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Comics and Graphic Novels

A research guide designed to support, inform, and streamline research on the history, themes, and technique of comics. Users will find helpful clarifications to the many formats of comics, specific citation support, and relevant databases.

Comics Communities

A graphic Introduction to Comics Studies (Free PDF)

Great Power and Great Pedagogy

As the cultural, social and economic significance of comics and graphic novels gains more traction in scholar discourse, new ways of understanding and using comics have emerge. One of these emergences is the use of comics in the classroom, not simply as objects of study, but modes for teaching. This page highlights explorations into the pedagogical potential of comics from educator panel discussions to books on the subject to the UCLA Library's own exploration into using comics to teaching information literacy!



Video and Web Resources

A slideshow presentation and discussion on non-fiction comics as a teaching tool, featuring cartoonists working in the fields of science, politics, art and more. This event is part of Will Eisner Week, and Eisner’s own educational and instructional comics are the inspiration for this panel. With Malaka Gharib, Scott McCloud, Whit Taylor, and Kriota Willberg, moderated by R. Sikoryak.

The field of Comics Studies is an ever-growing scholarly space involving a wide range of participants. Susan Kirtley (Portland State University), Antero Garcia (Stanford University), and Peter Carlson (Green Dot Public Schools) examine this space while reflecting on their recently published work, With Great Power Comes Great Pedagogy: Teaching, Learning, and Comics. As the panelists discuss their approach to gathering comic creators, scholars, and educators from various fields and settings to set out the stakes, definitions, and exemplars of contemporary comics pedagogy into one edited volume, they analyze how sources of personal identity, nostalgia, and history affect our evolving relationships to comics. As they share the discoveries uncovered in their editing process, the panelists will reveal the purposes for cultivating the three key areas of this volume: Foundations of Comics Pedagogy, Comics Pedagogy in Practice, and New Directions for Comics Pedagogy.

Henry Barajas (author of La Voz de M.A.Y.O.: Tata Rambo), Rodney Barnes (author of Killadelphia), Darcy Van Poelgeest (author of Little Bird: The Fight for Elder's Hope), and David F. Walker (author of Bitter Root) discuss comic books that tackle real world issues, be it environmental activism, civic engagement, physical and mental health awareness, and more, (including how their work is being used by librarians and educators). Viewers will leave with programming and acquisition ideas designed to inspire their readers to see the world differently and then change it for the better.

Peter Carlson (Green Dot Public Schools), Susan Kirtley (Portland State University), and Antero Garcia (Stanford University) lead this panel that reveals practical activities and theory involved in teaching with comics while discussing teaching and making comics with the incredible creators and educators Nick Sousanis (Unflattening), Ebony Flowers (Hot Comb), David F. Walker (Naomi), and Brian Michael Bendis (Naomi).

Meryl Jaffe (Worth A Thousand Words) with panelists Laurence Tan (educator) Rachelle Cruz (educator, author Experiencing Comics), and Talia Hurwich (educator, author Worth A Thousand Words) discuss how graphic novels can inspire and enrich online classroom lessons for students grades 3 and up. We discuss challenges, lesson ideas, and loads of resources.

Join us to learn about the ever-growing mountain of evidence on the educational efficacy of comics that is making comic converts out of even the harshest critics. Learn how research shows that reading comics and graphic novels strengthens literacy and content learning for students of all ages, interests, and levels of achievement and how creating comics can bolster critical thinking and social-emotional skills. Our education and comics experts will share with you all the rationale and research you need to prove that comics belong in the classroom. Panelists: Dr. Theresa Rojas Dr. Stephen Krashen Dr. Susannah Richards Tracy Edmunds Moderator: Alex Simmons

This panel provides an inside look at ground-breaking courses by the professionals and academics who are bringing Geek Culture to campuses nationwide (and beyond)! Join Paul Levitz (Columbia University), Rob Salkowitz (University of Washington), Frank Cammuso (Syracuse University), Darlyne Overbaugh (Ithaca College), Chris Irving (Virginia Commonwealth University), and moderator Ed Catto (Ithaca College).


"Interested in knowing more about comics, putting them to use in your classroom, and trying your hand at making them? I set up this site initially for the class on comics for educators that I taught at Teachers College and have since been growing to serve as a  database of comics-education resources. " Dr. Nick Sousanis Eisner-winning comics and San Francisco State University professor of Humanities & Liberal Studies.  

Noteworthy Sections Culture Classroom inspires a love of learning, increases literacy, celebrates diversity and builds community through the tools of popular culture and the power of self-expression. Pop Culture Classroom envisions individuals transformed by the educational power of popular culture who create diverse, inclusive and engaged communities. 

While some dismiss comics as less intellectually challenging than “real” books, the reality is that graphic novels offer an opportunity to think abstractly in a way few other storytelling media can. The space between panels – the gutter – requires readers to make connections on their own, while the art portion of the media demands patience and attention that isn’t guided by words lined up on the page. Listen as seasoned educators share their use of comics as a tool for all types of inferring: determining causes, solving problems, predicting likely outcomes, and connecting dots. Panelists: Dr. Isabel Morales (moderator) Jana Tropper Shveta Miller Ronell Whitaker Dr. Rachelle Cruz

Featured "Comics and Instruction" Books

Discussion Guides

Hyperlinked in the titles below are toolkits created by  Dr. Valentino Zullo, Ph.D., in 2020/21. They are modeled after the Get Graphic! with the Ohio Center for the Book discussions hosted at Cleveland Public Library (home of the Ohio Center for the Book) since 2014. These guides aim to promote the study of comics with other libraries, classrooms, book clubs, independent readers, and anyone else that wants an education in comics! The toolkits offered here represent only selection of comics titles. The list does not reflect an established pedagogical canon of comics to teach on.

Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud (Comics: A Medium) 




One Hundred Demons by Lynda Barry (Creating Comics)


Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel (Comics as Medicine)





Maus by Art Spiegelman (The Holocaust)



Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (Iranian Revolution)




Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (LGBTQ History in the United States)




The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui (Vietnam War)



March (Book One) by John Lewis (US Civil Rights Movement)



Palestine by Joe Sacco (Israeli-Palestinian Conflict)



Grass by Keum Suk Gendry-Kim (Janet Hong, translator) (Korean “Comfort Women”)




Arab of the Future by Riad Sattouf (Pan-Arab Nationalism)