Were in our third year of publishing this guide to graphic novels in libraries, and in those years we've seen a rise in dedicated graphic imprints, expanding appreciation for and validation of the format, and a wider variety of options for readers of many stripes. The graphic novels arena seems to be bigger than ever, and I'm personally thrilled there's so much to discover, even when it means reevaluating some of my longstanding opinions! Case in point: if there's one thing I've read over and over since we've started this project it's that comics are real books. So please don't be dismayed when you read the phrase "comics aren't books" in this publication! Context, as I'm sure we all know, matters greatly, and you'll find that assertion in an article about cataloging superhero comics. The author, Jack Phoenix, makes a strong point: treating serialized superhero comics the same way we treat prose novels is a recipe for mayhem, and thinking outside the box when it comes to cataloging strategies can make for a much more browsable comics section and, therefore, much happier patrons.
Thinking outside the box is a consistent them in this issue. Melissa Thompson makes a compelling case for using consortiums and resource sharing to bolster the scope of your community's comics and graphic novels collections. After lots of success starting a zine library and zine fest for middle-schoolers, Laura Winnick shares some tips for not only collecting, displaying, and sharing zines but also encouraging young zinesters to try their hand at the exceedingly approachable (yet catalog-defying!) medium. Zines make up a portion of Alex Brown's recommendations for collecting more Indigenous comics and graphic novels, and their critical framework for thinking about collection development raises powerful questions about one of the key roles of the library profession. And for those intimidated by the dizzying array of costumed heroes in the Marvel and DC universes, Logan Dalton offers a list of superhero comics not published by Marvel and DC that offer much of the same appeal.
Marvel and DC characters are a mainstay, of course, especially with the recent surge of superheroes on the small screen, and if you need a primer on the genre, Kristin E. C. Green's thorough exploration and tips on collection development is an excellent starting point. And if superheroes of any kind aren't your cup of tea, Alec Chunn explores another corner of comics experiencing a boom--graphic nonfiction for children and teens--and offers a helpful guide on building a robust and accessible collection.
And as always, don't miss our original comics, from Ryan Estrada and Mika Song, both of whom were nominated for Eisner Awards this year (Are we bragging about that last point? YES).