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article imageHoly literature, university given $100,000 comic book collection

By Ken Wightman     Dec 17, 2009 in World
Holy literature Batman, the University of Western Ontario is now Bat 'U'. They've acquired most of the Eddy Smet comic book collection!
The University of Western Ontario (UWO) book collection is growing by thousands of additional publications. John Lutman, special collections librarian, says that the donated ". . . books are a serious area of academic study and this donation will significantly support those pursuits at Western . . ."
Holy serious literature, Batman, he's talking about you! The UWO has acquired what is believed to be the largest and most valuable collection of comic books ever donated to a Canadian university.
Eddy Smet, a former math professor, who retired in 2006 after a 30-year career is making a gift of a significant portion of his 10,000-plus comic book and original graphic novel collection to the Western Archives. The donation will form part of the Dr. Eddy Smet and Alexander Norman Comic Book Collections.
During his time at Huron College at Western, Smet also owned and operated the Comic Book Collector, the first comic book store in London, Ontario. The retired math prof said he is pleased his collection will enable students to "explore the increasingly influential medium . . ."
Photo of University of Western Ontario display cover celebrating the Dr. Eddy Smet and Alexander Nor...
Photo of University of Western Ontario display cover celebrating the Dr. Eddy Smet and Alexander Norman Comic Book Collections.
Gord Mood, owner of London comic book store L. A. Mood, appraised Smet's collection for the UWO. He estimated the value of the book donation at about $100,000.
The collection includes rare Batman appearances from the '70s and '80s written by living legend Denny O'Neil, plus historically important issues of Daredevil, Watchmen and Swamp Thing.
But the best part of the Smet collection, if you're Canadian, is the inclusion of the first 14 issues of Captain Canuck, "arguably Canada's most popular and important superhero comic," according to the UWO.
The London Free Press quotes Captain Canuck co-creator Richard Comely:
"I think Captain Canuck reflects some of Canada's culture. When he was in Montreal he spoke French . . . he was less violent, more polite . . . "
Which is why Captain Canuck probably would be too polite and too modest to brag that he was Canada's most important superhero comic. It just wouldn't be the Canadian way.
The Captain might graciously defer to Superman whose alter ego Clark Kent first worked for the Daily Star newspaper, named by Canadian-born artist Joe Shuster after the Toronto Daily Star where he once worked. Shuster, with American writer Jerry Siegel, created Superman in 1932.
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