COMICS GLOSSARY

General Terms

So, you’re here. Great. First thing, it’s important to understand that “comics” is the overarching descriptor for the medium. The Comics medium consists of several formats, including the following:

  • Graphic Novel – A graphic novel is a book made up of comics content. Although the word “novel” normally refers to long fictional works, the term “graphic novel” is applied broadly and includes fiction, non-fiction, and anthologized work. It is distinguished from the term “comic book”, which is generally used for comics periodicals. (Wikipedia)
  • Floppy (Comic Book) – a periodical comic, typically 22 pages long and part of an ongoing story arc.
  • Trade Paperback – A thicker comic book that collects around six issues of floppies without interspersed ads. These are usually printed on slightly heavier paper with a cardstock cover. Unless the story arc is only six issues long, trade paperbacks are part of a longer, ongoing story arc.
  • Web Comic – (also known as online comics or Internet comics) are comics published on a website. While many are published exclusively on the web, others are also published in magazines, newspapers or in books (Wikipedia)
Comics Terms
  • Panels – squares or rectangles that contain a single scene
  • Gutters – space between panels where the reader infers movement and action between panels
  • Frame – lines or boxes around a panel(s)
  • Dialog Balloons – contain character dialogue; communication between/among characters
  • Thought Balloons – contain a character’s thoughts
  • Captions – contain information about a scene or character
  • Graphic weight – a term that describes the way some images draw the eye more than others, creating a definite focus using color and shading in various ways
Creator Terms
  • Writer – The writer writes the story and has the overall vision of how the story will go. They write the dialogue and how the story will progress.
  • Penciler – Primary artist. This person takes the script and draws the comic. They draw the comic in pencil which then gets inked and colored later on.
  • Colorist – This person gives the comic color, and add to the weight and vibrancy of the image. The colorist is often responsible for helping set tone and mood via color.