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Geppi Gems, an exhibit drawn from the pop culture collection of Steve Geppi, is now on view at the Library of Congress.

Geppi Gems comic, pop culture exhibit opens at Library of Congress

Geppi Gems, an exhibit drawn from the pop culture collection of Steve Geppi, is now on view at the Library of Congress.
Geppi Gems, an exhibit drawn from the pop culture collection of Steve Geppi, is now on view at the Library of Congress.

WASHINGTON – Pop culture does more than just entertain us, it impacts our lives, and reflects what is happening in the world. These topics and more intricacies of pop culture and entertainment are featured in the Geppi Gems Exhibit at the Library of Congress.

Displaying some of the items donated by Geppi Family Enterprises Chairman Steve Geppi, the exhibit showcases a selection of prominent pieces from popular Walt Disney characters, superheroes, westerns, science fiction and other aspects of entertainment.

Steve Geppi
Over a lifetime of collecting, Steve Geppi has acquired some of the greatest treasures of the comic-book world, including Action Comics No. 1, which features the first appearance of Superman. Image used by permission of Mr. Geppi

In May 2018, Geppi made a multi-million dollar donation of more than 3,000 items from his personal comic book and pop culture collection to The Library of Congress. The first display of pieces from the Geppi Collection debuted at the Library of Congress in November 2018. As the new exhibit’s title suggests, this new presentation is filled with the gems from Geppi’s collection.

Mixing entertainment and education, the exhibit shows how the introduction of color printing in early newspapers helped develop the comics industry. The creative genius of Walt Disney is explored, from developing characters, to marketing them, to building an empire. A similarly important pop culture impact is the evolution of superheroes, from Superman’s introduction in 1938 to the multimedia juggernaut of today, and how Geppi turned his hobby into Diamond Comic Distributors and the larger Geppi Family Enterprises.

Stephen A. Geppi, image courtesy Geppi's Entertainment Auctions & Publications.
Geppi Family Enterprises Chairman Stephen A. Geppi. Image courtesy of Mr. Geppi

Within specific genres, the science fiction portion boasts the heights of imagination with early 20th-century magazines through long-running comics that feature other worlds, alien creatures, and fantastical machines. The exhibit digs into our fascination with horror and how a congressional investigation in 1954 led to the Comics Code and its limitations on comic book content. It also looks at America’s enthusiasm for westerns as a genre across all entertainment mediums.

Additionally, sports are seen through the lens of comic books, cartoons, and other artistic venues. Pop culture collectibles within music, posters, magazines, and more, featuring the likes of Elvis Presley, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, The Monkees and The Jackson 5 are also on display.

The exhibit is currently open for viewing in the Graphic Arts Galleries of the Thomas Jefferson Building. The Library of Congress is located at 101 Independence Avenue SE in Washington, DC.

Visit the website of the Library of Congress and see its dedicated page for the Geppi Gems exhibit.

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Steve Geppi