Addendum to Fictitious Characters

Somehow that post really got away from me got a little bloaty. There was a significant reason I’ve been thinking about fictitious characters so much lately, and of course it’s my RIMMF-comics project. But I completely forgot to talk about how it related. This is my attempt to rectify that.


As part of this project I’ve been *gasp* reading the literature. I know, what a total professional, right? In William Fee’s “Where Is the Justice… League?: Graphic Novel Cataloging and Classification”, he mentions how Library of Pennsylvania adds local names for the characters appearing in comics and I got real excited.

Probably the most useful for a comic book cataloger is the $q, or fuller form of the name.

A 600 field allows a patron to perform a more targeted search for a particular version of a character. For example, 600 1 7 $a Blue Beetle $c III $q (Kord, Ted) $g (Fictitious character) would be the third, or Charlton/DC, version of the character (following Dan Garret and Dan Garett). For searching and display, this is much more targeted and more likely to satisfy more patrons than the following example. 650 1 0 $a Blue Beetle (Fictitious character)

600 0 7 $a Deathbird $q (Cal’syee Neramani) $g (Fictitious character) $2 local
600 0 7 $a Gladiator $q (Kallark) $g (Fictitious character) $2 local

While I quibble with some of the coding choices on display here (see below* for all my quibbles)

don’t quibble with the idea! As I stated before in both my post on fic characters and in my post on comics-characters-differentiating specifically — I think it’s great to separate out the different identities of the people behind the mask. So it’s really exciting to see someone putting this into practice (and if you browse the catalog of the State Library of Pennsylvania, you’ll see a LOT more!




  1. This is a pretty off-brand use of subfield q. It’s intended to hold “fuller form of name” true, but what is being stored there is clearly a variant name (or an alternate identity, but that’s a different discussion).  The old instructions in AACR2 (22.18), and the newer instructions in RDA (9.5) are very clear on what a “fuller form of name” is — the spelling out of an initial, abbreviation, or otherwise shortened piece of the preferred name.
  2. If using a 600 field, first indicator would mean that the first piece of data is a surname. “Blue” is not Blue Beetle’s surname.
  3. Ted Kord is the second Blue Beetle, not the third: Dan Garrett, Ted Kord, and Jaime Reyes.
  4. 650 with a subfield 1 is valid….but very very unusual, I assume that’s a copy-paste error.
  5. Fictitious character (yes! good to display this data prominently!) should be in subfield c, not g.

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