Let’s Talk Comics: Librarians

“In the Gotham City Library….” Detective Comics no. 359, (January 1967). 

Dr. Barbara Gordon, Librarian? Yep that’s right – not only was Batgirl a crime-fighter alongside Batman and Robin but she also had a PhD in Library Science and ran the Gotham City Public Library.

A recent visit from some fellow librarians in Washington DC for the American Library Association (ALA) annual conference gave me a chance to explore some depictions of librarians in comics. Certainly I found some clichés (hair buns and glasses) but I also found some interesting, funny, and curious stories.

 

 

 

 

“Next Day, Dr. Barbara Gordon tries to loose herself in the mundane world of the library…” Detective Comics no. 359, (January 1967). 

“YOUR FUTURE – As a LIBRARIAN,” Walt Disney Huey, Dewey and Louie Junior Woodchucks no. 9, (April 1971). 

The publishers of Walt Disney’s Huey Dewey and Louie Junior Woodchucks certainly had a particular opinion of their readers in 1971 when they included this ad.

I heartily agree with this assessment – “To be a librarian, you should have an attraction to books and an interest in people and an intellectual curiosity.” I think that still applies today, but I think being a librarian is so much more.

“You were just a boy on your last visit to the Halls of All Knowing…” Thor: God of Thunder no. 11, (October 2013). 

 

 

Just who are librarians – according to comics? You could be a crime fighting superhero like Dr. Gordon, or you could be the “Lord Librarian” of the Halls of All-Knowing, helping Thor find the lost gods. Sounds pretty cool to me – plus wings! You could also be a thousand years old and teleport with the help of Thoth (the Egyptian God of writing and wisdom – among other things).

“I, Librarian,” Rex Libris no. 1, (August 2005). 

 

 

 

 

 

“The Librarian,” Marvel Comics Presents no. 61, (October 1990). 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Again there’s the glasses stereotype – but with a secret agent vibe. Then there was that time when Dr. Strange went to the library, only to meet an immortal woman whose disguise was – you guessed it – as a librarian.

 

 

“Love of a Librarian,” Romantic Adventures no. 26,(October 1952).

And of course there were numerous romance stories that featured librarians – this one actually seems to comment on the librarian stereotype while still being a traditional 1950s romance story.

Last but not least, there’s Lucien the Librarian, who made his first appearance in Weird Mystery Tales in 1975 and later returned in 1989’s Sandman. I definitely found some stories that intrigued me and made me want to read more! Have there been any librarians in comics that you found fascinating? Share them with us!

 

 

 

 

 

“Actually my name is Lucien….” Weird Mystery Tales no. 18, (May 1975). 

“Lucien? One and the same my lord.” Sandman no. 2, (February 1989). 

 

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