Comic books and graphic novels

Comic books at the Folger

Comic book versions of Shakespearean plays are generally added to the Sh.Misc. collection, although some have been classified as ART Vols. As of March 2015, the Folger has over 40 comic books/graphic novels in its collection. These can be found in Hamnet by searching for "Comic books" in the Form/Genre field. (Works which include comic-style drawings, but are not a cohesive whole - i.e., a collection of single-panel comics with captions - can be found by searching for "Cartoons" or "Caricatures" in the Form/Genre field.)

Cataloging comic books

  • Follow standard procedures for cataloging Vault materials, unless specified otherwise below.
  • Code the Content fixed field 6 for Comics/graphic novels.
  • Since comics are a picture-heavy content form, make sure that the Illustration fixed field is coded (usually a), and that the illustrative content is specified in the 300 ‡b
  • This also means you will typically have two 336 fields: one for still image and one for text
336 ‡a text ‡b txt ‡2 rdacontent
336 ‡a still image ‡b sti ‡2 rdacontent
337 ‡a unmediated ‡b n ‡2 rdamedia
338 ‡a volume ‡b nc ‡2 rdacarrier
  • Make a note on the nature of the comic book, unless this information is contained in the title or elsewhere in the record.
500 Comic book adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth, with selections of original dialogue incorporated into the color-illustrated narrative.
  • Add a genre term for Comic books. Do not subdivide by year or place of publication.
655 7 Comic books. ‡2 rbgenr
  • Do not add any subject headings for Shakespeare and/or the work, with or without the subdivisions ‡x Adaptations ‡v Comic books, strips, etc. As with other literary formats, remove any subject headings from the local record.
  • For adaptations of Shakespeare: comic books are considered adaptations of the original work even if dialogue from the original work is used. Include an added entry for the uniform title of the original work. Add the adapter as a 700 added entry. Both "adapter" (MARC) and "abridger" (RDA) are okay to use as designators.
700 1 Shakespeare, William, ‡d 1564-1616. ‡t Romeo and Juliet
700 1 Dutch, Dana E., ‡e adapter.
  • For non-adaptations, or works where the adaptation is not the main feature (see Sandman: the wake, where an adaptation of The Tempest is included as back material), enter the author as a main entry in the 100 field. Include an added entry for any adaptations present; clarify in a note if necessary.
100 1 Gaiman, Neil, ‡e author.
700 1 Shakespeare, William, ‡1564-1616. ‡t Tempest
  • Add 7xx access points for any other entities associated with the work, such as illustrator, colorist, letterer, publisher, printer, etc.
700 1 Buffagni, Cesare, ‡d 1968- ‡e adapter, ‡e colorist, ‡e illustrator.
710 2 Kleiner Flug, ‡e publisher.

"Comic books" vs. "graphic novels"

The terms "comic book" and "graphic novel" both denote some form of print narrative in which illustrative content is the central feature, and also a more-or-less consistent backdrop for any text that may be included (while most comic books/graphic novels do include varying amounts of textual content, a handful rely solely on images for their narrative). Though the terms are sometimes differentiated by the maturity level of their content, this is a steadily less useful metric. In the LCSH vocabulary, Graphic novels is a narrower term for Comic books, strips, etc., differentiated mostly in terms of extent (long-form works, compared to single issues of comics). RBMS uses only the genre term Comic books, which parallels the broader LCSH term, while AAT includes terms for both Comic books and Graphic novels. AAT defines Graphic novels as "comics in book form," especially anthologies, and comic books as a "sequence of illustrations," often published in booklet form, but notes that Graphic novels is "not strictly defined." Given the lack of strict definitions, and the comparatively small size of the Folger's comic collection, we use only the RBMS term Comic books for the convenience of catalogers, staff, and researchers.