The Return of the World’s Greatest Comic Magazine

By Michael W. Harris

So many memories…

In less than a month, a big part of my childhood and teenage years will be returning to comic book shops across the world. After a too long, three year hiatus, the Fantastic Four will be back and with it a big part of my love of my first and abiding hobby.

The adventures of Reed, Sue, Johnny, Ben, and the other extended members of the First Family (both blood related and not), were not the first comic book I ever read, but it was the one that captured my attention and imagination. The reasons for this are numerous: the crazy sci-fi adventures across time and space that were quite different from the standard supervillain of the month punch-ups that I had read before, the more relatable problems of a family of adventurers and the group dynamics that came with it, and a cast of characters that felt both relatable and real (well, as real as unstable molecules clad superheroes can be).

It is established canon that each of the FF’s individual powers is somehow reflective of their personalities: a woman who feels invisible in a patriarchal society (though who also turns out to be the most powerful of them all…a wonderful twist added by writers in the 1980s), a flame powered hot-headed youth, a rock-solid friend who would stop a bus for you, and the greatest mind on the planet who is constantly reaching and stretching his imagination to ever greater heights. But deeper than that, I also saw something of myself and my life in each of the member of the Fantastic Four, both aspirational and how I felt about and viewed myself.

Let me explain. Continue reading “The Return of the World’s Greatest Comic Magazine”

Stainforth Was a Nerd, and So am I

By Michael W. Harris

As part of my day-to-day job in Norlin Library Special Collections and Archives at CU Boulder, I work as a member of the Stainforth Library of Women Writers digital humanities project (the site is in the process of being migrated to a new platform, so please excuse our mess). Simply put, we are taking a handwritten catalog of the library of Francis John Stainforth (we will hopefully be updating and expanding the Wikipedia entry soon) and transcribing it into a searchable database.

Why? Because his library is one of the most complete records of poetry and drama (and some prose) by women and includes writings from the 16th to the 19th century. There is a whole lot more we want to do with the project and the data we create from the catalog database, but for the past two or so years, we have been simply focused on the task of transcribing the catalog and editing the data. And we are almost ready to release our first data set to the public. Continue reading “Stainforth Was a Nerd, and So am I”