Tag Archives: Glossary

Comic Book Nerd Lingo

Any successful comic book nerd has to understand certain terms if he or (less likely) she is going to immerse themselves into the community and engage in endless infighting on forums across the internet. Since many terms are made up on the spot or are so rarely used that no one really know their meaning, there may be some words you encounter that are not on this list. Some terms were omitted due to the ability to easily infer their meaning, and most terms are present because a simple Google search will not reveal its meaning. With any luck though, this list will provide a helpful way to understand posts on this website, as well as allow newcomers to join the dedicated flock of comic book nerds!

Alternative Comics:
Type of comics that began to appear in the 1980s as a result of the underground comix movement. Alternative comic often feature risqué or traditionally socially unacceptable themes ranging from sex between homosexuals to superheroines with crimefighting genitalia.

Atom Age Comics:
Comic books published from 1946 to 1956, featuring invincible heroes that saved the day with little or no opposition.

Back-up Feature:
Characters or other stories featured in a comic book aside from the main story. These are commonly used to add drama or comic relief; acting to counterbalance the main tone of the story

Bad Girl Art:
Originating from the early 90s, this term is used to describe comic art style that depicts women as overtly sexual and seductive. Characters drawn in this style often serve to offer a sexy, dangerous alternative to the love object of a superhero’s secret identity. Ex. Black Cat’s sensual and flirtatious demeanor; as opposed to the conservative, relatively plain Mary Jane in Spider man comics.

Bronze Age:
Comic books published from 1970 to 1984, characterized by brightly clad superheroes in flamboyant costumes and dark storylines depicting real life issues such as drug use and racial violence.

Cannon:
Following in line with the set history of the comic universe and accepted as fact for future developments. It is important to note that crossovers between comic producers(ex. Justice League Vs. The Avengers) and most single issue comics are not considered cannon.

CIS:
Character Induced Stupidity; when a comic book character could easily solve a problem/defeat a foe with proper logic or practical application of their powers; yet do not because of mental limitation imposed by the creator. Ex. The Hulk is a being of tremendous stamina and limitless strength but is often defeated by being outsmarted.

Copper Age:
Comic books published from 1984 to 1992, characterized by characters who are psychologically complex and with darker personalities such as Watchmen and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. Served as a response to the commercialization of comics at the time, and began the birth of many independent comic producers.

Crisis:
The DC comic event that led to the destruction of the infinite multiverse by the hand of The Anti-Monitor, leaving only one universe left in the DC continuum. This drastically changed some characters powers and caused death of many heroes post-crisis. People usually will refer to pre or post crisis versions of superheroes when discussing a abilities or powers. Ex. Pre-Crisis Superman could throw galaxies, Post-Crisis he could be beaten by Lex Luther in a power suit.

Fanboyism:
Someone who loves a character so much that they refuse to acknowledge that there is any situation in which there chosen hero could lose a fight or be unable to save the day. They are a common occurrence on most comic book forums, with Superman and Batman being the most prevalent. Ex. Fanboy: Superman could never lose to The Green Lantern no matter what, Superman is awesome!! Normal Poster: The Green Lantern can produce kryptonite radiation, and has beaten him already in the Justice League Series; it is obvious he can win at least some of the time if not most. Fanboy: You are stupid, superman is the great American hero, there no way he could lose to some pansy galactic policeman.

Headlights:
A common euphemism for women’s breast, due to most artist drawing them in a bright clothing and making them eye-catching huge.

Modern Age:
Comic books published from 1992 to the present. Feature sleek “futuristic” costume designs and often rewrites previous cannon to establish more hip, socially relevant themes.

PIS:
Plot Induced Stupidity: When a character is able to beat someone beyond their ability or solving a problem they could not possibly solve due to the fact that they are the main character of the comic. Ex. Normal humans hurting Superman with their fist, or Squirrel Girl (a low level mutant with squirrel features and powers) beating cosmically powerful villains.

S&K:
A comic written by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby

Silver Age:
Comic books published from 1956 to 1969, a time when comics became a major commercial success and the standard for artwork was greatly raised.

WIS:
Writer Induced Stupidity: see PIS they are often used interchangeably.