Comics Research Bibliography Sample

copyright 1996-2009, Michael Rhode ( and John Bullough (

Featured by USA Today, the Internet Scout Report, the Research Libraries Information Network, the Library of Congress and the Arlington County Library


This is an international bibliography of comic books, comic strips, animation, caricature, cartoons, bandes dessinees, and related topics. We have divided the bibliography into four sections, arranged alphabetically by author, for ease of use. We welcome any additions or comments.

The entries in this bibliography come from many sources, and from many different computer systems. Because of this, certain international characters (such as accented letters) do not display properly on many systems. We apologize for the inconvenience this might cause.

Some of the entries include URL links, which were valid when the entries were indexed. If the links are no longer functioning, some of them may be found using the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine at by entering the URL.

  1. A through C, and non-alphabetic entries
  2. D-K
  3. L-R
  4. S-Z

As of our latest major update (November 2009), we have more than 29,700 entries in the bibliography.

NOTE: These files are quite large (about 1 MB in size for each section). Be warned if you have a slow connection. We are working on getting the bibliography broken up into smaller, more manageable chunks (see topical bibliographies below).

Click here to search the entire comics research bibliography!
NOTE! The search engine uses JavaScript and is larger than 4 megabytes. It will take a long time to load if you have a dial-up connection.Click here for a list of topical bibliographies on a wide range of subjects. Note: these are not regularly updated; for complete information on topics, use the search form.

This bibliography was developed from articles in the authors' personal collections and from searching in sources such as the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature and several newspaper archives (see below). Although some of the materials identified here are also included in John A. Lent's series of bibliographies on comics, cartoons, caricatures and animation, the authors did not consult Lent's books in preparing this bibliography. We do recommend those volumes to comics researchers and hope that our bibliography will supplement and augment Lent's work.

We'd like to thank the following people who have contributed to the bibliography:

  • Cathy Hunter
  • Sloane Bullough
  • Corky and Irene Hunter
  • Art Rhode
  • Kim and Matt Hunter
  • Gene Kannenberg
  • Jeffery Williams
  • Tom Furtwangler
  • Leonard Rifas
  • Ben Katchor
  • Robert Montgomery
  • Ron Stewart
  • Jim Burant
  • Robert Goler
  • K. A. Ryan
  • Kathleen Stocker
  • Bart Beaty
  • Joel Pollack
  • Megan Keister
  • Robert Beerbohm
  • Gert Meesters
  • Poul Frokjar
  • Pascal Lefevre
  • Asli Tunc
  • Robert Boyd
  • Katy Epler
  • Woody Woodis
  • Dr. Michael Vassallo
  • Mark Nevins
  • Lotta Fjelkeg�rd
  • Rodrigo Baeza
  • Michael Catron
  • Ed Hatton
  • Oliver Naepel
  • Doug Wheeler
  • Alvise Mattozzi
  • Mike Murphy
  • Carlos Diaz Maroto
  • Thomas Inge
  • Leonardo De S�
  • William Silvester
  • Bill Cogswell, Sr.
  • Kumudini Mayur
  • Tabitha Oglesby
  • Roger Sabin
  • Mike Simons
  • Suze Eaton
  • Maddy from Ms. Haynes's class

Also check out these links:

Member of the Comic Sites Alliance

Copyright 1996-2011, John Bullough and Michael Rhode

Comics studies (also comic art studies, sequential art studies or graphic narrative studies)[1] is an academic field that focuses on comics and sequential art. Although comics and graphic novels have been generally dismissed as less relevant pop culturetexts, scholars in fields such as semiotics, composition studies and cultural studies are now re-considering comics and graphic novels as complex texts deserving of serious scholarly study.

