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Graphic Novels

A library guide to finding graphic novels and comic books created by and centering Indigenous and Native persons.

Overview: What Is a Graphic Novel?

Graphic novels have seen a huge resurgence in popularity in recent years. A combination of written words and illustrations, graphic novels are typically fictional works but can fall under any genre.

Although graphic novels are similar to comic books, they differ in a handful of ways. Traditionally, graphic novels cost more than comics due to their high-quality production value; they often contain an entire story and, therefore, are longer in length. Despite their differences, graphic novels,comic books and zines are all examples of graphic storytelling.

Indigenous Graphic Novels, Comics and Magazines ('Zines')

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Scope

The sources listed in this guide were chosen because they are works created or illustrated by people who are Indigenous and Native. These works center and accurately represent these communities, and do not present them as caricatures or stereotypes - as has often been the case with Indigenous representation in comics. 

Some of these sources are easier to find than others and can be purchased online at retailers such as Amazon. Others are found only via independent companies or events, such as Strong Nations and Indigenous Comic Con.

Finding Indigenous Graphic Novels

Locating graphic novels focusing exclusively on Indigenous People and Native Americans can prove challenging!

Patrons will have the most success if they take the following steps

  • When using a library database or conducting a Google search, first conduct a broad search of keywords, such as “graphic novels” or "comic." Then filter the returned results for the words “Indigenous,” “Native American” or "First Nation." 
  • Use public institution resources, such as the University of Maryland's guide for popular comic research libraries. This page provides links to a number of other public university libraries and their comic book collections.
  • Wikipedia, using keyword,s proved helpful, providing a list of Native American superheroes –and the accompanying information allowed me to find publishers and comic book databases.
  • Utilize Internet retailers, such as Amazon, to locate Indigenous graphic novels. This type of search will immediately return results for the queries “Native American graphic novels” and “Indigenous graphic novels.” Additionally, it will provide users with insight into related materials, authors and illustrators. 

Potential Research Questions

  • Who are the key publishers and vendors of Indigenous Graphic Novels and Comic Books?
  •  Where can I find information on Indigenous Comic Convention?
  • Are there any textbooks or papers about Indigenous representation in comics or graphic novels?
  • Do any Indigenous graphic novels focus on two-spirited communities?
  • Does Amazon return different results based on the keywords ‘Native American,’ ‘Indigenous,’ or ‘First Nations’
  • What’s the most widely released graphic novel about Native Americans?
  • Where can I find information about Aboriginal Representation in Comics?

Keywords for Finding Indigenous Graphic Novels and Comics

Keywords for locating graphic novels, comic books and magazines (or 'zines'):

  • “First Nations graphic novels”
  • “Native American zines”  
  • “Indigenous graphic novels”
  • “Inuit graphic novel”  
  • “Aboriginal comic books"