A Quick Guide to Reading Library Comics At Home
The COVID-19 pandemic has led many libraries to close their physical locations as a matter of public health. This means communities will be looking to the library to provide virtual resources more now than ever. This guide is meant to provide suggested resources, marketing ideas, and programming ideas for libraries seeking to keep their community reading comics during this difficult time.
Have ideas for additional reading library comics at home resources?
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Members of the GNCRT may have contributed to the items listed here, and may have done so on a voluntary or paid basis
BiblioBoard Open Access
BiblioBoard is a tool some public libraries use to share unique local collections and highlight indie authors. BiblioBoard Open Access is a service available to everyone, regardless of their local library and contains an eclectic comics collection.
Digital comics platform, complete with iOS applications. Users can create a personal account using their library card after matching with a subscribing library.
Platform for browsing eBooks and comics using a library card. Users create an account with their library card and it is also an app. Download limits depend on libraries. All items are available immediately, no need for holds. Comics are usually too large of a file to read on the app, they need to be streamed through the website.
Platform for borrowing digital movies, music, audiobooks, and of course, comics, using a library card. Users can create a personal account, which is then linked to any library cards they hold.
Platform for borrowing audiobooks and eBooks, including comics, using a library card. Users create an account, choose some favorite genres (including comics as their own), and then links to their library. The Libby App is the most seamless way to access OverDrive content.
Platform for browsing audiobooks, magazines, and comics, using a library card. Users create an account with their library card. It is also an app. Magazines are unlimited, audiobooks and comics are downloaded 10 at a time. It used to be for 3 weeks but has been upped to 31 days. Has a great selection of junior (including Disney), teen, and adult comics. All items are available immediately, no need for holds.
*Please Note: Not every library subscribes to all services. Please check with your local library for more details.
Paid, Online Resources
ComiXology is a digital comics service, owned by Amazon, with comics from more than 125 publishers and a variety of purchase options, including the Unlimited subscription service. Android and iOS apps are available.
DC Universe is a platform meant to capture an expanding portion of the DC Comics universe, including streaming TV and movies, digital comics, and exclusive merchandise. Subscribers can access content online and through various mobile apps.
From the vendor: “futekiya Library is a convenient and straightforward online manga subscription service for officially licensed Boysʼ Love manga.” Note that this platform includes a significant number of mature titles.
From the vendor: “Mangamo is a manga subscription service that delivers unlimited access to a robust manga library via your iOS devices. … Your subscription helps support the manga creators that work tirelessly behind the scenes to forge your favorite stories. Every manga on Mangamo is of the highest graphic quality with the most accurate localization.”
Manga Planet Library
From the vendor: “Manga Planet Library is a convenient and straightforward online manga subscription service for officially licensed Japanese manga.”
From the publisher: “Marvel Unlimited is a member subscription service that gives members unlimited access to over 27,000 issues of Marvel's classic and newer titles, delivered digitally through your desktop web browser and the Marvel Unlimited mobile app. More classic and newer issues are added every week — as soon as 6 months after they hit stores!”
Shonen Jump Digital Vault
From the publisher: “Unlock the Shonen Jump digital vault of over 10,000 manga chapters! Read every chapter of One Piece, My Hero Academia, One-Punch Man, Dr. STONE, Boruto, Dragon Ball Super and many more!”
Free, Online Resources
Comic Book Plus
Comic Book Plus is home to thousands of Golden and Silver Age comics, comic strips, and pulp fiction. Users can browse and read online without an account, but must request one in order to use the download feature.
Dark Horse, Read First Issues
From Dark Horse’s newsletter: “We're offering over 80 first issue comics, along with a handful of full graphic novels, for free to read on Dark Horse Digital! To start reading, just sign up for free at digital.darkhorse.com with a valid email address, no credit card required. Enjoy!”
Digital Comics Museum
Digital Comics Museum is home to thousands of public domain Golden Age comics. Users can preview comics online, but must register an account to download
Europe Comics, Travel the World With Comics
From the publisher: “Are you being a good citizen and not leaving your home? Europe Comics will take you on a journey around the world and beyond! Choose a title from a range of our most escapist series and graphic novels, and read half of the first volume for free!”
Image Comics, Read First Issues
Image, one of the largest comic publishers in the United States, makes many first issues available to read online for free. They publish a wide range of titles, including numerous science fiction, fantasy, and horror comics.
Library of Congress Webcomics Collection
From the LoC’s description: “This collection focuses on comics created specifically for the web and supplements the Library of Congress’ extensive holdings in both comic books, graphic novels, and original comic art. … This collection includes work by artists and subjects not traditionally represented in mainstream comics, including women artists and characters, artists and characters of color, LGBTQ+ artists and characters, as well as subjects such as politics, health and human sexuality, and autobiography. The content of these websites is captured as it was originally produced and may include content that is not suitable for all ages.”
