Friday, July 13, 2018

Getting Graphic: A Brief Terminology Primer


If you are a complete comic newbie like me you might find all the terminology a bit confusing. Here is a quick breakdown of common terms used in the world of comics:

Comic: A serialised story told in sequential graphical form.

Single Issue: A single installment of a serialised comic. Often published monthly. If you always want to be up to date with the latest events in the story then this is the way to go.

Trade Paperbacks (TPB): A collection of issues (normally around 4 - 6 issues) collected into one volume. Trades become available after individual issues are sold so you might not be up to date with the latest happenings. The flipside to this is that you get to experience a more complete story in one go. Trades are normally less expensive than buying the individual single issues. Trades are also known as a volumes and a complete comic run can consist of multiple volumes. (While trades are commonly referred to as graphic novels this is not technically correct. See below.)

Graphic novel: A single standalone story in book length. Graphic novels have never appeared in serialised form as single issues.

Digital comics: As you would expect it's the digital version of a comic and, as with their physical counterparts, they are available in both single issues, trades and omnibus editions. One of the most popular retailers of digital comics is Comixology. Digital comics can be read on PC or on tablets as well as some ereaders (if you don't mind sticking to greyscale images).

Now that we have the basics down, onward!

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