I put together the following list of terms, for the use of my students at Indiana University, Bloomington and at the University of Louisville, over the more than a decade that I have been teaching courses on comics. An earlier, shorter version of it was published in 2006 on the website of the National Association of Comic Art Educators (nacae.org; no longer extant) as part of the syllabus for my course at IU, Art History H 150, “The History of Comic-Book Art.” The list is not intended to be exhaustive: I compiled it primarily to be used in connection to my courses, and its emphases (and possible exclusions) reflect my own pedagogical interests. There is a simple explanation for the bold lettering on some of the terms: it indicated to my students the notions for which they were responsible on their exams.
The list was put together mostly from notions in common use in the comics industry, terms in Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics (which I used as a textbook), terms adapted from film and literary studies, and new terms I have introduced myself for notions that seemed particularly important in my teaching. In a couple of further instances, the sources of terms are credited in the body of the entry. To the best of my knowledge, the formulations of all definitions, as written, are my own. For this publication, I have also incorporated into some of the definitions more detailed discussions based on my lecture notes.