Barnes and Noble has decided it wants to get into the comic book business by devoting space on the magazine stands to a wide array of comic books. Their Paramus, NJ store is taking it one step further.
In the back of this Barnes and Noble, they have an extensive used book section. You can find a lot of clearance books and publisher’s remnants, but the overwhelming majority of it is used, classic and vintage books. Their display cases are a thing of beauty, featuring rare books that I would love to have, including the super rare Of Muppets and Men: The Making of the Muppet Show or even a remarked Absolute Sandman, featuring Neil Gaiman and Sam Keith’s signatures (and a Keith sketch!). These kinds of treasures don’t last long.
This weekend, my girlfriend and I visited the store only to find a whole display filled with books about comics and cartoon strips from the 1930s-1960s. Not only that, but there were binders put together, painstakingly collecting strips from that time period. There were binders filled with Annie, Blondie and Dagwood and even Joe Palooka strips.
I felt like I was Indiana Jones and I had discovered the Holy Grail.
We spoke with the section manager who told us that this collection was recently purchased from an estate in Goshen, NY. The previous owner of the collection was a super fan and you could really tell.
All of the binders and books were filled with related press clippings, from the New York Times, Time magazine and even the Comics Journal. So if you were looking at a Krazy Kat book, not only would you get the book itself, but a whole compendium of related materials. It was amazing.
Whoever put this together really loved comics and cartoon strips. This literally was a life’s work to put together; based on the e of the clippings and strips, these were accumulated over the last 75 years.
It also lead to more questions about the person who put them together, like what else did they have in their collection; did they work in the industry; why did they do this?
I also felt a bit sad.
This was someone’s life work, and their family was willing to get rid of it. I guess they didn’t share in the love of comics. The hope that someone who would appreciate this work was enough reason to make us want to purchase something.
I picked some of the Alley Oop binders, and my girlfriend left with some Blondie, Krazy Kat and comics history books.
Expect to see some of these treasures in the next couple of days.