When  was younger I thought I’d be the next great comic book artists. Didn’t see myself so much as a writer, but an illustrator. But that wasn’t meant to be and I did not pursue the art or the writing. Still, if I were to start writing them today, I’d want to know the all of the terms. So here’s a list of 100 important comic book terms.

Panel: A single drawing in a sequence of drawings that make up a comic book page. Panels are often bordered and arranged in a specific order to convey a story.

Splash Page: A single-page illustration that usually occupies an entire page, used for dramatic effect, often without panels or with minimal paneling.

Gutters: The space between panels where no artwork or text appears. They help in pacing and transition between scenes or actions.

Speech Bubble: A graphic element that contains characters’ dialogue or thoughts. They come in various shapes and sizes to indicate different speakers or types of speech.

Thought Bubble: A speech bubble used specifically to convey a character’s inner thoughts rather than spoken dialogue.

Caption: Text boxes used to provide additional information, narration, or commentary in a comic panel.

Onomatopoeia: Words that imitate sounds associated with their meaning (e.g., “Bang,” “Pow,” “Boom”).

Word Balloon: The overall term for speech bubbles and thought bubbles.

Action Lines: Dynamic lines or streaks drawn to convey movement or action in a static image.

Keyframe: The primary drawing in a sequence that establishes a specific moment in a story.

Inking: The process of adding ink to the penciled artwork, defining lines, and preparing it for printing.

Penciling: The initial sketching and drawing of comic book artwork before inking and coloring.

Lettering: The process of adding text, including dialogue, captions, and sound effects, to comic book panels.

Cross-Hatching: A shading technique using intersecting lines to create various tones or textures.

Splash Panel: A large, single panel that takes up a significant portion of a comic book page, often used for dramatic effect or to showcase a pivotal moment.

Background: The setting or scenery behind the main characters and action in a panel or page.

Foreground: The part of the panel or page that appears closest to the viewer, often used to draw attention to specific elements.

Ink Wash: A technique that involves applying diluted ink to create a grayscale effect or add shading.

Letterer: The individual responsible for adding text, dialogue, and sound effects to comic book pages.

Storyboard: A sequence of drawings or panels used to plan the layout and progression of a comic book or graphic novel.

Layout: The arrangement of panels, text, and artwork on a comic book page.

Continuity: The consistency of the story and its elements across different issues or volumes of a comic book series.

Cover Art: The illustration or design featured on the front of a comic book, often used to attract readers’ attention.

Variant Cover: An alternate cover for a comic book issue, often created by a different artist from the primary cover.

Crossover: A storyline that involves characters from different comic book series or universes.

Retcon: Short for retroactive continuity, it refers to altering previously established facts or events in a story.

Backup Story: A secondary story included in a comic book issue alongside the main storyline.

Annual: A special, usually larger-sized issue of a comic book series released once a year.

One-Shot: A standalone comic book that is not part of an ongoing series.

Trade Paperback (TPB): A collection of comic book issues or story arcs bound together in book form.

Graphic Novel: A book-length comic that tells a complete story, often intended for a more mature audience.

Lettering Guide: Templates or tools used by letterers to ensure consistent text placement and size.

Balloon Tail: The pointer that connects a speech or thought bubble to the character speaking or thinking.

Colorist: The artist responsible for adding color to comic book artwork.

Cover Swipe: An illustration that imitates or pays homage to a famous comic book cover.

Diamond Distribution: A major distributor of comic books and related merchandise to retailers.

Solicitation: A pre-release description and information about upcoming comic book issues provided to retailers and readers.

Trade Dress: The consistent design elements (such as logos, fonts, and layouts) that identify a specific comic book series or publisher.

Manga: Japanese comic books or graphic novels with distinctive artistic and storytelling styles.

Sound Effects: Visual representations of sounds through words or symbols in a comic panel.

Editor: The individual responsible for overseeing the production and quality of a comic book.

Gag Strip: A short, humorous comic strip typically focusing on a single joke or punchline.

Publisher: The company responsible for producing and distributing comic books.

Indie Comics: Comic books produced by independent creators or smaller publishers.

Character Design: The process of creating the appearance and visual traits of a comic book character.

Fumetti: A style of comic storytelling that uses photographs with added captions and speech bubbles.

