Welcome to the New to Comics dictionary, the log of everything you’ll need to know on your journey to become a comic-book fanatic. Updates to come after every new post.
AGES OF COMIC-BOOKS – The timeline of comic-book publication is generally divided into various ages:
- The Golden Age of comics saw the birth of the superhero archetype, as heroes such as Superman came into the public spotlight.
- The Silver Age started with the debut of Barry Allen/The Flash, and saw the conception of many iconic heroes like The Fantastic Four.
- The Bronze Age saw the continuation of many of those titles, but often saw them take on darker stories throughout the seventies and eighties.
- The Modern Age cemented those darker stories as the norm, and saw a change in the distribution of comic-books, with an increased focus on graphic novels – the very item this site chooses to focus on.
THE SUPER-HERO CIVIL WAR – The term ‘Civil War’, in comic books, generally refers to one of two Marvel Comics events. The first served as an analogy for gun control, and was based around the idea that super-heroes needed accountability, and saw Avengers Captain America and Iron Man take sides over wherever or not heroes should register themselves and work for the government. The second was based around a new super-powered human who could witness the future, and lead Iron Man and Captain Marvel to fight over whether or not his powers should be used to preemptively stop crime. The first Civil War comic series has been loosely adapted on screen in Captain America: Civil War.
DC COMICS – One of the ‘Big Two’ publishers, DC Comics is owned by Warner Bros. It’s famous for creating some of the most popular superheroes of all time, such as Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman.
EVENTS – Event comics are stories put out by publishers that generally involve a large amount of their character roster (but not always). It will often catalogue an important event in the character (or universe/publishers) history, oft-times containing world-threatening villains or problems, that can only be overcome by heroes banding together. In more recent years, Marvel Comics has begun putting out events with such frequency that it has driven away fans, on account of the fact that, when the event is big enough, every title published by the publisher will tie into the story in some way, effectively putting the breaks on whatever story that title’s writer actually wanted to tell.
- ‘CRISIS’ EVENTS – Some of the most famous events are DC’s various crises. The first, Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985) saw DC Super-heroes team-up from across the various dimensions to fight a villain that threatened the entire multiverse. Subsequently crises have occasionally been linked to that original tale, but have also sometimes been completely unrelated. One ongoing theme, however, is that these events generally change the make-up of the DC multiverse (ie, it’s destroyed and condensed into one reality or split apart into a multiverse – this has happened a few times)
KRYPTON – Krypton is Superman‘s home planet. A rich society much more advanced than our own, Krypton eventually saw it’s destruction when their arrogance led them to deny any claims that their entire planet could ever be endangered. Any Kryptonians who managed to escape the planet’s destruction have found that, on world’s orbiting a yellow sun, they gain a host of miraculous abilities such as strength, speed, flight, enhanced senses and heat-vision.
MARVEL COMICS – One of the ‘Big Two’ publishers, Marvel Comics is owned by Disney. It’s famous for creating some of the most popular superheroes of all time, such as Spider-Man, Wolverine and the ‘incredible’ Hulk.
SUPERHERO – Superheroes are often the primary focus of comic-books, and now, superhero fiction has, in turn, become one of the most popular types of cinema. Superheroes are known for their colorful costumes and amazing abilities, with Superman often being thought of as the original superhero.
SYMBIOTE – A symbiote is a type of life-form that undergoes symbiosis; a close, long-term biological interaction with another life form. This relationship can be mutually beneficial, beneficial for one party or even parasitic in nature. More commonly, the term symbiote refers to the Marvel Comics anti-hero Venom and his various spawn, such as the serial killer Carnage; both long-time foes of the super-hero Spider-Man.
VERTIGO – An imprint of DC Comics, which was formerly used to tackle more adult tales set outside the DC Universe, and resulted in great works of fiction such as Watchmen, Hellblazer, Swamp-Thing and V For Vendetta.
VIGILANTE – A form of self-appointed ‘hero’ who takes the law into their own hands, often believing official law enforcement to be an inadequate response to crime. Although they exist in the real world, the most prominent vigilante’s a comic-book characters such as Batman, Daredevil and the Punisher.