A couple of years ago, I received what seemed like a fairly odd call from a patron. This person had found several of the library's books in a dumpster up in Seattle and had called out of concern that they might have been stolen. Sure enough, the books had been checked out and never returned. This is common enough, but to migrate up north and then wind up in a dumpster? And they were in like-new condition, which made it even more odd. I mean, the person who had checked them out was still linked to them, meaning they owed late fees and the cost of the books themselves, so why not save yourself some money and turn the books in if you're going to just throw them out? Stolen Superman found! What's hiding in your storage unit?
The good samaritan mailed them back to us and, after a quick cleaning, they were checked in. It's not the first time library books have had a roundabout journey back to us. We even had one paperback that had been found in an airport in the southwest and mailed back to us. But I get a kick out of these stories and it makes me think about all the traveling library materials must go through. Where have these books, movies, and CDs wandered to on people's summer vacations, family outings, and business trips?
Last weekend I attended Emerald City Comic Con. I'm a comic book geek. I love reading them, owning them, recommending them. It was fun to get to meet some of the artists and writers who have created characters and stories I've read throughout my life: Can comics be... dangerous? Doug TenNappel, Phil & Kaja Foglio, Mike Mignola, and Sergio Aragones, to name a few who were at the con. There was also the flood of people dressed up as their favorite characters: lots of Harlequins and Jokers, Captain Americas, and Ramona Flowers. Some of the more unusual costumes included Synergy from Jem, zombie nurses, and the Unstoppable Higgs.
It's easy to attend these conventions and revel in the costumes, the cool stuff to buy, and getting to meet the creators. This is the sort of place where you can see the influence of comics in how we read and entertain ourselves. It's also a good time to remind ourselves about the power comics can have over their readers. I was reminded of this again during the week when I read Steve Bennett's article on the world's most dangerous comic book, Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story.