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HOW TO USE THIS PAGE
Links to MSU library holdings
- A link indicating the physical format of material (Print, DVD, Blu-Ray, etc.) will lead you to the MSU library catalog, with the call number and location of the item.
- An Online link will lead you to an e-resource licensed for MSU users. MSUnet ID and password are required for access.
Links to articles
- Article titles are linked to an open access journal if available, or to a database licensed for MSU users. MSUnet ID and password are required for access to the latter.
See the information on Accessing Materials on the Welcome page if you have questions about what materials are available to you.
COLLECTIONS IN LIBRARIES
Library of Congress, Serial and Government Publications Division (Washington DC, USA)
The Library of Congress holds more than 5000 comics titles, with a strong focus on U.S. titles from the 1950s forward. Acquisition of comic books is exclusively through copyright deposit from comics publishers.
♦ Michigan State University, Special Collections, Comic Art (East Lansing Michigan, USA)
The MSU Libraries' Special Collections unit holds more than 300,000 comics titles from all over the world, dating back to the earliest examples of the genre. The collection also offers vertical files, proof sheets from King Features Syndicate, editorial files from Claypool Comics and Eclipse Comics, collectibles and more. The collection is fully cataloged. Contact Randy Scott, the Comic Art curator, for more information.
Ohio State University, Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (Columbus, Ohio, USA)
The Billy Ireland collection has a strong focus on collecting original cartoon artwork, with more than 300,000 examples.
Free Online Collections
Comic Book Plus: An extensive collection of free downloadable files of comic books now in the public domain. An excellent opportunity to read a wide variety of early comics.
Digital Comic Museum: A site for downloading free public domain Golden Age Comics. All files here have been researched by our staff and users to make sure they are copyright free and in the public domain. (You must create a free account.)
Digitized comics from MSU's collection
Licensed Online Collections
Underground and Independent Comics from Alexander Street. More than 600 titles represented.
COMICS PRESS ONLINE (NEWS, REVIEWS, CRITICISM)
Comic Book Confidential. Produced and directed by Ron Mann. Sphinx Productions. Originally produced in 1988. DVD | Blu-Ray.
Ethnic Notions. Produced, written, and directed by Marlon T. Riggs. Signifyin' Works. Originally produced in 1987. DVD | Online (Alexander Street) | Online (Infobase)
Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle. Produced by Michael Kantor and Sally Rosenthal. Ghost Light Films, Oregon Public Broadcasting, 2013. DVD | Blu-Ray | Episode 1 Online | Episode 2 Online | Episode 3 Online | Companion volume.
White Scripts and Black Supermen: Black Masculinities in Comic Books. Directed by Jonathan Gayles. Originally produced in 2011. DVD | Online (Black Studies in Video) | Online (Infobase)
Why are there multiple online links? We occasionally have access to the same material in more than one licensed collection. The extra links are given in case one platform has a temporary interruption of service.
Eduardo del Rio
- Kane, Gil, and Gary Groth, ed. Sparring with Gil Kane: Debating the History and Aesthetics of Comics. Fantagraphics, 2018. Not currently owned by MSU; purchase requested April 2020.
- "The Jeff Smith Interview." The Comics Journal, no. 173 (December 1994).
MSU COMICS FORUM
The Michigan State University Comics Forum is a multi-day, annual event for scholars, creators and fans of the comics medium. Events include keynote addresses from an award-winning creator and scholar in the field, an artist alley, academic panel discussions, exhibition of comic art, comic book discussion groups and more.
Keynote speeches are available on YouTube:
American Library Association, Graphic Novels & Comics Round Table. "Dedicated to supporting library staff in all aspects of engaging with graphic novels and comics, including collection development, programming, and advocacy."
Graphic Narratives Network, Michigan State University. A collaborative research initiative at MSU. Members work together on topics related to graphic narration in its various forms: comics, graphic novels, photo-essays, animation, and film.
REFERENCE SOURCES IN PRINT
Scores of reference books on comic art have been published. Unfortunately, they are less likely to have online editions than monographs.
Selected notable reference works on comics
- Horn, Maurice. The World Encyclopedia of Comics, revised and updated. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 1999. Print edition.
- Goulart, Ron. The Encyclopedia of American Comics. New York: Facts on File, 1990. Print edition.
- Levitz, Paul. 75 years of DC Comics: The Art of Modern Mythmaking. Köln: Taschen, 2010. Print edition.
- Misiroglu, Gina. The Superhero Book: The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Comic-Book Icons and Hollywood Heroes, second edition. Canton, MI: Visible Ink Press, 2012. Print edition.
- Misiroglu, Gina, and Michael Eury, eds. The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood. Canton, MI: Visible Ink Press, 2006. Print edition.
Find addition reference works on comics
REFERENCE SOURCES ONLINE
Comic Art in Scholarly Writing: A Citation Guide
- Citing individual comic books can pose some unusual challenges. This site attempts to establish some standard practices for scholars. It is built primarily around MLA citation style, but its practices can be adapted for the Chicago style preferred by the Rollins history department.
The Comic Book Database: Site on hiatus as of April 2020.
- A database of the publication information for comic books including writers, artists, and other creators by individual issue or story. Volunteers register to contribute data.
Comichron: A Resource for Comics Research
- A large collection of comic book and graphic novel sales figures online, from 1960 onwards.
Comics Timeline: The History of the Funnies in America
- Provided by InfoPlease.com
The Grand Comics Database
- A database of images and publication information for comic book series, built by volunteers. Probably the most comprehensive collection of comic book cover images available.
- This feature on Mike's Amazing World of Comics allows you to view the covers of comics from many publishers, filtered by the month they were sold or a specific cover date. (These are not the same thing; for many years, cover dates were deliberately later than the on-sale date so that retailers would keep them on the racks longer.) Includes American comic books from 1934 until a few months ago.