He has an excellent post here on the destruction of old paper by libraries, including much (probably most) of comics early history… we almost lost the brilliant color Krazy Kat strips (currently getting beautifully reprinted by Fantagraphics). Here’s a quote he posted from Bill Blackbeard, to whom we all owe an huge debt for his enormous contributions to comics preservation (which he practically invented).
“There are just over four hundred and fifty of them, and each one a masterpiece of graphic comedy. The marvelous product of the last nine years of Garge’s richly fruitful life, these weekly color Krazy Kat pages, stunning as they are, almost failed to physically survive the editorial and institutional rigors of their time. We are, in fact, damned lucky to have them on hand at all as source material for this series. There were, you see, just two newspapers — six day a week sports and crime news afternoon newspapers, throwaway rubbish — that printed virtually all of the color Kat pages from start to finish. Neither the New York Journal nor the Chicago American, sensational Hearst papers, had any referential status at all, and most libraries in their sales areas shunned them — two papers that virtually no one of any artistic or literary taste and judgment ever saw fro mthe the strip’s 1935 start to its 1944 conclusion. Two tombs for the foremost comic strip of all time.
Luckily there was a single dedicated comic strip buff, August Derleth of Sauk City Wisconsin, founder of Arkham House in 1939, who clipped and saved every color Kat page, donating his run to the Wisconsin State Historical Society…”
Quote from Bill Blackbeard’s introduction to Krazy & Ignatz 1935-1936: “A Wild Warmth of Chromatic Gravy”