Fall 2010

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Campus Life

Collections: Comic Marvel

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Adam Beechen had collected comic books for 35 years, amassing a set of more than 11,000 issues. Through donations he had cut his collection to about half that size when, one day in summer 2009, they were all gone, stolen from a storage unit near his Los Angeles apartment.

Seven months later, Beechen (J90) heard that police in Garden Grove, Calif., had recovered a sizable comics collection when they broke up a storage-unit–theft ring. Sure enough, when Beechen went to an evidence storage unit, “there was my collection, without a single issue missing.”

Beechen says he had gotten over the loss of his collection. So, rather than put the comics back into storage, in May he packed up 12 boxes — about 60 percent of his remaining collection — and sent them to Scott Krafft, curator at Northwestern’s Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections, for inclusion in the library’s Comic Book Collection.

With Beechen’s recent contributions, the collection now includes more than 25,000 issues, including a nearly complete collection of comic adaptations of classic literature from Joseph Lambert, a longtime Northwestern chemistry professor and lifelong comic collector. Lambert says his recent donation of several thousand titles is missing just three original versions of comic adaptations of classic literature.

“It’s a collection that I thought was appropriate for a university to have,” says Lambert, who is retiring to San Antonio.