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Volume 26, Number 5 — May 2019

The Book of Ballads in Library of Congress

"The Daemon Lover" from "The Book of Ballads" (copyright Charles Vess)

February 06, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC — An official letter of acknowledgment has been received from Allene Hayes, Chief of the Library of Congress, on the acceptance into their collection of Charles Vess's award-winning work entitled The Book of Ballads which comprises 132 original art pages as well as notated scripts and preliminary layouts for each story.

The scripts for the stories were adapted from English and Scottish popular songs, originally collected from the oral tradition, and produced in Ballads as short graphic narratives. The participating writers were Neil Gaiman, Jane Yolen, Sharyn McCrumb, Charles de Lint, Jeff Smith, Midori Snyder, Emma Bull (and English songwriter Graham Pratt), Elaine Lee, Delia Sherman, Lee Smith and Vess himself.

Martha Kennedy of the Library's Prints and Photographs Division reported to Hayes that "(Vess's) style of contemporary drawings illustrating narrative comic art is only sparsely represented in the Library's collections and will go a long way towards filling this particular gap in its holdings."

Vess initiated the Ballads project in 1995, commissioning the scripts from each author and producing all of the accompanying art. It was originally issued as four self-published comic books from his own Green Man Press as The Book of Ballads and Sagas. In 2004, three additional stories were added and all of this material was collected into a single hardcover graphic novel published by Tor. The work earned Vess an Eisner award and has been translated into overseas editions in Italian and French.

A! ExtraTopics: Achievements