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Comics, Graphic Novels & Sequential Arts: LIBR 494

This guide provides information on how to search Copley Library's growing comic book, graphic novel and other sequential arts (e.g. Manga), collection highlights, how to read sequential arts, citation tips, critical studies in comics/graphic novels, and m

Potential Readings

Black Panther Vol. 1

A new era for the Black Panther begins as the kingdom of Wakanda enters its final days! Award-winning writer Ta-Nehisi Coates confronts T'Challa with dramatic upheaval in his homeland that will make leading the African nation tougher than ever before. When a superhuman terrorist group that calls itself The People sparks a violent uprising, the land famed for incredible technology and proud warrior traditions will be thrown into turmoil. As Zenzi, leader of The People, poisons the populace against their king, the former queen Shuri's spirit makes an uncanny journey through the Djalia, and a new Crew is formed! If Wakanda is to survive, it must adapt - but can its monarch, one of a long line of Black Panthers, survive the necessary change? Heavy lies the head that wears the cowl!

Redbone: la Verdadera Historia de una Banda de Rock Indígena Estadounidense (Redbone: the True Story of a Native American Rock Band Spanish Edition)

Experimenta la fascinante y poderosa historia del movimiento de derechos civiles de los nativos americanos y su lucha por la identidad contada a través de la carrera de los pioneros del rock and roll de la costa oeste de Redbone. Ya has escuchado la exitosa canción "Come and Get Your Love" en la película Guardianes de la Galaxia, pero la historia de la banda detrás de la canción es de gran importancia cultural, política y social. Los hermanos Pat y Lolly Vegas fueron talentosos músicos de rock nativos americanos que tomaron por sorpresa el Sunset Strip de la década de 1960. Influyeron a The Doors y se toparon con Jimmy Hendrix antes de que fuera "Jimi", y la idea de una banda compuesta de miembros nativos americanos pronto se hizo realidad.

March (Trilogy Slipcase Set)

March is a vivid first-hand account of John Lewis' lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis' personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement.

Blue in Green

The dark and haunting portrayal of a young musician's pursuit of creative genius-- the monstrous nature of which threatens to consume him as it did his predecessor half a century ago. Fromcreators Ram V (Grafity's Wall, These Savage Shores) and Anand RK(Grafity's Wall), BLUE IN GREEN is an exploration of ambitions, expectations, and the horrific depths of their spiraling pursuit.

Lessons Drawn

Imagine a classroom where students put away their smart phones and enthusiastically participate in learning activities that unleash creativity and refine critical thinking. Students today live and learn in a transmedia environment that demands multi-modal writing skills and multiple literacies. This collection brings together 17 new essays on using comics and graphic novels to provide both a learning framework and hands-on strategies that transform students' learning experiences through literary forms they respond to.

My Father Bleeds History

The author-illustrator traces his father's imprisonment in a Nazi concentration camp through a series of disarming and unusual cartoons arranged to tell the story as a novel.


In 1960s America, Kusama is a symbol of free love and peace. She fights a constant battle with her mental health, but finds salvation in art. From her childhood in rural Japan through her radical happenings in New York to her groundbreaking international installations, this vivid graphic novel documents the incredible journey of a remarkable icon.

Sample Syllabus

LIBR 494: Special Topics

Graphic Novels & Comics as Critical Information Literacy Tools

Spring 2023: Monday & Wednesday | 2:30pm to 3:50pm

CRN: 3541 | 3 Credit Hours


Course Description:

This seminar-style course will explore visual literature or sequential art (graphic novels, cartoons, comics, manga, etc.) as essential tools for critical information literacy and critical thinking. Students will learn how to apply critical thinking and information literacy skills to sequential art. Participants will explore sequential arts examples across different genres; make connections to social and cultural implications; and explore sequential arts as a reflection of history, power, and hope. Special focus will be applied to sequential art & their contributors that center and elevate the experiences of historically marginalized populations.

The course is intentionally designed to be zero-to-low cost to students. All required course materials will be available via OER, open access (OA), or through Copley Library’s collections.

Course Goals and Learning Objectives (CGLOs)

Students should be able to:

  1. Gain knowledge of sequential art history, development, and use in information literacy 

  2. Apply critical thinking & information literacy skills to sequential art texts & other expressions

  3. Identify a research question(s) related to sequential art

    1. Use critical information literacy skills to analyze the results

    2. Compose a deliverable appropriate for project findings presentation (research paper, video, comic, etc.)

Sample Readings & Films:

Graphic Novels

Streaming Video

  • Abina & the Important Men: A Graphic History (2016)

  • Comic Book Confidential (1988)

  • Great Power, Great Responsibility (2013)


  • Boatright, M. D. (2010). Graphic journeys: Graphic novels' representations of immigrant experiences. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 53(6), 468-476. 

  • Brenner, R. E. (2007). Manga and Anime Vocabulary. In Understanding Manga and Anime. Libraries Unlimited Incorporated.

  • Jenkins, H. (2012). Should we discipline the reading of comics? In Smith, M. J., & Duncan, R. Critical approaches to comics: Theories and methods. Routledge.

  • Watts, P. (2015). Graphic novels offer diverse perspectives, narratives. Education Digest, 81(2), 38–41. Copley link

Sample Assignments/Activities

  • Annotated bibliography - Students will contribute four items to a class collective annotated bibliography of sequential art texts & related comics scholarship. (CGLO #2)

    • Rationale: Students will practice applying critical thinking & information literacy skills to two texts & two related scholarly resources. The shared bibliography allows for increased resource & knowledge sharing and distributed labor.

    • Example text: A Contract with God (Will Eisner) 

    • Sample Scholarly Resource: Royal, D. P. (2011). Sequential Sketches of Ethnic Identity: Will Eisner's" A Contract with God" as Graphic Cycle. College Literature, 150-167. 

  • Comic-Con Museum or other comics museum exhibit analysis - Students will visit an in-person or digital comics/graphic novel exhibit & write a 3-5 page analysis examining the exhibit’s social & cultural context. (CGLO #2)