Glossary

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Following is the Glossary developed in 2003 by Robert Sharp, with help from several others. It was never posted to the website. I will be using it as the basis for a new Glossary that I have volunteered to work on along with our Format document. - Don Milne

Note that some definitions and examples described here are obsolete, and have been overridden by updates to the formatting documentation (for instance, Price). The formatting documentation definitely has precedence: Formatting Documentation. - Allen Ross


Contents
# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

#

2 color
A comic that is printed in only two colors -- most commonly black and one other color -- on interior story pages and sometimes also on the cover itself. The tint of the paper stock on which the comic is printed does not count as a color.
3-D effects
A novelty comic book where the cover and/or story artwork simulates a three dimensional image. Two different types of 3-D comic book processes have been used:
1) Standard 3-D
An effect obtained by separating the left and right eye-channels - usually by overlaying each one using magenta/red and cyan/blue inks in the printing process. (Green ink later replaced the cyan ink.) When these comics are viewed through anaglyph "3-D glasses" with red and blue (or green) filters on different sides, a three dimensional image results. (See hologram cover.)
A variant version of this, called "Valiant Vision", was introduced by Valiant Comics in 1994. This was an alternate form of 3-D that produced a 4 color image readable without glasses, but special glasses enhanced the experience. Technically, the method was based on a prism principle, making red objects appear closer than blue objects.
2) "3-D Effect"
Comic books that have the black line artwork extended out of the panels and/or borders to partially mimic the standard 3-D processes. Many modern comic books use detailed computer coloring to render the drawings "3-D" like with increased detail and depth. Technically, this is not 3-D in the traditional sense.
4 color
A standard color comic book, whose palette is derived from the combination of CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and blacK) inks in various percentages and mixtures. Combining these inks produces secondary hues through a subtractive color system involving reflected light. For example, blue is cyan + magenta and red is yellow + magenta. Older comics were often printed in flat colors, due to crude printing processes and the lower quality of the newsprint paper employed. This is no longer the general case.
You will often see the gold or silver ink used on some covers (notably the gimmick covers prevalent in the late 1980s to 1990s) referred to as a "fifth ink" because it is added to the four standard inks.


A

Activity
A standard Type used to describe puzzles, models, paper dolls, or any other page that encourages reader interaction.
Ad
A standard Type used to describe advertisements. Indexing advertisements is considered to be optional by the GCD.
adapter
An individual who creates a comic book script from a story originally told in another medium (e.g. a prose story or film). For most indexes of adapted stories, the adapter will be credited as the primary scripter. If the story contains writing credits for both the writer of the original material and the writer of the comic script, this may be indexed in the Script field as:
Original Writer (original story); Comics Writer (adaptation)
album
The standard European term for a book-format comic. May have either trade paperback or hardcover binding.
alternate covers
Some comics are published with different versions that contain the same interior contents, but have differences in the covers. The different cover versions may be distributed in approximately equal amounts, or be distributed to different markets - e.g. the newsstand and direct markets. In other cases, one cover version may make up the majority of the books sold. This is referred to as the "standard" cover, and covers that differ in some way from it are referred to as alternate covers. Alternate covers usually feature different artwork than the standard cover, but may instead have more minor changes, such as a differently colored logo or special cover text.
Some alternate covers are released exclusively through certain mail-in offers or licensed collectible houses, while others can be bought off the racks of comic-book stores. Alternate covers frequently have lower print runs than an issue's standard cover, and therefore are sold for a higher price; similarly, retailers can sometimes choose from among alternate covers when ordering an issue, but usually the distribution is allocated by the publisher. Some companies letter their alternate covers (A,B,C, etc). Some companies change the final 3 numbers of the Direct Edition UPC bar code slightly for an alternate cover. Other companies let the number directly following the issue number in the Direct Edition UPC bar code signify the number of covers available (2 for 2, 3 for 3, etc.)
Comics that are published with alternate covers are usually indexed in the GCD as a single issue with multiple cover lines.
ashcan
A comic printed in small numbers, often to secure trademarks for, or to preview material from, regular comics that have yet to be released. In the 1940s, ashcans were produced exclusively as a means for a publisher to establish its claim to a comic-book title or character. (The name "ashcan" came about because most copies weren't circulated outside the office of the publisher and ended up in the trash when they were no longer needed.) In the collectability craze of the early-to-mid 1990s, ashcans were revived by major publishers as a means to generate interest in new projects; unlike the black-&-white, frequently photocopied ashcans of the past, these ashcans were professionally printed and distributed to comic-book shops.
Some minicomics are also called ashcans, or their format referred to as the "ashcan format", which generally refers to American "letter" (height: 27.9 cm [11 inches]; width 21.6 cm [8.5 inches]) or ISO "A4" (height: 29.7 cm, width: 21 cm) sheets folded in half.
Australian Newsstand Edition
From October 1990 to November 1993 Marvel Comics released copies of many of their main titles for Australia. They have only an Australia price. The indicia date and cover date is about 3 months after the same issues released in the U.S.

