East Asia Comics Collection

The Penn Libraries includes a notable collection of East Asian comics. This collection embodies the Libraries’ strategic priorities to collect and preserve global voices, and to make accessible materials related to borders and belonging. 

Comics on bookshelf.

Collection Overview

The East Asia Comics Collection has grown over about ten years from a small initial gift to a robust resource for language learners, scholars of popular culture, and general readers. The collection now includes both Korean manhwa (만화) and Japanese manga (漫画). The purchasing strategy has partly been based on student requests (via surveys conducted by language instructors), and resulted in our acquiring popular series such as Jūhan shuttai! (重版出来!) and Sikkaek (食客). 

We’ve especially focused on collecting LGBTQ+ stories from Japan as a result. The Penn Libraries was one of the first in North America to purchase the now-popular Japanese series Otōto no otto (弟の夫) by gay artist Tagame Gengoroh (田亀源五郎), which has since been translated to English as My Brother’s Husband and was serialized as a six-episode drama by Japanese broadcaster NHK in 2018. (In fact, we own many TV shows and movie versions of the comics in our collection.) 

The East Asia Comics Collection continues to grow and can be found in its own area on the far west end of Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center’s fifth floor. This location makes for especially easy browsing and reading: the Willoughby East Asia Seminar Room, where Japanese language classes meet several times per semester for reading practice, or tadoku (多読), is only a few steps away. This area of Van Pelt is also home to the East Asia stacks, where students can find contemporary fiction in both Japanese and Korean. 

All patrons should feel welcome to either read comics from the collection in the library or check them out to take home. 

Accordion List

Below are some featured LGBTQ+ comics and related media at the Penn Libraries:  

East Asian Comics are housed in their own location at the westernmost end of Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center’s fifth floor. Browse our complete holdings at this Franklin Catalog link. DVDs are housed in the Van Pelt Video Collection and at LIBRA.

Comics collection sign.
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East Asia Comics Collection Sign

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Japanese Comics in the Collection

Comics on bookshelf.
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East Asia Comics Collection in Van Pelt