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Inmates' use of Leisure Reading Materials (comics) in a State Correctional Institution Library - Part II
By Philip Ephraim, PhD, Corrections Librarian at State Correctional Institution, Graterford, PA
Published: 04/09/2012

Comic book












Findings:

Question 1. From the library catalog, the major kinds of comic books available at SCI-Graterford Libraries are as follows:

Comics strips:
  1. The Complete Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz: 1950-1952, 1953-1954, 1955-1956, 1957-1958.

    Peanuts are a creation of fantasy world. This is the work of an innovative genius of American comics, a definitive comic strip masterpiece. Strips and materials from these four volumes of work are still being run by newspapers today, long after the author had died.

Comic Books:
  1. Cartoons:
    The mammoth book of the funniest cartoons of all time, edited by Geoff Tibbals. This is a comic book for all people and seasons. It carries cartoons and jokes that cover all areas of life, such as: arts, business and work, children and Christmas, computers and shopping, death and funerals, food and drink, health and relationships, science and religion, space and travels. This book is a collection of 400 of the world’s funniest cartoons from the last seventy years, offering a running commentary on our ever-changing society. In the hands of an inmate, the book will make him laugh and forget the pains of incarceration. He will get entertainment and spend longer time in the library from this treasure of information, humor, and creative ideas. The comic relief acquired from this book is sure to affect his temperament and undeniably his environment.
  2. Freaks! how to draw fantastic fantasy creatures, by Steve Miller. Guptill Pub., NY, 2004.
  3. Orbiter by Warren Allis. Published by DC Comics, New York, 2003.
  4. Ghost Rider.
  5. Superheroes.
    These are comic with characters with supernatural powers. Eg. The Amazing Spiderman, Batman, X-men, etc.

Graphic Novels: (A novel in the form of comic strips)
  1. The Essential Calvin and Hobbes: a Calvin Hobbes treasury, by Bill Watterson, Published by Andrew and McMeel Books, Kansas City, 1988. As a story book, this work is an admirable success. It is a medium of complete entertainment and illustrated joke. It contains hilarious pictures which cannot be duplicated in other works.
  2. Orbiter by Warren Ellis and Colleen Doran with Dave Stewart. His is a graphic book on space exploration. It actually encourages greater interest in future space exploration by the United States.
  3. Manga. These are Japanese comics.
    The library has a - three volume series of Manga. There are plenty of adventures here. A lot of the stories center on friendship, loyalty and team work. There are pretty girls and princesses, leading men and fantasy fighters, knights and fairies, fashionable teens, school girls, goddesses, demigods, and popular magical girls.
  4. The Art of Usagi Yojimbo by Stan Sakai.
    This is an award winning graphic novel. The series of Yojimbo has been in print for over 20 years and is still going strong, with over 150 issues published to date. While receiving Will Eisner Comic Industry Award for his work, Stan Sakai earned a deserved recognition for his dedication to creative process.

General leisure Vs Comics

Question 2. What percentage of all leisure check outs do comics constitute?
  • Types of all leisure reading
    • All leisure reading per month
      • NSL = 200
      • MLL = 400
      • Total = 600
      • % of comic to all reading = -
    • All leisure reading per year
      • NSL = 2400
      • MLL = 4800
      • Total = 7200
      • % of comic to all reading = -
    • All comic reading per year
      • NSL = 57
      • MLL = 15
      • Total = 72
      • % of comic to all reading = 1%

From the inspection of the data above, the total check out of leisure books in the year, 2011, is 7200 books. Total comics check out in the year, 2011, is 72 books or 1 % of all leisure check outs.

Graphic Novels and Comic Books

Question 3. Which of these two genres is more popular at SCI-Graterford Libraries? Total comics check out Graphic Novel check out Comic books check out
  • Total comics check out = 72
  • Graphic Novel check out = 46 (63.9%)
  • Comic books check out = 26 (36.1%)

From the inspection of the above result, graphic novels are almost twice as popular as comic books in SCI-Graterford Libraries.

Use pattern of comics

Question 4. What are the most popular genres of comics checked out for reading by inmates?
  • Types of comics/Graphic Novel
    • Manga Style (a graphic novel)
      • NSL = 40
      • MLL = 1
      • Total of this genre of comics = 42
      • % of all comics chedk out = 56.9%
    • The Amazing Spider-man (a superhero comic)
      • NSL = -
      • MLL = 12
      • Total of this genre of comics = 12
      • % of all comics chedk out = 16.7%
    • Cartoon (a comic book)
      • NSL = 6
      • MLL = -
      • Total of this genre of comics = 6
      • % of all comics chedk out = 8.3%
    • Peanuts (comic strips)
      • NSL = 6
      • MLL = -
      • Total of this genre of comics = 6
      • % of all comics chedk out = 8.3%
    • Art of Usagi Yojimbi (a graphic novel)
      • NSL = 4
      • MLL = -
      • Total of this genre of comics = 4
      • % of all comics chedk out = 5.6%
    • Horror (comic book)
      • NSL = -
      • MLL = 2
      • Total of this genre of comics = 2
      • % of all comics chedk out = 2.8%
    • Orbiter (a graphic novel)
      • NSL = 1
      • MLL = -
      • Total of this genre of comics = 1
      • % of all comics chedk out = 1.4%
    • TOTALS
      • NSL = 57
      • MLL =15
      • Total of this genre of comics = 72
      • % of all comics chedk out = 100%


Most popular comics to inmates at SCI-Graterford Libraries.
  • Manga style (a graphic novel) = 41 (56.9%)
  • The Amazing Spider-man (a superhero comic) = 12 (16.7%)
  • Peanuts (comic strips) = 6 (8.3%)
  • Cartoon (a comic book) = 6 (8.3%)
  • Art of Usagi Yojimbi (a graphic novel) = 4 (5.6%)
  • Horror (comic book) = 2 (2.8%)
  • Orbiter (a graphic novel) = 1 (1.4%)
  • TOTAL ………..............= 72 (100%)

Click Here for Part I

Editor's note: Corrections.com author, Philip Ephraim, is a Corrections Librarian, at the State Correctional Institution, in Graterford, PA. He has served on numerous library committees.

Other articles by Ephraim



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