It's been a wild ride. But, finally, we've reached the end of the rainbow. We think we've solved The Great Graphic Novels Question. And to prove it, a revised and expanded entry for 741.5 Comic books, graphic novels, fotonovelas, cartoons, caricatures, comic strips (replacing seven entries in Edition 22 and four entries in Abridged Edition 14) was posted yesterday as our monthly update for February 2006, available in PDF or Word format from links on our New and changed entries page.
We've drawn a basic distinction between comic books, graphic novels, and fotonovelas on the one hand, and cartoons, caricatures, and comic strips on the other. As we explain in a new Manual note, the former category is for "multi-panel works written to be read in relatively long segments, like short stories or novels." If such works were originally published in parts, "the parts are likely to have been issued monthly or less frequently (occasionally weekly or biweekly as part of serial anthologies), not daily." The latter category is for works "written to be read in brief segments, like jokes or anecdotes." Such works "have a single panel, or a few panels issued daily or weekly online or in a newspaper; consequently they have an anecdotal quality even when the same characters appear in many segments brought together in collected works."
The comprehensive number for comic books, graphic novels, and fotonovelas is 741.5. Individual works, collections of works, and historical, descriptive, and critical treatments of works in this category by an individual artist or writer are to be classed in 741.59, where notation from Table 2 for geographic area can be added. Works in Hergé's series The Adventures of Tintin, for example, go at 741.59493, adding T2—493 Southern Low Countries Belgium to 741.59. The comprehensive number for cartoons, caricatures, and comic strips is 741.56. Individual works, collections of works, and historical, descriptive, and critical treatments of works in this category by an individual artist or writer are to be classed in 741.569, where notation from Table 2 for geographic area can be added. Books in Garry Trudeau's Doonesbury series, for example, go at 741.56973, adding T2—73 United States to 741.569.
To help classifiers with this new distinction, we've also created a list of more than 80 titles of comic books, etc., giving the DDC number for each title. This "Sample Title/DDC List: 741.5 Comic books, graphic novels, fotonovelas, cartoons, caricatures, comic strips" (a Word file) is available here, or from a link on our Discussion papers page. Although the list isn't meant to be exhaustive, we'd definitely welcome suggestions for additional titles: let us know if your favorite isn't there! In the meantime, everyone at Dewey Manor -- especially Juli Beall, our resident Queen of the Comic Books -- would like to extend hearty thanks to the many people who gave such thoughtful responses to our series of discussion papers about the treatment of graphic novels in the DDC.