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Graphic Novels, Comics, and Manga

This guide was originally created for students of English 218 studying Comics and the Graphics Novel in Professor Baraw's American Experience and Literature Course at Southern Connecticut State University.

Buley resources

SCSU students now have access to full text, online, issues of Underground Comics & Graphic Novels, volumes I & II

To browse for comics and graphic novels in Buley, go to the PN 6720-40 area on the 3rd floor.

We also have a collection of graphic novels you can look at but not check out in Special Collections on the ground floor.

What is a Graphic Novel?

A graphic novel is a narrative that is illustrated in sequential art form. It is like a comic book but longer. Panels contain illustrations and text which generally appear in bubbles or balloons. You start reading from the top left panel and proceed to the right. When you are done reading the entire panel you proceed to the panel on the next row and continue reading from left to right. Follow this sequence for every page of the book.

Graphic novels are not limited to one genre; they include fiction, non-fiction, science fiction and fantasy, murder/mystery, humor, history, biography, documentary, travelogues, memoirs, and journalistic reporting. They come in different shapes and sizes, from miniscule to gigantic. Some are short, some may run to thousands of pages or stretch to multiple volumes. Graphic novels are not limited to just pictures and illustrations; some may contain photos and 3D models.

Graphic novels have now become a respected art form. Many colleges and universities offer courses in comic books and graphic novels. This guide was created specifically for the American Experience and Literature class at Southern Connecticut State University.

For a more detailed description of what a graphic novel is, read this excellent introduction by Jessica Abel and Matt Madden at