Rare Books Blog

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.

Mr. District Attorney was a popular radio show created by former law student Ed Byron which aired from 1939 to 1952. It featured a crime-fighting crusading D.A. inspired by Thomas E. Dewey’s campaign against racketeering which helped lead to his election as governor of New York. The show’s popularity led to a quick comic book appearance in The Funnies no. 35 (Sept. 1939) and the issuance of one of the few non-funny early issues of Four Color by Dell Publishing in 1942. This issue is also one of the earliest examples of a lawyer gracing a comic book cover. The title was later picked up by D.C. Comics and ran for a respectable 67 issues from 1948 to 1958.

Mr. District Attorney was a popular radio show created by a former law student which aired from 1939 to 1952. It featured a crime-fighting crusading D.A. and the show’s popularity led to a quick comic book appearance in The Funnies #35 (Sept. 1939). This issue of Four Color is one of the earliest examples of a lawyer gracing a comic book cover. The title was later picked up by D.C. Comics and ran for a respectable 67 issues from 1948 to 1958.

 

Four Color Comic no. 13 (1942). Personal collection of Mark S. Zaid, Esq.

The storyline of Mr. District Attorney no. 12 began with this introduction:

In this land of ours, under our laws, a person is innocent until proven guilty. And it is my duty as District Attorney not only to prosecute the guilty but to make certain that the innocent go free! And it is my duty, too, to make certain that society shares the guilt and responsibility of a criminal that society, itself, had created! That is why… “I DEFENDED THE MONKEY MAN!”

 

Mr. District Attorney no. 12 (Nov.-Dec. 1949). Personal collection of Mark S. Zaid, Esq.

September 13, 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.

Crime Detective Comics no. 8 (Jay-June 1949). Personal collection of Mark S. Zaid, Esq.

 

Crime Exposed no. 2 (Feb. 1951). Personal collection of Mark S. Zaid, Esq.

September 10, 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.

Comic books have been around in modern form now for nearly 80 years and throughout their existence the influence of lawyers, laws and courts has been significant in the development and continuation of the industry. While oftentimes operating behind the scenes, whether as characters in comic book stories or in reality helping craft decisions that lead to the rise or fall of publishing companies, lawyers have repeatedly been recognized as part of this community, as seen in these varied examples of court-room covers published during the 1940s – 1970s.

Action Comics no. 263 (Apr. 1960). Personal collection of Mark S. Zaid, Esq.

Adventure Comics no. 281 (Feb. 1961). Personal collection of Mark S. Zaid, Esq.

Batman no. 163 (May 1964). Personal collection of Mark S. Zaid, Esq.

Blackhawk no. 208 (May 1965). Personal collection of Mark S. Zaid, Esq.

Detective Comics no. 281 (July 1960). Personal collection of Mark S. Zaid, Esq.

Incredible Hulk no. 153 (July 1972). Personal collection of Mark S. Zaid, Esq.

September 8, 2010

 

Lawyers have played both fictional and real-life roles in the 80-year history of the comic book industry. Their story is told in an exhibition, “Superheroes in Court! Lawyers, Law and Comic Books,” now on display in the Yale Law School’s Lillian Goldman Law Library.

The guest curator for the exhibition is Mark S. Zaid, Esq., a Washington, D.C. attorney who specializes in national security law. Much 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 of the items on display come from Zaid’s personal collection. The comics covers show Superman on trial for murder, and one of the earliest comic books to feature a lawyer on the cover (“Mr. District Attorney”, 1942). Other items document the legal battle over rights to Superman, efforts to censor comic books in the 1950s, and copyright issues.

The exhibition is on display Sept. 6 to Dec. 16, 2010, in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, located on Level L2 of the Lillian Goldman Law Library in the Yale Law School (127 Wall St., New Haven CT). The exhibition is open to the public. Highlights of the exhibition will appear in installments here in the Yale Law Library Rare Books Blog.

In addition, Mark Zaid will give an exhibition talk on Sept. 30 at 1:00pm in the Yale Law School.

Action Comics no. 359 (Feb. 1968).

Personal collection of Mark S. Zaid, Esq.

