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Graphic nonfiction: a survey of nonfiction comics

Ken Irwin (Thomas Library, Wittenberg University, Springfield, OH, USA)

Collection Building

ISSN: 0160-4953

Article publication date: 30 September 2014




This bibliographic essay examines the scope and variety of nonfiction works in comics form with the intent of expanding librarians’ awareness of the diversity of such materials and serving as a resource for librarians.


It provides some theoretical background for understanding what constitutes nonfiction in graphic form and an overview of works available in print.


The article provides a representative (but not comprehensive) survey of graphic nonfiction works in the genres of memoir, travel, journalism, history, biography, science, essays and educational materials.

Research limitations/implications

The essay focuses on materials published in books in English; the library world would benefit from subsequent research exploring the richness of materials available in other formats and other languages.


The field of graphic nonfiction is expanding, and this article serves as a guide for libraries interested in building or expanding collections in this format.



Research for this article was primarily conducted with the support of Wittenberg University’s sabbatical program; the author would like to thank the university for its support.


Irwin, K. (2014), "Graphic nonfiction: a survey of nonfiction comics", Collection Building, Vol. 33 No. 4, pp. 106-120.



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