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Michigan State University

Popular Culture in MSU Special Collections: International Comics

Request before you visit!

Most comics published outside the United States are stored off-campus, due to our space shortage in the Main Library.

Look for the word REMOTE in the item location. Request these items 3 days before your visit.

Some titles related to international comics, but published in the United States, are stored onsite in Special Collections -- for example, English translations of foreign comics and books about drawing manga characters.

Highlights: Franco-Belgian comics

Detail from the French comic book Becassine Mobilisee, featuring a young Breton woman in Paris.

Among our European comics, we have an especially good collection of Franco-Belgian titles, including some of the earliest books featuring Bécassine, the first female character in French comics.

Highlights: Japanese comics

Free image of a male cartoonist spinning a pen, drawn in the style of Japanese manga

Japanese comics are widely known by the Japanese term manga. We have more than 4000 manga titles in Special Collections. Many are multi-volume series - probably close to 10,000 volumes.

HOWEVER, the term manga  is not usually found in the subject headings for Japanese comics. Search for them using the term manga and the phrase Japan or Japanese.

Highlights: Latin American comics

Detail of a Kaliman comic book cover, showing Kaliman and a sidekick in action.

Our collection is strong in comic books from Mexico and we have a good selection of comics from Argentina, Brazil, Chile and other Latin American couintries.

We have a terrific collection of the popular, long-running comic Kaliman:

Resource guide author

Ruth Ann Jones

MSU Libraries, Special Collections

jonesr@msu.edu

Find comic books by language

To find comics in a specific language, go to the library catalog Advanced Search page.

  • Under Advanced Keyword Search, change Any Field to Subject. Enter the phrase "comic books."
  • Under Limited to | Collection, change Entire Catalog to Special Collections.
  • Under Limited to | Language, select the desired language.
    • English, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish are at the top of the list.
    • The remaining A-Z list contains all other languages represented in the MSU Libraries (more than 300!)

Find comics by country

Go to the library catalog Advanced Search page (1)

Detail of advanced search screen showing the phrase "comic books" in the first search field, "belgium or belgian" in the second search field, and Limited to Collection changed to Special Collections

This is a broad search that will probably retrieve some "false hits" -- titles that technically match your search terms but aren't what you meant. We prefer this to narrower searches which will leave out some items that might fit your topic.

Finding comics in translation

About 2% of our 300,000 comics are translations. Translations into English account for more than half.

Go to the library catalog Advanced Search page (1)

  • Enter the phrase "comic books" in the first search box (2)
  • Enter the word "translations" in the second search box (3)
  • Enter the target language in the third search box (4)
  • Under Limited to | Collection, change Entire Catalog to Special Collections (5)

Advanced search page with "comic books" in the first search box, "translations" in the second search box, and "English" in the third search box, with Limited to Location changed to Special Collections

International Comics

Michigan State University