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Welcome once again to the third and final edition of Comic Book Terminology! If you need a refresher be sure to read the first two articles here and here. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover so let’s get started.
CGC – This stands for Certified Guaranty Company. It’s a business that rates the comics, coins and other collectables and places a number rating on it based on a scale of ten (kind of like our review system). They judge a comic on basically what condition it’s in and that can make it worth more or sometimes less. They then place it in a hard casing that shows its rating. Let’s say you have Walking Dead #2 but it’s a bit beat up, you send it to CGC and they send it back with a rating of a 5.8. That means it’s still okay but it’s not that great and there’s probably better out there. Well now you try to sell it but no one wants a 5.8 they want an 8 or higher. That’s the gamble of CGC is that what might sell regardless without a rating might not sell as well with a rating. Usually this is the case with older books but then lower numbers are more acceptable for a book that’s been around 70 years. Most commonly you’ll hear people throw around the numbers saying, “It’s a Batman 700 cgc 9.6” meaning it’s in good shape but there’s probably a 9.8 out there. 10.0’s and 9.9’s are rare in the CGC world. Regardless of number the cost of getting something CGC’d always raises the price tag on the issue above that of a non-CGC’d issue.
Retcon – This stands for Retro-Active-Continuity. The simplest way to put it is this: Anytime a creator or company goes back to an old storyline or the past and adds something. An example of this is Marvel’s character the Sentry. Marvel created the character and basically said he was one of the first characters in the Marvel Universe, but that all of the other characters forgot about him. So now there were all these lost stories that could be told with the character and he could be used in the modern era. It’s basically changes the past to make the future make sense and it happens a lot in comics now.
Ongoing – A monthly title that continues until it’s cancelled. i.e. X-Men, Superman, Batman, Amazing Spider-Man. Sometimes a title will do so well that it moves from mini-series to ongoing. The new Darkwing Duck title from Boom! is a perfect example of this.
Mini-Series/Limited Series – A storyline that has a set amount of issues to tell its story. Usually between four and twelve issues, but can be anything in-between depending on the nature of the story.
Origin Story – The storyline that tells the reader how the character came about. With superheroes it explains how they received their powers and what they are. Sometimes this is the first storyline of the series or in the case of the Joker or Wolverine, its explained years later.
Digital Copy – Just as it sounds, it’s a digital copy of either a single issue or trade put on the computer or usually the ipod or psp.
Scanned Comics – Before the ipod touch and before companies had a digital format to offer, people where scanning comics (and breaking copy right) onto the computer and freely distributing them to others. Soon it became organized with groups releasing digital copies of nearly every weekly releases and a large catalog of older comics as well. Basically pirated releases of comics, much like music and movies.
.CBR/.CBZ – These are digital formats of scanned comics that are then read by the program CDisplay.
Zero Day Releases – These are pirated scans that are released on the same day the comic hits stores. Meaning there was zero days between the release of the comic and the scan.
We’ll that will about do it. I’m sure there’s more like I said before, but I think this is enough to make you a little more knowledgeable the next time you hit the comic shop on a Tuesday asking for new issues or when the next trade is coming out. Just keep in mind that holiday weeks – – Like this up coming week – – push the release date back to Thursday. So don’t show up on Wednesday this week trying to look like a bad ass! Hope you enjoyed learning more about comics and feel free to add your own terms in the comments below.