Monday, December 21, 2009

Comic Book Lexicon

I've been playing around with coming up with a collection of comic book terms and phrases. Here are the first to occur to me. Starting with some basic definitions and ending with some concepts that I have named myself (they may have other labels). Please feel free to comment and leave suggestions for additions.

Title- The official name of the comic used to identify it by retailers.

Issue- A specific comic of a title with a date and number.

One-shot- A single issue title. Often a unique story or beginning or end of a storyline.

Mini- Short for Mini-series A title that lasts for a finite number of issues. Generally 2-7

Maxi- Short for Maxi-series. A title with a finite number of issues that is of a significantly more issues than a Mini. Generally 8-12

Ongoing- A title that is scheduled to have an issue published each month.

Run- A block of issues on an ongoing that a specific writer or artist has worked on.

Trade- (short for Trade Paperback) The name for a collection of several issues of comics into a single volume bound in a soft cover.

Hardcover - A collection or Graphic Novel bound in a hardcover binding.

Graphic Novel- An original story in hardcover or paperback that has not been printed previously as separate issues.

Golden Age- The period of time of 1934-1954. Marked by the first comic book printed and the appearance of the Silver Age Flash.

Silver Age- The period of time 0f 1954-1970/73. Marked by the first appearance of the Silver Age Flash and either the Adams/O'Neil run on Green Lantern or the death of Gwen Stacy.

Bronze Age- The period of time from 1973-1986. Marked by the death of Gwen Stacy and the printing of Crisis Of Infinite Earths, Watchmen, The Dark Knight Returns and Secret Wars.

Modern Age- The period of time from 1986-present date. Alternatively split into two periods. the "early"or Dark Age (1986-1992) and the "late" (1992-present day)

Marvel Age- The period of time from Fantastic Four #1 1961 to 1991 when Marvel way of writing, producing and marketing comics became the industry leader. It ended with the formation of Image Comics. (Although, Marvel says it's still going on)

Retcon- (from retroactive continuity)A piece of a character's history which was previously unknown, or has been altered by a writer; also an explanation of uncharacteristic behavior or powers previously established. The act of changing, adding to or explaining established events.

Jumping on point- An accessible issue to new readers, generally a start of new storyline or series.

Crossover- A storyline that continues through two or more titles.

Event- A storyline that is a major part of a company's line of comics. It generally includes a main title Mini , several ancillary minis, one-shots and crossover issues of regular ongoing series.

Event Fatigue- The feeling of a reader that an event has been overplayed, over marketed and drawn out in Minis, One-shots and crossover issues.

Store Stealing- The act of reading a whole issue in the store with the intent of not purchasing it.

RetCharactering-When a writer brings in characters from previous series he/she has written and makes them part of the new series. Ex= Chris Claremont and the Otherworld characters being in his FF run.

(Kyle) Raynering-When previous versions of a character are de-powered, beaten or sidelined for the sake of raising up the "hip" new version.

What do you think?


  1. Nice list! What about Gail Simone's "Women in Refrigerators Syndrome"? Morbid? Sure! True? Mostly!