Shortbox Digital Comics
A rotating collection of comics published by Shortbox, Zainab Akhtar’s small press comics imprint. Titles are updated on Monday and Thursday. Currently available are:
- Beneath the Dead Oak Tree, by Emily Carroll, 2018
- Food Baby, by Lucie Byron, 2016
- Pingu zine, with comics and illustrations by Mathieu Larone, Luke Pearson, Rosie Brand, Nico Delort, Lottie Pencheon, Becca Tobin, Lucie Ebrey, Lucie Bryon, Jesse Zabarksy, Kelly Smith, John Martz, Joe Decie, Molly Fairhurst, Hamish Steele, and Michael Furler, 2018
- Your Mother’s Fox, by Niv Sekar, 2017
Silver Sprocket, Free Webcomics
From the publisher: “We’re posting the Silver Sprocket comics catalog online for free easy reading. This includes nearly everything Silver Sprocket has ever published, from Eisner and Ignatz Award nominated hits like Your Black Friend by Ben Passmore, Catboy by Benji Nate, and Pinky and Pepper Forever by Ivy Atoms, to new releases and out-of-print classics.”
Viz, Sample Chapters & Latest Chapters of Popular Manga
Viz, the English-language publisher of many popular manga, offers the latest English-language chapters of four popular manga for free (all four are designated as Teen level by the publisher). Click on the publisher site below and scroll to the bottom of the page. The website above also advertises other manga for sale that offer free previews. Some sample previews may not be appropriate for all ages.
Webcomic List, The
“The Webcomic List primarily helps you keep track of which of your favourite online comics have updated.” Users can register and get updates about newly updated webcomics. Note that the site may be visually difficult to read for some users.
Home to thousands of creator-owned comics works and is available free via web browser or phone application. Individuals can create accounts to follow their favorites.
Fan Favorite Free Webcomics
19 Webcomics to Keep Kids and Teens Engaged
A list of suggested webcomics created by Mahnaz Dar for School Library Journal. Organized by age range, including a variety of genres.
Agents of the Realm
“Shortly after starting their first year at Silvermount University, five young women discover they’ve each been chosen to protect our world and a newly discovered sister dimension. Volume 1 begins at the start of their first year of college as they learn about this new responsibility and try to find out exactly what’s going on.”
Australia and New Zealand Webcomics
ALIA Graphic Novels and Comics
This blog post by our colleagues from the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) Graphic Novels and Comics team includes more than a dozen free-to-read webcomics by Australian and/or New Zealand creators.
Bad Machinery tells the story of some mystery-solvin’, adventure-havin’ pre-teens in the fictional town of Tackleford, England. Fun and fantastical. Start with The Short Preamble, and you’ll be set to solve mysteries with the best of them.
Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo, The
“The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo is a webcomic by Drew Weing, about kids exploring the big city and the things they find. It’s also being collected into a graphic novel series by First Second Books.” from the author.
Gunnerkrigg Court is a fantasy/sci-fi story about Antimony Carver, a girl who attends a mysterious school at the edge of a wild forest. It’s been running for 15 years, so it’s easy to become pleasantly lost in the world.
Hirsh, Ananth & Yuko Ota
“If Penny Brighton didn't have bad luck, she'd have no luck at all. She lost her job. And her apartment. In the same day. But it's okay, her friend has a cozy storage unit she can crash in. And there's bound to be career opportunities at the neighborhood laundromat—just look how fast that 12-year-old who runs the place made it to management! Plus, there's this sweet guy at the community center, and maybe Penny can even have a conversation with him without being a total dork.” From the TPB publisher (Oni Press).
Not Drunk Enough
“A quick repair at a huge corporate lab during a late night shift should not have sent Logan into a hellish landscape fraught with monsters, but it looks like Lady Luck decided to give him the middle finger. Logan would like to give one back.”
On a Sunbeam
From the author: “I wanted to set a story in space, this is what happened. Includes many gays, ancient buildings, mystical creatures, boarding school, and family.”
Tea Dragon Society, The
“The Tea Dragon Society is a webcomic created by Katie O’Neill, that upon completion [was] published as a book by Oni Press. It follows the story of Greta, a blacksmith apprentice, and the people she meets as she becomes entwined in the enchanting world of tea dragons.” From the author.
Ariel Slamet Ries
“In the witch kingdom Hyalin, the strength of your magic is determined by the length of your hair. Those that are strong enough are conscripted by the Witch Guard, who enforce the law in peacetime and protect the land during war. However, those with hair judged too long are pronounced enemies of the kingdom, and annihilated. This is called a witch burning.”
Newsletter Example (Durham County Library)
An example of how the library can use newsletters to highlight comics collections, programming, etc., even during physical closure. Shared with permission.
Discussion Guides & More
Candlewick Press Essentials: Comics & Graphic Novels
Catalog of graphic novel titles. Links to downloadable extras, including discussion guides, author interviews, and sample chapters, included on each title profile page.
CBLDF Remote Learning Resources
A selection of resources for helping students, parents, and teachers (and librarians) use comics for educational purposes. Includes downloadable guides as well as creator interviews.
• CBLDF also has a landing page for Coronavirus Resources to help creators, retailers, and others in the comics community.