Not to be confused with the technical aspects of comics creation, comics studies exists only with the creation of comics theory—which approaches comics critically as an art—and the writing of comics historiography (the study of the history of comics).[2] Comics theory has significant overlap with the philosophy of comics, the study of the ontology,[3][4]epistemology[5] and aesthetics[6] of comics, the relationship between comics and other art forms, and the relationship between text and image in comics.[3]

Theorizing comics[edit]

Although there has been the occasional investigation of comics as a valid art form, specifically in Gilbert Seldes' The 7 Lively Arts (1924), Martin Sheridan's Classic Comics and Their Creators (1942), and David Kunzle's The Early Comic Strip: Narrative Strips and Picture Stories in the European Broadsheet from c. 1450 to 1825 (1973), contemporary Anglophone comics studies in North America can be said to have burst onto the academic scene with both Will Eisner's Comics and Sequential Art in 1985 and Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics in 1993. Continental comics studies can trace its roots back to the work of semioticians such as Roland Barthes (particularly his 1964 essay "Rhetoric of the Image", published in English in the anthology Image—Music—Text)[7] and Umberto Eco (particularly his 1964 book Apocalittici e integrati).[8]

More recently, analysis of comics have begun to be undertaken by cognitive scientists, the most prominent being Neil Cohn, who has used tools from linguistics to detail the theoretical structure of comics' underlying "visual language", and has also used psychological experimentation from cognitive neuroscience to test these theories in actual comprehension. This work has suggested similarities between the way that the brain processes language and the way it processes sequential images.[9] Cohn's theories are not universally accepted with other scholars like Thierry Groensteen, Hannah Miodrag, and Barbara Postema offering alternative understandings.

Defining comics[edit]

"Comics ... are sometimes four-legged and sometimes two-legged and sometimes fly and sometimes don't ... to employ a metaphor as mixed as the medium itself, defining comics entails cutting a Gordian-knotted enigma wrapped in a mystery ..."

— R. C. Harvey, 2001

Similar to the problems of defining literature and film, no consensus has been reached on a definition of the comics medium, and attempted definitions and descriptions have fallen prey to numerous exceptions. Theorists such as Töpffer,R. C. Harvey, Will Eisner,David Carrier, Alain Rey, and Lawrence Grove emphasize the combination of text and images, though there are prominent examples of pantomime comics throughout its history. Other critics, such as Thierry Groensteen and Scott McCloud, have emphasized the primacy of sequences of images. Towards the close of the 20th century, different cultures' discoveries of each other's comics traditions, the rediscovery of forgotten early comics forms, and the rise of new forms made defining comics a more complicated task.

Composition studies[edit]

In the field of composition studies, an interest in comics and graphic novels is growing, partially due to the work of comics theorists but also due to composition studies' growing focus on multimodality and visual rhetoric. Composition studies theorists are looking at comics as sophisticated texts, and sites of complex literacy.

Gunther Kress defines multimodality as "the use of several semiotic modes in the design of a semiotic product or event, together with the particular way in which these mode are combined"[20] or, more simply as "any text whose meanings are realized through more than one semiotic code".[21]

Kristie S. Fleckenstein sees the relationship between image and text as "mutually constitutive, mutually infused"—a relationship she names "imageword". Fleckenstein sees "imageword" as offering "a double vision of writing-reading based on [the] fusion of image and word, a double vision of literacy".[22]

Dale Jacobs sees the reading of comics as a form of "multimodal literacy or multiliteracy, rather than as a debased form of print literacy".[23] According to Jacobs, comics can help educators to move "toward attending to multimodal literacies" that "shift our focus from print only to multiple modalities".[24] He encourages educators to embrace a pedagogy that will give students skills to effectively negotiate these multiple modalities.

Educational institutions[edit]

Comics studies is becoming increasingly more common at academic institutions across the world. Some notable examples include: University of Florida,[25]University of Toronto at Mississauga,[26] and University of California Santa Cruz,[27] among others. West Liberty University is currently the only university offering a four-year undergraduate literature degree in comics studies.[28] In Britain, growing interest in comics has led to the establishment of a center for comics studies, the Scottish Centre for Comics Studies (SCCS) at the University of Dundee in Scotland.[29] Beside formal programs and degrees, it is common to see individual courses dedicated to comics and graphic novels in many educational institutions.[30]

Sol M. Davidson's New York Universitythesis, Culture and the Comic Strips, earned him the first PhD in comics in 1959,[31][32] while in France, Jean-Christophe Menu was awarded a Doctorate in Art and Art Sciences in 2011 from Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne after defending his thesis The Comics and its Double: Language and Frontiers of Comics : Practical, Theoretical and Editorial Prospects.[33][34]

The University of Lancaster started offering a PhD degree in comics studies in 2015.[35] The same year French comics studies scholar Benoît Peeters (a student of Roland Barthes) was appointed as the UK's first ever comics professor at Lancaster University.[36]

Scholarly publications[edit]

Since 2000 many new scholarly journals have appeared dedicated to comics studies. Three of the most important peer refereed journals in English are: Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, Studies in Comics, and European Comic Art. Other notable journals include: ImageTexT (a peer reviewed, open access journal that began in the spring of 2004 and is based at the University of Florida), Image and Narrative (stylized as Image [&] Narrative, a peer-reviewed e-journal on visual narratology), SANE journal: Sequential Art Narrative in Education out of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, and the International Journal of Comic Art.


