Postgraduate Comics and Graphic Novels student Sharika Benny is currently volunteering in the University Archives and has been working on the Archives’ Arthur Ranson’s Comic Collection. In this blog she tells us about the artist and his comics which he has gifted to the University.  

Arthur Ranson is a British comic book artist who has worked with popular comic book production companies such as DC Comics and on series such as 2000AD’s Judge Dredd. With his unique style of narrative storytelling through sequential art, Ranson has worked with several well-known comic book writers and artists such as Alan Grant and John Wagner to name a few. Many of the collaborative works are available for public viewing upon request at the University of Dundee Archives. Among these is a title called Batman Phantom Stranger which Grant wrote and Ranson illustrated. Several 2000AD programs which Ranson drew are also a part of the collection. For the purpose of easy access, the collections have been divided into four categories according to Ranson’s online list: Collected Editions, Comics History, Graphic Novels, and Comics.

Among the Ranson collection there are many well-known and familiar titles that might be of interest to curious searchers: several 2000AD and Judge Dredd Megazine programs, Captain Britain #25, Dandy #106, a few foreign publications such as Le Journal de Mickey (French) and Eppo Wordt Vervogd issues (Dutch), a few Escape Magazine issues, a large collection of Phantom Stranger issues and Flash Gordon reprints; several newsletters and comic book convention information booklets such as that of The UK Comic Art Convention of 1988, several Marvel and DC publications which include issues of Daredevil, Conan the Barbarian, Detective Comics, Doctor Strange, etc. Other titles of interest would be House of Hammer #14 which contains the comic adaptation of the movie One Million Years B.C. that featured late actress Raquel Welch, Astrix the Gaul by Goscinnini & Oderzng, and 1985’s Enid Blyton Adventure Magazine.

Issues of Captain Britain, Phantom Stranger and others. There are but a few from the large collection.

The Collected Editions consist of a wide array of titles: the possibly unique January – June 1928 issue of Kinema Comic which has been carefully bound due to its fragile condition, Building Stories by Chris Ware, original publications of titles such as the Japanese manga Akira and Will Eisner’s Spirit, two Japanese manga annuals, translations of all four Mai the Psychic Girl books by Titan Books, and several Button Man titles co-illustrated by Ranson among many others. There are also books that contain the art of well-known comic book artists such as The Art of Neal Adams Vol. 1, Krazy Kat – The Comic Art of George Harriman, The Art of Jack Kirby, The Art of Will Eisner, and The Comic Art of Roy Wilson among others. A few of the books are also signed such as Dan Dare the Man from Nowhere Volume One which is signed by Frank Hampson.

Other titles in the above list include DC Thompson’s 1990 Oor Wullie, Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend and Little Nemo in the Palace of Ice and Further Adventures by Winsor McCay, Alley Oop’s B/W reprints from the 30’s, The Complete E.C. Segar Popeye Volumes 1 to 4, Judge Dredd and Judge Anderson collections, two boxed collections of The Complete Weird Science, Superman – From the 30’s to the 70’s and Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder – From the 30’s to the 70’s by Spring Books, and the 1985 Spirou Album which is in French.

Dundee originals along with foreign publications make the collections unique and diverse.

The Graphic Novel collections include popular titles such as V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyds, Jimmy Corrigan or The Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware, The Adventures of Tintin – Red Rackham’s Treasure by Herge, adaptations of William Shakespeare’s King Lear and Twelfth Night, Burne Hogarth’s Tarzan of the Apes, and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped. An autobiographical comic called Seven Miles a Second by David Wojnavicz and Janos Lomberger is also present as well as Batman Year One and Batman Year Two, Lone Wolf and Cub by Kazuo Koike, and an issue of Love and Rockets.

Well-known titles by famous comic book artists and writers also appear in the collection.

The Comics History Collection include interesting titles such as The International Book of Comics, Dandy and Beano – more from the first fifty years, A History of Underground Comics, Tales of the Dark Knight – Batman’s First 50 years 1939 – 1989, and The Wonderful World of Film Fun 1920 – 1962 among several other titles.

Comics History consists of a wide range of collections that are nostalgic and memorable.

These are only a small fraction of the large number of titles that are present in the four categories that are carefully stacked in boxes. If you are a student who is studying comics or simply someone who wants to browse through the collections, then you are likely to find what you are looking for in Arthur Ranson’s comics collections. We encourage you to contact the University of Dundee Archives for more information.

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