Comic Books, Special Collections, and the Academic Library

Association of College & Research Libraries. Dec. 2023. 325p. ed. by Brian Flota & Kate Morris. ISBN 9780838939505. pap. $82. PRO MEDIA
Editors Flota (humanities librarian, James Madison Univ.; coeditor of The Politics of Post-9/11 Music) and Morris (head of special collections, James Madison Univ.) offer an intriguing guide to developing, collecting, cataloguing, and making use of comic book collections. Comic books present unique challenges for libraries since their low-cost physical construction, lack of traditional vendor support, and monographic/serial hybrid publication patterns require the combined skills of an archivist, cataloguer, historian, and rare book collector. This collection of essays examines comic book collections across a wide range of libraries. Until recently, comic books were denigrated as lowbrow reading, barely qualifying as literature and only attracting expert attention when they made headlines as being bad for children. Now comics are recognized as an art form, one that continues to be tremendously popular. In addition to detailing the history of comic books in libraries, the contributors provide excellent examples of scholarly uses for physical and digital comic books.
VERDICT Fascinating reading for comic book fans and newcomers alike. Essential for any librarian or other scholar working with comic books, comic strips, manga, or graphic novels.
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