Comics Scholars Survey Results, November 1995

compiled by Peter M. Coogan

L. Bibliographic/Indexing
L.1. What bibliographies and indexes exist?
L.2. What publications need indexing?
L.3. Who publishes bibliographies and indexes?

The respondents all agreed that much needed to be done. Jon Suter spoke to the reluctance of libraries to invest in "publications that are on poor paper, unindexed, and poorly d istributed" as well as the necessity to have comics-aware staff. Matt McAllister mentioned the difficulty the interdisciplinary nature of comics scholarship brings when compiling bibliographies.

Matt McAllister and Leonard Rifas have produced unpublished bibliographies. Joseph Witek mentioned Denis Gifford's American Comic Strip Collection, 1884-1939; The Evolutionary Era (Boston: G.K. Hall, 1990); Leonard Rifas mentioned a few: Carol Frances Gale's unpublished Master's Research Paper done at Kent State; Wolfgang Kempkes' International Bibliography of Comics Literature/Bibliographie der Internationalen Literatur uber Comics (New York: Bowker 1971); John Lent's Comic Art: An International Bibliography (published by the author, Drexel Hill PA, 1986); and he's updated this work into four volumes published by Greenwood Press (volume 4 is currently in progress) An International Bibliography of Comic Strips in the United States, vol 2: An International Bibliography of Animation, Caricature, Gag and Political Cartoons in the United State and Canada, vol. 3: Comic Art of Europe: An International Comprehensive Bibliography, vol. 4: Asia, Africa, Latin America, Australia, Ocean, Caribbean, Middle East. And Randall Scott has published two relevant works: Comic Books and Strips: an Information Source Book (Phoenix: Oryx Press, 1988); and the catalog of the MSU collection as of 1990: The Comic Art Collection Catalog, an Author, Artist, Title, and Subject Catalog of the Comic Art Collection, Special Collections Division, Michigan State University Libraries (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1993) 1435 pages.

According to Steve Willis, over 1700 of Washington State University's comix were cataloged in WLN before they defected to OCLC. Their holdings up to 1986 were listed (along with an author index) in printed catalogs.

As for indexing, my Comics Journal Index is available on disk, and should be available at an ftp site by 1995. Send a disk capable of holding 600K to the address at the end for a copy of the index; indicated DOS or Mac. Jay Kennedy sent a nice list of periodicals he'd like to see indexed. Jay is also updating his Underground and Newave Comix Price Guide. In Comic Art Studies #49 I included a guide to indexing in the hope that many readers would index a few issues of each of various publications, which might then be compiled and published. Don Thompson mentioned that they were working on a Comic Buyer's Guide index using scanners and computers. An Amazing Heroes index was published through APA-I by Bob Klein in 1987, and Comics Interview published an index to date in issue #100. Randy Scott used to produce "The Year's Work in Comics Indexing." Perhaps his work can be revived.

The largest concentration of fan scholars and indexers can be contacted through APA-I:

Amateur Press Alliance for Indexing
c/o Jon Ingersoll
Box 108200 Yale Station
New Haven, CT 06520-8200

APA-I has recently joined forces with the Bay Area Comicbook Klub to create the ultimate comic book database, which will be available online, on disk, and by ftp. With only 7 volunteer they have over 100 titles and 2,000 issues indexed as of June 1994. To help, send an SASE or email:

The Grand Comics Database
Tim Stroup
130 Baroni Ave. #16
San Jose, CA 95136

Back to the Introduction and Survey Outline