The line between what makes a comic and what makes a graphic novel is blurry. Generally graphic novels tend to use the comic storytelling form of text and images, but are longer and more complex than comics. WCC has a growing collection of items that fall under both categories. They represent interdisciplinary subject areas, including literary classics, art, philosophy, history, and even math. This guide is intended as a starting point for finding graphic novels and comics in the WCC library collection, as well as further information on their value and how they can be used in education.
In the Library’s Collection
Original graphic novels (fiction): Look in the PN6700 section. It is organized by the author’s country of origin. You can also find academic books about graphic novels and comics in this section.
Others: We have two other types of graphic novels—non-fiction and adaptations of classic literature. The non-fiction ones are shelved in their subject areas, such as history in the D section or math in the QA section. The adaptations are shelved with the originals from which they were adapted, such as Shakespeare starting in the PR2700 section.
In Our Online Library Catalog
Using the online catalog’s Basic search tab, change the ‘within:’ dropdown menu to “Subject,” then search for either “Graphic novels” or “Comic books, strips, etc.” Both of these are official subject terms that the Library of Congress uses for this medium.
Articles and Reference Sources
Search for “Graphic novels” or “Comic books” in any of our online databases to find articles and other information. Some recommended databases include:
General Website Links & Articles
Internet Public Library: Graphic Novels – History and definitions, information on Japanese comics, and resources for schools and libraries.
“Bam! Graphic Novels Get Big” – Article from Vox Magazine.
“Comics No Longer a Joke in Academia” – Article from The Columbus Dispatch.
“‘Hamlet’ Too Hard? Try a Comic Book” – Article from the Christian Science Monitor.
News, Reviews, Blogs, etc.
The Comics Journal – By Fantagraphics Books, Inc.
comiXology – “Since 2007 comiXology has been developing the technological infrastructure to bring comics into the digital mainstream and expose new audiences to the rich history and culture of the industry.”
Center for Cartoon Studies – “The Center for Cartoon Studies (CCS) offers a two-year course of study that centers on the creation and dissemination of comics, graphic novels and other manifestations of the visual narrative.”
Comiclopedia – Short biographies of comic artists.
Comix-Scholars Discussion List – “The COMIX-SCHOLARS-L list is an academic forum which serves the interests of those involved in research, criticism and teaching related to comics art.”
The Grand Comics Database – A huge database of comic book titles and issues.
ImageTexT: Interdisciplinary Comics Studies – “ImageTexT is a peer-reviewed, open access journal dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of comics and related media. We are published by the English Department at the University of Florida with support from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Our content is available free of charge, and regular issues of ImageTexT will be published three times per year.”