Although presentations dedicated to comics are commonplace at conferences in many fields, entire conferences dedicated to this subject are becoming more common. There have been conferences at SAIC (International Comic Arts Forum), MMU (The International Bande Dessinée Society Conference), UTS (Sequential Art Studies Conference), Georgetown, Ohio State (Festival of Cartoon Art),[37] and Bowling Green (Comics in Popular Culture conference),[38] and there is a yearly conference at University of Florida (Conference on Comics and Graphic Novels).[39] Additionally, there is an annual Michigan State University Comics Forum, which brings together academics and professionals working in the industry. Notable regularly held movable conferences include the Comic Art and Comics Area of the Popular Culture Association of America and the conference of the International Society for Humor Studies.[37]

The International Comics Arts Forum (ICAF), begun in 1995 at Georgetown University by Guy Spielmann and Tristan Fonlladosa, is an annual academic conference distinguished by its international focus and scholarly rigor[40] The German Gesellschaft für Comicforschung (ComFor, Society for Comics Studies) has organized yearly academic conferences since 2006.[41] The Comics Arts Conference has met regularly since 1992 in conjunction with San Diego Comic-Con International and WonderCon.[42] Another important conference is the annual International Graphic Novels and Comics Conference held since 2010 organized by British academics. This conference has been held in conjunction with the longer running International Bande Dessinée Society conference. Comics Forum, a UK-based community of international comics scholars, also holds an annual conference at Leeds Central Library; the first was held in 2009.[43]

See also[edit]



  1. ^Pramod K. Nayar, The Indian Graphic Novel: Nation, History and Critique, Routledge, 2016, p. 13.
  2. ^Benoît Crucifix, "Redrawing Comics into the Graphic Novel: Comics Historiography, Canonization, and Authors' Histories of the Medium", "Whither comics studies?" panel, International conference of the French Association for American Studies, Toulouse (France), May 24–27, 2016.
  3. ^ abAaron Meskin, "The Philosophy of Comics", Philosophy Compass6(12), December 2011, pp. 854–864.
  4. ^Iain Thomson, in his "Deconstructing the Hero" (in Jeff McLaughlin, ed., Comics as Philosophy (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2005), pp. 100–129), develops the concept of comics as philosophy.
  5. ^Meskin, Aaron and Roy T. Cook (eds.), The Art of Comics: A Philosophical Approach, Wiley-Blackwell, 2012, p. xxxi.
  6. ^David Carrier, The Aesthetics of Comics, Penn State University Press, 2000, Part 1: "The Nature of Comics."
  7. ^Roland Barthes, "Rhétorique de l'image", Communications4(1), 1964, pp. 40–51, translated as "Rhetoric of the Image", in: Roland Barthes, Image–Music–Text, essays selected and translated by Stephen Heath, New York 1977, pp. 32–51.
  8. ^Umberto Eco, Apocalittici e integrati: comunicazioni di massa e teorie della cultura di massa, Bompiani, 1964. Cf. also: Umberto Eco (1972). "Epilogue", in: Walter Herdeg and David Pascal (eds.): The Art of the Comic Strip, Zurich: The Graphis Press.
  9. ^Neil Cohn, The Visual Language of Comics: Introduction to the Structure and Cognition of Sequential Images, London: Bloomsbury, 2013, p. 1ff.
  10. ^Kress, Gunther and Theo Van Leeuwen (2001). Multimodal Discourse: The Modes and Media of Contemporary Communication. Arnold Publishers. p. 20. 
  11. ^Kress, Gunther and Theo van Leeuwen (2006). Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design (2nd ed.). Routledge. p. 177. 
  12. ^Fleckenstein, Kristie (2003). Embodied Literacies: Imageword and a Poetics of Teaching. Southern Illinois University Press. p. 2. 
  13. ^Jacobs, Dale. "Marvelling at The Man Called Nova: Comics as Sponsors of Multimodal Literacy". The Journal of the Conference on College Composition and Communication. 59 (2): 182. 
  14. ^Jacobs, Dale. "Marvelling at The Man Called Nova: Comics as Sponsors of Multimodal Literacy". The Journal of the Conference on College Composition and Communication. 59 (2): 201. 
  15. ^"UF | Comics Studies | Studying Comics at UF". 2007-04-04. Retrieved 2009-11-23. 
  16. ^Visual Culture Studies - University of Toronto Mississauga.
  17. ^Spiegelman, Art. "Comix 101." Lecture. Porter College, University of California, Santa Cruz, April 1992.
  18. ^Graphic Narrative Major
  19. ^"Scottish Centre for Comics Studies". Retrieved 2016-11-28. 
  20. ^"UF | Comics Studies | Teaching Comics". 2007-04-09. Retrieved 2009-11-23. 
  21. ^Sol M. Culture and the Comic Strips. Ph.D. diss., New York University, 1959.
  22. ^Sol & Penny Davison Collection - George A. Smathers Libraries.
  23. ^Article about Jean-Christophe Menu presenting his thesis at the Sorbonne.
  24. ^
  25. ^"Lancaster University offers doctorate in comic books". 2015-11-25. Retrieved 2016-06-06. 
  26. ^"'Great snakes!' Tintin expert appointed UK's first comics professor". 2015-11-26. Retrieved 2016-06-06. 
  27. ^ ab"Regularly Held Conferences".
  28. ^Robert G. Weiner (ed.), Graphic Novels and Comics in Libraries and Archives: Essays on Readers, Research, History and Cataloging, McFarland, 2010, p. 264.
  29. ^"Comics Conference". 
  30. ^"The History of ICAF". .
  31. ^"Gesellschaft für Comicforschung". Retrieved 2010-10-22. 
  32. ^The Comics Arts Conference and Public Humanities.
  33. ^"Comics Forum". Comics Forum. Retrieved 2017-02-02. 

