The phrase "graphic novel" was coined to describe a new type of illustrated story distinct from the mass-produced comic books based on superheroes and aimed at a juvenile audience. The Humanities Department does not carry single-issue comic books, but does own the following:
- Comics: collections of newspaper comic strips, such as Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, and Doonesbury.
- Compilations of older, classic strips, such as Batman and Superman.
- Historical and critical works on comics and their place in society.
- Manga: multi-volume comics, often reproduced to be read from back to front, as in the original Japanese.
- Series such as Love Hina, Nana, Samurai Executioner, and Path of the Assassin, among others.
- Works by "the god of manga," Osamu Tezuka (Buddha, Phoenix).
- Manga for younger readers (Naruto, Yu-Gi-Oh!, W Juliet, etc.) are located in the Young Adult Collection.
- Graphic Novels: book-length works that deal with subjects ranging from fantasy to personal narratives.
- Includes works by representative authors such as Will Eisner (A Contract With God), R. Crumb, Harvey Pekar (American Splendor), Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis), and Alan Moore (Watchmen).
- Books offering history and criticism of graphic novels, including "best of" listings, are also in Humanities.
- Films adapted from graphic novels can be found in the Sights and Sounds Department.