Caitlin McGurk ‘10, Librarian, Center for Cartoon Studies
Morgan Lyle,Assistant Director of Public Relations
LIU Post, Long Island University
Caitlin McGurk is a lifelong fan of comics and graphic novels. As a student at the Palmer School, she won an award from the New York Library Club for her efforts in helping to make comic books and graphic novels more widely available at libraries and universities. She interned at Marvel Comics, where she created a digital and physical lending library, and volunteered as an archivist at Columbia University's Butler Library, where she catalogued 15 cubic feet of comics for the Bulliet Comic Book Collection.
All this and more made her an ideal candidate to become the first librarian at the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, Vermont.
"When I was doing my undergraduate work at LIU Post, I had Isaac Cates as my professor for an English course on comics and graphic novels," she said. "It just totally widened my view of the potential of the literature, its usefulness as an educational tool and its relevance to our culture. It's at a point now where they're becoming a lot more important academically and I just want to be a part of promoting that and getting them into as many schools as possible."
McGurk said she appreciates the do-it-yourself ethos of comics and zines. And in contrast to blockbuster titles like "Spider-Man," McGurk is drawn to more personal, underground-style works in the tradition of R. Crumb and Peter Bagge.
"I was never actually very much into superhero comics," she said. "When I was a kid I read X-Men with my brother, but when I was in high school I read people doing autobiographical comics that blew my mind, like Chester Brown and John Porcellino -- just extremely self-revealing and often crude and brutal stuff. I was attracted to that. It just seemed very real. I felt that comics were the best format for expressing that kind of subject matter, especially memory. I did my thesis on memory and consciousness in the comic book and graphic novel. I felt that comic books were the best medium for expressing memory, because your memory kind of works like a slide show."
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