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Graphic Novels: About Graphic Novels

Use this guide as a starting point for information on Graphic Novels. Included are finding aids for graphic novels in the juvenile & regular collection as well as reference, database, and internet resources.

Welcome to the Graphic Novels Library Guide

Welcome to the Graphic Novels Library Guide

This guide provides information about graphic novels in AU Library's juvenile and general circulating collections.


About this Guide:  Use the tabs located at the top of this page to move between topics.  Some tabs, such as the Database Resources tab, include a drop down menus with further details about the topic.

About the topics:  Each tab contains information about a particular topic.

  • Juvenile Collection discusses how to locate graphic novels for younger readers and young adult readers and includes an updated list of new titles.
  • Circulating Collection provides information about graphic novels in the main library collection.
  • Database Resources suggest AU Library databases to use when looking for information about graphic novels, reading, and education. AU Library OneSearch, a subset of this tab, reviews how to use the multi-purpose search tool.
  • Internet Resources will help you find information pertaining to using graphic novels in the classroom, locating book reviews, and provides general web resources.

About this page: There are two additional sections of this welcome page providing information about graphic novels and shortcuts to locating them by subject. Choose one to explore further.


comicGraphic Novel: Definitions

There are many definitions of graphic novels available. Arguments have been made for calling them comic books, art forms, genre, format, and illustrative storytelling forms.

Graphic novels are a "format and not a genre. A genre refers to content, specifically the style or subject of the writing, such as mystery, romance, or science fiction" (Karp, p.3).

Graphic novels may also include "a collection of comic strips about a common set of characters; a collection of comic book-length stories (that is, thirty-two-page-stories) brought together in a longer narrative; and single sustained storytelling effort " (Pendergast, p.xv).

Graphic novel is a term originated by Will Eisner to describe his book to a publisher. "Eisner's term was meant to distinguish serious works told in the comic book format from collections of humorous comic strips" (Crawford, p.1).


Comic icon by Revicon from is licensed by CC 3.0 BY

Crawford, P.C. (2003). Graphic novels 101: Selecting and using graphic novels to promote literacy for children and young adults. Salt Lake City, UT: Hi Willow Research & Publication.

Karp, J. (2012). Graphic Novels in your school library. Chicago, IL: American Library Association.

Pendergast, S. & Pendergast, T. (2007). U-X-L graphic novelists. (S. Hermsen, Ed.). Detroit: U-X-L/Thompson Gale.


Graphic novels: Library catalog

Keyword searching and use of Library of Congress subject headings are two ways to locate graphic novels.


Graphic Novels: Keyword Search

It is possible to locate graphic novels using a simple keyword search: graphic novels.

If interested in juvenile collection items, modify the search to MAIN juvenile. You may also modify the search to MAIN general collection.


Graphic Novels: LC Subject

Here is a sampling of Library of Congress subject headings for Graphic Novels and Comic Books, Strips, Etc. These reflect graphic novels as a format, not a topic or genre.

 Graphic Novels  Comic Books, Strips, Etc.
Graphic Novels  Comic Books, Strips, Etc
Graphic Novels Bibliography  Comic Strip Characters
Graphic Novels History & Criticism  Fantasy Comic Books Strips
Graphic Novels in Education  Horror Comic Books Strips
Graphic Novels United States  Science Fiction Comic Books Strips


Diane Schrecker

Diane Schrecker, MLIS, M.Ed.

Curriculum Librarian
Head of the IRC
☏ 419.207.6406

Instructional Resource Center
Archer Library at Ashland University
509 College Avenue
Ashland, OH 44805

☏ 419.289.5406

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