RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Cindy Jackson, Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries’ library specialist for the comic arts and who helped bring the university’s Comic Arts Collection to national prominence, has died at the age of 53.
According to a tribute released by VCU on Friday, Jackson first began working in VCU Libraries’ Special Collections and Archives as a student employee in 1996 and would go on to oversee the Comic Arts Collection, which includes more than 125,000 comic books, reference titles, journals, graphic novels, fanzines, comic art and the personal papers of notable figures in the comic arts.
“She’d always say she had every 15-year-old boy’s dream job,” said her brother Stephen Jackson. “She loved her job at VCU. She loved working with all the professors and her students.”
Under Jackson’s leadership, the collection became recognized as one of the country’s most distinguished archives of comics. Jackson also developed exhibits and taught instruction sessions related to comics at the university.
“I’d bring my students to Special Collections, and she’d do presentations about the comics holdings,” Tom De Haven, a retired VCU English professor, said. “I don’t think I ever knew anyone who loved her job more. Seriously. She was charming and witty and so very generous to colleagues and faculty and students alike.”
Celina Williams, who worked with Jackson for more than a decade, was with Jackson when she died. Williams shared that Jackson’s passion for comics followed her until the very end — in their last conversation, the two discussed the recent Netflix adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s comic book “The Sandman.”
“I’m glad she got to see it,” Williams said. “She was looking forward to seeing season two. I don’t know what happens in the afterlife, but I hope we can still watch content … because I’d like to think of her getting to watch season two on Netflix.”
According to VCU, contributions in Jackson’s memory may be made to VCU Libraries’ Special Collections & Archives Fund.
You can read the full tribute to Jackson here.