Author: Caitlin McGurk (page 1 of 115)

Giving Thanks: The David and Kimberly Ramsay Collection

In the spirit of the season of giving, we’ll be highlighting a few of the amazing gifts we received in 2019 throughout the rest of the year on our blog and/or Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Follow us on social media for more updates! As always, we are so thankful to our donors and friends throughout the world for supporting our collection.

We recently acquired a sizable manga collection from David and Kimberly Ramsay, and this donation grows our manga collection in some very interesting ways. We received numerous volumes of manga and manga serials as well as dojinshi (manga that is either fan-created or created by professional mangaka working outside of traditional channels), anime cels, laser disks, and a complete costume from shoes to wig.

Homemade Hikaru character wig from “Magic Knight Rayearth”

The Ramsays collected these materials over the course of 20 years and brought it all the way from California before donating it to us. As big fans of the series Magic Knights Rayearth, there is a healthy representation of materials from said series, but there are healthy representations of materials from a number of genres. While the vast majority of items are in Japanese, there is a good amount of Western magazines that chart the early days of anime and manga’s infiltration in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. Researchers looking for materials that feature men’s manga, model building, or short-lived U.S. published manga serials will find a wealth of materials to mine and research.

Among the standout pieces that came with this collection is a sizable number of manga comic books. These were published by Viz and Dark Horse to sell manga in a format familiar to comic book purchasers. While this was a practice discontinued once the book format took off, that we have so many examples of this practice is worthwhile to any researcher wanting to see early treatments of Lone Wolf and Cub or Mai the Psychic Girl.

There is far more than can possibly be covered in a blog post; visit our Lucy Shelton Caswell Reading Room to check out this expansion to our manga collection!

-Dr. Kay Clopton, Visiting Assistant Professor, Mary P. Key Resident: Cultural Diversity Inquiry

Giving Thanks: June Tarpé Mills Collection

In the spirit of the season of giving, we’ll be highlighting a few of the amazing gifts we received in 2019 throughout the rest of the year on our blog and/or Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Follow us on social media for more updates! As always, we are so thankful to our donors and friends throughout the world for supporting our collection.

Miss Fury press kit, gift of William Finn

In the Spring of 2019, we received an exciting phone call from William Finn,  great-nephew of the legendary Golden Age cartoonist June Tarpé Mills, the creator of the world’s first comics super-heroine Miss Fury. Finn generously placed his family’s collection of Mills work with us at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum including comic books, photographs, hundreds of clippings, a press kit, and more — much of which can be seen in our current exhibit, Ladies First: A Century of Women’s Innovations in Comics and Cartoon Art. Below, Finn elaborates on the significance of this collection:

“June Tarpé Mills is my great aunt.  Growing up, I knew of Tarpé’s success with the creation and artwork of Miss Fury, Daredevil Barry Finn (named after my father), and the Purple Zombie.  But I also knew June Mills as a person with the frailties of the human condition.  June Mills had to overcome  so any obstacles in  her career, yet she became the first woman artist with a published female heroine comic (Miss Fury) more than 6 months before Wonder Woman was published. The pseudonym Tarpé  Mills was created to find work in a field exclusively that of men.  At the peak of her career, Miss Fury was the nose art on at least 5 World War Two bombers, and she captured the imagination of countless fans with her racy and revealing images while fighting Hitler and the Nazis. Mills also brought a level of fashion and artistic detail to the comic page that had not been seen heretofore.  Mills’ Miss Fury comic books included cut-out dolls with multiple fashion-forward outfits, as she expanded the panorama of comics in America.

WWII bomber plane with Miss Fury mural, gift of William Finn

Yet for all her success, June Tarpé Mills fell into relative obscurity later in her life.  Attempts to rekindle her career fell flat, and her relevance diminished.  Mills life came to a close without celebration or recognition for her contribution to the comics.  In fact, it took two decades to locate her grave and provide June Tarpé Mills a proper gravestone.  As a historian and genealogist, it has been an honor to create the tarpemills.com website and to help solidify Mills place in comic history, and to assure her name and works are never forgotten.

Gift of William Finn

It has been such an exciting opportunity to have our collected works of June Tarpé Mills now part of the permanent collection at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum.  Our donation will help make June Tarpé Mills’ work more accessible to professionals and comic lovers alike, and coupled with Mills induction into the ComicCon Eisner Hall of Fame this year, we have elevated and celebrated Mills’ memory and in a fundamental and awesome manner.  Ultimately, I feel that June’s work is invaluable, and its highest and best use is to be available to all by donation to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum.  I know the works will be well cared for, will support researchers, collectors and the general public, and that June Tarpé  Mills work now resides side by side with the giants of comics, and that Mills is indeed now one of those giants.”
—William Finn, November 2019

The efforts of collectors and family members like Finn are what have allowed for such a rich and diverse collection to be amassed here at the Billy Ireland over the past 40+ years. The importance of having the work of essential artists like Mills preserved and accessible in a public institution in perpetuity cannot be overstated, and we are extremely grateful to all who have supported our mission. Thank you, Bill!

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