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Comics Terminology

Comics Terminology



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Published by: tonywh on Apr 06, 2008
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Comics Terminology
from: Writing For Comic Books http://www.joeedkin.com/
The images that are usually laid out within borders are known as panels.The layout of the panels can be in a grid.
was notablefor utilizing a nine panel grid of three rows and three columns.Occasionally,Alan MooreandDave Gibbonswould use larger   panels that broke the format of the grid to emphasize specificacts or points in the narrative.Other techniques of representation used within comics are: thespeech bubble; the thought balloon; the narrative box; and thestyle of lettering.
Panel frames
The border or edges of a panel, when drawn, are called frames.These are normally rectangular in shape, but this shape can bealtered to convey information to the reader. A cloud shaped panel can indicate a flashback or a dream sequence, whilst onewith a jagged edge can be used to convey anger or shock. A panel without a frame is used to convey space. The frame itself can be formed by the image. For example, a scene can beframed by a door frame or by binoculars.
Full bleed is usually used on a comic book cover, and is whenthe art is allowed to run to the edge of each page, rather thanhaving a white border around it. Bleeds are sometimes used oninternal panels to create the illusion of space or emphasizeaction. This is more common inmangaand modern comics.TheBleedof DC Comics'Multiversetakes its name as a pun on this term.
Splash page
Splash page or sometimes referred to simply as a "splash", is afull page drawing in a comic book. A splash page is often usedas the first page of a story, and includes the title and credits.Splashes that are not on the first page of a story are sometimescalled interior splash pages. Interior splashes may, or may notinclude titles and/or credits. A panel that is larger than others onthe page is called a splash panel. A splash that appears acrosstwo pages of a comic book is called a "double splash" or a two- page spread. Rarely, splash pages will stretch over more thantwo pages; such multi-page spreads often take the form of fold-out posters.
Speech balloon, word balloon, speech bubble
word balloon
(also known as a
speech bubble
),is a graphic used to assign ownership of dialogue on a particular character. Bubbles which represent an internal dialogue arereferred to as "thought balloons". The shape of the balloon willindicate the type of dialogue contained, with thought balloons being more cloud-like and connected to the owner by a series of small bubbles. Speech bubbles are more elliptical, althoughthose used to represent screaming or anger tend to be spiky, andsquare boxes have been used to represent dialogue spoken byrobots or computers. Whispers are usually represented by balloons made up of broken lines. Surprised thoughts in japaneseMangaare usually round and tend to spike out.Balloons such as radio, or TV, may be represtented by a spiked ballon. Certain creators are particularly renowned for their inventiveness with the format of the balloon; writer and artistDave Sim(who also letters his own work), is particularlyinnovative with this aspect of the comic book - for example, a balloon containing dialogue which is spoken coldly will oftenhave depictions of small icicles hanging from it.
See also: Speech balloon
Comic book captions are a narrativedevice, often used to convey information that cannot becommunicated by the art or speech. Captions can be used in place of 
thought bubbles
, can be in the first- second- or third- person, and can either be assigned to an independent narrator or one of the comics' characters. Simply put, they are:"Boxes on a comic book page that contains text... Whilesometimes used to convey dialogue, they are more oftenused to impart a character's thoughts or as a narrativedevice."
word balloons
, they need not be of uniform shape, size,design or color (indeed, some modern comics use differentcolors to assign different textual captions to differentcharacters).
Motion lines
Motion lines, also known as "speed lines", are lines that are usedto represent motion. Like in some pictures if a person or someother mobile thing in moving the 'Motion Lines' will follow inshort, straight lines behind it.
The gutter is the space between borders.Scott McCloud identified the gutter as one of the most important narrative toolsin comics, invoking as it does a procedure McCloud defined asclosure.
Mort Walker defined in his book 
, theiconic representations used within comics and cartooning as"symbolia".
Examples being thelightbulbabove a character'shead to indicate an idea, the indication of sleep by a saw cuttinga log or a line of "zzzz",Kirby dots, and the use of dotted lines

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