The John F. Moss Library at Texas A&M University-Texarkana has unveiled a new collection of graphic novels.

Comic books and graphic novels have become a popular and important part of university library collections. While comics are published as magazines, graphic novels appear in book format.

Some professors, like A&M-Texarkana’s Dr. Drew Morton, have incorporated comics and graphic novels into the curriculum.

“The running joke in the Comics Studies field is that every media outlet has been running stories about how ‘comics aren’t for kids anymore’ since 1985 – the year when Maus, Watchmen and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns were all published. But, like most good jokes, there is a great degree of truth in it. Over the past 30 years, comics have been increasingly incorporated in classrooms across the United States, from Jewish Studies classes reading Art Spiegelman’s Maus to English classes reading Persepolis,” Dr. Morton said.

“Needless to say, when (Library Director) Teri Stover and (Library Acquisitions Assistant) Kendall Harrell approached me about the idea of building a library collection at TAMUT, I was obviously excited about it. I’ve been researching comics and integrating them into my classroom for the better part of a decade. But what I particularly appreciated was their desire to build a collection that showcased the breadth and depth of the medium – it’s not all about superheroes.  This collection showcases the growth and development of the medium, from the dawn of comic art with Winsor McCay through the superhero explosion of the 1940s and 1950s to contemporary independent titles like The Walking Dead, Fun Home and Building Stories. They did a fantastic job of trying to build a diverse collection, and I can’t wait to see what the students do with it.”

The new collection at A&M-Texarkana contains some 300 titles, ranging from superhero sagas such as Batman, Superman, Captain America and Spider-Man to family favorites Archie, Li’l Abner, Peanuts and Pogo. There also is a variety of independent and international graphic novels.

“The idea for this collection was the result of a library strategic planning meeting approximately two years ago. (Library Specialist) Chris Depineda suggested we start a graphic novel collection.  It has been on the backburner, but we were able to make it a reality this year.  A committee was formed, and aided by input from Dr. Morton and lists of award winners, made suggestions of titles to purchase.  The committee’s focus was quality and not quantity,” said Stover. “We unveiled the novels on Tuesday. A student Snapchat his friends a picture and then checked out three books from this new collection.  The library staff is enthusiastic about this addition to our library, and we think the students are going to enjoy them.”

The John F. Moss Library is located on the third floor of the University Center on the A&M-Texarkana campus, 7101 University Ave., Texarkana, Texas. It is open Mondays through Thursdays from 7:30AM to 10PM, Fridays from 7:30AM to 5PM, Saturdays from 10AM to 6PM and Sundays from 1-9PM.

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