Fotonovelas : have I got a treat for you!

The John Ryan Comic Collection is full of surprises! Have you ever heard of fotonovelas? Well I knew nothing about them until I chanced across one in the Ryan Collection and was captivated. I had to find out more, and my research has uncovered a whole new world for me that I must share. Hopefully I can open up the door to this wonderful world for the uninitiated, or bring back fond memories for those who already know and love this genre.

Album of thanks for a friendship doll

If we could only retain the child’s innocence, enquiring spirit and wonder, the eyes that see someone as a potential source of fun and comfort, not as a label or category, how different might the world be? These sentiments prompted a remarkable cross-cultural doll ambassador program in 1927 and the Library has recently acquired a beautiful and poignant example of a "thank you" that resulted.

Christmas cards from the trenches

The war to end all wars. How everyone longed for this to be true in 1918, yet sadly how mistaken was this belief. Looking back from a distance of 100 years at the horror, the suffering, the unimaginable waste and futility of it all, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the statistics of lives lost or permanently shattered, and to focus instead on analysing the politics and the actions of the major players. There is a tendency to lose sight of what the war meant to so many individuals.

Some comics just fade away

Some comics become an instant success, enjoying great popular appeal and lasting for decades. Others may slowly develop a devoted cult following and inspire clubs, fanzines, and blogs. Sadly, there also comics that  begin with high-hopes but last only a brief time and soon fade into obscurity. For the National Library of Australia, it is particularly important that this latter category is collected and preserved as there may be few copies retained elsewhere, and they provide an important insight into the culture and publishing history of the time.

Spring is in the air!

Spring – “to leap, burst forth, fly up, spread, grow”. A name that in temperate climes we have come to apply to the season that emerges with freshness and new life from dormant winter’s cold, as well as to water rising forth unexpectedly from beneath the ground. An inspiration for artists, composers and writers throughout the ages, a source of beauty for everyone, and on a more prosaic level, sustenance for us all.


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