Skip to Main Content

Meanwhile, Back in the Library...Comics: Home

Library and Student Support Services Present: Meanwhile, in the Library...

Welcome to the Library guide to comics, graphic novels and picture books. Here you can learn more about the collection we have and find out how comics can be applied to academic study.

This guide was originally created to support the 2017/2018 Library exhibition Meanwhile, Back in the Library..., which ran at both campus libraries throughout the academic year. The exhibition explored four themes over the course of the academic year. Over the course of the exhibition, new issues were added to the guide to support each theme.

What is a comic or graphic novel?

Why use comics in academia?

By Dr Harriet Earle,

Department of Humanities

Let’s just make this clear: comics are not a new thing. Using images to tell stories and convey information has been a ‘thing’ since before written language existed. We can trace the ancestors of the modern comic back a very long way; think of pictographs and cave paintings as being the grandparents of comics, just as ancient Greek and Roman  theatre grew and developed into modern drama, performance and film. If you’re reading this, it’s probably because, at the very least, you are interested in comics and image narratives: you may not have read many comics texts before and that’s not a problem at all. But what you may not know is that you probably read comics every day. The comics form exists across the narrative and educational spectrum, including texts from the Bayeux Tapestry and ancient Egyptian tomb paintings to IKEA furniture instructions and those leaflets used on airplanes to give safety instructions.

The above is an extract from the short essay Why use comics in academia by Dr Harriet Earle and you can read the full essay on Issue 1: Using comics in academia.

How to find resources in the Library related to comics in one search!

Here is the search strategy we used to create this search: comic* OR "visual storytelling" OR "graphic novel" OR "graphic novels" OR "sequential images" OR "sequential image" OR "picture book" OR "picture books" OR animation* OR illustrat* OR anime OR manga OR "game art" or "art of".

We created this search in the Advanced option in Library Search and used a title field search. The search is incredibly broad and you will need to use the filters to narrow down you search e.g. to books, journal articles or you could apply a date range filter.  

If you are looking for specific books eg My brothers husband by Gengoroh Tagame, you will find it quicker to search in Library Search for the title of the comic book.

The secret origins of Meanwhile, Back in the Library...

You may be wondering why the Library has such a varied comic collection: the reason is because over time we librarians have purchased them in response to the teaching and research needs of the University. Current areas of research interest are war comics and the use of comics in education.

You can find out more about how comics fit into our libraries in the first part of our exhibition, the role of comics in academia.

External comic events and award series across the globe

We're not the only ones celebrating comics: here are some of the other events and awards taking place around the world.

Check out these new comics and graphic novels!

We are delighted to present our latest addition to the comic and graphic novel collection - John Hicklenton's 100 Months. This book has been on our wish list of comics and we can now share it with you!

Feeling inspire to create your own comics...

This is just a small selection of books related to comic creation that you can find in the library. There are other books such as drawing from a fashion perspective, books related to cartooning, animation and digital comic creation and books on how to draw in the Manga style and much more... to find them just run a few searches in  Library Search to find books to suit your style.

Or you may want to go digital and you could use Comic Life Deluxe 1.3 which is software to help create comics. You can find the software on any of the University pcs. Happy comic creation!

Recommend something for the Library

We are always looking for new publications to support your learning and teaching, and to keep the library collections up to date with high-quality materials.  If you think we're missing something crucial though, we'd like to hear about it.  

You can suggest a purchase to the Library using the Suggest a Purchase link below.