#8 “Once more he menaces our world!”

Title above taken from “Strange Tales” #77 (MARVEL, 1960).

Titles for different sections of this post are taken from various comic book letters-to-the-editor pages. Since I find them wonderfully creative and haven’t had a chance to showcase them yet.

Snikts and Stones (“Aliens/Predator: Deadliest of the Species”)

And week 4 is at its close. It saw some interesting comics, including the appearance of the Ku Klux Klan in Black Panther; a small infinity of Marvel crossovers in Power Pack and Rom (I’m getting very good at recognizing people; I might have cheered when I saw Alpha Flight on a cover); and the strangely endearing collection of Groo. And Peter Porker, of course; can’t forget about him.

Groo-Grams (“Sergio Arag√≥nes Groo the Wanderer”)

I was right; I should be able to finish my current cataloging endeavors by early next week. Monday, if I work at my current pace. The next step, then, won’t necessarily consist of Omeka imports – we want to discuss the site a little more and I haven’t even pretended to work on linking out to other pages on Omeka, because those URIs haven’t been minted yet – but will let me work on cataloging, from scratch, some unincorporated comics that we want to add to this collection. But we’ll see; my project team is meeting early next week to go over where we are in the project, so we’ll make more decisions at that step.

Pick of the Pack (“Power Pack”)

As one of the opportunities for professional development for this week, I attended the Libraries Leadership meeting – a group of the library directors, heads, program coordinators, and committee chairs that discusses current initiatives of JMU Libraries and works to ensure inter-group communication at a higher level. The meeting went over final steps for the annual report; discussed the results (and merits) of the LibQual(+?) report (LibQual is a service through ARL that initiates a complicated survey and then analyzes the data, both qualitatively and quantitatively, to show trends for research libraries); and made decisions about communication norms for the group, between email protocols, coverage for when a representative can’t appear for a meeting, and drafting aspirations for the future of the Leadership group.

I’ve talked a lot with different members, individually, about how parts of the library communicate – and this meeting helped clarify what those people have said and let me see common themes among the departments.

As did my meeting with Jennifer Keach, the coordinator of organizational learning and development. She works on organizational cohesiveness, as well, but focuses her efforts with it on more informal communication (her words) so that staff and faculty of the library can understand the library as a unit, rather than just as departments. Her work includes developing new-hire onboarding, professional and career development for library staff, and supervisor training – and, like many of the people I’ve met, she found this job by following a passion in the library community.

Power/Fistfuls (“Power Man and Iron Fist”)

A brief discussion about what makes cataloging serials, such as comics, so difficult: names. Namely (hah), names are rarely consistent. So you’ll have a series: “Power Man.” And it might be Volume 1 (most things are, unless there’s a necessity for restarting the number system over), and Issue #1. Makes sense; it’s sorta hierarchical.

Except. “Power Man” wasn’t initially “Power Man” – it was “Hero for Hire” until, at #17, it became “Luke Cage, Power Man” (on the cover; the indicia might have just read “Power Man”) and then, at #67, it continues the numbering under the title “Power Man and Iron Fist.” So, not even counting when the cover title doesn’t match with the indicia title, “Power Man” had three different names in the main run of its continuity. (That’s not including “Luke Cage Noir” or other spin-off-esque comic runs.)

So how do we, as catalogers/metadata creators, make sure that our users understand that these three different series actually coexist and complete one another? Or how do we explain that #0 might be the first comic in a series, or it could just be jammed into the middle of the run for a reason only really understood by comic book aficionados? Or how do we explain that Kitty Pryde of the X-Men changed codenames a number of times, and different versions of her might use one-off names (Cat), and that they’re the same character?

Doing this work, I’m not sure if there is a nice, neat way. I’ve been using judgments for character names (using parentheses when I think a clarification is necessary, and otherwise focusing on the most recognizable iteration of the character – and that’s very self-reflected since what I recognize first might not match someone else’s understanding of the character). For other name-change iterations, I’ve been trying to include notes (usually in the Series Only records) to discuss what’s happening. An idea might be to have a Related Comic(s) element, or a Continued from / Continued by element, which Mark referenced that MARC employs. But they’d be so infrequently used, and what about all the crossovers? Do we say that, since the X-Men appeared in Rom, in-continuity (I believe), that that’s an iteration of a Continued field in effect?

Long discussion to a simple answer: I don’t know. I don’t think an outstanding way to display this has been achieved. Nor do I think it really will; if you look at the Marvel and DC fan wikias, their systems for such ideas are individual and don’t really correlate to one another at all; in comparison, Grand Comics Database uses notes like I do with helpful links.

Incoming (“The ‘Nam”)

Next week is a short week; because of Independence Day, JMU Libraries are closed Thursday and Friday. And it’s a front-heavy week, besides; meetings on Monday and Tuesday, including a quick word with the about-to-begin new dean and my meet-up with my project team. So lots of excitement bound into three quick days. Let’s get to it!

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