 

 

July 28, 2010

The “Justicie atque iniusticie” gallery in the Rare Book Collection’s Flickr site now contains all of the illustrations from our copies of Guillaume Le Rouillé’s Justicie atque iniusticie. We own the first edition of this intriguing work (Paris: Claude Chevallon, 1520). In addition, we own the 1549 Lyon edition of the 18-volume Tractatus Universi Iuris; volume 1 contains Le Rouillé’s essay with different renderings of the illustrations. “Justicie atque iniusticie” also appears in our 1584 Venice edition of Tractatus Universi Iuris, but without illustrations.

Guillaume Le Rouillé (1494-ca. 1550) was a French jurist, public official, historian, publisher, bookseller, merchant, and poet. “Justicie atque Iniusticie” was his first published work; other editions include Lyon 1529, Lyon 1530, Lyon 1531, and Paris 1534. Other legal works that he published included Le grand coutumier de Normandie (Paris 1539), and Le grand coutumier de Maine (Paris 1535).

Below is the “beast of injustice” from the 1520 edition, gobbling up the innocent. The beast’s twelve legs are labeled to represent those who support or promote injustice, including disobedient youths, iniquitous princes, negligent bishops, immodest women, and undisciplined commoners.

Thanks to Nicholas Makarov, a junior in Yale College, for providing biographical information on Le Rouillé.

MIKE WIDENER
Rare Book Librarian

Charles du Moulin, Consilia quatuor (1552)
July 28, 2010

 

Another provenance puzzle solved! I was intrigued by the inscription on the title page of Charles du Moulin’s Consilia quatuor (Paris, 1552), because I had remembered seeing the same inscription on a law dictionary I had purchased when I was at the Tarlton Law Library, University of Texas at Austin: Jakob Spiegel’s Lexicon Iuris Civilis (1554).

The colleague who took my place at Tarlton, Elizabeth Haluska-Rausch (Rare Books Librarian and Archivist) was kind enough to decipher the inscription, and provided considerable detail on the book’s early owner.

The inscription reads “Bibliotheca Slakoverdensis Scholarum Piarum”, i.e. the library of the Piarist college in Schlackenwerth, the modern day Ostrov, Czech Republic. The Piarists are a monastic order dedicated to education. The order’s official name is Order of Poor Clerks Regular of the Mother of God of the Pious Schools (Ordo Clericorum Regularium Pauperum Matris Dei Scholarum Piarum).

In an email to me, Elizabeth explained that the order “was founded by Saint Joseph Calasanz, and recognized by Pope Paul V in 1617. In 1622, Gregory XV approved the Constitutions, and conferred the privileges of the mendicant orders upon the order. In 1666, Anna Magdalena Duchess von Sachsen-Lauenburg founded a Piarist college in what was then Schlackenwerth. The complex was consecrated in 1674. The community disbanded in 1876. Major donations to the library included the collection of Princess Maria Piccolomini. In 1910 the library was sold by the last owner – the municipality of Ostrov - to a Viennese second-hand bookshop. There are still quite a few books from this library for sale. For more information, see Wenzl Sommer, Kurze Geschichte der Stadt Schlackenwerth in Verbindung mit dem Piaristen-collegium: Nebst Anhang: Der grosse Brand am 9. Mai 1866 (Selbstverlag des Verfassers, 1866), available in Google Books.”

Thanks to Elizabeth Haluska-Rausch for solving this puzzle for me. An image of Tarlton’s Lexicon Iuris Civilis, with the inscription “Bibliotheca Slakoverdensis Scholarum Piarum”, can be seen on Tarlton’s website, announcing their current exhibit, “Rare Law Dictionaries at Tarlton Law Library.” If you’re in the Austin area, this exhibit is well worth a visit.

MIKE WIDENER

Rare Book Librarian

 

July 21, 2010

You can now take a video tour of the Lillian Goldman Law Library’s Rare Book Collection, thanks to Yale Law School’s Office of Public Affairs.

The 20-minute tour is available as Rare Books Library Tour - Part 1 and Rare Books Library Tour - Part 2, in the Yale Law School’s YouTube channel. You can also view the entire video on Yale Law School’s website.

Kaitlin Thomas, Office of Public Affairs, organized the project and conducted the interview. Dan Griffin of Information Technology Services was the videographer and editor, and provided the voice-over. Thank you Kaitlin and Dan!

MIKE WIDENER

Rare Book Librarian

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