Attorney and National Security Expert Has Not-So-Secret Fixation: Comic Books


With an artful touch, Mark S. Zaid has managed to combine his two passions – comic books and the law.

Zaid, a Washington D.C. attorney well known as an expert in national security law and freedom-of-information issues, has long kept a close eye on pop culture too, especially the action-adventure heroes who populate urban lore and fantasy. Far from restricting himself to a life of somber legalities in briefs, motions and courtrooms, Zaid takes joy in discovering connections between the legal world and comic-book depictions of trails, judicial hearings and other criminal proceedings.

On Oct. 1, Zaid will give a lecture at the University of Miami School of Law titled "Superheroes in the Courtroom: Law, Lawyers and Comic Books," which he will illustrate with vivid examples of the genre. The lecture will take place at 6 p.m. in Room F309, and will be followed by a reception.

"Lawyers are so much a part of pop culture," Zaid said during a lecture on the same subject at Yale Law School in 2010. He noted that the writers and artists at DC Comics in particular – home of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, among others – were "fascinated by lawyers and the law." With frequent depictions of prosecutors, judges and law enforcement officers, many of the comics were all about "catching the bad guys."

To coincide with the Oct. 1 lecture, comic books from Zaid's collection will be exhibited in the Law Library. On his website, Zaid says he has been collecting them for more than 30 years.

"I had some brief forays into comic dealing on Long Island in 1985 and Albany, N.Y., in 1990, but then left the hobby to pursue my legal career during the 1990s," Zaid says on the site. "However, I never lost the love I had for comics and I am very happy to be back in full force."

Zaid is an advisor to the Overstreet Comic Book Price & Grading Guides and a co-founder of the Comic Book Collecting Association.