B

Backcovers
A standard Type that may be used to describe the back cover of a comic, unless one of the other Type field terms describes the content of the back cover more specifically. If the back cover is part of a wraparound cover or an interior sequence that continues on to the back cover of the comic (e.g. a story that ends on the back cover), it should not be indexed separately. GCD documents and indexes may contain the equivalent terms “Back Cover” or “Backcover” instead.
B&W
Black-&-white. A story, or an entire comic, that is published using only black ink on interior story pages.
bar code
Comics may have two different types of bar codes. American mass-market serialized periodicals will usually have a UPC bar code box containing either two sets of 5 digits or one set of 6 digits under the main bar code. Mass-market periodicals in other countries will usually have a thirteen-digit EAN bar code, starting with 977. Books will usually have a Bookland EAN code box. This contains a thirteen-digit EAN bar code, starting with 978, as well as the ISBN for the book. American mass-market paperbacks may have two bar code boxes - a UPC bar code for newsstand retailers and a Bookland EAN code for bookstores.
Baxter
A brand name for a type of high quality (non-glossy) smooth white paper introduced in the early 1980s, used at first almost exclusively on comics available only through the direct market.
Bio
A standard Type used to describe a prose biography of a comic creator or other individual. A biographical or autobiographical sequential art comic story may be indexed as a Story.
black-&-white
See B&W.
BookName
The series line field that is used to record the official name of the series. This should be taken from the indicia (if possible). If the comic does not have an indicia (or does not have a series name in the indicia), the official name may be taken from a title page or the cover of the publication.
bookshelf format
See squarebound.
breakdowns
See layouts.


C

Canadian Newsstand Edition
From October 1982 to August 1986 Marvel Comics released copies of many of their main titles for Canada. They have only a Canada price. The indicia date and cover date is the same as the issues released in the U.S.
cameo
A "cameo" is a character appearance that is less than 1 page in length.
cardstock
Cardstock is paper that masses between 110 and 300 grams per square meter. This is the sort of paper used for playing cards, trading cards, and the binding of paperback books. It also may be used for the covers of squarebound or saddle-stitched comics, especially for “deluxe” editions. Actual thickness levels used vary between nations and publishers. Cardstock used for covers may be glossy on one or both sides.
Character Appearances
See Characters.
Characters
The cover line and story line field that is used to record information on character appearances. The cover line Characters field should be used to record character appearances in the cover art, not the entire publication. The term "Character Appearances", which also appears on some GCD webpages, is synonymous with "Characters".
chromium cover
A cover printed using an exclusive reflective foil, producing eye-catching colors and tones. Other types of foils are also used. May be used on trading card inserts placed in some comic books.
cloth-bound
See hardcover.
colophon
In comics, this is usually used as a term for a publisher's logo. In books, this may refer to publishing information located at the back of the book or on the copyright page.
Colorforms
A brand name for a line of plastic sticker figures. These were usually sold independently, but some comics featured Colorforms depicting comic book super-heroes as cover enhancements.
Colorist
The cover line and story line field that is used to record credits for coloring, separations, painting, 3-D effects, and greytones.
comic book
The GCD defines a comic book as a book or serialized periodical that consists of 50% or more comic art.
copyright page
See indicia.
CountryCode
The series level field that is used to record the country where the publisher of a series was located.
Cover
A standard Type used to describe the front cover of a publication, or both the front and back covers if the comic has a wraparound cover.
cover enhancement
Any addition made to a cover beyond the standard 4 color printing on glossy paper. As examples see:
cardstock; chromium cover; Colorforms; die-cut cover; foil cover; gatefold cover; gimmick cover; glow-in-the-dark cover; hologram cover; textured cover
cover line
A horizontal row (or record) within the GCD database that contains information on the front cover of an individual issue. If the comic has a wraparound cover, the cover line is used to describe both the front and back covers. If the publication has a dust jacket, this may also be noted in the cover Notes field.
Cover Reprint
A standard Type used to describe a reprint of cover art (with or without text) on an interior page of a reprint collection.
creator
A writer, artist, or editor involved in the production of comic books.
crossover
Crossover is a term that does not have a strictly defined meaning, and usage of the term has evolved over time. The original meaning referred to a serialized narrative that had Story chapters published in different comic-book series. Some individuals also use the term to refer to an appearance by a character from one ongoing Feature in a Feature where that character does not normally appear. (This may also be referred to as a "guest appearance" or "guest-star".) The term may also be used to describe a series that has explicitly been set up to bring characters from two or more different Features together in one story.

D

die-cut cover
A cover with a unique cut-out design stamped into it, uniform among all copies printed. Comics with die-cut covers often have a second "cover" that can partly be seen through the holes of the actual cover.
digest
A publication the size of small "digest" magazines.
(height: 14.6-15.6 cm [5.75-6.125 in.]; width: 11.4-12.4 cm [4.5-4.875 in.])
Direct Edition
A version of a specific issue of a publication intended for direct market retailers. (See Newsstand Edition.)
direct market
Specialty comic-book shops, which buy comics from distributors in a non-returnable manner.
distributor
A distributor is an individual or business that carries out the transport of comics from publishers to retailers. Indexing of distributors is optional, but if this information is known, it may be included in the series line or cover line Notes field. Distributor information can sometimes be found in the indicia of comics, and American Newsstand Editions usually have a distributor logo next to the cover price.
dust jacket
A removable paper cover designed to wrap around the binding of a book. Dust jacket art credits should usually be indexed in the cover line, with a note about the binding and dust jacket in the cover Notes field.


