Library of Congress gets a multimillion-dollar comics donation

WASHINGTON —  Geppi’s Entertainment Museum is closing after 12 years, and the owner’s decades-long collection of comics, posters and other pop-culture items is being donated to the Library of Congress.

The collection of more than 3,000 items includes original storyboards that document the creation of Mickey Mouse.

While there is no official estimate of the collection, the Library of Congress calls it a multimillion-dollar gift that includes comic books, original art, photos, posters, newspapers, buttons, pins, badges and related materials.

“When I began collecting comic books as a young boy and then in earnest in 1972, I would have never dreamed that a major portion of my collection would find a home at the Library of Congress, alongside the papers of 23 presidents, the Gutenberg Bible and Thomas Jefferson’s library,” said Stephen Geppi. “This gift will help celebrate the history of comics and pop culture and their role in promoting literacy.”

Geppi is closing the museum he opened in 2006 on Sunday. The Baltimore Sun quotes him as saying the museum didn’t attract the crowds he had hoped for, despite its location next to Camden Yards.

Geppi, owner of Diamond Comic Distributors in Baltimore, says he will continue to be an active collector and will consider other donations to the library in the future.

“I view this newly established connection to the Library of Congress as the beginning of a long-term relationship,” Geppi said.

The donation joins the Library of Congress’ collection of more than 140,000 issues of about 13,000 comic book titles.

One of the signature items of the Geppi collection is six rare storyboards that detail the story layout and action for Walt Disney’s 1928 animated film “Plane Crazy.” It was the first Mickey Mouse cartoon produced.

The Library of Congress will put select items from the Geppi collection on display at its Jefferson Building beginning this summer.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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