Diamond Bookshelf Sample Lesson Plans
Lesson plans crafted by qualified educators, primarily for Elementary, Middle, and High School.
First Second, Reading Group Guides
Book profile pages on the Macmillan website with download links to discussion guides and activity kits. Scroll down past the author profile or click on “Reading Guide.” Some pages also feature excerpts.
- Adventures in Cartooning: Characters in Action (discussion guide)
- Pashmina (activity and teacher’s guides)
- Boxers & Saints (discussion guide)
- This One Summer (reading group guide)
- Olympians: Hera (reading group and teacher’s guides)
- Sailor Twain (reading group guide)
- Resistance (reading group guide)
- Sumo (reading group guide)
First Second, Teaching with Comics Guides
PDF guides covering the academic benefits of graphic novels and basic comics terminology, with further guidance for some specific comics.
- Understanding and Exploring the Middle Grade Graphic Novel
- Using Young Adult Graphic Novels in Your Classroom
hoopla Digital Reading Guides
Download links to reading guides for Watchmen and They Called Us Enemy created in coordination with Pop Culture Classroom.
Image Comics Newsletter Resources
Image Comics Library newsletter includes information about upcoming titles, programming ideas, discussion guides, and more. You can find the email archives in two places.
Lion Forge Educators Tool Box
Download links for paneling templates and comics terminology guides.
MacKids School & Library Teacher’s Guides
MacMillian Children’s division recent teacher guides, includes prose and comics.
Nobrow Activity Kits and Resource Packs
Resources and activities that align with various Nobrow publications, such as Me and My Fear and Shackleton’s Journey. More guides might be found in Nobrow’s blog archives: https://nobrow.net/blog.
Virtual Programming Ideas
ALA GNCRT Book Match
Use this form to get three personalized reading suggestions from GNCRT experts
ALA GNCRT #LibComixOnline Programming
In the midst of cancelled conventions, closures, and many other rapid changes to the way libraries and library staff work, the Graphic Novels & Comics Round Table is going virtual!
- #CreatorsAssemble - Your favorite creators, interviewed by #libcomix members & friends. An ongoing series - an initiative - with us all working together to talk comics, libraries, and everything in-between. Tune in every Mon & Fri as we launch new episodes!
- #LibcomixRA Wednesdays - Join us every Wed w/ help from local comic shops as we talk new & notable comic titles, comics reader advisory and collection development - and how to boost your local comic store (#BoostYourLCS) through online orders and safe service deliveries.
Center for Cartoon Studies One-Week Cartooning Workout
A seven-day email course designed by Alec Longstreth and James Sturm. Those who practice are encouraged to share their work online using #CSS1WeekWorkout and #CSSHowTo.
Dav Pilkey at Home
Dav Pilkey at Home will feature new video content created by Pilkey himself on Friday mornings at 8 a.m. ET on social media channels and the websites of the Library and Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company. Beginning April 1, fun and free activities will be available online including how-to-draw demonstrations, engaging read-alouds and inspiring resources from the Library’s collections. Additional videos and content will be shared periodically throughout the week and will feature downloadable activities, conversations about books and creativity, and tips for kids and families to create their own characters and act out scenes from Pilkey’s Dog Man book series.
DC Kids Camp
From the publisher: “An At-Home Activity Program Curated by DC Middle Grade Authors and Artists Meg Cabot, Agnes Garbowska, Shannon Hale, Dean Hale, Minh Lê, Michael Northrop,
Ridley Pearson, Kirk Scroggs, Gene Luen Yang, and more! Tune In to DC Kids Social Channels for Kid-Friendly, Downloadable Activity Kits and Graphic Novel Previews, Plus Interactive Author/Artist Videos.
Digital Escape Room
Example of a themed digital escape room using Google Forms created by Sydney Krawiec, Youth Services Librarian at Peters Township Public Library in McMurray, PA.
Draw Every Day with JJK
A daily drawing class aimed at kids, each day teaching a different technique, hosted by award winning comics artist, Jarrett J. Krosoczka.
George O’Connor’s GREEKSPEAK
Creator of the Olympians graphic novels hosts a series of drawing live streams while discussing Greek mythology.
LUNCH DOODLES with Mo Willems!
Around the world, people of all ages have joined Mo Willems in his studio for weekday LUNCH DOODLES. The three-week run, all 15 episodes and their downloadable activities, are archived below. Let the doodling continue! Please tag your artwork on social media with #MoLunchDoodles so that we can all see it!
Marek Bennett Comics Workshops
Marek Bennett is a cartoonist, musician, and educator. He offers a variety of comics workshops and has made dozens of free cartooning videos as well.
Miximal Mondays! with Ben Clanton
Every Monday at 9:30 am PT (12:30 pm ET), Ben Clanton (Narwhal and Jelly) is hosting an Instagram Live session called “Miximal Mondays!” where you can draw along with him.
TOON Books Resources for Distance Learning & Home-Based Activities for Kids Ages 3-12
From the publisher: “This guide to comics for kids is an essential tool for all those who enjoy comics. Simple cartooning basics are outlined with easy examples to follow.”