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The Top Comic Book Vocabulary Terms Every Collector Should Know


Collecting comic books can be a daunting hobby because there are a lot of jargon or vocabulary that you need to learn in order to get the most out of your new hobby. If you don't know these terms, make sure you do as they will greatly aide in your understanding of collecting comic books and have a deeper understanding of what people in the comic book world are talking about. Just click each title to see more information about that term and you will be set to wade into the discussion of comic books with fans the world over.

1. Panel

Copyright Andrews McCeel Publishing
The panel is the basis of how every comic book is structured. It is essentially a box in which a scene of the comic book is drawn in. A page can have many or few panels on it with different artists approaching the subject in many different ways. A panel in a comic book is very much like a scene in a movie.

2. Word Balloon

The word balloon is synonymous with comic books. They are the way in which the writer shares the dialogue of the characters to us the reader. The balloon like object is placed next to the character with a tail that points to the speakers mouth. If you have ever seen a comic book, you can easily identify this hallmark of the comic book format.

3. Splash Page

The splash page is a huge part of the comic book experience. Most comic books have at least one splash page in them, with some comics being completely comprised of them. They are a page in the comic where the scene fills the whole page, making it a very dramatic presentation. They are used in many different ways and artists are always looking for ways to use them to nail a certain scene or to heighten a climax of the comic.

4. Graphic Novel

Top Shelf Productions
A graphic novel can take a few different forms in the world of comic books. It is often a collection of previously printed comic book material that spans a story arc. There are also completely original graphic novels, referred to as OGN (original graphic novels). The graphic novels are usually either hardcover or have a softer cardboard cover that is still much thicker than regular comic book covers. They typically have near one hundred pages or more.

5. Bag

The comic book bag has been a part of the holy trinity of comic book protection for quite some time now. The other two being the comic book box and the comic book board. These plastic bags are made to keep the elements out and preserve the condition of the comic book for years to come.

6. Board

The board is another part of the trinity of comic book protection. The others being the comic book bag and comic book box. The board is a piece of cardboard which should be acid free that is placed behind the comic book in the bag to keep it straight and aide in preventing it from bending.

7. Box

Aaron Albert
The box is the last part of the trinity of comic book protection. The others being the comic book bag and the comic book board. Once a comic book is put into a comic bag with a comic book board behind it, they are then placed in a comic book box to hold them all. There are actually quite a few different kinds of boxes, from cardboard boxes with lids, plastic boxes, and even the latest version with there being cardboard boxes inside cardboard sleeves to make it act like a drawer. It is amazing to see the kind of ingenuity that is going into cardboard these days but if you can imagine it, you can build it and that is what is being done today.

8. Grade

Aaron Albert
The grade of a comic book is talking about what kind of physical condition it is in. This is extremely important when finding the value of your comic book and a set of terms have cropped up to help describe each level of condition a comic book can be in. They range from Poor to Mint and there are many levels in between. Some companies also use different number scales that usually do a 1-10 scale or 1-100 scale.

9. Price Guide

Copyright Gemstone Publishing
The price guide is something that most every collector will consult in their time as a comic book enthusiast. It is (supposed to be) an unbiased third party that tells you what the comic book is currently worth given its grade. For a long time, the authority in comic book prices has been Overstreet, but online competitors have sprung up to steal the digital market away.

10. Con

Aaron Albert
The word "con" in the comic book world is short for convention and is referring to one of the numerous comic book conventions that happen around the world. A con is usually held at a convention center or hotel where creators, publishers, retailers, and fans gather to celebrate the medium. There are places to buy comics, meet creators, and attend panels to get the latest scoop on your favorite aspects of the comic book world.
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