Comics are not designed to be remembered. Accordingly, it may seem strange to think of comics in relation to archives given that throughout their history, floppy comics in the form of short, bound, and stapled booklets have been created to be more or less disposable, often printed on poor-quality paper. Even in the era of the graphic novel, titles from major comics publishers go out of print with regularity, and the rise of crowd-funded titles, where fans donate money directly to comics creators to underwrite the making and printing of their work, means that such productions have no guarantee of futurity past the initial print run. Beyond that, the marginal status of comics has often kept them out of archives: the very institutions dedicated to memory. Many archives have independent collectors to thank for their rich collections, like Bill Blackbeard, whose amassing of early newspaper comics across three decades now forms the heart of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum at the Ohio State University (Robb 2009). Despite all of these challenges, comics are inextricably bound up with archives, and the recent archival turn has fueled debate over what archives mean for materials like comics. The ability of archives...

This essay may be found on page 25 of the printed volume.

Works Cited
Permanent Link to this Essay