E

edition
A version of a specific issue of a publication published with specific contents, by a specific publisher. If second or later printings have the same contents as the first printing, with no major changes other than a statement of the printing number in the indicia or copyright page, they are usually considered part of the same edition and do not require a separate index. (Printing dates may be listed in the cover line Notes field.) Versions of an issue of a publication that have different publishers or changed contents are different editions, and require separate indexes.
Editor
The cover line and story line field that is used to record credits for the editor(s) of an issue or story. If an entire issue has the same editor(s), the editor(s) only have to be credited in the cover line. If specific stories in an anthology have different editors, individual editors are credited for each story. Story line Editor credits may also be used if a story in a reprint collection has a different original editor than the editor of the collection.
embellisher
A word sometimes used merely as a synonym for inker, but also used to denote an inker who has served as finisher over rough pencil art.
embossing
Use of a die-stamp in the printing process to create a raised or relief marking on the cover.
engraving
An impression made into a comic book cover to create an illusion of depth.


F

fanzine
An amateur publication devoted to comics fandom. Fanzines that contain comic stories as 50% or more of their content may be indexed for the GCD.
Feature
The Feature is the cover line and story line field that is used to record the name of the on-going continuity found on the cover or in a story. (See examples below.)
The story line Feature field records the name of the ongoing continuity the story is part of. This name usually appears on the first page or title page of a story, often as a logo. The Feature is often, but not always, the main recurring character. Note that not all stories will have Features (for example, many stories in horror anthologies don't have any ongoing continuity). Multiple Features should be listed in the case of crossovers.
The cover line Feature field records the name of the ongoing continuity appearing in the cover art, not the Features of every story in the publication. This is usually the same as one of the story Features, but some comics may have cover art unrelated to any of the interior contents, so no Feature field entry is needed. Multiple Features may be listed when more than one is present on the cover, unless they are only present in small vignettes.
The Feature field should not be used to list all characters appearing on a cover or in a story – that is the purpose of the Characters field. The term "Feature Character", which also appears on some GCD webpages, is synonymous with "Feature".
Examples:
Feature Publication containing this Feature
Adventures in the Unknown All-American Comics
Astérix Astérix le Gaulois
Batman Detective Comics
Batman Batman: Red Rain
Batman; Wildcat Brave and the Bold, The
Captain Marvel Power of SHAZAM!, The
Crimson Avenger Detective Comics
Giant-Man; Hulk Tales to Astonish
Peanuts Lead On, Snoopy
Private Life of Clark Kent Superman
Spider-Man Spectacular Spider-Man
Feature Character
This is a synonym for Feature.
field
A column in a database file, intended to hold a specific type of information. Examples in the GCD include the BookName field in the series line, the Issue Number field in the cover line, and the Synopsis field in the story line.
Filler
A standard Type used to describe a short sequential art comic story that is not a regular recurring Feature of a periodical that has continuing Features. (See Story.)
fill-in
A single story or issue within a series produced by different creators than the stories or issues preceding and following it.
finisher
See layouts.
FirstIssue
The series line field that is used to record the Issue Number of the first published issue of a series. The first issue is defined by publication date, not numerical order - if a "0" issue was published after issue 1, then issue 1 would be the first issue.
flashback
A depiction of earlier events within a comic-book story. These do not have to be indexed separately from the story, but may be mentioned in the Notes field. If a summary of earlier events is presented as a text piece separate from the story, it is usually indexed separately as a Recap.
flat colors
A comic with very limited nuances to the colors within the black ink outlines.
flip-book
A comic which contains 2 stories, which start at opposite ends of the book. Each story is "flipped" upside down compared to the other story. Also referred to as "tête-bêche".
foil cover
A type of cover enhancement featuring reflective foil stamped onto part of the cover.
Format
The series line field that is used to record the physical structure of the publication. Information listed here may include:
color: 2 color; 3-D; B&W; 4 color
size: digest; magazine; Standard Golden Age US; Standard Modern US; Standard Silver Age US; tabloid; or measured size (height in cm X width in cm)
binding: hardcover; saddle-stitched; squarebound
paper stock: Baxter; glossy; Mando; newsprint; smooth white

G

gatefold cover
This is a cover that has a foldout leaf on the front cover or on both the front and back covers. The gatefold usually has printed material on both sides, so both sides of the foldout portion of the cover should be counted as extra pages or partial pages.
GCD
The Grand Comics DatabaseTM project. Also referred to as the Grand Comic-Book Database on some GCD documents, as that was the official project name up to December 2009.
Genre
The Genre is the cover line and story line field that is used to record the major kind of writing style for a given Feature (or Story for stories that lack a continuing Feature). The Genre field is usually used to record the recurring styles found in all stories that share a given Feature, not all of the styles that may occur within each individual story. For example, an individual super-hero story that contains humor or romance material would not have those listed as the Genre unless that was a recurring element of all stories with the same Feature. Stories that do not have a Feature (for example, stories in horror anthologies that don't have any ongoing continuity) will have the contents of their Genre field based on the content of each individual story.
A Feature (or Feature-less story) may have multiple Genres. These should be separated by a semicolon and space: e.g. super-hero; funny animals
A list of standard Genres is available here: Official Genres List
gimmick cover
A colloquial term for a cover featuring some type of cover enhancement. These may include chromium, Colorforms, die-cut, foil, gatefold, glow in the dark, hologram, or textured covers.
glossy
Paper that has a shiny "slick" surface produced by coating the paper with a thin coat of varnish.
glow in the dark cover
A type of cover enhancement, produced by printing a cover with phosphorescent inks.
graphic novel
"Graphic novel" is a term that is commonly used to describe a comic story of sufficient length to be published as a book, in either squarebound or hardcover binding. It is usually used to refer to a story that is first published in book form, but is sometimes used to describe a book containing reprints of material from serialized periodicals. The term has also been used to describe comic trade paperbacks that are oversized or have a higher quality binding than most.
greytones
Grey tones used by an artist in place of color to enhance the palette of B&W stories. Tones can be added in a variety of ways -- by applying such films as Zip-a-Tone, by using special art board like Craftint, by using ink washes, or simply by lessening the percentage of black ink in the printing process.
group pen-name
A pseudonym used by several artists working together.
guest appearance
See crossover.
guest-star
See crossover.

