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Graphic Novels: General Info

This research guide was created to support research in Graphic Novels

Graphic Novels Collection & Related Updates!!

Graphic Novel Collection is on 3rd floor. This collection includes graphic novels, not books about graphic novels.

Some graphic novels or runs of comics may still be in the 6th floor PN 6727-6790. Just look for the title in the library catalog.

Underground and Independent Comics, Comix, and Graphic Novels: Volume I

Database with scholarly, primary-source database focused on adult comic books and graphic novels.Cover to cover color comics and The Comics Journal. Read more and explore here!

ARLIS/NA Notable Graphic Novels Review

The ARLIS/NA Notable Graphic Novels Review, an official publication of the Art Libraries Society of North America - reviews of the previous year's top graphic novels

Important Graphic Novelists & Artists

This is a list of links to some of the more important graphic novelists' and artists' works and their adapted works that we have in Alkek Library with location information in the linked catalog records. You can comment if you think others should be added!

See the Graphic Novels Adaptations tab for more info about suggesting additions to the Alkek Library collection.

Graphic Novel Definitions

"Graphic novels are stories told in a comics format that express a continuous tale" (Miller 2).

"Whether a collection of reprinted comic books or an original story, the result is a long story told in comic art: a graphic novel" (Miller 2).

"Graphic novels (often abbreviated GNs) can be seen as the natural evolution of comic books" (Miller 2).

"In 1985, Will Eisner, one of the first creators of graphic novels, wrote Comics and Sequential Art. Known as the 'father of American graphic novels,' Eisner was the first to coin the term sequential art to describe to describe comics" (Miller 3).

This book cover image (left) is Will Eisner's A Contract With God and Other Tenement Stories: A Graphic Novel.

All of these quotes explaining what a graphic novel is came from the book, Developing and Promoting Graphic Novel Collections, below, that we have a copy of at Alkek Library (page numbers for the quotes are in the parentheses). Citation information for the book can be found on the catalog record for the book that you will see when you click on the image of the book below. The call number to find the book is next to the image of the book below as well as on the catalog record for the book that you see when you click on the book cover.

For more graphic novel definitions and history please see the Graphic Novel Definitions and History in the left-hand column of this guide.

What is a Graphic Novel? Comic Strip by Jessica Abel

This is a comic strip by Jessica Abel from her and Matt Maden's website Drawing Words & Writing Pictures.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


More Graphic Novel Definitions and History

Graphic Novels Term used to distinguish longer, more complex single works of sequential art conceived or developed as a unified work, from periodical comic books. The term was first popularized on the cover of A Contract with God (1978) by Will Eisner (1917–2005) and was used to reposition a new wave of more ‘mature’ comic writers in the 1980s, such as Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (1949– ) in Watchmen (1987), or Neil Gaiman in the ‘Sandman’ series, reprinted in album form, which aimed at the wider appeal of the French bande dessinée and Japanese manga. It was applied especially to more sophisticated works such as Maus (1991) by Art Spiegelman (1948– ) or The Tale of One Bad Rat (1996) by Bryan Talbot (1952– ), as well as the ‘adult’ work of Raymond Briggs such as Where the Wind Blows (1982). For some it distinguishes books like these, or Jimmy Corrigan (2000) by Chris Ware (1967– ), which won the Guardian First Book Award, from the more ‘juvenile’ market of superhero comic books. For others it is simply a marketing tool which includes album collections of the very same ‘comic book’ material.

"graphic novels"  The Oxford Companion to English Literature. Edited by Dinah Birch. Oxford University Press Inc. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford     University Press.  Texas State University - San Marcos.  12 September 2011  <>

Graphic Novel Long story in comic-strip format, printed in a single volume. Such works had long been familiar to readers in France and Belgium, and in translation to English readers (Astérix and Tintin principally), without needing a special name, but it was the appearance of works with adult themes during the 1970s and 80s that seemed to make a more grown-up designation than ‘comic’ necessary. The first work to call itself a graphic novel was Will Eisner’s A Contract with God (1978), which was anything but a work for children, and the first to make a commercial impact was Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (1986). This was a work whose complexity of style and psychological darkness of subject matter appealed more to adults, or at least to teenagers with a sophisticated understanding of the possibilities of the form.

Read more from this entry from Credo Reference

"graphic novel." The Cambridge Guide to Children's Books in English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Credo Reference. Web. 12  September 2011.

Find more definitions and references about Graphic Novels from Alkek Library's list of online Dictionaries & Encyclopedias