Columbia University's Rare Book and Manuscript Library has acquired the archives of renowned comic book writer and novelist, Chris Claremont. The collection includes drafts of short stories, plays, novels, and comic books; character studies; notebooks filled with story ideas; conception to completion folders for every major project of the past 20 years; and headshots, resumes, and theatrical programs from Claremont's early acting career.
Claremont is best known for his unprecedented tenure writing Marvel Comics' X-Men and Uncanny X-Men series. During that time he was acclaimed for creating and developing strong female characters, as well as for introducing literary complexity to the story arcs.
"His papers will provide many clues, not only to the evolving way comic books are created and presented, but also how they are perceived, licensed, bought and sold in America and around the world," Louise Simonson, Claremont's editor and comics writer said.
"By developing more complex story structures and themes, he played a pivotal role in assembling the audience that enabled American comics to move to more mature and sophisticated storytelling, and the graphic novel,” Paul Levitz, former president and publisher of DC Comics said. “When scholars look back and understand this pivotal change in our popular culture, his papers will prove invaluable."
The plots for the first two X-Men films are based in great part on Claremont's stories, particularly his graphic novel God Loves, Man Kills. In addition to his work for Marvel, Claremont has also written several notable creator-owned stories, including Sovereign Seven for DC Comics and the historical fantasies The Black Dragon and Marada, the She-Wolf. He is known for his genre fiction as well, such as the High Frontier science-fiction series.
The Rare Book & Manuscript Library owns over 500,000 rare books in some 20 book collections and almost 28 million manuscripts in nearly 3,000 separate manuscript collections. It is particularly strong in English and American literature and history, classical authors, children‘s literature, education, mathematics and astronomy, economics and banking, photography, the history of printing, New York City politics, librarianship, and the performing arts. Individual collections are as eclectic as they are extensive. For more information, please see: /content/libraryweb/indiv/rbml.html
Columbia University Libraries/Information Services is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 11 million volumes, over 150,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, and graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and collections are organized into 22 libraries and various academic technology centers. The Libraries employs more than 500 professional and support staff. The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources: library.columbia.edu.