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Michigan State University

Graphic Possibilities: A Comics Research Guide: Welcome

Created by the Graphic Possibilities Research Group, College of Arts and Letters, Michigan State University

Introduction

The purpose of this resource guide is to provide a foundation for people interested in studying, teaching, and contributing to comics and comics-based scholarship within the classroom. 

Each list here represents a myriad of entry points into the given topic, centered around books and periodicals found here in the MSU Libraries, while also encompassing some materials found outside the MSU Library, some freely accessible, some not (yet). For texts here in the library, a permanent record link has been included to ensure that these texts are easily found.

This list is by no means exhaustive, and instead, operates as a living Open Educational Resource (OER), one that is periodically updated by the Graphic Possibilities Research Group in the Department of English and other research collaboratives concerned with comics within the College of Arts and Letters at Michigan State University. 

These topics are meant to be updated and added to with each annual iteration of the Graphic Possibility Research Group. Suggestions/requests for future topics can be sent to Julian Chambliss.

Web Editor

Ruth Ann Jones, Instruction/Outreach Librarian

Steven O. Murray and Keelung Hong Special Collections

Michigan State University Libraries

jonesr@msu.edu

Please contact me if you need help accessing material from the MSU Libraries, or if you notice broken links or anything else needing correction.

Featured title

Book cover: EC Comics: Race, Shock, and Social Protest by Qiana Whitted. Illustration shows a black man with a somber expression, wearing a spacesuit and helmet.

"Long before diversity became a buzzword and rallying cry throughout publishing, the notorious EC Comics sneaked socially conscious stories about civil rights and justice for minorities into its 1950s sensationalist anthologies." --Library Journal

Featured title

Cover of "Unflattening" by Nick Sousanis. The abstract, black-and-white illustration resembles the funnel cloud of a tornado.

"Unflattening will no doubt become an essential teaching tool for helping students--especially undergraduates--think about comics, graphic novels, and other media in which words and images combine." --CHOICE

Accessing Materials

The resources in this guide include licensed online resources, free online resources, and books in the MSU collection for which there is no online equivalent. Some of the print-only books are circulating -- that is, they can be checked out. Others are held in Special Collections and must be used on-site in the Special Collections Reading Room in the MSU Main Library.

MSU-affiliated users (currently enrolled students, faculty and staff)

  • May use licensed online resources, free online resources, and borrow circulating books.
  • Books in Special Collections must be used in the Special Collections Reading Room in the Main Library.
  • We regret that MSU alumni are not considered "MSU-affiliated users" in the contract terms for our licensed resources.

Users who are not affiliated with MSU, but DO reside in Michigan

  • May use free online resources
  • May borrow circulating books by obtaining an MSU Community Borrower card OR by requesting a loan through MeLCat (the Michigan eLibrary Catalog)
  • May use books in Special Collections by visiting the Special Collections Reading Room in the Main Library
  • Many of the articles from MSU's licensed online resources will be available to you through the Michigan eLibrary. For help, please contact your local public library.

Users who are not affiliated with MSU and DO NOT reside in Michigan

  • May use free online resources
  • May borrow circulating books by requesting them on interlibrary loan through a public or academic library
  • May use books in Special Collections by visiting the Special Collections Reading Room in the Main Library
  • Many U.S. states, and national or provincial governments in other countries, make licensed article databases available to the public by some arrangement similiar to the Michigan eLibrary. If you are not affiliated with MSU and live outside Michigan, please contact your local public library or your academic library for help.
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