Comic Book Glossary

Single Issue  This is the serial magazine style format of a comic. Generally 20-32 pages of story but sometimes can be more, with some being up to 100 pages. These are generally numbered in chronological order eg. Issue #5.

Prestige Edition – These are comics that are generally 48-64 pages long that have a thin spine and printed on "better stock" of paper usually "slick" or shiny.

Digital Comics – Editions of comics that can be viewed on computer screens, tablets or mobile phones.

Digital First  A comic that is first released in a digital format and maybe later in print.

Collected Edition – Single issues collected to create a whole story or set of stories.

  • Trade Paperback (TPB) – This is the most common kind of collected edition. It is in a paperback format and is often referred to as a “trade”. 
  • Digest – Paperback magazines that are smaller in height and length than the common "general" or "mass market" magazine but are slightly wider than the traditional softcover paperback book.
  • Hardcover Book (HC) – Umm, stiff hardcover book & not a softcover paperback.
  • Omnibus – These are very large book collections in softcover or hardcover editions. These volumes collect entire series or a creative run of a series.
  • Graphic Novel (GN) –  Essentially any comic story that is printed & bound like a hardcover or softcover book. Is not usually used to describe a collection reprinting previously published comics unless they form a single cohesive story. 
  • Original Graphic Novel (OGN) – Written and illustrated specifically with this format in mind.

Variant Cover – A variant cover is an alternative cover of a single issue.  

Limited Series/Mini-series – This is a comic series that has a set number of issues. Most commonly it is 6 issues but it will often vary depending on the story. The series has a beginning, middle and an end.

Maxi-series – Obviously we don't use this term because if something is not an on-going "series" and instead has a begining, middle and conclusion then it is still a "mini series" no matter how many parts there are.

Annual – Usually an over-sized "Giant" or "Giant-Sized" special edition of a comic book and traditionally published once a year- Annually or Seasonally.

Webcomic – Comics that are made for viewing on the Internet.

Mini-comic – A comic or "fanzine" that is smaller than the conventional comic book size. Generally these comics are handmade, self-published with small print runs.

Zine or FANZINE– Self-published comic or magazine. 

Other Comic Book Terms

Panel – A panel is one of the boxes on the page of a comic book.

Splash Page – When a panel consists of the entire page.

Two Page Spread – When the comic book art spills over into two pages.

Manga – Japanese comic books.

Manhwa – Comics that originate from Korea.

Anthology – These are collections that contain multiple stories.

Creator-Owned – This means the creator owns the work that they create. This also means that the publisher doesn’t own the rights to the characters or story but just the right to publish it. 

Indie/Alternative - Generally referring to an independent publisher who publishes comics for a creative team.

Crossover – This is when story elements of two or more comic books come together to create one storyline across multiple titles.

One-shot – A story that is contained to a single issue.

Back-issue – A previous issue of a periodical