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Graphic Novels: Writing & Research with Comics

Graphic novels, comics, manga, and wordless books are all contained in this collection.

Increasingly, comic books and graphic novels are considered legitimate objects of literary and cultural study. However, finding scholarly information about comics and citing unique formats can be a challenge! Shoreline CC librarians are here to help with your research projects. 

A word with bestselling graphic novelist Jeff Smith

Selected books about comics

Citing Comics and Graphic Novels

There are some special rules for creating citations for comics. Usually, Graphic Novels are formatted like a book, and can be cited like a book. For single issue comics, comic strips, and cartoons, special consideration of citation format is required. Here is an example of a basic comic book citation using MLA style: 

[Fox, Gardner F. (w), Mike Sekowsky (p), and Bernard Sachs (i).] The Wheel of Misfortune. Justice League of America #6 (Aug.-Sep. 1961), National Comics Publications [DC Comics].

As in the example above, the major contributors to the visual aspects of comic books are the writer, penciller and the inker, who are usually identified as writer (w), penciller (p), and inker (i). The citation is similar to that of a journal article, with the title of the story in quotation marks, and the name of the series underlined. 

More information is available on the Comic Art in Scholarly Writing Citation Guide.