Finding Graphic Novels in CLIO


Finding graphic novels in the collection is not an entirely straightforward task.  There is no single Library of Congress Subject Heading (LCSH) to cover the entire format or genre.  Below are some hints for useful LCSHs that will help you navigate CLIO.  To use them, search under SUBJECT.

You might think that this would cover all pertinent titles:

  • Graphic novels.

This is a recently-added LCSH, however, that is not in wide use.  It will locate some titles, especially recent ones, but not all.

  • Comic books, strips, etc.
  • Comic books, strips, etc.--United States.

This main heading is used quite often, but it can describe both titles that are graphic novels and titles that are about graphic novels.  There are numerous sub-headings under this main heading, such as the geographical one shown above.

Some main headings are more genre-specific:

  • Fantasy comic books, strips, etc.
  • Science fiction comic books, strips, etc.
  • Underground comic books, strips, etc.

Some sub-headings may sound like they are for titles that are only about graphic novels, but this can be deceptive:

  • Comic books, strips, etc.--History and criticism.

Since many graphic novel writers and artists use their medium to examine the medium itself, however, you may also find actual graphic novels under this heading.

You may also search on specific characters as LCSH:

  • Batman (Comic strip)
  • Batman (Fictitious character)
  • Superman (Fictitious character)
  • Justice Society of America (Fictitious characters)

Other possibilities for searching may include the “Comic books, strips, etc.” heading as a subheading:

  • Heroes--Comic books, strips, etc.
  • New York (N.Y.)--Politics and government--Comic books, strips, etc.
  • Baseball players--United States--Comic books, strips, etc.
  • City and town life--Latin America--Comic books, strips, etc.

Of course, you can also search by title or author rather than by subject heading.  Keep in mind that both the writer and the artist associated with a given title may be found using an  AUTHOR search:

  • Gaiman, Neil
  • Spiegelman, Art
  • Gibbons, Dave
  • Kirby, Jack

These examples should help you locate titles of interest.  If you require further assistance, or have any questions about the collection, please contact the selector for graphic novels, Karen Green, at klg19@columbia.edu.