I recently went to the Baltimore/D.C. area and made a special trip to Geppi's Entertainment Museum. The museum is a treasure trove of key comic books, original comic strip art, vintage toys and more. The museum is owned by Steve Geppi, owner of Diamond Comic Distributors, the lone major comic book distribution company that services all of the comic book stores.
The starting point of your museum journey is a history of comics told in comics. As you enter, there is a display case with some of the biggies - Action Comics #1 (the first Superman, All-American Comics #1 (the first Green Lantern), Four Color #9 (the first Donald Duck in comics and the first appearance of Huey, Dewey and Louie), New York World's Fair #1, Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #1 and this gem, the first appearance of Batman in Detective Comics #27. All of the books were in top shape, but I was really amazed by the condition this book was in, as if it had just been pulled off the rack in 1939.
Three kiosks provide a fun introduction to the world of comics. Each kiosk has two comics that you can view digitally. They include Fantastic Four #1, Amazing Spider-Man #1, Superman #1, Detective Comics #27 and Four Color #9.
There is a large collection of comic strip art on the walls, which I'll talk about in a later post. There's not much in the way of original comic book art, but there are several original covers to the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide. Geppi also owns Gemstone Publishing, which prints the Guide. I went ga-ga over this early cover drawn by Joe Kubert.
The remaining rooms of the museum take you through different eras of popular culture as represented by the artifacts of the time, mostly toys. I bet only a handful of people have this complete mint set of Peanuts vinyl figures. They were made my Hungerford Plastics in 1958. The character you might not recognize is the clean version of Pig Pen.
This is a Mickey Mouse Record Player made by G.E. I had one as a kid and, to my wife's surprise, I no longer have it. I'll have to ask my brothers if it was theirs originally, because the ones I've seen online are all form the late '60s, and I would have played with it in the late '70s. In trying to find more info about it, I stumbled on an ultra-cool blog about Disneyland Records.
I didn't have this Donald Duck game, which was made in 1938. Like a lot of what I saw, I was taken aback by the like-new condition it's in. It's not just that it's complete and in beautiful shape, but that it's been that way for 70 years!