Wednesday, September 27, 2006

SLC Library to be in Archie Comics!

The Main Salt Lake City Library (Library of the Year, and the library I give tours of) will be featured in an upcoming issue of Archie Comics. I love our library (that's why I volunteer), I love Night Flight Comics (which is located on Library Square), and I love comics, so this is real exciting for me. I collect Marvel Superhero comics (mainly Fantastic Four) but will certainly add a copy or two of this Archie issue to my collection.

From the Salt Lake Tribune:

Salt Lake Library to make its comic book debut
Story features venerable teen and friends taking tour of Utah landmark
By Heather May

They've skated, surfed and snowboarded. They've gone preppie, punk
and in drag. They've chilled at malt shops, school cafeterias and frat houses.

Next week, Archie, Veronica, Betty and Jughead - those timeless teens of
comic-book fame - will visit one of Salt Lake City's hippest hangouts: the Main

The showcase library, which draws 3 million visitors a year, will be
featured in the Archie Comics due out Oct. 4.

In edition 570, Archie and the gang - the series debuted in 1941 - take a
tour of the downtown landmark. The library's Urban Room is featured, along with
the teen hangout Canteena and the shop Night Flight Comics.

Library Director Nancy Tessman is quoted and the library's anti-shh
buttons are given play.

The writer of the six-page story, George Gladir said
in a Monday interview from his Carlsbad, Calif., home that he chose the library
after reading about it in USA Today.

"It intrigued me. It's tremendous. The design of the library, the
facilities," said the 80-year-old, who has written some 40,000 pages of script
in 47 years for Archie Comics. "Archie - they're always interested in promoting
libraries and promoting reading."

Gladir sketched thumbnails for the story with help from Mimi Cruz,
manager of Night Flight Comics. She knows Gladir from comic-book conventions and
sent him dozens of photos of the building after getting clearance from Tessman.

Cruz is featured prominently in the story. Her character leads a tour of
the library to help the teens find ways to improve their fictitious Riverdale
branch. The fictional characters are awed by the actual library - its
architecture, fun atmosphere and emphasis on all arts.

"We are thrilled beyond belief that we are featured in an Archie comic.
We're just giddy with delight," Cruz said.

Night Flight has been featured in other comics before. For instance, Sin
City included a "Mimi's Night Flight Motel and Cafe," she said.

Still, "This is kind of a historic event for Archie and the library and
for us. It's a huge compliment. It's highlighting and promoting the library."

She hopes the edition will encourage readers nationwide to get more
interested in their own libraries and that reticent Salt Lake City readers will
be encouraged to read about a building in their backyard.

"I have the same mental level as our readers," said Gladir, who noted he
created Sabrina the Teenage Witch in 1962, two years before "Bewitched" debuted
on TV. "If I'm interested in it, I figure our readers will be."

The honor comes on the heels of the library being named 2006 Library of
the Year by Library Journal. Assistant Director Chip Ward said the inclusion in
a comic book makes sense because the library strives to represent all types of
readers and residents.

"It's consistent with the fact that we see ourselves being very open and
inclusive and have tried really hard to include and be attentive to all our
readers," he said.

To celebrate, Cruz has ordered more than 2,000 copies of the comic book
to sell.

And Gladir will get a chance to see the library in person. He will speak
at the library's annual "Literary Luminaries" on Dec. 2.

"I'm really looking forward to it," he said. "It's an opportunity to take
in the sites - and the library. Oh, wow, it's an immense structure. All those
cool things."