H

half-title
See title page.
hardcover
A book bound with a stiff "hard" cover. (Usually heavy cardboard covered with a cloth, paper, or plastic coating.) May also be referred to as “cloth-bound”.
hologram cover
A cover with a hologram embedded in it. A hologram is a special printed foil that produces a three dimensional image that can be seen without the use of special glasses. (See 3-D effects). The hologram usually does not occupy the entire surface of the cover. Holograms have also been used on trading card inserts in some comic books.
house
A group of companies publishing comics out of a shared editorial office, usually with a shared imprint. One reason for this may be that a publisher has set up multiple companies with overlapping ownership to take advantage of tax and/or distribution regulations. (This was a common practice for American Golden Age publishers.) Another reason may be that a publisher has changed its legal name due to changes in ownership or corporate policy.
When indexing a <series> published by a "house" (such as DC or Marvel), the name of the "house" is recorded in the series line Publisher field, and the specific corporate name in the indicia is recorded in the Imprint/PubNotes field.


I

imprint
A subset of a publisher's comics that share a common cover logo or other identifying mark. Examples include DC's Vertigo imprint and Marvel's Epic imprint. Imprints are recorded in the series line Imprint/PubNotes field.
Imprint/PubNotes
The series line field that is used to record the imprint and/or the specific corporate name of a publisher that is part of a house. If the imprint or publisher name differs for different issues of a series, the specific issues that the information applies to should be noted in brackets.
Examples:
  • Helix (1-12); Vertigo (13 on)
  • Timely (1-24); Atlas (25-40)
  • Vertigo (47-75)
  • Detective Comics Inc (1-3); Superman Inc (4-120); National Comics Publications (121-210); National Periodical Publications (211-350); DC Comics Inc (351-580)
index
A GCD database file for a specific issue or series.
Indexer
The series line field that is used to record the name of the individual(s) who prepared the index for a series.
indicia
The indicia is the publisher's official statements in a publication, normally containing the complete name of the publication, date, publisher's address, copyright notice and the names of the main editorial staff. Books may also indicate the authors' names and will have an ISBN and/or a National Library identification number, while periodicals may specify their ISSN. Indicia for periodicals may also detail publishing frequency and subscription prices. GCD indexing rules specify that the indicia should be the source of the official BookName, Issue Number, PubDate and PubNotes information for indexing.
The indicia is usually found at the bottom of the inside front cover or at the bottom of the first page of a serialized periodical. Sometimes it is printed at the bottom of the inside back cover or, more rarely, at the bottom of an interior page of the publication instead. Books (hardcover, paperbacks, or trade paperbacks) often do not have an indicia, but the information needed can be found on the copyright page instead, which is usually on the back of the main title page. (This page is also called the "verso".) Additional information may be found in a colophon at the back of the book. Some books or periodicals do not have either an indicia or a copyright page, or the indicia may not include some or all of the information normally found there. In these cases, the information gathered for indexing should come from the cover or other notes that may be found in the books themselves (found in places like letter pages, editorial columns, introductions, etc.).
inker
The person who goes over pencil lines with India ink (or some other opaque ink) in order to make them dark enough to print clearly. Often contributes significantly to the artwork, adding and removing details, which may lead to being credited in some comic books as embellisher.
Inks
The cover line and story line field that is used to record credits for inkers, embellishers, finishers and painting.
Insert
A standard Type used to describe items packaged with or attached to a comic, such as 3-D glasses or trading cards.
inventory code
See Job Number.
ISBN
The International Standard Book Number for a publication that is not a serialized periodical. This is a unique 10-digit code number assigned to every book published since 1970. It can usually be found on the copyright page or colophon of a book, and may also be printed on the cover or dust jacket. Between 1967 and 1976, an earlier numbering system referred to as the Standard Book Number (SBN) was used by some publishers.
ISSN
ISSN is the standard abbreviation for International Standard Serial Number. This is a unique 8-digit code number that is assigned to serialized periodicals. It may be found in the indicia.
issue
A single numbered and/or dated unit of a serialized periodical.
Issue Number
The cover line field that is used to record the official issue number from the indicia. If there is no indicia (or no issue number in the indicia), the number from the cover may be used instead. If a one-shot has no issue number in the indicia or on the cover, this should be indicated as: nn. If a serialized periodical has no issue numbers on any of its issues, an indexer may assign numbers in square brackets to the issues - e.g. [1]; [2]; etc. (The square brackets are used to indicate indexer-added information that is not in the comic itself.) If a periodical restarts issue numbering with a change in volume, this is indexed as v1#1; v1#2; v2#1; etc. If a periodical restarts issue numbering annually, this is indexed in a number/year format: 1/1978; 2/1978; 1/1979; etc.
If the indicia contains an incorrect issue number, the number in the indicia should still be given, along with the "correct" issue number from the cover in square brackets. For example, if the third issue in a series is numbered 2 in the indicia and 3 on the cover, this should be indexed as 2[3]. If both the indicia and cover contain the same "incorrect" number, the issues involved may be indexed with modified issue numbers, such as 3[a] and 3[b]. An example of this would be a series that had two different issues numbered 3, followed by an issue numbered 4. These should be indexed as 3[a]; 3[b]; 4. For all of the examples given in this paragraph, an explanation of the unusual numbering should be given in the series line or cover line Notes field.


