Guide to the Edwin and Terry Murray Comic Book Collection, circa 1960-2009
Edwin L. and Terry A. Murray, brothers residing in Durham, N.C., have been collectors of comic books and other "pulp culture" for forty years. Terry is the author of "Science Fiction Magazine Story Index, 1926-1995" (McFarland, 1999).
The collection is notable for its comprehensive holdings of DC and Marvel comics from the mid-1960s to 2001. Most major American sub-genres are represented, and there are several hundred alternative comics from the late 1960s and early 1970s. About one-third of the issues date from before 1970. Publishers represented in the collection include: Aardvark-Vanaheim, Ace, ACG, Adventure, All-Star, Apple, Archie, Atlas, Boy, Buster Brown, Charlton, Classics Illustrated, Comico, Dark Horse, DC, Dell, Disney, Eagle, EC, Eclipse, Epic, Eternity, First, Fleetway, Giant, Gladstone, Gold Key, Harvey, Hero, Image, Impact, Kitchen Sink, Lev Gleason, Malibu, Manga, Marvel, Pioneer, QC, Topps, Valiant, Vista, Warp, Whitman and Wild Storm. DC titles represented in the collection include: Action Comics, Adventure Comics, Detective Comics, Batman, Superman, Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Superboy, Supergirl and Sgt. Rock. Marvel titles represented in the collection include: Avengers, Captain America, Captain Marvel, Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Incredible Hulk, Punisher, Spider-Man, Thor, and X-Men. Accessions (2010-0071) and (2010-0107) include additional comics that have not been interfiled into the collection.
- Collection Number
- Edwin and Terry Murray Comic Book collection
- circa 1960-2009
- Murray, Edwin, and Terry Murray (collectors)
- 298.0 Linear Feet
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
The Murray comic collection is notable for its size, depth, and comprehensive holdings of Marvel and DC comics from the mid-1960s to 2001. Most major American genres are represented, including superhero, crime, sci-fi, western, romance, funny animal, biography, humor, war, and horror. Some promotional comics are included, along with a selection of underground comics from the late 1960s through the 1980s. The earliest issues in the collection date from the late 1930s, and about one-third of the issues dates from before 1970. In addition to Marvel and DC, other publishers substantially represented in the collection include: Atlas, Charlton, Dark Horse, Dell, Disney, Eclipse, First, Gladstone, Gold Key, Image, Malibu, Quality, Valiant, and WaRP Graphics. The comic books are a separately cataloged and housed subcollection of the Edwin and Terry Murray Collection of Pulp Culture.
The collection has been organized into five series. The first three series of regular-format comics are arranged by publisher: DC,Marvel, and Assorted Small Publishers. Within the DC and Marvel series, issues are alphabetized by indicia title within each box. The indicia, or small print usually found at the bottom of the first page or the inside front cover, are the publisher's official identifying information. The Assorted Small Publishers series is organized by publisher, then indicia title. The Underground comics, including various size formats, have been organized separately (by publisher, then indicia title) into a fourth series. The fifth series contains Oversize or large-format comics, arranged by publisher, then indicia title. Cover titles are listed only when they differ from the indicia title, or when there are multiple cover titles under one indicia title housed in the same box. Box numbers are not always sequential; some numbers in the sequence have been skipped. Two supplementary container lists provide greater intellectual access by rearranging the numbered boxes into lists by title (arranged alphabetically) and decade of publication.
The DC series, dating from the 1930s to 2002, contains near-complete runs of Action Comics, Adventure Comics,Detective Comics, Batman, Superman, Flash, Green Lantern,Wonder Woman, Superboy, Supergirl, and Sgt. Rock. The collection also includes a large number of war comics, western comics, science fiction comics, horror comics, and some romance comics. Modern writers such as Alan Moore, Frank Miller, and Neil Gaiman are also heavily represented. Nearly every DC comic published from the 1970s onward is part of the collection, including the bulk of comics that appeared under the Vertigo imprint.
The Marvel series, dating from the 1940s to 2002, contains near-complete runs of Avengers,Captain America, Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Incredible Hulk, Punisher, Spider-Man, Thor, andX-Men. Some Captain Marvel titles are included in this series; other Captain Marvelissues and early Marvel titles (under Atlas publications) can be found in the Assorted Small Publishers series. First issues includeAmazing Fantasy Introducing Spider-Man and Incredible Hulk. Early titles in the Marvel series include the western comics Kid Colt Outlaw and Two-Gun Kid. Science fiction, war comics, and horror comics are also part of the series. Other titles of note include Black Panther, one of the first black superheroes, and Northstar, the first mainstream openly gay superhero. The work of writer/editor Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby, considered by many to have transformed the comics industry in the 1960s and 1970s, is well represented here. Other writers and artists include Todd McFarlane, Rob Liefeld, and Jim Lee, who eventually left Marvel to form Image (Image publications are included in the Assorted Small Publishers series).
The Assorted Small Publishers series, dating from the 1930s to the early 2000s, represents nearly one-hundred seventy publishers. Significant or substantial holdings include works published by Adventure; Archie; Atlas; Charlton; Comico; Dark Horse; Dell; Disney; Eclipse; Epic, an imprint of Marvel; Fawcett; First; Gilberton; Gladstone; Gold Key; Image; Kitchen Sink; Lev Gleason; Malibu; promotional comics by Buster Brown and Will Eisner; Quality; Timely; Topps; WaRP; and Valiant. The earliest published titles in this series, all from the 1930s, are Dell's Dick Tracy, Moon Mullins,Terry and the Pirates, andWash Tubbs. Other notable early publications dating from the 1940s are Amazing Comics, Archie Comics, Captain Marvel,Classics Illustrated, Comics on Parade, Crime Does Not Pay, Daredevil, Human Torch, Lone Ranger, Marge's Little Lulu, Plastic Man,Red Dragon Comics, Sub-Mariner Comics, and Walt Disney and Warner Bros. adaptations.
The Underground Comics series dates from the 1960s to the 1980s, with the bulk published during the 1970s. Publishers substantially represented include Apex Novelties, Krupps Comic Works (publisher of Kitchen Sink Enterprises), Last Gasp, Rip Off Press, and Print Mint. The representative sampling of comics in this series is considered "underground" because of their unconventional storylines and explicit content. Published largely in San Francisco, underground comics frequently satirized "hippie" life in the '70s. This series includes the titles Death Rattle, Despair, Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, Jesus Comics, Mr. Natural, R. Crumb's Comics and Stories, Slow Death, Skull, and Zap Comix. The work of prominent artists/writers R. Crumb, Gilbert Shelton, and Frank Stack (aka Foolbert Sturgeon) is heavily represented. Also included is Snarf (no. 3) with cover by guest illustrator, Will Eisner.
The fifth series comprises Oversize or large-format comics and graphic novels from a variety of publishers, housed separately due to their size. Publishers include DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, Epic, Gladstone, and WaRP Graphics.
This collection also includes unprocessed additions, Acc. 2010-0071 and 2010-0107. Boxlists for these comics have been added to the end of this finding aid.
A spreadsheet index of the collection is available for download at: Murray Comics Index
Access to the Collection
Collection is open for research.
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Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.
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How to Cite
[Identification of item], Edwin and Terry Murray Comic Book Collection, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.