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This summer, Columbia librarian Karen Green has been teaching an interesting class: Comic Books and Graphic Novels as Literature, meeting twice a week for six weeks. It’s a recognition of the literary value of the format, and an expert like Green is the perfect teacher for it. We talked with her to get an inside look at the class, which includes some first-rate required reading (like Derf Backderf’s My Friend Dahmer; Gabrielle Bell’s The Voyeurs; Will Eisner’s A Contract with God; Peter Kuper’s Sticks and Stones; Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics; Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns; Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen; Art Spiegelman’s Maus; and Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan, The Smartest Kid on Earth).

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Karen Green, Columbia University's librarian for ancient and medieval history, as well as their resident graphic novel librarian, recently helped put together an amazing symposium called Comics New York, detailing the loving relationship and long history shared between comics and the Big Apple. We asked her about the success of the event and the work that went into it. Here's what she had to say.

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Comics and the Academic Library: Plans in the Present and Hopes for the Future


 

As possibly all too many of GNR’s readers already know, I began a graphic novels collection at Columbia University about four years ago. Columbia has a top-notch research collection, but our holdings can also be mined for entertainment value. I was able to find novels I wanted to read in our collection, but I wasn’t able to find trade publications of comics, despite their being reviewed in the same media—The New York Times, The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books,etc.—as the other titles that piqued my curiosity. 

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