Together at Last: Batman and Maus!

Over the summer, we used our interdepartmental superpowers to create the Bentley Library’s first-ever Graphic Novel section. At long last, our graphic novels and comic book collections are all together! Batman and Maus used to be located on different floors of the library. No longer shall they be separated.*

Why do we have a graphic novel section? Well, that’s because comic books and graphic novels are awesome! They are often a gateway to literature. Some folks just aren’t that into reading books, but graphic novels can change that.

Bentley Alumna Jamie Carrillo (2012) had this to say when she heard about our new Graphic Novel section: “I am very jealous of this comic book/graphic novel section Bentley has now. I actually started reading them after a display in the library. I picked up Blankets and liked it; then read Black Hole and was hooked. I’ve never been much of a reader so graphic novels work well for me.”

In the past two years, three Bentley classes have used graphic novels as required reading. Our aim is to create a serendipitous browsing experience for students taking these classes, as well as the professors teaching them.

We hope that the Bentley community will benefit from this consolidation. If you’re checking out Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home (now an award-winning musical), maybe Vietnamerica: A Family’s Journey  or Hellboy might strike your fancy.

If you’re confused by the terms “graphic novel” and “comic books” here’s a quick explanation: Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis is a graphic novel. It was published as one opus, not in single issues and then collected into one book. Graphic doesn’t mean violent and novel doesn’t necessarily mean fiction. The term “graphic novel” roughly means a story told through illustrations and words.

The Graphic Novel section also includes comic book collections of issues of Sandman, Amazing Spider-Man, and many more. Those are serialized collections of comic books. We also have manga like Ranma ½  in our Graphic Novel section, but that’s a whole other kit and caboodle. We went with Graphic Novel section because Graphic Novel, Comic Books, and Manga section was wicked long.

Our new graphic novel section! I'm pretty excited about it. Photo by Kristen Richards
Our new graphic novel section! I’m pretty excited about it. Photo by Kristen Richards

Our Graphic Novel section is located on the upper level of the library, at the end of the Oversize section. If you are browsing our catalog, you will see that the location for most of our graphic novels is Oversize. That doesn’t mean that the books are necessarily big, it’s just the location where they are shelved.

New and popular graphic novels, like the latest comic book collections of The Walking Dead, will continue to be shelved in the Popular Reading section. Online, you can browse a selection of these titles on Pinterest. We hope that you like this new section!

*This is a pilot program. It is possible that they will be separated again if it is not a success.

On Display: Graphic Novels and Comic Books

Plus: Movies and TV Shows They’ve Inspired!

This display is brought to you by Craig Lordan ’93. When we were kids, my older brother and future Bentley graduate spent many hours reading comic books and drawing his own comic book characters. It was the dark ages, and we lived in the suburbs, so Craig got his comic books through mail order.

At some point, I started saving my allowance to buy my own comic books. Initially, all I wanted was Disney comic books, but I finally graduated to George Perez’s Wonder Woman. The year was 1987 and DC had “rebooted” the Wonder Woman series. I was hooked.

Since then, comic books have graduated to pop culture’s mainstream. Geek culture destination San Diego Comic-Con International has seen its attendance numbers rise to 130,000 for its annual event. Comic books are no longer the exclusive realm of the fanboy and fangirl.

Groundbreaking works such as Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi, give readers a glimpse into what life was like during the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Harvey Pekar’s autobiographical opus American Splendor was made into a movie starring Paul Giamatti. The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story, by Vivek Tiwary, Andrew Robinson and Kyle Baker, was a New York Times best seller and has been nominated for two 2014 Eisner Awards.

fifth beatle true blood Persepolis index

Comic books and graphic novels are being adapted into films and television shows with unprecedented alacrity and success. Hellboy300Ghost WorldThe Avengers, and many more have made the jump to the big screen.

On the small screen, DC has Arrow (CW) and Marvel has Agent Coulson and his Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC). Meanwhile, AMC brings viewers into an actual comic book store on the reality series Comic Book Men. Also on AMC, there are zombies galore on The Walking Dead and The Talking Dead. Yes-there’s a talk show about a television show based on a comic book!

Conversely, some TV shows are resurrected in comic books. True Blood, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and The X-Files are just a few of the shows that have found a second life in the pages of comics.

The Bentley Library has a wonderful and growing collection of these books and DVDs. Come in and check out the display in person, or browse online at Pinterest.

Photos by Amy Galante
Top row (L-R): Avengers director Joss Whedon, artists/writers Liam Sharp and Dave Gibbons, actor Steven Yeun and writer Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead), Amy Galante and writer/artist Daniel Clowes. Bottom row (L-R): Arrow panel at New York Comic-Con, Steven Yeun and a fan, artist Dave McKean. Photos by Amy Galante


Amy Galante is the Interlibrary Loan Supervisor/Assistant Manager of Library Services. She uses her geek culture knowledge for the good of humankind as a freelance writer for, Library Journal, CBS Local, and more. Her favorite comic books include Dazzler, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Fray, DMZ, and pretty much anything by Neil Gaiman, Gail Simone, and Brian K. Vaughan. 

And the Geek Shall Inherit the Earth

Would you believe that the latest Janet Evanovich tale is … a comic book? It’s true! A lifelong comic book fan, Evanovich co-wrote  Troublemaker. Book 1: A Barnaby and Hooker Graphic Novel with her daughter, Alex. Troublemaker is just one of the many graphic novels available to borrow from our library.

Janet Evanovich Signing at San Diego Comic Con International

We have the books that inspired movies, such as Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta, From Hell, and Watchmen. And, we have the movies inspired by the comics including American Splendor, Sin City, and many more!

No longer the sole domain of men in tights, comic books and graphic novels have evolved into moving works of non-fiction. Ari Folman and David Polonsky bring to life Folman’s experience as an Israeli soldier during a 1982 conflict in Waltz with Bashir. Marjane Satrapi gives the reader a glimpse into her life in 1970s Iran in Persepolis.

In October, you can get totally geeked out at Wizard World New England Comic Con at Boston’s Hynes Convention Center. Local comic book scribe Christopher Golden will be a featured guest, along with six cast members of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. You can prepare by reading Prince of Stories: The Many World of Neil Gaiman, which Golden co-wrote with Hank Wagner and Stephen R. Bissette.

Don’t worry, you don’t really need to be a geek to appreciate our picks.  Stop by and take a look or browse the display online.