Local comic book distributor Steve Geppi has donated his collection of rare comic books and pop art to the Library of Congress, including rare storyboards from the first Walt Disney cartoon produced with the Mickey Mouse character and rare Superman and Batman comics.
In addition to comics, the collection of more than 3,000 items includes original art, photos, posters, newspapers and other ephemera from popular culture.
“The Library of Congress is home to the nation’s largest collection of comic books, cartoon art and related ephemera and we celebrate this generous donation to the American people that greatly enhances our existing holdings,” Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, previously the head of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, said in a statement. “The appeal of comic books is universal, and we are thrilled that this new addition to the collections will make them even more accessible to people worldwide.”
The flipside of all this is that the museum near Oriole Park at Camden Yards housing most of the collection, Geppi’s Entertainment Museum, will now close. The last day is June 3, according to a Facebook post.
The old Camden Station was also once home to the Sports Legends Museum, an affiliate of the Babe Ruth Museum and Birthplace, but that closed in 2015 after the foundation that ran it decided not to renew its lease with the Maryland Stadium Authority.
Geppi, who is a titan in the world of comics thanks to Diamond Comic Distributors, the company he founded in 1982, told The Sun it was important to keep the collection near his hometown.
“We’re just putting this museum in a place where more people can see it,” he said, “and still close to Baltimore.”
In an interview with Baltimore magazine, a publication he owns, Geppi was in awe of having his cherished collection alongside some of the most important documents and books from American history.
“When I opened my first comic shop more than 40 years ago in the basement of a television repair shop,” he said, “I could never have imagined a major portion of my collection would be housed among the nation’s treasures for all to see.”