Former Vancouver Island university dean donates nearly 1,000 comics, graphic novels to library

Former Vancouver Island university dean donates nearly 1,000 comics, graphic novels to library
Photo: VIU
Dr. Marni Stanley is photographed.

Comic and graphic novel enthusiasts can now flip through even more pages at Vancouver Island University (VIU), where a former dean’s collection of nearly 1,000 books was recently donated to the campus library.

But it’s not your typical comic catalogue, according to VIU.

It says Dr. Marni Stanley’s decades-old collection goes “well beyond BC and Marvel universes” to include indie and LGBTQ+ comics, autobiographies, graphic journalism, and books by female authors from various countries.

The library in Nanaimo now features “one of the largest comic and graphic narrative collections found at any university library,” VIU said in a news release.

Stanley says the feat comes as comics are getting more acknowledgment. In the past, “people dismissed graphic narrative as pulp fiction for the barely literate,” she said.

Librarian David Alexander is grateful for the donation.

“This is an important, progressive and relatively rare corpus of material within the academic library context and is one of the most valuable in-kind donations ever received by the VIU library,” he said.

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Stanley, who’s researched comics, graphic novels, manga, and other art forms for years, is a former dean of VIU’s arts and humanities faculty and also taught English and Studies in Women and Gender.

While her interest in comics dates back to when she was a child, it later became a passion while she was studying at Oxford University.

“During that time, comics such as ‘The Dark Knight,’ ‘Watchmen,’ and ‘Maus’ started appearing, and her interest was reignited,” said VIU.

Stanley encourages people to browse the collection, especially because the materials require the use of both sides of the brain, as people need to read pictures and words.

She also says the books are relatable.

“Another strong subset is medical comics, where people are writing about mental and physical health issues they are struggling with,” she said in the release.

“There are also quite a few trans narratives about people transitioning.”

VIU says the collection can be found on the library’s main floor near the service desk.

It adds that people can learn more about the books at Stanley’s talk, “There’s More to Comics Than You Might Think,” which will be held at noon on Monday, March 11. More details are here.

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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