Rare Books Blog

October 12, 2010

The Rare Book Collection was honored by a visit On October 11 from Ewald Nowotny, Governor of the Austrian National Bank, Dr. Peter Brezovsky, Consul General of Austria in New York, and their delegation. Later that afternoon, Governor Nowotny delivered a standing-room only lecture at the Yale Law School, “The Financial Crisis from the European Perspective.”

Among the items on display for the delegation were Franciscus de Platea’s Opus restitutionum, usurarum, excommunicationum (ca. 1472) considered to be the first printed book in economics, and Nicolaus de Beckmann’s Idea juris statutarii et consuetudinarii Stiriaci et Austriaci (1688), with engraved vignettes of Austrian cities. Governor Nowotny was especially fond of our first edition of Thomas Hobbes’s classic, Leviathan (1651), which he is holding in the photograph below. It was a delightful visit. I look forward to their return. A special thanks to Dr. Alexander Stremitzer, Visiting Assistant Professor of Law, for arranging the visit.

MIKE WIDENER
Rare Book Librarian

L-R: Professor Alexander Stremitzer (Yale Law School), Gerald Fiala (Chief Representative of the Austrian National Bank in New York), Dr. Peter Brezovsky (Consul General of Austria), Ewald Nowotny (Governor, Austrian National Bank), and Mike Widener.

October 9, 2010

  “Superheroes in Court! Lawyers, Law and Comic Books” was curated by Mark S. Zaid, Esq., and coordinated by Mike Widener, Rare Book Librarian. It is on display Sept. 4-Dec, 16, 2010 in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.

The illustration: Detective Comics no. 240 (Feb. 1957). Personal collection of Mark S. Zaid, Esq.

Thanks to the following individuals for their help in making this exhibit a success:

Thanks also to all the blogs and online periodicals who spread the word about our exhibit, including:

For further reading…

  • William H. Hilyerd, Hi Superman, I’m a Lawyer: A Guide to Attorneys (& Other Legal Professionals) Portrayed in American Comic Books: 1910-2007, 15 WIDENER LAW REVIEW 159 (2009). Available online via SSRN.

 

October 3, 2010

Bruce Wayne, a.k.a. Batman, just might be a graduate of Yale Law School. On page 16 of Detective Comics no. 439 (March 1974), one can see a framed “Diploma of Law” from Yale University on the wall of Bruce Wayne’s study, on the right side of the panel:

Here is an enlarged detail of the diploma:

The diploma seems to have been granted by “Yale University at Gotham.”

You can judge for yourself, by visiting our exhibit, “Superheroes in Court! Lawyers, Law and Comic Books.” We have acquired a copy of Detective Comics no. 439 and added it to the exhibit, along with an enlargement of the diploma. We welcome your theories on Bruce Wayne’s alma mater.

Thanks to the Hon. Mark Dwyer, Judge of the Court of Claims (Supreme Court of the State of New York) and a 1975 graduate of the Yale Law School, for bringing this to our attention.

 ”Superheroes in Court! Lawyers, Law and Comic Books”, curated by Mark S. Zaid, Esq., is on display Sept. 4-Dec, 16, 2010 in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.

September 27, 2010

The Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School Invites you to an exhibition talk…

SUPERHEROES IN COURT! LAWYERS, LAW AND COMIC BOOKS

By Mark S. Zaid, Esq., Guest Curator

Thursday, September 30, 2010

1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

Room 129, Sterling Law Building

127 Wall Street

By day, Mark S. Zaid, a Washington, D.C. attorney, is a nationally recognized expert on national security law and freedom of information issues. He has made hundreds of appearances as a guest commentator on TV and radio, and testified before Congress. Like his comic-book heroes, Zaid has an alter-ego as a comic book collector and dealer. He is also an advisor to the Overstreet Comic Book Price & Grading Guides and a co-founder of the Comic Book Collecting Association.

Almost all the items in the Law Library’s current exhibition, “Superheroes in Court! Lawyers, Law and Comic Books,” are from Zaid’s personal collection. The exhibition was recently featured in the New York Times, and is on display until December 16 in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library.

MIKE WIDENER

Rare Book Librarian

 

September 18, 2010

From the exhibit, “Superheroes in Court! Lawyers, Law and Comic Books”, curated by Mark S. Zaid, Esq., and on display Sept. 4-Dec, 16, 2010 in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.

In the early days of comics, publishers sought to secure trademark protection for their titles through “ashcans”. Only a few examples would be created with the title’s logo, some existing cover art and possibly some interior pages, and a copy would be submitted to the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for registration. These two rare examples of Flash Comics reflect the importance of timing as DC Comics fended off its rival by just one month thereby forcing Fawcett Publications to have its flagship character “Captain Marvel” star in Whiz Comics.

 

Flash Comics no. 1 (DC Comics, Dec. 1939). Personal collection of Mark S. Zaid, Esq.

Flash Comics no. 1 (Fawcett, Jan. 1940). Personal collection of Mark S. Zaid, Esq.

Most publishers properly sought copyright protection for their respective works. Unlike “ashcans”, which were specially created and not meant to survive, one example of a published comic, such as this Clown Comics Book no. 1 (1945), would be filed with and stamped by the Library of Congress’ Copyright Office. Though the Library still retains most of†these “Copyright Deposit Copies,” some copies were discarded as excess or even stolen over the years.

Clown Comic Book no. 1 (1945). Personal collection of Mark S. Zaid, Esq.

September 17, 2010

From the exhibit, “Superheroes in Court! Lawyers, Law and Comic Books”, curated by Mark S. Zaid, Esq., and on display Sept. 4-Dec, 16, 2010 in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.

The Defenders was a popular television courtroom drama series which aired from 1961–1965. It starred E.G. Marshall and Robert Reed (later of Brady Bunch fame) as father-and-son defense attorneys who handled complex cases. The series addressed topics that still resonate for attorneys nearly a half-century later including capital punishment, custody rights of adoptive parents, the insanity defense, immigration quotas, and visa restrictions. Dell Publishing produced only these two issues of a comic book adaption of the same title in 1962-1963.

The Defenders no. 2 (Feb.-Apr. 1963). Personal collection of Mark S. Zaid, Esq.

September 17, 2010

From the exhibit, “Superheroes in Court! Lawyers, Law and Comic Books”, curated by Mark S. Zaid, Esq., and on display Sept. 4-Dec, 16, 2010 in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.

The Young Lawyers was yet another comic book television adaptation issued by Dell Publishing. This two-issue title from 1971 was based on the Golden Globe nominated ABC drama series that aired 24 episodes over one season in 1970-71. The story featured a group of young and idealistic law students in Boston who ran the “Neighborhood Law Office” in an effort to represent the poor, apparently as a forerunner of today’s legal clinics. Since as law students they were obviously not yet admitted to the bar, an established Boston lawyer served as their mentor.

Young Lawyers no. 2 (Apr. 1971). Personal collection of Mark S. Zaid, Esq.

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