Skip to Main Content

Latin American and Latinx Graphic Narratives: Comics, Graphic Novels, Mangas and Zines: Graphic Narratives in Latin America

What are Graphic Narratives?

Graphic narrative is a catch-all term for image-based stories, ranging from comic-strips to comic books, graphic novels, and manga, also known as Japanese comics. There are many formats for graphic narratives (also known as "sequential art" or simply comics), and their subjects include all other types of narrative genre - comedy, history, fantasy, science fiction, realism, and more. They are also present globally, although the major publication and popular consumption of comics started in the US in the 1930s. And most importantly, graphic narratives also give important insights into the cultures in which they are written; they are the subject of not only pop culture, but serious academic analysis. The MLA even has a group dedicated to their study. This LibGuide from Colorado State University has a great deal of information about how to research graphic narratives, particularly comics and graphic novels.

Zines can also sometimes qualify as graphic narratives, depending on if they are image-based. A zine, short for fanzine or magazine, is a DIY subculture self-publication, usually made on paper and reproduced with a photocopier or printer, according to the Barnard College Zine Library. Zine creators are often motivated by a desire to share knowledge or experience with people in marginalized or otherwise less-empowered communities. 

Latin America is currently experiencing a boom in comic and graphic novel creation and popularity. New graphic narratives look at urban spaces, perceptions, and new perspectives on ethics in the modern world. This includes Latin American manga, which present their work in the traditional art style of Japanese comics. Together with zines, they often present subversive or countercultural ways of thinking, as well as the influence of global media, economy, and politics. Zines first arrived in Latin America forty years ago, a little after they emerged in the US and Europe. Artists, writers, and thinkers who had not previously had access to large audiences for their works found self-publishing as a new way to spread their ideas. Zines have been adopted by anti-fascist punks, feminist activists, and anarchist creatives. 

UNC Library Collections

UNC Libraries have three relevant collections that contain Latin American and Latinx graphic narratives. However, the collections do not exhaustively contain every example of the genre; for example, Memín Pinguín and La familia Burrón, two well-known Mexican comic series, are housed in the Rare Books Collection and are thus not included in the linked Mexican Comic Collection. Additionally, graphic narratives from other Latin American are not included in the below comic collections (although the zine collection is international in scope).

A great way to search for specific titles is to use subject headings and the country of interest:


Academic Studies of Graphic Narratives

The following are some of the books available from the UNC Catalog that analyze the place of graphic narratives in larger countercultural movements, including in Latin America specifically.

Librarian for Latin America, Iberia and Latina/o Studies, American Indian and Indigenous Studies

Profile Photo
Teresa Chapa
Davis Library Global Resources & Area Studies