Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Comics & Graphic Novels: Comics In Depth

Definitions

comics: "Juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence, intended to convey information and/or to produce an aesthetic response in the viewer," Scott McCloud in Understanding Comics, 1993.

 

‚Äčsequential art: "A literary medium that narrates by arrangement of images and text in an intelligible sequence," Will Eisner in Comics and Sequential Art, 1985.

Formats

comic strip: Comics that appear daily in newspapers, usually three or four panels each; larger colorful versions appear in Sunday editions. (GarfieldCalvin and Hobbes)

 

comic book: Monthly paper issues of about 22 to 32 pages, often republished in collected volumes. (Ms. MarvelLumberjanes)

 

graphic novel: Longer form stories told in comic format, either as stand-alone books or series. (DramaAmulet)

Scott McCloud: Understanding Comics

What Even Are COMICS?

Layout

panel: One segment of the story or action; the individual box or frame.

 

gutter: The space between panels.

 

tier: One row of panels.

 

splash page: One page that consists entirely of one illustration.

 

spread: An image that spreads across multiple pages (a two-page spread is most common).

Elements

speech balloon: Contains a characters spoken dialogue with a pointer or tail to indicate the speaker.

 

thought bubble: Shows a character's unvoiced thoughts in a cloud shape, using bubbles as an indicator.

 

caption: A rectangular box which provides a narration, sometimes used for dialog when the character speaking is not pictured in the panel.

 

sound effects: Or onomatopoeia are words that mimic sound like "Pow!" or "Buzz."