Some people just talk about the dream — Dean Haspiel is living it. Not only is he a cartoonist with a following, the fashion-forward originator of the whole shirtless artist look and an Emmy-winner: now he’s managed to get rid of all his old junk donate his “massive hoard” of minicomics to the Library of Congress.

A few months ago it was announced that the Library of Congress is now starting an SPX collection which will assemble comics from SPX exhibitors but also items they donate. The LoC is wary of having tons of other people’s weird old crap dumped on them; however, the minicomics collection is just the kind of essential folk art that the LoC was created to preserve.

We were totally joking about this collection being a lot of junk above, BTW. Dean is a fanatical collector (like a lot of us) but he keeps his stuff NEAT. Ignatz coordinator Eden Miller writes more about the collection:

There was an incredible amount of stuff in this collection, which probably dated from the late ’90s until the late ’00s. There were comics I didn’t even know existed and plenty of things I kept threatening to take (but I didn’t. You’re welcome, America).

Some of these delighted me because they were things friends of mine have done — like one of the Full Sanction minis from 2000 — and a couple of Chris Pitzer’s Procrastination Comics.

Others just made me feel this awe of “I can’t believe I’m looking at this” like a preview mini of Craig Thompson’s Blankets and a set of portrait sketches done by Charles Burns. I was also amazed by the Alfe and Horace minis which I can find no record of existing anywhere (they didn’t have a creator’s name on them, but it’s a safe assumption that they were done by Ben Jones). There were also several minicomics by Jeff Smith, which I didn’t even know he had made.

All joking aside, it’s awesome that this collection has found a good home. Makes us wonder what to do with all OUR old minicomics (10 shoeboxes and counting.) Maybe we can just quietly drop it off at Dean’s house and hope nobody notices?


  1. Awesome!

    Okay, mini-comics creators! If you work is in the above collection (and I guess we have to wait for LoC to publish a finding aid), send them a letter authorizing them to digitize the mini and publish it online for viewing!

    And while you’re waiting, go check out this:

    And if you want to encourage the Library of Congress to collect comics, register your copyright! $50 ($35 if done online)!

    Heidi (and others of note):
    Library of Congress
    Prints and Photographs Division
    101 Independence Avenue, SE
    Washington, D.C. 20540-4730
    attn: Reference Section

    Reading Room: (202) 707-6394
    Fax: (202) 707-6647

    (There’s a “contact us” link at the bottom of the above web address. If you’ve got bona fides, I’m sure they’ll talk with you about donating.)

  2. It was an amazing experience seeing all of these and I was delighted that Warren asked me to help out. (He did keep an eye on me, though, so I didn’t sneak anything out of his house.)

    I think I mentioned that I didn’t even organize my minicomics collection until earlier this year and I think there are a few I’ve misplaced/lost. It makes me glad that the LoC is interested in preserving these publications. This is where a lot of the good stuff got its start, after all.

  3. This brings up a good point. How many of us have made succession plans for our comics? Some people have sizable collections worth many thousands of dollars.

    Do we each have a will that names a recipient for these comics, or after we die, does our estate just sell ’em at the flea market and split the take?

    (Mine will be divided among interested family members, the rest sold)

  4. Oh man… Dean… way to make me feel guilty. Even as I am reading this, I am organizing my regular comics collection… I have been debating between donating them to my University’s library (which is interested) or just selling them.

    Darn you, Dean, for setting a good example!

  5. Also, when you consider donating your collection, ask the institution about tax deductions. They will probably not place a value on the collection, but will certify the donation. The rest is up to you, your accountant, and your friendly neighborhood tax collector.

    A bigger elephant in the room:

    Chris Claremont recently donated his archives to Columbia University. Many comic strip creators are archived (many at Ohio State!). What of comic book creators?