Encyclopedia of Comic Books and Graphic Novels
by M. Keith Booker, Editor
May 2010, 763pp, 7x10
2 volumes, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-0-313-35746-6
$208, £160, 181€, A285
eBook Available: 978-0-313-35747-3
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Comic books have captivated readers since the Famous Funnies of 1930s and have remained popular ever since, even through the censorious 1950s when they were considered to be corrupting the nation’s youth. But with the advent of the graphic novel in the late 1970s—such as Will Eisner’s early classic, A Contract with God—this form of reading entertainment truly came of age as a revealing literature of our culture.

The most comprehensive reference ever compiled about the rich and enduring genre of comic books and graphic novels, from their emergence in the 1930s to their late-century breakout into the mainstream.

At a time when graphic novels have expanded beyond their fan cults to become mainstream bestsellers and sources for Hollywood entertainment, Encyclopedia of Comic Books and Graphic Novels serves as an exhaustive exploration of the genre’s history, its landmark creators and creations, and its profound influence on American life and culture.

Encyclopedia of Comic Books and Graphic Novels focuses on English-language comics—plus a small selection of influential Japanese and European works available in English—with special emphasis on the new graphic novel format that emerged in the 1970s. Entries cover influential comic artists and writers such as Will Eisner, Alan Moore, and Grant Morrison, major genres and themes, and specific characters, comic book imprints, and landmark titles, including the pulp noir 100 Bullets, the post-apocalyptic Y: The Last Man, the revisionist superhero drama, Identity Crisis, and more. Key franchises such as Superman and Batman are the center of a constellation of related entries that include graphic novels and other imprints featuring the same characters or material.


  • Includes over 330 entries on comic books and their creators
  • Presents the work of 80 contributors—accomplished academics and librarians who are also fans of comic books and graphic novels
  • Offers selected bibliographic listings with the entries
  • Provides a comprehensive index of artists, writers, works, characters, genres, and themes
M. Keith Booker is the James E. and Ellen Wadley Roper Professor of English at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR, where he also serves as director of the program in comparative literature and cultural studies. He is the author or editor of more than 35 books on literature, film, popular culture, and literary and cultural theory.


"Arranged alphabetically, 340 signed entries were contributed by 78 scholars whose fields include political science, computer science, cultural anthropology, English, comparative literature, and library science, among other disciplines—a broad range reflecting the broad range of potential readers. The entries offer thorough information on individual comic book and graphic novel titles and characters, individual writers and artists, publishers, themes and genres (such as the Cold War, crime, fantasy, education, folklore, history, horror, mutants, Nazis, romance, satire, science fiction, westerns, youth culture, among others), and miscellaneous topics such as the comics code, comics scholarship, awards, and merchandising. Most entries include a bibliography, and a general resources bibliography is also included."—Reference & Research Book News, August 1, 2010

"Recommended for most public and academic libraries."—Library Journal, September 1, 2010

"This readable reference will be of interest to public and academic libraries and possibly some school collections."—Booklist, September 15, 2010

"More than 80 contributors helped craft entries on creators, series, characters, genres, and themes, while a large editorial board of comics scholars made sure all the important elements were included."—Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2010

". . . an extremely valuable resource filled with informative and engaging articles dealing with virtually every aspect of the art and industry of comic books and graphic novels. . . . Encyclopedia of Comic Books and Graphic Novels is a welcome addition to the growing body of comics scholarship. It is recommended for both academic and public libraries."—Reference & User Services Quarterly, December 1, 2010

"This seminal encyclopedia provides a convenient resource both for those who have a professional interest in understanding comic books and graphic novels and for those who want to enrich their reading. . . . this is a highly readable and informative resource that will guide its readers into understanding and appreciating the comic book as an American popular culture literary genre. Recommended."—Library Media Connection, January 1, 2011
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