Marvel-ous! Issue #2 - Comic Book Terms: Explained

Hello True-Believers!

Entering the world of comics can be a hugely daunting task. There are mounds of terms that are used by veterans of the scene, that are unique to, or have unique meanings in the area of comics. I can personally attest to this confusion, as when I was first getting into the scene, I was overwhelmed. Comic book fans and readers seemed to have their own language, one which kept me from feeling welcome in the community. This is a large part of why I took so long to dive into the world of comics. I didn't feel welcome, because I couldn't use the language.

Now, after being a comic fan for a little over a year, I realize how small of a deal this actually was. If I had just asked for clarification, any number of people in the community would have explained everything to me, and I could have felt comfortable much sooner.

That is why I am starting with this issue of Marvel-ous!. I want anyone to be able to jump into the world of comics, and in-turn this series, with both feet. I don't want the language to serve as a divider between veteran fans and new or potential fans to the series. The following terms are ones that are not only used by people in your local comic bookstore, but also by me in many of the following issues of Marvel-ous!.


“Annuals”: Annuals are comics that come out toward the end of the year that recap the year’s events, or what happened in a major event. These usually have more pages than a normal comic book.

“Back-Issues”: Any issues that came before the most recent issue in a series (eg. If Deadpool #34 just came out, then issues #1-33 are considered back issues)

“Canon”: Any events that are accepted in the main universe continuity.

“Event”: These refer to events, or series of events, that affect the majority of the Marvel universe (eg. Original Sin, Infinity Wars, Secret Wars).

“Issue”: An individual story in a comic series. These typically come out monthly, although some are released more or less often than that (eg “Iron Man #27).

“MCU”: The “Marvel Cinematic Universe.” This is all the films that were made by Marvel (in conjunction with Disney). For this reason, the Sony (Spiderman and Fantastic Four) and Fox (X-Men) films are not included.

“Mini-Series”: These are limited series following a short story arc. These are most commonly 4 issues in length.

"Multiverse": The entirety of all the universes in Marvel. This topic will be discussed in greater detail in the future.

“Panel”: A panel is a single image, complete with speech bubbles and action sounds.

“Reboot”: A restarting of a series. After years of issues and continuity, a series may become cluttered and seem even more daunting for new readers. A good example of this is The Amazing Spider-Man, which, after 700 issues, killed off Peter Parker, then brought him back, starting the series over at issue #1.

“Retcon”: An abbreviation for “retroactive continuity”. This refers to when current comics change the events of past comics to fix continuity errors, tie in past events, or provide plot twists.

“Rogues Gallery”: The villains commonly associated with a particular hero or team.

“Run”: Consecutive issues with the same writer, artist, or creative team.

“Series”: Any issues that fall under the same title (eg. The “Amazing Spider-Man”).

“Story Arc”: Consecutive issues that all tie into one central story.

“Team-up”: An issue where two heroes that are not commonly associated meet up for a central goal.

“Tie-in”: An issue that connects with the current Marvel event, from a series that is not directly affected.

“Trade Paperback”: A collection of multiple issues relating to an event, story arc, or major events in a series.

I hope this provides a little bit of clarity for everyone. If there are any terms that you have heard that aren't up here that confused you, please put a comment below, and I will try to clarify for you! In addition, if there are any terms that you are familiar with that I didn't put up here, put them in the comics, and I will throw it into the list!

I know these first two introductory issues have been boring, but I promise that the real content will start in the next issue!