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Holy Odd Holdings, Batman! Comic Books Invade YLS

While walking through the law library recently (I admit I was there for the extensive DVD collection) I discovered display cases filled with the type of books one does not expect to encounter in a typical law library.  From a distance, I expected the cases filled with brightly colored material to house illuminated manuscripts, given their proximity to the Rare Book Room.  However, instead of a copy of Gratian's Decretum or a Gothic Crusader Bible, I discovered books about a very different kind of crusader:  caped crusaders.

The Rare Book Room of YLS's Lillian Goldman Law Library is currently hosting an exhibit entitled "Superheroes in Court!  Lawyers, Law and Comic Books."  The exhibit covers 80 years worth of portrayals of the law in comic books.  In addition to comic books, the exhibit includes documents relating to various comic book-related copyright issues and attempts to censor comic books in the 1950s.

The Rare Book Room, home to the world's most comprehensive collection of Blackstone and a fascinating array of legal manuscripts dating back almost 1,000 years, also houses some contemporary items.  It received some attention earlier this year for an exhibit of Supreme Court bobbleheads.

The current exhibit has some great comic book covers on display, a few of which can be found on the Rare Books Blog.  In addition to comic book superheroes like Superman and Batman (who seem to spend a great deal of time in court), some less well-known comics book series are on display like Mr. District Attorney and Wolff & Byrd, Counselors of the Macabre.  I wonder if Wolff & Byrd represent law zombies?

The connection between YLS and the comic book world may extend beyond this exhibit.   It was recently brought to our attention that Batman may be a Yale Law School alumnus.  A graduate of YLS's little-known and short-lived Gotham campus, where the Riddler was a distinguished professor, Batman's diploma hangs on the wall of his study in Detective Comics #439.  We're not sure how many degrees YLS - Gotham awarded during its existence, but we're guessing more than Princeton Law School.

"Superheroes in Court!  Lawyers, Law and Comic Books" is open to the public and runs through December 16.


Komodo Gear - motorcycle leather clothing store and high performance accessories said:

Love it! Batman rocks, as do all comic books! This post is in one word...AWESOME!

# October 15, 2010 12:32 PM

Wonda Dewey said:

Comic books were the one thing that got me through school as a child. I love this post. You rock!

# October 18, 2010 11:34 AM

maleic acid said:

Batman may be a Yale Law School alumnus? good post, I like it

# October 18, 2010 11:35 PM

Carmen Parrish said:

I love the "The Dark Knight Strikes Again" Batman comic books. I like your post :)

# October 22, 2010 8:39 AM

John said:

Thanks for the article. It brought back a few memories.

I bought all the Batman comic books as a child.

The magazines did make reading enjoyable for many, and some of us even earned degrees. I never knew the guy had a law degree...and from Yale!

# October 28, 2010 1:13 AM