Those who have used Rare Books and Special Collections comic book collections may be interested in trying out a new database that UBC Library is trialing: Underground and independent comics, comix and graphic novels is “the first ever scholarly, primary source database focusing on adult comic books and graphic novels. Beginning with the first underground comix from the 1960’s to the works of modern sequential artists, this collection will contain more than 75,000 pages of comics and graphic novels, along with 25,000 pages of interviews, criticism, and journal articles that document the continual growth and evolution of this artform.”

Rare Books and Special Collections collects comic books by several Vancouver-based comic book artists- you can access a list of these collections on our Ephemera Research Guide. If Vancouver comics are your thing, you can search the Underground and Independent Comics database for comics published in Vancouver, which will yield comics from two series: Fog City Comics and Reid Fleming, World’s Toughest Milkman.

After you check out the database, be sure to fill out the feedback form! The trial runs until March 16.

If you’re new to Rare Books and Special Collections, you may be surprised to find a spicy introduction through our Love! In the library? exhibition. The exhibition is located in the back of the Chung Collection exhibition room, within Rare Books and Special Collections, until February 19th (last day Feb. 18th).

The focus of most of our collections is British Columbia history. One case in the exhibition will tell you a love story related to an early B.C. printer of city directories.

Another focus of our collections is fine press printing. There are a couple of wonderful examples in this exhibition, including Barbarian Press‘s wonderful new The Play of Pericles and Aphrodite’s Cup illustrated with woodblocks by George Kuthan; we also have Kuthan’s woodblocks, as listed in the finding aid for his archives.

Another connection in the exhibition to our archival collections is a love (actually love-stricken) letter from Toni Onley to Yukiko Onley, as it appears in Love Toni, printed by Yukiko Onley and Robert Reid. We have Toni Onley‘s archival collection as well as Robert Reid‘s.

We also collect the archives of several major publishers in British Columbia, including Arsenal Pulp Press. In addition to finding their books in the library catalogue, you can explore their publishing archives through the finding aid.  Arsenal Pulp Press is well known for publishing gender studies, gay and lesbian literature, and as shown in the exhibition, erotica:

Finally, lovers of books love to express their love through a custom-designed bookplate. Rare Books and Special Collections has been building a  digital collection of bookplates for a number of years, which now includes over 800 bookplates.

We hope you enjoy the exhibition and use this opportunity to learn more about our collections! The exhibition is open during our regular opening hours, Monday to Friday 9 -5 pm and Saturday 12-5 pm.


In our ongoing series of blog posts featuring the B.C. places used in the Irving K. Barber Centre room names, this week we will take a look at Kitimat. Kitimat was established as a company town in the truest sense. It was established when the Aluminum Company of Canada (Alcan) built a hydroelectric dam and smelter in the area in the 1950’s.  Its entry in B.C. Geographical Names shows the name Kitimat was used for a village in the area in the early 20th century, but was rescinded mere years before Alcan established the new town.

Rare Books and Special Collections has an excellent source of primary materials related to the planning and establishment of Kitimat by Alcan in the Thomas McDonald fonds. McDonald was an urban planner who worked primarily in Greater Vancouver, but the fonds  also contains files that appear to be from the Alcan offices related to the establishment of Kitimat. As examples, the two images below show plans for the city:

Overall perspective of city center, Kitimat B.C., Thomas McDonald fonds file 2-5

Overall perspective of city center, Kitimat B.C., Thomas McDonald fonds file 2-5


Master plan of townsite, Kitimat B.C., Thomas McDonald fonds file 2-5

Master plan of townsite, Kitimat B.C., Thomas McDonald fonds file 2-5

The files also contain a wealth of textual records including agreements between Alcan and the Province of B.C., promotional material, and office documents regarding the plans for town development.

For help using our archival resources, check out our research guide for archival material.

In the Barber Centre, the Kitimat Lab is part of the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, on the 4th floor.

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

UBC Library





Emergency Procedures | Accessibility | Contact UBC | © Copyright The University of British Columbia

Spam prevention powered by Akismet