Apr 26, 2024 - News

Alum donates 75,000 comics to UPenn

A first edition X-Men is among the the comics being donated to UPenn Libraries.

The Prebulas' collection includes this first edition X-Men comic. Photo: Courtesy of UPenn

The University of Pennsylvania received a massive collection of more than 75,000 comics, including first editions of X-Men.

Why it matters: Superhero movies like "Spider-Man" and "Deadpool" have led to a resurgent interest in collecting comics whose historical and cultural importance is studied at some of America's top colleges.

Driving the news: UPenn alum Gary Prebula and his wife Dawn donated their collection, estimated to be worth over $500,000, per a news release.

  • The university will eventually make the comics available for public viewing at the Jay I. Kislak Center.

Details: The collection includes rare comics, including the first issues of "The Amazing Spider-Man" and X-Men.

  • The comics range in value from $20 to over $22,500.

Zoom in: Penn's Libraries began collecting comics in 2008.

  • The school's collection previously included 20,000+ comic books.
  • UPenn offers several classes dedicated to comics, including a course where students create their own graphic novels.

The intrigue: Gary Prebula built up the collection over decades, buying new comics every week, reading them and then storing them in boxes in his basement.

What they're saying: "I hope that in 100 years, some scholar's going to be looking at my Spider-Man No. 1, which I signed at the back when I was 11, and go, 'Who the hell's this guy?'" Gary said in the release.

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