The Rookie Collector – Terms we should all know…

by Ariel Lazo

116786_48d5ae9b904d29fb34e99130f95f8a7db9019a99-198x300 The Rookie Collector - Terms we should all know...The majority of these blogs focus on collectors who already have a base knowledge of the hobby. What about those who are new to the art? Well, I want to go back and refresh everyone with some basic knowledge that many of us already know. This will also help those who are new, better understand what others are saying.



Before we jump into the book terms lets learn who creates these comics:

  • Writer – Writes the story and the dialogue
  • Penciler – Takes the dialogue and draws the comics in pencil
  • Inker – Goes over the pencils with ink, also known as the finisher
  • Colorist – Adds color to comics
  • Letterer – Adds in the dialogue to the word balloons and thought bubbles
  • Editor – Edits the completed work and makes sure everything is correct

Although each position usually takes one person to handle, there are others who have held multiple positions. People like Stan Lee and Jack Kirby are two legends who have been writers, pencilers, letterers, and editors. Why is this important? Because it matters who you get to sign your books.

Here is a partial list of some terms that will help those new to the craft or just are simply lost. These terms are important when it comes to purchasing your books online or in person. If you are going to spend good money on a book it is best to know everything about it.

These are just some terms I think will help you grow your collection:

source-ashcan-192x300 The Rookie Collector - Terms we should all know...

Ashcan for The Source #0

  • Ashcan – A prepublication issue to show potential advertisers or to hold claim to a story or idea. For example, The Source #0 is an Ashcan issue
  • Brittleness – When the paper is deteriorated to the point it crumbles
  • Cameo – When a character is only seen briefly in a comic. Example: New Mutants #86 is the first cameo of Cable while New Mutants #87 is his full first appearance
  • Census Report – List of comics graded by CGC. Also known here as the Census, it is where we get how many books were awarded certain grades
  • CGC – Certified Guaranty Company. One of the top grading companies for comics and other collectibles
  • Cleaning – Removing dust and dirt from comic books
  • Con – Not as in a con man but as in a Comic CONvention. Get it?
  • Coupon Cut/Clipped – From 1974 to 1976 Marvel introduced stamps that people could clip from certain comics and collect. This is noted when the stamp is missing
  • Cover Detached/Trimmed – This is when the cover is no longer attached by the staples to the original comic or when the cover or pages have been trimmed to make it look better preserved
  • Crease – A heavy fold in the paper that can break color in the artwork lowering its grade
  • Foxing – Orange-Brown marks that appear on the cover and/or interior pages of a comic due to mold
  • Golden Age – Comics published from 1938-1959

    736145_action-comics-1-219x300 The Rookie Collector - Terms we should all know...

    Classic Golden Age Comic

  • Grades – A number given to comics based on their overall condition. Grades range from 0.0 to 10.0
  • Key Issues “Keys” – Important issues within a title’s run
  • Modern Age – Comics published from 1990 to Present
  • Restoration – Using non-original material to revert the comic back to looking as close as to the original as possible for aesthetic enhancements
  • Silver Age – Comics published from 1960-1969
  • Slab – Term used to describe an encapsulated comic
  • Spine Roll – Uneven pages and bowing of the spine due to improper storage
  • Variant Cover – Different cover artwork used on the same issue of a comic

That’s all for now on terms. I don’t want to bombard you with too many right away. I will make more parts to this in hopes of helping others as I was helped. I hope you were able to gain a little knowledge from this.

Do you have any questions? Anything that you would love to know more about? Feel free to drop me a line and I will cover it!

Till next time, Happy Hunting!

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Steven December 15, 2019 - 3:49 pm

Your Golden Age end dates are incorrect as well as your silver age start dates. Silver age starts around 1956 or roughly the first appearance of John Jonzz The Martian Manhunter in Detective Comics 225 or Some say the first appearance of the Flash in Showcase comics #4. There are enough discussions on that but most will say that Showcase is the official start date. Silver Age ended 1970 when the Bronze Age also began in 1970. It’s in Overstreet, Wikipedia etc..

Ariel Lazo December 16, 2019 - 12:51 pm

Hey Steven!
Thanks for your reply and help. I actually got these dates directly from CGC. Just as you said, some say it started with DC #225 or SC #4, so I decided to go with a more definitive and reliable source (Wikipedia is not a reliable source as everyone knows). Not saying they are 100% correct either, but at least it helps to set a universal standard especially since that is the census we use for the prices here. Not sure why there would be a difference depending on sources but I do appreciate you letting me know. Maybe I can reach out to CGC to see if they will correct it or at least provide their reasoning for the dates.
Thank you again!


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