Friday, June 25, 2010

Comics Glossary

Comics, like any other field of entertainment, does a pretty good job of confusing newcomers with jargon. This glossary can help you navigate blogs and comic-shop conversations with greater ease.

Comic
A work that tells a story or conveys information through the use of pictures, often in combination with dialog or written description.

Panel
The "box" around a picture in a comic. Each panel indicates a separate point in space or moment in time.



Comic Book
A single chapter of a comic series, published in a thin "magazine" format. Sometimes called "floppies," for the way their low page count makes them easy to bend or flop around.

Graphic Novel
A comic published in a book-sized volume, as opposed to being published as single-chapter comic books. Sometimes used interchangeably with "trade paperback" to refer to collections of previously printed comics.

Trade Paperback
A book-sized collection of comic book chapters. Sometimes shortened to "trades" or "TPBs."

Manga (sounds a bit like "mon-guh")
Comics originally published in Japan. Due to the right-to-left reading order of the Japanese language, most manga are printed "backwards" from Western comics. Not to be confused with anime, which are animated films and shows from Japan, though many popular manga series have anime adaptations.

Manhwa (sounds a bit like "mon-hwuh")
Comics originally published in Korea. Modern manhwa and manga share many historical influences, but are generally considered two separate comics cultures. Due to the left-to-right reading order of the Korean language, most manhwa are printed in the same direction as Western comics.

Direct Market
The distribution of comics through comic book specialty stores. The largest distributor to the direct market is Diamond Comic Distributors, usually just called "Diamond."

Bande Dessinée (sounds a bit like "bond dess-E-ney")
Comics originally published in France or Belgium, printed in collections known as "albums." Sometimes shortened to "BD."

Webcomics
Comics originally published on the internet.

Shojo (sounds a bit like "show Joe")
Manga written for a primarily teen or preteen female audience.

Shonen  (sounds a bit like "shown N")
Manga written for a primarily teen or preteen male audience.

Josei (sounds a bit like "Joe say")
Manga written for a primarily adult female audience.

Seinen (sounds a bit like "sane N")
Manga written for a primarily adult male audience.

Yaoi (sounds a bit like "yow-E")
A genre of manga, mostly written by and for women, focusing on romantic or sexual relationships between men. Less sexually eplicit series of this nature are often called "Boys Love" or "BL."

Yuri (sounds a bit like "yer-E")
A genre of manga focusing on romantic or sexual relationships between women. Often written by and for men, though some are written by or for women.

OEL Manga
Stands for "Original English Language manga". Sometimes used to describe comics by Western creators who are heavily inspired by Japanese comic artists. The term "world manga" is also sometimes used, to include comics originally published in German, French, Polish, etc.

Gekiga (sounds a bit like "geh-kee-guh")
A term sometimes used for more serious, literary comics from Japan. Coined in 1957 to differentiate them from the children's stories that dominated Japanese comics at the time. To use a slightly clumsy analogy: "Gekiga" is to "manga" as "cinema" is to "movies."

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