J

Jewelers
(see Mark Jeweler insert)
Job Number
A unique code number assigned to each art job by some publishers. (Art jobs may consist of more than one story, especially for short Fillers.) These numbers are often useful for tracking reprints, especially international reprints, where the Title of the story may be translated into a different language. Job numbers may also be referred to as an "inventory code".

K

KeyDate
A code assigned to every issue in a series by the GCD. This code is used to sort the issues by order of publication. The code is an eight-digit number in the format YYYY.MM.DD, used to represent the date in the cover line PubDate field. YYYY is the four-digit year of publication. If the publication date spans two years (e.g. December 1968-January 1969), use the first year. MM is the two-digit month of publication. For bimonthly publications that list more than one month in their indicia (e.g. January-February 1955), the KeyDate should be based on the first month. For quarterly publications, “Spring” issues may be indexed as “04”, “Summer” issues may be indexed as “07”, “Fall” issues may be indexed as “10”, and “Winter” or “Holiday” issues may be indexed as “00” or “13”, depending on whether they were published early or late in the year. If the month of publication is not known, either “00” or “13” may be used for MM. (00 is used for an issue published before issues for which a month is known, 13 is used for an issue published after issues for which a month is known.) For a monthly series, DD is represented as a standard value of 00. If a series is published with a frequency greater than monthly, then the exact day of publication is indicated. For example, two consecutive issues of a biweekly publication might have the KeyDates 2002.01.09 and 2002.01.23. If the exact day of publication is not known, any combination of dates that allows the issue published earlier to sort first may be substituted.
When preparing indexes using the online indexing program, indexers have to work out the KeyDate for themselves and enter it in the KeyDate field on the online indexing form. For traditional offline indexes prepared using spreadsheet or text editor programs, the KeyDate is added by editors after the index has been submitted by the indexer.


L

layouts
Sketches or rough pencil art done by one artist as guidelines for another. A writer or editor may also provide such guidelines, in which case the not-quite-synonymous phrase "breakdowns" is often used instead. Layouts are often done directly on the art board on which the penciler will work from them; sometimes, however (especially when "breakdowns" are involved), the roughing out is done on another, smaller piece of paper. The artist who works over the layouts may handle the inking as well as the pencilling, in which case he or she is often called the finisher; some finishers do very little tightening up of the pencils before moving on to the inking.
Letterer
The cover line and story line field that is used to record credits for an individual or mechanism that adds text captions and speech balloons to a comic-book story. If no specific individual or studio is credited for computer or other machine lettering, the term "typeset" should be used.
Letters page
A standard Type used to describe letter columns. Indexing letter columns is considered to be optional by the GCD.
Library Bound
Library Bound usual refers to soft cover books/graphic novels that are available in Libraries. A hardcover reproduction of the cover is usually put right on top of the soft cover.
limited series
A comic-book series intended to run a predetermined number of issues. Publishers often use the term "miniseries" for a short to medium length limited series (usually less than six issues, although limited series with up to 12 issues have sometimes been called "miniseries"). Publishers may also use "maxiseries" as a term for a longer limited series (normally around twelve issues), and "microseries" for very short series (2-3 issues), although these are less common terms. None of these terms has a standardized definition for number of issues.