Pin-Up: An illustration of a character or scene, often included as a standalone image in a comic book.

Decompression: A storytelling technique that stretches storylines across multiple issues by focusing on smaller story elements.

Filler: Content included in a comic book to fill space, often unrelated to the main storyline.

Variant Edition: A different version of a comic book issue with alternate cover art, sometimes with additional content.

Bleed: Artwork or color that extends to the edge of a comic book page without a border.

Foil Cover: A comic book cover with metallic or reflective elements for added visual appeal.

Splash Spread: A double-page spread featuring a single, impactful image or scene.

Speed Lines: Lines used to convey movement or speed in a comic panel.

Halftone: A printing technique that uses dots to create gradients or shades of gray in comic book artwork.

Splashback: A flashback sequence presented in a single, visually striking panel or page.

Mini-Series: A limited series of comic book issues with a predetermined number of installments, usually telling a complete story.

Backup Feature: Additional content, such as a short story or character profile, included in a comic book issue.

Credits Page: A page in a comic book that lists the creators involved in producing the issue.

Ink Brush: A tool used by artists for inking, providing varying line thicknesses and textures.

Panel Layout: The arrangement of panels on a comic book page, determining the flow and pacing of the story.

Artist Alley: A section at comic book conventions where artists and creators showcase and sell their work.

Speech Balloon Tail: The part of a speech balloon that points to the character speaking.

Sound Effect Lettering: The stylized text used to represent various sounds within a comic panel.

Cover Price: The retail price printed on the cover of a comic book.

Glossy Cover: A comic book cover with a shiny, reflective finish.

Digital Comic: Comic book content available in digital format for reading on electronic devices.

Fan Art: Artwork created by fans based on existing comic book characters or stories.

Title Page: The page in a comic book that displays the title, issue number, and creative team.

Editorial Cartoon: A single-panel or strip cartoon that satirizes current events or political situations.

Anthology: A collection of comic book stories or series published together in a single book.

Mascot: A character or symbol associated with a particular comic book publisher.

Manhua: Chinese comic books or graphic novels.

Trade Dress Variation: Alterations in the design elements of a comic book cover while retaining brand identity.

Retelling: A new version of a previously told story with alterations in plot, characters, or setting.

Webcomic: A comic published primarily on the internet.

Variant Subscription Cover: A cover available exclusively to subscribers of a particular comic book series.

Exclusive Cover: A cover available only through specific retailers or events.

Cover Gallery: A section in a comic book featuring various cover art variants.

Trade-In: Exchanging older comics for credit towards purchasing new ones at comic book stores.

Special Edition: A version of a comic book with added content, such as interviews or behind-the-scenes features.

Sticker Variant: A comic book cover with an affixed sticker, often denoting a special feature or event.

Marvel Omnibus: A collection of multiple storylines or issues from a specific Marvel Comics series in a single, oversized volume.

Gutterless Layout: A comic page design that lacks traditional gutters between panels, creating a seamless visual flow.

Character Arc: The growth and development of a character’s personality and traits throughout a story.

Inktober: An annual challenge encouraging artists to create ink drawings throughout October, popular in the artistic community.

Editorial Direction: The overarching vision or theme guiding a comic book series.

Cameo Appearance: A brief appearance of a character in a comic book unrelated to the main storyline.

Dailies: Comic strips published daily in newspapers.

Spinner Rack: Rotating display racks used in stores to showcase and sell comic books.

Trade Dress Logo: The consistent logo design used on comic book covers to signify a particular series or publisher.

Hardcover Edition: A sturdy, durable format of a comic book collected in a hardbound book.

Dynamic Posing: Artistic depiction of characters in action-oriented or visually striking poses.

Creator-Owned: Comic book properties wholly owned by their creators rather than the publishing company.

Foreign Edition: Translated versions of comic books for international markets.

Lettering Font: The style of typeface used for text in a comic book.

Artist Signature: The artist’s personalized mark or name often found on comic book artwork.

Variant Logo: A different version of a series logo or title design used on special comic book editions.

Splash Art: Highly detailed and visually impressive illustrations used for promotional purposes or covers.

Back Matter: Additional content included at the end of a comic book, such as creator interviews, sketches, or previews.

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