Comic books and graphic novels

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Comic books at the Folger

Comic book versions of Shakespearean plays are generally added to the Sh.Misc. collection. As of August 2014, the Folger has just over 30 comic books/graphic novels in its collection. These can be found in Hamnet by searching for "Cartoons and comics," "Comic books, strips, etc.," or "Graphic novels" in the Form/Genre field. (Since cataloging practices have changed over time, a search on just one of these terms may not bring up all relevant holdings.)

Cataloging comic books

  • Code the Content field 6 for Comics/graphic novels.
  • Comic books are considered an adaptation 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
  • 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 LCSH genre terms for both Comic books and Graphic novels, regardless of the length of work.
 655 0 Comic books, strips, etc. 
 655 0 Graphic novels 
  • In the local record, add a genre term for Comic books, subdivided by place and city of publication, year of publication, and ‡2 rbgenr.
 655 7 Comic books ‡z New York (State) ‡z New York ‡y 1955. ‡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 in the local record.

"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. The LCSH terms for comic books and graphic novels differentiate them in terms of size.