion to own an artist’s every strip — sometimes 15,000 or more — and to clip, preserve and organize them all, has helped rescue a disappearing corner of American popular culture. After decades in which comic-strip syndicates and libraries have been purging themselves of paper archives for microfilm, their collections are often all that’s left.