Works cited[edit]

  • Beaty, Bart (2012). Comics Versus Art. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-1-4426-9627-3. 
  • Groensteen, Thierry (Spring 2012). "The Current State of French Comics Theory". Scandinavian Journal of Comic Art. 1 (1): 111–122. 
  • Grove, Laurence (2010). Comics in French: The European Bande Dessinée in Context. Berghahn Books. ISBN 978-1-84545-588-0. 
  • Harvey, R. C. (2001). "Comedy at the Juncture of Word and Image". In Varnum, Robin; Gibbons, Christina T. The Language of Comics: Word and Image. University Press of Mississippi. pp. 75–96. ISBN 1-57806-414-7. 
  • Thomas, Evan (2010). "10: Invisible Art, Invisible Planes, Invisible People". In Aldama, Frederick Luis. Multicultural Comics: From Zap to Blue Beetle. University of Texas Press. ISBN 978-0-292-73743-3. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Ayaka, Carolene and Ian Hague (eds.), Representing Multiculturalism in Comics and Graphic Novels, Routledge, 2014.
  • Bongco, Mila, Reading Comics: Language, Culture, and the Concept of the Superhero in Comic Books, Routledge, 2014.
  • Booker, M. Keith (ed.), Comics through Time: A History of Icons, Idols, and Ideas, Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, 2014.
  • Booker, M. Keith (ed.), Encyclopedia of Comic Books and Graphic Novels, Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, 2010.
  • Bramlett, Frank (ed.), Linguistics and the Study of Comics, Springer, 2012.
  • Bramlett, Frank, Roy Cook and Aaron Meskin (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Comics, Routledge, 2016.
  • Burke, Liam, The Comic Book Film Adaptation: Exploring Modern Hollywood's Leading Genre, University Press of Mississippi, 2015.
  • Caswell, Lucy Shelton and Jared Gardner, Drawing the Line: Comics Studies and INKS, 1994–1997, Ohio State University Press, 2017.
  • Cohn, Neil (ed.), The Visual Narrative Reader, Bloomsbury, 2016.
  • Denson, Shane, Christina Meyer, Daniel Stein, Transnational Perspectives on Graphic Narratives: Comics at the Crossroads, Bloomsbury, May 23, 2013.
  • Dong, Lan (ed.), Teaching Comics and Graphic Narratives: Essays on Theory, Strategy and Practice, McFarland, 2012.
  • Duncan, Randy and Matthew J. Smith, The Power of Comics: History, Form and Culture, Continuum, 2009.
  • Fuchs, Wolfgang J. and Reinhold Reitberger, Comics: Anatomy of a Mass Medium, Little Brown & Co, 1972.
  • Gabilliet, Jean-Paul, Of Comics and Men: A Cultural History of American Comic Books, University Press of Mississippi, 2010.
  • Groensteen, Thierry, Comics and Narration, University Press of Mississippi, 2013.
  • Groensteen, Thierry, The System of Comics, University Press of Mississippi, 2009.
  • Hague, Ian, Comics and the Senses: A Multisensory Approach to Comics and Graphic Novels, Routledge, 2014.
  • Harvey, R. C., The Art of the Funnies: An Aesthetic History, University Press of Mississippi, 1994.
  • Harvey, R. C., The Art of , University Press of Mississippi, 1996.
