Types of Comics

Album – European comics with larger page size and higher number of pages than comics in the U.S.

Anime – Animation, for TV or the movies, made in Japan, and for the Japanese market.  For more info, see our Manga and Anime FAQ

Animation – A form of film using drawings (and sometimes other techniques) to create the illusion of motion

Asian Comics – Comics are called manga in Japan, manhwa in Korea, or manhua in China. For more info, see our Manga and Anime FAQ

Bande dessinée (or BD) – French term for comic books. They are usually published in the Album format

Cartoons (when not animated) – Typically, these are single panel comics of an editorial nature

Comic art – A form of Sequential Art

Comic Books (or Comics) – The most generally used name for individual issues of comic art; often they are Soft-bound (Comics) 

Comics Strips – Short pieces of comic art to be published in a periodical (such as a newspaper or magazine), most often to be read horizontally

Comics with tête-bêche binding – A rare format for comics wherein two different comics are bound together back to back, each reversed from the other so they share the same spine. Tête-bêche is French for, roughly translated, “head to tail.” These works are sometimes called double books or reversible books

Comics with hand-sewn spines – Comics assembled like a scrapbook

Digest-sized (Comics) – Comics which are roughly the size of paperback books

Digital Comics – Comics that are released digitally. They may be Motion Comics or Webcomics

Flipbooks – Comics where each page’s art varies slightly and when flipped creates the illusion of motion

Floppies – See Soft-bound (Comics)

Foldable Comics – Comics that are shaped in some manner (like a work of origami) and are to be read as the shape is unfolded

Fumetti – Italian term for comic books as a whole.  Some use this term to designate a specific format using photographs and word ballons (which was very popular in Italy during the 1940’s and 1950’s). In the English speaking world, this specific format is known as the Photonovel

Graphic Novels – In the purest form, a stand-alone comic of book length with a clear beginning, middle, and end to its story. However, the term is often used interchangeably with Trade Paperback

Hard-bound (Comics) – Publications with a stiff cover (like a book or graphic novel)

Hybrid Comics – Printed comics that are read in tandem with digital content

Illustrated Book – A book with words and pictures but where the story is coherent without the pictures. Contrast with Wordless Comics

Infinite Canvas – A format for comics on a computer wherein the monitor does not replicate the printed page. The screen is seen as a window to a story told in any direction, theoretically ever-expanding. Hyperlinking and touch options may add interactive elements to works

Japanimation – A non-Japanese term for Anime. For more info, see our Manga and Anime FAQ

Magazines – Serial pamphlets of a larger size than the average comic book in the U.S., often printed on higher quality paper

Manga – Comics made in Japan for the Japanese market. In Japan, titles are published first in magazine format as part of a larger anthology. If successful, an individual manga will be reprinted in a collected edition. For more info, see our Manga and Anime FAQ

Mini-comics – Comics which are not professionally published, often having an unusual size. See Zines 

Motion Comics – Digital Comics that combine motion, sound, or interactive elements with pictures and words to tell a story. Some feel that Mobile Comics are really just a kind of Animation

Phonebook (Comics) – A term for a certain type of collection of previously published comics that is printed on pulp paper and is very thick (like old-fashioned phonebooks). The style was made popular by Dave Sim when he collected story arcs of his comic, Cerebus

Photonovels – Comics which use photographs rather than drawings

Picture Book – A book where words and pictures are used to tell a story but where the pictures are of equal value (or are more dominant) in doing so. Most often picture books are for children

Poetry Comics – Comics that use poetic structure rather than the more typical prose style. The term may also be used for graphic adaptations of poetic works.

Sequential Art – A term defined by Will Eisner as, “an art form that uses images deployed in sequence for graphic storytelling or to convey information”

Soft-bound (Comics) – Single issues of comics with a floppy spine, often stapled in the middle. They are also sometimes called Floppies

Square-bound (Comics) – Publications printed on flexible cardstock that are bound on the side like a book. Known in the publishing industry as a Trade Paperback

Tankōbon – A Japanese term for a book length, stand-alone comic (similar to how trade paperback or graphic novel are used in English)

Tebeos – Spanish-language term for comic books. In Spain the term is more specific, used to denote a magazine that contains comics

Topper – A smaller comic that runs across and/or around the borders of another comic. This was once a popular technique used in comic strips when the size of comic strips and the space allotted to them in the newspaper was much larger than today

Trade Paperback – A book of previously published issues that originally appeared as individual comics. In common parlance, this is often referred to as a Graphic Novel

Treasury-sized (Comics) – Oversized comic books, approximately the size of an unfolded newspaper page

Typography Comics – Comics which play on the graphic element of words to tell a story.  They often have pictures to accompany the words

Webcomics – Comics created for and published on the Internet. They may be limited to what is immediately on the screen, hyperlinked to other information, or use the Infinite Canvas format

Wordless Comics – Stories told using only pictures

Zines – D.I.Y. Magazines that combine any number of art styles, particularly self-created comics