M

magazine
A term used to describe comics that are similar in size to a "standard" mass-market magazine.
(height: 26.5-28 cm [10.5-11 in.]; width: 20.5-21.5 cm [8-8.5 in.])
major discontinuity in issue numbers
A disruption in numbering that persists for more than 1 issue, resulting in a set of issues with numbers lower than those that preceded them. Single-issue disruptions, such as '0' issues, '-1' issues, '1,000,000' issues, etc., are not considered major if the prior numbering resumes with the following issue. Note that a reset of issue numbering accompanied by a change in volume numbering is not considered a discontinuity.
Mando
A brand name for a type of high quality (non-glossy) smooth white paper introduced in the early 1980s, better than newsprint but not as good as Baxter.
Mark Jeweler insert
In the mid 70's to the early 80's, Marvel, DC, Gold Key, Harvey and possibly other publishers inserted a 4 page color insert into the center section of their comics. These inserts were only put into Newsstand Editions of their books that where distributed on and around U.S. military bases, in the U.S. and abroad. These inserts allowed soldiers to purchase engagement rings through the mail. The ratio of inserts to non-inserts is unknown, but most comic dealers and auction houses call these rare variants and sell them as such. Also referred to as "Jewelers". (see also Nation Diamond and MJI)
mass-market paperback
A softcover book sized to fit into newsstand paperback racks.
(height: 17.1-17.8 cm [6.75-7 in.]; width: 10.2-10.8 cm [4-4.25 in.])
maxiseries
See limited series.
microseries
See limited series.
minicomics
Self-published sequential art publications using small formats similar to fanzines or ashcans. Actual sizes may vary. Usually printed in small numbers on photocopiers, folded into a small size, stapled and sometimes trimmed. A recently coined term to distinguish publications of this type from text-based fanzines.
miniseries
See limited series.
MJI insert
MJI jeweler inserts were put in books distributed to overseas military bases and U.S. bases. They ran in every 32 page book (not giants or square bound) from most of the major publishers (Marvel, DC, Dell/Gold Key, Charlton) from '72 through the early '90s. These inserts allowed soldiers to purchase engagement rings through the mail. The ratio of inserts to non-inserts is unknown, but most comic dealers and auction houses call these rare variants and sell them as such. (see also Mark Jewelers and Nation Diamond)

N

National Diamond insert
National Diamond jeweler inserts were put in books distributed to overseas military bases and U.S. bases. They ran in every 32 page book (not giants or square bound) from most of the major publishers (Marvel, DC, Dell/Gold Key, Charlton) from '72 through the early '90s. These inserts allowed soldiers to purchase engagement rings through the mail. The ratio of inserts to non-inserts is unknown, but most comic dealers and auction houses call these rare variants and sell them as such (see also Mark Jewelers and MJI)
National Library identification number
A number used to identify a book's classification for shelving purposes in national libraries. Each country has its own specifications.
In the past, the most commonly used system in the USA was the Dewey Decimal system. Most book publications are now assigned a Library of Congress Catalog Card Number (LCCN). In most books published in the USA, the Dewey Decimal number and/or the LCCN can be found in the Cataloging in Publication (CIP) on the copyright page. (Usually the verso (back) side of the title page.)
New Format
The proprietary term used by DC Comics for its line of comics printed on paper that was better than newsprint but not as good as Baxter or Prestige Format books.
newsprint
Lower quality off-white acid-pulp paper, subject to yellowing and brittleness with time. It is used to print newspapers and was used to print traditional American newsstand comics.
newsstand
Refers to general magazine retailers that buy comics from distributors in a returnable manner.
Newsstand Edition
A version of a specific issue of a publication intended for newsstand retailers. (See Direct Edition.)
Notes
The series line, cover line and story line fields that are used to record information that does not fit in more specific fields, as well as notes explaining data in the more specific fields. The series line Notes field is used to record information that applies to an entire series. The cover line Notes field may record notes on a cover or an entire issue.

O

one-shot
A series consisting of a single issue. While some one-shots may be squarebound instead of saddle-stitched, a one-shot of significant enough page count or heft will probably be considered a trade paperback and/or softcover graphic novel instead of a one-shot comic book.


