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Four Color Fantasies: Best of the Gary Lee Watson Comic Book Collection

Open through January 31, 2020!

Attention all comics fans: superheroes, villains, space monsters and crime fighters have invaded the University of South Carolina!

Four Color Fantasies, the first ever exhibit of items from the Gary Lee Watson Comic Book Collection, is open to the campus and community through Jan. 31 at the Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library in Columbia, S.C.

Watson, a lifetime collector, recently gifted his personal collection of more than 180,000 comics, magazines, paperbacks, pulps and other items to the Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. It includes:

  • 143,000 unique comic books
  • 20,000 magazines
  • 15,000 paperbacks
  • 5,000 pulp publications and other items

Four Color Fantasies offers visitors an in-depth journey through the history of comics, and includes items from all genres, publishers and eras from the Platinum Age to the present.  

To tour the exhibit, visit the Hollings Library, located at 1322 Greene St. Columbia, SC 29208 any time Monday - Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.

The exhibit and all events at the libraries are free and open to the campus and community.



Friends of University of South Carolina Libraries Launch Party

Jan. 23, 6 - 8 p.m., Hollings Library

It’s time to come back to University of South Carolina Libraries — not to study, but to celebrate the launch of Friends of University Libraries — January 23 from 6-8 p.m. at Thomas Cooper Library.

Enjoy complimentary drinks and light hors d’oeuvres.

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the world of comics with industry power duo Roy and Dann Thomas — comics writers, editors and historians — whose legendary track records include Spider-Man, Wonder Woman, Conan, Wolverine, Hulk, Luke Cage and thousands more, hosted by Andy Kunka, UofSC Sumter English department chair.

Tour Four Color Fantasies, the first ever exhibit of items from the recently donated 180,000+ item Gary Lee Watson Comic Book Collection.

Don't miss this opportunity for an enjoyable, enlightening evening!

This party is free and open to the public — so share this information with anyone you'd like to join you in the festivities.

RSVP at our Eventbrite page is required by Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020.

For more information, call 803-777-5136.


Tour the exhibit with a curator

If you’d like a free, curator-led, deep dive tour through the Four Color Fantasies exhibit for your campus or community-based class or group, contact David Shay at or 803-777-0296.


For the classroom

University Libraries’ collections exist to support academic research and instruction.

If you’re a Carolina faculty member or student, we’d enjoy helping you integrate comics into your existing curriculum or help develop a future syllabus. Since comics are universal, reflecting our social conscience since they first went into production more than 200 years ago, all academic disciplines — graphic design, studio art, advertising, journalism, literature, history, political science and all others — can find relevant content in the comics collection. For assistance, contact Michael Weisenburg at or 803-777-2721.


For more information

For more information or media inquiries, contact Nicole Carrico at or 803-777-2115.


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