A few years ago I put up eight foot long by eight foot high bookshelves exclusively devoted to holding the sprawling collection of cartoon books my wife (and fellow cartoonist) Liza Donnelly, and I have collected over the years. Before the cartoon library wall of shelves went up, our cartoon collection was here and there throughout the house, in piles on various shelves. It might take twenty minutes to find a desired book, or it might never happen.
Once the shelves were up, and the shelving of books began, it became obvious that the cartoon library wouldn’t be the place to go for cartoon books in our home –- it was just another place to go.
What I didn’t realize was that I was reluctant to remove favorite cartoon collections from my work room. Most of these books have been at arm’s reach my entire cartoon working life – they had to stay put (included among the within reach books: certain titles by Thurber, Addams, Peter Arno, Steinberg, and Soglow). Our Thurber collection had to stay nearby my work room, on bookshelves in our living room. So did our small collection of graphic novels and comic book anthologies.
In the last few months I’ve taken certain books out of the cartoon library, and brought them back closer to my desk. The most recent transfer was Superman: The Complete History by Les Daniels. I love its cover – a blow up of the early Superman. One of these days Daniel’s companion volume, Batman: The Complete History will be retrieved from the library. As there’s no space left on any of the shelves in my room, it will have to rest on top of the Superman book, in a pile.