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Science Through Pop Culture: A Research Guide

Graphic Novels and Comic Books

Hutchison, A. C., artist. Maw, Paw, and Willie. "Willie, if I had four dollars." between 1900 and 1920. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Comic books and graphic novels have long history of telling stories through a combination of words and graphic images both in color and black and white. Comic books first appeared in the 1930s and were originally a reprinting of earlier newspaper humor comic strips. Over the decades these have grown and changed with with society with tens of thousands of different stories being told on a variety of different topics.

Here are some definitions to help you understand the difference between Comic books and Graphic Novels. Though very similar in appearance they both have their own place in this form of art.

Comic Books: are serialized stories, mostly short in length and the stories they contain can continue over months and sometimes years.

Graphic Novels: Tend to be much longer than comic books, and also usually have their story lines wrapped up in one or two books. Because the story does not have to be broken up over several issues the stories tend to be more complex and readers usually don’t have to wait for the next issue to find out what is going to happen.

For more information on comic book references and information about the Library of Congress comic book collections, please see the resources below.

The following materials include links to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to digital content are included when available. Many of the books below are parts of a series on science topics, if you enjoy one of the books below, think about contacting your local library for assistance locating the rest of the series.