Superheroes in Court at Yale Exhibit

If there is one thing that I know I will take away from this class, it is the power of a headline. Especially in the high-tech, information overload society we live in today, catching the viewers attention has become increasingly important. That is exactly what the headline for this news article I found in the New York Times did. Superheroes are never associated with negative images. They are superheroes; they don’t do anything wrong. Ever. So, why would they appear in court. This simple, 5-letter headline had my brain scrambling for answers. Needless to say, I clicked on the article.

As it turned out, the article discussed an exhibit at Yale University featured in the Lillian Goldman Law Library’s rare book exhibition gallery. The show, “Superheroes in Court! Lawyers, Law and Comic Books,” provides images of superheroes in the dock, comic books about lawyers and examples of legal disputes and Congressional inquires involving caped crusaders. Like most readers, I was a tad bit surprised that a rare books librarian at a prestigious institution would be displaying comics. I mean, they are merely comics right? Wrong. The comic book collection is considered to be one of the finest collections of rare law books in the world. Being and art history minor, I enjoyed reading about how the exhibit connected to art and law. Sometimes people still think that art is purely for entertainment or, that there can’t be any substance and educational meaning in art. Mike Widener, the law library’s rare book librarian, said that comics were a natural fit with the institution’s interest in “law and popular culture.” So, he came up with the idea of an exhibition on the law and comics.

Since this class focuses on the power of rhetoric, I thought it was interesting to also look at the power an image can have. People buy comics because of the story line, but also because of the imagery. The bright, vibrant, and detailed images in the exhibit seem so delightful. If only we could take a field trip to go see them!

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