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Guide to the William F. Wu Comics Collection MSS.244

Fales Library and Special Collections

Collection processed by Caitlin Klein, 2011

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on January 18, 2022
Description is in English

 Updated to include materials integrated from accession number 2018.062 by Kate Fisher  , May 2018

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of comic books with Asian characters, collected by William F. Wu over the course of several years. Spanning the years 1920 to 2001, the books contain an abundance of representations of Asians in popular American culture. Many stereotypical depictions of Asians and Asian Americans - such as "Chinamen" and martial arts experts - are present, as are characters with exaggeratedly "Asian" features. Many of the comics also contain advertisements for martial arts books and courses. Although most of the comics were published by well-known comic book companies such as DC Comics, Marvel, Atlas and Charlton, comics from smaller companies such as Wings Publishing Company, Real Adventures Publishing Company and Rotten Comics are also included. Titles include Superman, Iron Man, Spiderman, Batman, Jonah Hex, The Justice League of America, Yang, Deadly Hands of Kung Fu, Weird War Tales, Godzilla, Doctor Strange, and Starfire. The earliest comics in the collection are Pulp magazines, Captain Marvel, and Green Hornet. There are printed compilations of both Will Gould's Red Barry and Doctor Strange comics, as well as a number of original splash pages of the Master of Kung Fu and What If? comics.


The William F. Wu Comics Collection is organized into eight series, arranged primarily by publishing company. Subseries are arranged by character or comic. Many of the character subseries are pulled from titles written on cardboard dividers that Wu used in his own organization of the comics. Subseries based on comics contain multiple issues of the same title, and feature different characters.

The collection is arranged into eight series:

Series I: Marvel Asian (By Character)
Series II: Marvel Asian (By Comic)
Series III: DC Asian (By Character)
Series IV: DC Asian (By Comic)
Series V: Deadly Hands of Kung Fu
Series VI: Charlton Comics
Series VII: Various Comics
Series VIII: 2018 Accretion