Terminology

Arrival Date
The date written (often in pencil) or stamped on the cover of comics by either the local wholesaler, newsstand owner, or distributor. The date precedes the cover date by approximately 15 to 75 day, and may vary considerably from one locale to another or from one year to another.

Atom Age
Comics published from 1946-1956.

Bound Copy/Bound Volume
A comic that has been bound into a book. The process requires that the spine be trimmed and sometimes sewn into a book-like binding.

Brittleness
A severe condition of paper deterioration where paper loses its flexibility and thus chips and/or flakes easily.

Bronze Age
Comics published from 1970-1984.

Browning
The aging of paper characterized by the ever-increasing level of oxidation characterized by darkening; or the level of paper deterioration one step more severe than tanning and one step before brittleness.

Centerfold or Center Spread
The two folded pages in the center of a comic book at the terminal end of the staples.

Certified Grading
A process by which a professional grading service certifies a comic book with a given grade and seals the book in a protective slab.

CF
Abbreviation for Centerfold.

CFO
Abbreviation for Centerfold Out.

CGC
Abbreviation for the world’s first and largest comic book grading company, Certified Guaranty Company, LLC.

Classic Cover
A cover considered by collectors to be highly desirable because of its subject matter, artwork, historical importance, etc.

Cleaning
A process in which dirt and dust is removed.

Color Touch
A restoration process by which colored ink is used to hide color flecks, color flakes, and larger areas of missing color. Short for Color Touch-Up.

Condition
The state of preservation of a comic book, often inaccurately used interchangeably with Grade.

Coupon Cut or Coupon Missing
A coupon has been neatly removed with scissors or razor blade from the interior or exterior of the comic as opposed to having been ripped out.

Cover Gloss
The reflective quality of the cover inks.

Cover Trimmed
Cover has been reduced in size by neatly cutting away rough or damaged areas.

Coverless
A comic with no cover attached. There is a niche demand for coverless comics, particularly in the case of hard-to-find key books otherwise impossible to locate intact.

Crease
A fold which causes ink removal, usually resulting in a white line.

Double Cover
When two covers are stapled to the comic interior instead of the usual one; the exterior cover often protects the interior cover from wear and damage. This is considered a desirable situation by some collectors and may increase collector value; this is not considered a defect.

Dust Shadow
Darker, usually linear area at the edge of some comics stored in stacks. Some portion of the cover was not covered by the comic immediately above in and it was exposed to settling dust particles.

Encapsulation
Refers to the process of sealing certified comics in a protective plastic enclosure. Also known as "slabbing."

Genre
Categories of comic book subject matter; e.g. Science Fiction, Super-Hero, Romance, Funny Animal, Teenage Humor, Crime, War, Western, Mystery, Horror, etc.

Golden Age
Comics published from 1938 to 1945.

Indicia
Publishing and title information usually located at the bottom of the first page or the bottom of the inside front cover. In rare cases and in some pre-1938 comics, it was sometimes located on internal pages.

Key, Key Book, or Key Issue
An issue that contains a first appearance, origin, or other historically or artistically important feature considered especially desirable by collectors.

Logo
The title of a strip or comic book as it appears on the cover or title page.

Marvel Chipping
A bindery (trimming/cutting) defect that results in a series of chips and tears at the top, bottom, and right edges of the cover, caused when the cutting blade of an industrial paper trimmer becomes dull. It was dubbed Marvel Chipping because it can be found quite often on Marvel comics from the late '50s and early '60s but can also occur with any company's comic books from the late 1940s through the middle 1960s.

Modern Age
A catch-all term applied to comics published since 1992.

Mylar
An inert, very hard, space-age plastic used to make high quality protective bags and sleeves for comic book storage. "Mylar" is a trademark of the DuPont Co.

One-Shot
When only one issue is published of a title, or when a series is published where each issue is a different title (e.g. Dell's Four Color Comics).

Origin
When the story of a character's creation is given.

