Gary Lee Watson of Columbus Ohio, a lifelong comics collector, recently donated his entire collection of more than 180,000 comics, magazines, related books, and other items to the University of Southern Carolina Libraries. The collection is estimated to be worth around $2.5 million.
As the official University site reported, the collection includes, “143,000 unique comics, 20,000 magazines, 15,000 paperbacks, and 5,000 pulp publications and other items.”
Among the prize items in the collection are Avengers #1, the first appearance of Ant-Man, the Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, and the Wasp; Star Trek #1; The Brave and the Bold #28, the first appearance of the Justice League of America, as well as, “comics with the first single appearances of the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, the Hulk, Spiderman, the Black Panther, Vixen, and Hal Jordan as the Green Lantern.”
But that just might be the tip of the iceberg, as South Carolina Post and Courier reports, the University archivists have only just begun going through the collection, and the whole process might take years.
Representatives of the University, Elizabeth Sudduth, associate dean of special collections at USC Libraries, commented that the fact such a collection ended up with an academic institution is, “precisely what special collections are really all about,” while David Shay, a cataloger in the Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections and a comic fan himself says that, “comics are really reflective of American interests and anxieties, so we can learn about sociology, psychology, history, politics, sports, and even technology through them.”
The Verge adds that some of the comics from the collection will go on display at the University’s Thomas Cooper Library on August 29th. At the same time, the debut of the collection will be accompanied by a series of events at the school, talks by comic book authors and artists, and other events.