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Comic Book Librarians

Comic Book Librarians

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy and Giles

Giles is the librarian/mentor of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in both the television and comic book series. Although portrayed somewhat stereotypically, British and dressed librarian-casual, he is a prime example of “more than meets the eye”, which is a rather positive personality trait in my opinion.

Ms. Marvel

Ms. Marvel

Here in a one-shot issue of Marvel Comics Ms. Marvel, this public librarian, a completely incidental character, is shown in perhaps the most stereotypical, and some would say, negative way possible. Shelving, older, a Caucasian woman, with a tight bun, glasses, and a skirt; if only she told the boys to “shhh” then it’d be complete. I think we’d all agree this is the most enduring image of the librarian, unfortunately or not.

My Little Pony

My Little Pony 1

Here’s a two-for-one that’ll please all Bronies. The archivist of the magical kingdom of Equestria, and Ponyville graduate student and librarian Twilight Sparkle. While initially shown in the traditional older-women-with-glasses-and-attitude mode, the archivist ends up changing into a happier, more satisfied pony. Perhaps this is a criticism of the old librarian trope? I’m not sure.

My Little Pony 2

Twilight Sparkle, here showing the still grumbling archivist that she understand how to read a title and shelve a book, represents a youthful, intelligent, loyal, and friendly pony, presenting an incredibly positive perception of a librarian, professional or not (she sort of just inherits a library).

Sex Criminals

Sex Criminals 1

In the quite adult comic Sex Criminals, our main character works at a public library, which is being closed by a city in obvious financial trouble. She takes on a personal mission to buy or obtain as many of the library’s books as possible, storing them in her house in a perhaps misguided attempt to save the library. Here we see her first fall in love with libraries as a young women.

Sex Criminals 2

Again in Sex Criminals, our main protagonist meets our other protagonist. I’ve included this because I love hearing people say “liberry” or “libarry”. I’d have to say, this librarian is quite a progressive modern person, not at all the typical old crone that we often see.

Six-Gun Gorilla

Six-Gun Gorilla

In the sci-fi story of Six-Gun Gorilla, our protagonist is a public librarian obsessed with fiction in a world that devours violent reality-TV. While he seems anachronistic and a bit of a traditionalist, he serves as an interesting critique of his societies obsession with realism and the here-and-now. And what’s better than a futuristic librarian fighting with a cowboy gorilla with six-shooters?

The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead

Ah, The Walking Dead. In both the comic books and in the television show, our survivors inhabit a somewhat abandoned prison. Within it they find the prison library, full of books, magazines, DVDs, and all sorts of things they hadn’t thought or cared about while out fending off walkers. The sudden realization by that they missed enjoying the fiction that the library offered, or by others, the information offered, really leads me to ponder quite often about the role of information, libraries, and librarians in a post-apocalyptic world. I’d read a book or comic book series that revolved around a librarian who provided survivors with vital information.

I’d love to hear everyone else’s opinion about LIS workers as portrayed in comics, or any other medium you might favor. Which characters are you partial to? What stories would you like to read or watch?

(Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on INALJ.com. Special thanks to Naomi House for allowing us to republish it on our blog.)

About Mychal Ludwig

A life-long Washingtonian, Mychal Ludwig holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History & Japan Studies, as well as a Master of Library & Information Science Degree, both from the University of Washington, Seattle campus. Currently living in the American Southwest, since graduating Mychal has worked as both a freelance librarian and an archaeologist.

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