For those doing research at the UNT Libraries, there are several ways to access all of our Comics Studies materials. Some of these, like our electronic databases, ebooks, and e-journals, are restricted to UNT students, faculty, and staff. Others, like our physical collections, digital libraries, and online guides, can be used by anyone. And you can always consult with one of our subject specialist librarians to help with all your research questions.
Researching a subject as broad and interdisciplinary as comics & graphic novels can be a little daunting, since these materials may not be conveniently located all together in a single collection, library, or even format. If you’re just looking to read a few printed graphic novels or trade paperbacks, for example, you may want to visit our physical Graphic Novels collection on the 3rd floor of the Willis Library. Other graphic novels for younger readers are located in the Juvenile Collection (located in the Eagle Commons Library), so you’ll want to check the call numbers for the exact location of a title.
The same is true for scholarly books on comics studies, graphic arts, the history of comics, comics in education, or various other disciplinary topics. These books will be located with other books in those subject areas, rather than with the graphic novels, so you’ll need to search our library catalog to locate them. All of these print materials are freely browsable and you can read them in the library, though only patrons with a valid UNT ID, courtesy card, or TexShare card can check them out.
You may also find a lot of comics-related resources in unexpected places, like our Government Information collection at the Eagle Commons Library. These resources provide a fascinating look into government comics, as well as some of the legal, political, and historical contexts in which comics have been discussed. While the ECL is currently closed to the public due to the pandemic, UNT community members can request materials through their ILLiad accounts to be delivered to Willis Library.
Similarly, our Special Collections department, on the 4th Floor of Willis Library, maintains a small collection of comics, along with rare books, graphic novels, printed materials, photographs, and other comics-related materials that can be discovered through our catalog or with special finding aids on the department’s website. These materials are viewable by appointment, but cannot be taken out of the reading room.
Other cool comics-related materials, including dvds, cds, audio books, board games, and video games can be found in our Media Library. These materials can be checked out or used in the Media Library. See our Media Library Search Tips to learn more about what’s available there.
To more fully explore our physical collections, you can download a convenient handout that describes some of the Comics Studies Resources at the UNT Libraries.
But not all of our comics-related resources are in the physical collections–many more exist in our electronic collections, including e-books and e-journals, and in our electronic research databases, which include digitized comics & graphic novels, scholarly articles, book chapters, reviews, theses & dissertations, and more. See our Basic & Advanced Library Research guide for tips on how to search all of these resources from our library catalog, or our Online Media guide to learn how to find streaming video resources. Most of these electronic resources are only accessible to UNT students, faculty, and staff, because they require a UNT ID and password.
One new tool that you should be aware of is the recently-added subject tag for “Comics Studies” that’s searchable in our A-Z electronic databases tab from the UNT Libraries Homepage. Just click “Databases”, and in the “Browse Subjects” box, type “Comics Studies”.
That will take you to a list of electronic research databases that contain valuable resources for comics scholars. Among these are the Underground & Independent Comics, Comix, and Graphic Novels database from Alexander Street Press; the Science Fiction and Fantasy Database; the Alternative Press Index; several Art & Design indexes; as well as Education, History, Literature, and newspaper databases. You’ll also find links to a number of free, online databases (which don’t require a UNT id & password to use) like the Grand Comics Database.
Other links to free databases, as well as some tips on how to search them, can be found on the “Researching Comics” section of our Comics Studies Guide. That guide also includes links to books, articles, journals, websites, blogs & podcasts, exhibits & online collections, and comics-related events beyond UNT. You’ll also want to check out the amazing Government Comics Guide created by Bobby Griffith in our Government Information library.
If you’re doing work for a particular class or research project, remember that you can always work with one of our Subject Librarians to find other materials in your own disciplines or subject areas, or contact me for other general questions about comics resources.
Finally, remember to follow this blog and our Comics Studies@UNT Facebook page for news, information, events, and other useful stuff about comics.