As I’ve traveled deeper into the comic book world, I’ve picked up a few terms here and there. Every once in a while, I’ve found one that makes me go, ‘What?’
A lot of the basics can be found on Comics Vocabulary; I realize that this is a Wikipedia entry. I have a tendency to not use Wikipedia except for basic knowledge, but this page covers a lot of the basic terms that most people know. I found another at CGC that may have more technical terms.
I’m going to be relisting a few of the terms on here, but in my own phrasing. Most of what I highlight are words that I think are important. Like the difference between graphic novel and trade paperback. Any guesses?
Types of comics:
Issues: When I’m referring to issues, I mean the floppy books that come out. They’re about 32 pages long in most cases.
Trade paperback (TPB): These are collections of issues, usually te collected form of an arc. An example is Fables TPB #5: The Mean Seasons, which collects issues #22 and #28-33 of DC Vertigo’s series Fables.
Graphic Novel: These longer stories told in the form of comic panels, but isn’t divided up into comics. In other words, it started out as a story, not as issues that were later collected into a book. Maus by Art Spiegelman is what I would consider a graphic novel.
Giant-sized: To be honest, I’m still not sure about this term. I’ve decided that it’s an issue that is longer than the traditional floppies that come out, usually revolving around a certain character/event that needs a longer explanation. Usually about 64-pages, rather than 32.
One-shot: A single issue that has a arc that lasts one story. In Zenescope’s Wonderland series, the Tales from Wonderland are one-shots about each character, designed to give the reader more background information.
Annual: The annuals are not always part of the continuing story arc of a series. They happen outside of the current events. Annuals, like Giant-sized comics, tend to be longer and allow for multiple short stories to be told, or one longer story.
If you have any questions about terms that I use, let me know and I’ll add to this post
Certified Guaranty Company. (2009). Retrieved from http://www.cgccomics.com/.
Comics Vocabulary. (2009 September 4). Wikipedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org.
K. Devine, Personal Communication, July 2009.