Welcome to Special Collections
The Special Collections unit of the Michigan State University Libraries collects, houses, and preserves rare and unique materials within the MSU Libraries. Our materials cover a vast array of topics from Africana to Veterinary Medicine. These materials are available to the public in our reading room.
Discover Special Collections
One specialty of the Michigan State University Libraries' Comic Art Collection is the non-fiction comics of the 1940s, and a complete run of True Comics is the centerpiece of this part of the collection. More information requests come to us through our online index to this title than from any other title in our collection.
True Comics was begun in 1941 to "counteract the wild, rowdy superhero comics," according to comics historian Ron Goulart (The Comic Book Reader's Companion, HarperPerennial, 1993). The editors were David Marke, a historian, and later Elliot Caplin, a prolific comics writer.
True Comics, it could be said, sparked a small genre of non-fiction newsstand comics. Real Heroes, from the same publisher, lasted 21 issues (1941-1946), and other publishers produced similar titles: Real Life Comics (1941-1952), and Real Fact Comics (1946-1949), for example. True Comics was the most successful, lasting until 1950 and producing 84 issues.