  • Hajdu, David, The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America, Picador, 2009 (originally Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008).
  • Hatfield, Charles, Alternative Comics: An Emerging Literature, University Press of Mississippi, 2005.
  • Heer, Jeet and Kent Worcester (eds.), A Comics Studies Reader, University Press of Mississippi, 2009.
  • Jones, Gerard, Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book, Basic Books, 2005.
  • Kukkonen, Karin, Studying Comics and Graphic Novels, Wiley-Blackwell, 2013.
  • Lund, Martin, Re-Constructing the Man of Steel: Superman 1938–1941, Jewish American History, and the Invention of the Jewish–Comics Connection, Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.
  • Magnussen, Anne and Hans-Christian Christiansen (eds.), Comics & Culture: Analytical and Theoretical Approaches to Comics, Museum Tusculanum Press, 2000.
  • McLaughlin, Jeff (ed.), Comics as Philosophy, University Press of Mississippi, 2005.
  • Meesters, Gert, "Creativity in Comics. Exploring the Frontiers of the Medium by Respecting Explicit Self-imposed Constraints," in Tony Veale, Kurt Feyaerts, Charles Forceville (ed.), Creativity and the Agile Mind: A Multi-Disciplinary Study of a Multi-Faceted Phenomenon, Walter de Gruyter, 2013, pp. 275–292.
  • Miller, Ann and Bart Beaty (eds.), The French Comics Theory Reader, Leuven University Press, 2014.
  • Miodrag, Hannah, Comics and Language: Reimagining Critical Discourse on the Form, University Press of Mississippi, 2013.
  • Petersen, Robert S. , Comics, Manga, and Graphic Novels: A History of Graphic Narratives, ABC-CLIO, 2011.
  • Pizzino, Christopher, Arresting Development: Comics at the Boundaries of Literature, U of Texas Press, 2016.
  • Postema, Barbara, Narrative Structure in Comics: Making Sense of Fragments, Boydell & Brewer, 2013.
  • Pustz, Matthew (ed.), Comic Books and American Cultural History: An Anthology, Continuum, 2012.
  • Saraceni, Mario, The Language of Comics, Routledge, 2003.
  • Schmitz-Emans, Monika (ed.), Comic und Literatur: Konstellationen, Walter de Gruyter, 2012.
  • Smith, Matthew and Randy Duncan (eds.), Critical Approaches to Comics: Theories and Methods, Routledge, 2012.
  • Smith, Matthew and Randy Duncan (eds.), The Secret Origins of Comics Studies, Routledge, 2017.
  • Stein, Daniel and Jan-Noël Thon (eds.), From Comic Strips to Graphic Novels: Contributions to the Theory and History of Graphic Narrative, Walter de Gruyter, 2015.
  • Waugh, Coulton, The Comics, University Press of Mississippi, 1991 (originally Macmillan, 1947).
  • Weiner, Robert G. (ed.), Graphic Novels and Comics in Libraries and Archives: Essays on Readers, Research, History and Cataloging, McFarland, 2010.
  • Williams, Paul and James Lyons (eds.), The Rise of the American Comics Artist: Creators and Contexts, University Press of Mississippi, 2010.
  • Wright, Bradford W., Comic book nation: The transformation of Youth Culture in America, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001.

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