P

Page Count
The issue level and sequence level field that is used to record the total page count for an issue or an individual story. Pages should be counted on both sides. The issue level Page Count field is used to record the total page count for the issue, including both sides of the front and back covers. Dust jackets do not add to the total page count for a book, because they are designed to be wrapped around the cover binding rather than be separate pages. Gatefold covers usually have printed material on both sides, so both sides of the foldout portion of the cover should be counted as extra pages or partial pages. Page counts do not apply to Inserts designed to be removed from a comic (such as 3-D glasses or trading cards), so the field may be designated as zero for these. If a story is smaller than a full page, the Page Count is expressed as a decimal instead of a fraction. See the formatting documentation for full details.
Because page count may vary for individual issues within a series, it is not indexed at the series level.
painting
Detailed color artwork, usually produced by a single artist or a primary artist with assistants. Usually credited in the Pencils, Inks and Colorist fields as: artist’s name (painting).
panel
A single drawing within a comic-book story.
penciler
A person that draws artwork using a pencil. Pencils may be very detailed or very sketchy. Rough pencils are usually called layouts or breakdowns.
Pencils
The cover line and story line field that is used to record credits for pencilers, layouts, finishers, and painting. It should also be used to credit the photographer for a Photo Story.
pen-name
A pseudonym used by a single artist. A list of creator pen-names is available here: <ftp://members.aol.com:/jerrybails/directory/GCDnames.txt>
perfect bound
See squarebound.
Photo Story
A standard Type used to describe a sequential art story that uses photographs instead of drawings. (Also known as "fumetti".)
Pinup
A term used to describe a stand-alone illustration that is not part of a story. Index as Type Illustration.
plotter
Plotter(s) is/are the person(s) that devise the scenario of a story.
Prestige Format
The proprietary term used by DC Comics for its squarebound (or bookshelf format) comic books.
Price
The issue level field that is used to record the cover price (or prices) of the comic. For specifics on indexing Price see Cover Price.
printer
A printer is an individual or business that carries out the physical production of comics. Indexing of printers is optional, but if this information is known, it may be included at the series level or issue level Notes field.
printing
Copies of an edition of a publication printed at the same time. Printing dates may be recorded at the issue level Notes field, if known.
print run
The number of copies produced in a specific printing. If this is known, it may be recorded at the issue level Notes field.
Profile
A standard Type used to describe a prose article giving character or story setting backgrounds for a Feature.
Promo
A standard Type used to describe promotional material for other publications or merchandise from the same publisher. Includes house ads, previews, and editorial material about upcoming publications. Indexing of Promos is considered to be optional by the GCD.
PSA
A standard Type used to describe a Public Service Announcement. This is usually an advertisement or an editorial promoting awareness of a group for the betterment of the public at large.
Publication Date
The issue-level field that is used to record the publication date of the issue. This should be taken from the indicia, if possible. If the indicia does not contain a publication date, the information can sometimes be obtained from the cover, distributor catalogs, or publisher shipping lists. If a date is obtained from one of these sources, it should be reported in square brackets (indicating indexer-added information that is not in the comic), and a note on the source of the data should be added to the issue Notes field. If the publication date is unknown, the copyright date may be reported instead, with a note in the issue Notes field.
If the publishing date in the indicia is obviously wrong (e.g. if a monthly publication has the same publishing date as the previous issue), the date in the indicia should still be indexed, with the correct date in square brackets and an explanatory note in the cover Notes field.
Note that many publishers of serialized periodicals use publication dates that differ from copyright and/or shipping dates. In these cases, the "official" publication date from the indicia should be the date entered in the Publication Date field.
Publisher
The series-level field that is used to record the publisher of a series. If the publisher has not had any changes in corporate names, the corporate name (usually without "Inc." or "Ltd.") is recorded in the Publisher field. If a series is published by a publishing house whose commonly used name differs from the official corporate name, the house is recorded in this field instead. To keep the GCD databases consistent, please use the form of the publisher's name that has already been used in indexes for other series from the same publisher.
Examples:
  • Fantagraphics
  • DC
publisher
The person or business that contracts with creators, printers, and distributors to produce and distribute a comic. A publisher may be a single corporation (or division of a corporation), or a publishing house made up of multiple corporations with overlapping ownership. If a comic is published by its creator(s), it is referred to as "self-published".
PubNotes
The specific corporate name of a publisher, usually listed in the indicia. Publishing houses may use several different corporate names simultaneously or at different times in their history. This information may be recorded in the Imprint/PubNotes field.

Q

R

Recap
A standard Type used to describe a text piece, separate from a comic story, recounting what has happened in previous stories in the same narrative.
record
A row in a database file containing information on a specific object.
relief
A raised impression on a comic book cover that gives the illusion of three dimensions.
Reprint
The cover line and story line field that is used to record other publications that contain the same story or artwork.
If a story, cover art, etc. has previously been published in a different publication, this is indexed as:
from BookName (Publisher, SeriesBegan) #Issue Number (PubDate)
If the story, cover art, etc. was reprinted in a later publication, this is indexed as:
in BookName (Publisher, SeriesBegan) #Issue Number (PubDate)
Please provide as much of the information listed above as you are able to determine, but if some of this information is unknown or redundant, it may be omitted. If there is more than one story with the same Feature in the issue that the story is reprinted "from" or "in", and the title of the story differs (e.g. a reprint in a different language), the Title of the original or reprinted story should also be given.
Examples:
  • from Walt Disney's Comics and Stories (Dell, 1940 series) #204 (September 1957); original title: Losing Face
  • in Donald Duck & Co. (Hjemmet, 1948 series) #16/1958; reprint title: [Donald Duck i minneparken]
  • from Sandman, The (DC, 1989 series) #45 (January 1993)
  • in Sandman, The: Brief Lives (DC, 1994) #nn


