In recent years an increasing number of academics have turned their attention to comic books and graphic novels with a desire to better understand the cultural significance of the once disdained funny books. With that in mind, the Eisenhower Library is proud to announce the availability of a new database dedicated to the study of comic books and graphic novels throughout time. Underground and Independent Comics, Comix, and Graphic Novels is a database dedicated to the study of comics and their place in society. With over 200,000 pages of comic books, commentary, and criticism, it is a unique and fantastic addition to the Eisenhower Libraries’ databases. While you won’t find the works of the “big two” comics houses (Marvel and DC), other classic publishers that shaped the modern comics landscape are well-represented. From legacy publishers like EC Comics (the publisher so controversial it resulted in senate hearings) to more modern independents like Fantagraphics, IDW, and Dark Horse, this database covers a wide swathe of the independent comics world.

If you’re not sure how to approach researching comics, consider the work of our Freshman Fellows program, wherein freshman researchers used romance comic books to analyze relationships and perspectives on the shifting role of women, among many other topics. Their work can be seen here. Another great resource to get your comics scholarship going is our Comic Books and Graphic Novels research guide. You can use it to keep up to date on comics scholarship, learn how to work with and cite comics, and much much more. 

So whether you are reading comics for pleasure or for research, JHU Eisenhower library’s got you covered!

  1. Thwip!: this is the sound that Spiderman’s web-shooters make.
  2. Snikt!: this is the sound of Wolverine’s claws as they extend from his hands.
  3. Hurm. is the sound of discontentment or concern from Watchmen’s Rorschach. 
  4. BAMF is the sound of Nightcrawler’s teleportation power and – although it might be fitting – is definitely not an acronym for anything else. 
  5. This particular set of sound effects comes from the Batman television program of the 1960s. “