So what’s a “Comics Forum”, anyway?

So, what did I learn at the MSU Comics Forum?! http://www.comicsforum.msu.edu/ Tons of stuff! As someone who was interested in the academic aspects of comics it was a great place to get my feet wet without being too overwhelmed!

They had some items from their collection on display in glass cases in the hallway. As a museum person I was very interested in the cleaver way they had the comics mounted in the cases. They had used a piece of card stock folded into a triangle with one edge thumbtacked to the corkboard and one edge serving as a flat surface for the pulp magazines to stand on. Then they took a strip of clear plastic stretched it out across the face of the magazine and tacked it on either side to prevent them from slipping. This was to me a genius idea, very similar to the “proper” way of creating this kind of display but on a much more realistic budget for most libraries or archives.  (Of course, it did not occur to me to take pictures until we were in the car on the way back home! I always forget about this amazing camera I have in my pocket at all times!!)

The displays were set up to highlight the scope of the comic collect held by the MSU library. They were organized by region or country of origin. This was very helpful for me because it allowed me to get an overview of the breath of the collection while focusing on the Manga which is the objective of this project. There was also a short description of the comics that were selected to represent each country and a short explanation of the history of the comics industry for each place. Some of the cases also held photocopies of pages from books (with their sources properly cited, of course!) which discussed at length important aspects of comics culture.

There were two rooms in which sellers had their wares displayed. While I focused on the exhibit, my coworker went in to explore the offerings and see if there was anything new which we should get for our collection at CCS. Of course he found several comics we did not have and made good deals with the sellers to get them into our collection. This means that he will be doing some original cataloging (one of my secret nerdy favorite things to do!) and what comic artist wouldn’t be excited by the prospect of getting their works cataloged and searchable on WorldCat!? http://www.worldcat.org/

The main reason that we went to this forum was to listen to the panel speakers. I was excited to learn about some of the things that make comics different from other mediums of communication…besides obviously the pictures!! There were five panels scheduled, one each hour between 11am and 5pm. The first panel was a non-show which was actually ok with me because it was the discussion I was least interested in and that gave me time to explore the exhibit and gave Robert time to buy some comics. The middle time slot was an “Artist Spotlight” and that didn’t sound interesting to me either so that is when we took our lunch break.

Also for future reference you can totally go into a residential dining hall at MSU and use a credit card to purchase lunch even if you aren’t a student…I wasn’t sure so I pack a PB&J for lunch just in case!

I am going to break up all I learned over several posts in order to keep them shorter, be more specific, and so I can spread them out better. Besides I only work 4 hour shifts and I’ve got a lot to share! J

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