Friday, July 10, 2015

Comic Book 101 - Formats

I am by no means a comic book expert.  I gained interest in the medium only in the past few years, and I've hardly made an impact in my exploration of the many excellent titles and genres.

Yet, I realize that comic book reading is becoming trendier and many people are also newcomers.  Therefore, it stands to reason that others are having the same issue with comic book terminology as I did in the beginning.

So, this post is all about the various formats comics are offered in.

Single Issue

This is what most of us picture when we hear the term comic book.  These are the serials printed magazine-style that people go to their local comic book shop to pick up weekly or monthly.  They are usually about 30 pages long but can be shorter or longer.  

Typically, upon purchase, you will be asked if you want them (or they will automatically come) bagged and boarded.  All this means is that they'll be put in a plastic bag with a piece of cardboard backing it for protection.


Trades are bind-ups of five to ten single issues.  They most often come in paperback, but they do make them in hardcover, as well. 


These are collections that are smaller in size.  An example of this is Archie Comics.  Manga comes in this format, as well.


If you are looking for a massive bind-up of single issues, you are looking for an omnibus.  These hardcover collections usually include more than twenty issues, typically compiling a complete run or series.

Graphic Novel/Memoir

Graphic novels and memoirs are exactly what they sound like - stories, typically longer in length, that are released in full.  They can be split into parts, but they are never released as single issues.  


Dinosaur Comics is a favorite webcomic of mine.
As the name makes obvious, these are comics that are released online.  Some are done as comic strips featuring the same characters but not a continuing storyline, and others tell an ongoing narrative.  

Digital Edition

This is a version of a comic made viewable on computers, tablets, phones, and e-readers.  

So, those are the most common comic formats.  I hope that this was helpful to you.  If I missed anything important, please tell me in the comments below.

To see my archive of comic reviews, click here

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Happy reading!

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