S

saddle-stitched
A printer's term that refers to a comic that is stapled on its fold. Also called stapled.
Script
The cover line and story line field that is used to record credits for writers, plotters, scripters, adapters, and translators. This field should usually be filled in as “none" for covers and pinups, unless dialogue, text captions or a sequential art story is present on a cover.
scripter
The person who writes the dialogue, captions and (usually) the sound effects for a story. The scripter may be the same person as the plotter. Scripting can be done before a story is drawn (“full script”) or after the story is drawn (“Marvel style”).
self-cover
A cover printed on the same paper stock as the interior pages.
self-published
See publisher.
separations
Preparation of 4 color artwork for printing as separate CMYK plates.
sequence
See story line.
sequential art
This is a synonym for "comics" - a story-telling technique using multiple pictures, with or without text captions and dialogue.
serialized periodical
This is a series that has more than a single issue.
series
A publication, normally issued in successively numbered and/or dated parts or issues with a consistent BookName and Publisher, and with no major discontinuities in issue numbers if numbered. For the purposes of the GCD, a series may consist of a single publication (such as a book or one-shot).
SeriesBegan
The series line field that is used to record the year that a series was first published in. This should always be a 4-digit year, unless the date that the series started publication is unknown or more than one series with exactly the same BookName and Publisher started publication in the same year. If the year that a series was first published can be estimated, this may be shown as "1945?" If the year cannot be estimated, this may be shown as "9999". If more than one series has the same BookName, Publisher, and year of first publication, the different series may be designated with capital letters: 1945A; 1945B; etc.
SeriesEnded
The series line field that is used to record the year that a series was last published in. This should always be a 4-digit year, unless the date that the series finished publication is unknown or the series is still being published. If the series is not currently published, and the year that the series was last published can be estimated, this may be shown as "1945?" If the year cannot be estimated, this may be shown as "9999". If the series is currently being published, the field should be left blank. For a one-shot, this field will be the same as the SeriesBegan field.
series line
A horizontal row (or record) within the GCD database that contains information on an individual series.
smooth white
This is a term for high quality white paper without a glossy coating.
softcover
This is a term for “paperback” books that have a flexible paper binding.
squarebound
A printer's term that refers to a comic that has a flat spine with signatures of pages glued into its binding, as opposed to the more common saddle-stitched comics. There are several different binding techniques used to produce squarebound books. Books produced using the most common and cheapest technique are referred to as “perfect bound”. Some publishers use the phrase "bookshelf format" for squarebound comics, while DC Comics uses the proprietary term Prestige Format.
Standard Book Number
See ISBN.
standard cover
See alternate cover.
Standard Golden Age US
The range of sizes that most comic books published in the USA between the 1930s and the 1950s fit into.
(height: 25.4-26.4 cm [10-10.375 in.]; width: 19-20 cm [7.5-7.875 in.])
Standard Modern US
The range of sizes that most comic books published in the USA since the 1970s fit into.
(height: 25.4-26.4 cm [10-10.375 in.]; width: 16.5-17.5 cm [6.5-6.875 in.])
Standard Silver Age US
The range of sizes that most comic books published in the USA during the 1960s fit into.
(height: 25.4-26.4 cm [10-10.375 in.]; width: 17.5-19 cm [6.875-7.5 in.])
stapled
See saddle-stitched.
Story
A standard Type used to describe a standard sequential art comic story that is not a Filler.
story line
A horizontal row (or record) within the GCD database that contains information on an individual Story, Pinup, etc. within an issue. Each story line within an issue index is assigned an individual sequence number, showing the order of appearance of the different stories within the issue.
Synopsis
The story line field that may be used to record a short (less than 255 characters) summary of the plot of a story. This is usually left blank for the cover line.


T

Tabloid
A comics publication published in a format similar to a small newspaper.
(height: 35-40 cm [14-16 in.]; width: 25-30 cm [10-12 in.])
Text Article
A standard Type used to describe a page that is primarily text, with or without illustrations, that does not fit the description of the more specific terms Ad, Bio, Letters, Profile, Promo, PSA, Recap or Text Story. Indexing of Text Articles is considered to be optional by the GCD.
Text Story
A standard Type used to describe a prose story, with or without illustrations.
textured cover
A type of cover enhancement that produces a finish that is not smooth and flat. This may be done by using inks or coatings containing additives to produce a special texture. Other techniques that add “texture” to a cover include:
die-cut covers; embossing; engraving; foil covers; premium gimmicks like Colorforms attached to a cover; relief
Title
The cover line and story line field that is used to record the name of a story. If a story does not have a title, this may be listed as [untitled], or the story may be identified by quoting the first line of dialogue in the following format: [“It was a dark and stormy night...”]. (The square brackets indicate that this is not an actual title taken from the story.) Other Types of material present in comic books, such as Covers or Pinups do not usually have titles, and the field may be left blank for these.
title page
A page or pages containing the title of a book or story. A book’s main title page usually lists the BookName, creator(s), and publisher, and may be used as the source of indexing information if this information is not available in an indicia. The back (verso) of the main title page is usually the copyright page. Books may also have a “half-title” page. This is a page that may appear before or after the main title page, and contains only the title of the book. Main title pages and half-title pages may optionally be indexed as Text Articles.
“Story” or “chapter” title pages contain the title of a specific story, and may also contain the name of the Feature and artwork. Story title pages may usually be included in the PageCount for the story, but this should be mentioned in the Notes field.
Tracking
The series line field that is used to record changes in Publisher or BookName for two series that are connected by unbroken consecutive numbering. The field may also be used to record other unusual numbering in a series.
trade paperback
A publisher's term for a softcover book that is sold through book trade outlets (primarily bookstores, but also selected specialty stores such as comics stores).
Type
The cover line and story line field that is used to record what sort of item is being indexed in a specific record. The standard “Types” are: Activity; Ad; Backcovers; Bio; Cover; Cover Reprint; Filler; Insert; Letters; Photo Story; Pinup; Profile; Promo; PSA; Recap; Story; Text Article; Text Story
typeset
See Letterer.


U

underground
Adult "hippie" comics published in the 1960s, usually with sex, drugs and rock & roll themes.


V

variant covers
See alternate covers.
vignette
Small portrait art insets on the cover of a comic, separate from the main cover art image. These are usually used to list the Features of an anthology comic that are not depicted in the main cover art image. The Features shown in the vignettes are not usually indexed in the cover line Feature field.
volume
Consecutively numbered issues of a serialized periodical. If issue numbering for a series starts over again with a change in volume number, this is not usually considered a new series that needs a different index.


W

wraparound cover
A cover that has artwork extending from the front cover onto the back cover as part of the same image.


X

Y

Z