Over Guide
When a comic book is priced at a value over Guide list.

Oxidation Shadow
Darker, usually linear area at the edge of some comics stored in stacks. Some portion of the cover was not covered by the comic immediately above it, and it was exposed to the air. Also see Dust Shadow and Sun Shadow.

Paper Cover
Comic book cover made from the same newsprint as the interior pages. These books are extremely rare in high grade.

Pedigree
A book from a famous and usually high grade collection - e.g. Allentown, Lamont Larson, Edgar Church/Mile High, Denver San Francisco, Cosmic Aeroplane, etc. Beware of non-pedigree collections being promoted as pedigree books; only outstanding high grade collections similar to those listed qualify.

Platinum Age
Comics published from 1883 to 1938.

Post-Code
Describes comics published after February 1955 and usually displaying the CCA stamp in the upper right-hand corner.

Pre-Code
Describes comics published before the Comics Code Authority seal began appearing on covers in 1955.

Pre-Hero DC
A term used to describe More Fun #1-51 (pre Spectre), Adventure #1-39 (pre-Sandman), and Detective #1-26 (pre-Batman). The term is actually inaccurate because technically there were "heroes" in the above books.

Pre-Hero Marvel
A term used to describe Strange Tales #1-100 (pre-Human Torch), Journey Into Mystery #1-82 (pre-Thor), Tales To Astonish #1-35 (pre-Ant Man), and Tales Of Suspense #1-38 (pre-Iron Man)

Provenance
When the owner of a book is known and is stated for the purpose of authenticating and documenting the history of the book. Example: A book from the Stan Lee or Forrest Ackerman collection would be an example of a value-adding provenance.

Pulp
Cheaply produced magazine made from low grade newsprint. The term comes from the wood pulp that was used in the paper manufacturing process.

Quarterly
Published every three months (four times a year).

Rat Chew, Rodent Chew
Damage caused by the gnawing of rats and mice.

Reading Copy
A comic that is in FAIR to GOOD condition and is often used for research; the condition has been sufficiently reduced to the point where general handling will not degrade it further.

Reading Crease
Book-length, vertical front cover crease at staples, caused by bending the cover over the staples. Square-bounds receive these creases just by opening the cover too far to the left.

Rolled Spine
A spine condition caused by folding back pages while reading.

Run
A group of comics of one title where most or all of the issues are present. See Complete Run.

Saddle Stitch
The staple binding of magazines and comic books.

Silver Age
Comics published from 1956 to 1970.

Slab
Colloquial term for the plastic enclosure used by grading companies to seal certified comics.

Slabbing
Colloquial term for the process of encapsulating certified comics in a plastic enclosure.

Spine
The left-hand edge of the comic that has been folded and staled.

Spine Roll
A condition where the left edge of the comic book curves toward the front or back, caused by folding back each page as the comic was read.

Splash Page
A Splash Panel that takes up the entire page.

Square Back or Square Bound
Pages are glued to the cover as opposed to being stapled to the cover, resulting in a flat binded side. Also known as Perfect Binding.

Store Stamp
Store name (and sometimes address and telephone number) stamped in ink via rubber stamp and stamp pad.

Subscription Copy/Subscription Crease
A comic sent through the mail directly from the publisher or publisher's agent. Most are folded in half, causing a subscription crease or fold running down the center of the comic from top to bottom; this is considered a defect.

Subscription Fold
Differs from a Subscription Crease in that no ink is missing as a result of the fold.

Sun Shadow
Darker, usually linear area at the edge of some comics stored in stacks. Some portion of the cover was not covered by the comic immediately above it, and it suffered prolonged exposure to light. A serious defect, unlike a Dust Shadow, which can some-times be removed. Also see Oxidation Shadow.

Title
The name of the comic book.

Under Guide
When a comic book is priced at a value less than Guide list.

Upgrade
To obtain another copy of the same comic book in a higher grade.

Victorian Age
Comics published from 1828 to 1883.