The following are terms that are commonly used in the comic book industry, as well as on our labels:



Annual. A comic book that is published once a year.

Arrival Date. A marking usually on the cover of a comic book, placed there by the distributor or the newsstand dealer to note when the book was placed on the newsstand.

Ashcan. A prepublication issue of a comic book usually used to show potential advertisers. Ashcans for Golden Age comic books are commonly black and white covers.

Atom Age. The period recognized by the industry as being between 1946, after the dropping of the Atomic bomb, and continuing until the start of the Silver Age, in 1956.


Bi-Monthly. A comic book that is published every two months.

Bi-Weekly. A comic book that is published every two weeks.

Bondage Cover. A cover that usually depicts a person in restraints.

Brittleness. When paper has deteriorated to the point that it will crumble when handled.

Bronze Age. CGC Registry term for comics published 1970 through 1984.
View the top Bronze Age comic sets.

Browning. Paper that has aged to the stage between tanning and brittleness.


Cameo. When a character is shown briefly in a comic book.

CCA. An abbreviation for the Comics Code Authority.

CCA Seal. A small emblem placed on all comics from April–May 1955 to the present, reading, "Approved by the CCA.

Census Report. The list of comic books graded by CGC that shows scarcity between books and also relative scarcity of grade.

Centerfold. The stapled, four-page middle sheet of a comic.

Certification. The professional evaluation of grade and condition of a comic book, including examination for restoration and other characteristics of book integrity.

CGC. Certified Guaranty Company.

Chromium Cover. A special foil used on covers.

Classic Cover. A cover that is recognized by the industry as being an excellent example of its kind, and as such is highly prized by collectors.

Cleaning. A process in which dirt and dust is removed from the comic.

Color Touch. A restoration process that uses ink, marker, acrylic and such to fill in areas of missing color on a comic book.

Comic Book Dealer. One who makes a living buying and selling comic books.

Comics Code Authority. In 1954, major publishers formed a committee to set up guidelines for acceptable contents in a comic book. This was the industry response to hearings held by the government that could have led to the cessation of the publishing of comic books. Today, some publishers no longer use the CCA.

Complete Run. All issues of a specific title.

Con. A convention of fans where they can buy and sell comics and also meet industry professionals.

Condition. The state of preservation of a comic book. Also referred to as grade.

Copper Age. CGC Registry term for comics published 1984 through 1991.
View the top Copper Age comic sets.

Coupon Cut/Clipped. A comic book that is missing a coupon.

Cover Detached. A cover to a comic book that is detached from the interior.

Cover Trimmed. A cover to a comic book that has an edge(s) that have been cut in order for the edges to appear sharp and well-preserved.

Crease. A heavy fold in the paper that can break the color of any comic book art.

Crossover. When one or more characters are in another character's title or story.


Deacidification. The process used to reduce the acid levels in paper.

Desiccant. A "paper" used to preserve paper empheria by taking contaminants out of the sealed area where it has been placed.

Defect. Any flaw that detracts from the appearance or the structure of a comic book and keeps it from perfection.

Die-Cut Cover. When areas of a comic book cover are precut to a special shape to create a specific desired effect.

Distributor Painted Stripes (Distro Ink). Color ink painted or sprayed onto the edges of comic book stacks as a special coding used by distributors.

Double Cover. A mistake in the manufacturing process sometimes results in two or more covers being bound to the same comic book. It is not considered a defect.

Dust Shadow. When part of a comic book (usually an edge) has been exposed to dust particles over an extended period of time it creates a dark stripe.


Embossed Cover. When a pattern is purposely pressed into the cover of a comic book, creating a raised section during manufacturing.

Eye Appeal. A term used to describe the overall appearance of a comic book in relation to its overall condition.


Fanzine. A amateur publication by a fan, usually about a specific topic.

File Copy. A comic book that was originally from the publisher's file. Not all file copies are in perfect condition. Also, if a comic book has an arrival date, it cannot be a file copy.

First appearance. The very first time that a character appears in a comic book.

Flashback. When a previous story line is being recalled.

Foil Cover. A thin metal foil which is hot stamped onto the cover of a comic book during manufacturing.

Four Color. A printing process which uses all three primary colors and black. Also refers to the Four Color series that was published by Dell.

Foxing. Tiny orange-brown that appear on the cover and/or interior pages of a comic book that is caused by mold.


Gatefold Cover. A cover that folds into itself.

Gem Mint. A term used by the hobby for a book graded as Mint 10.0.

Genre. Comic books grouped together into categories according to subject matter.

Giveaway. A comic book that at one time was given away as a promotional premium.

Golden Age. CGC Registry term for a period of comic book publishing that ran from Action Comics #1 (June 1938) through 1956.
View the top Golden Age comic sets.

Good Girl Art. A style of art that portrays women in a sexually suggestive way.

Graders. Collectors or former dealers whom now work grading comic books for CGC. These graders are contractually obligated to not deal commercially in comic books while employed by CGC.


Hologram Cover. A cover of a comic book that has a 3-D hologram manufactured on the cover.

Hot Stamping. The pressing of foil, prism paper, and inks onto the cover of a comic book during manufacturing.


Indicia. The general information about the comic book, such as publisher, title, issue number, date, and copyright usually printed on the inside front page or on the interior front cover.

Infinity Cover. A cover of the comic book that has the same scene repeated in it over and over into infinity.

Inker. The artist that lays the inks over the penciler's artwork.

Introduction. Same as first appearance.


JLA. Justice League of America

JSA. Justice Society of America


Key Issue. An important issue in a comic book title's run.


Label. The easy-to-understand label placed in the interior of the CGC holder. The label displays the title, issue #, publisher, and grade of a comic book. It will also display the comments for Key Issues and the creators, artists, and writers. CGC uses five differently colored labels which represent Universal, Signature Series, Signature Series Restored, Restored, and Qualified.

Lenticular Cover. Images move when the cover of the comic book is tilted.


Marvel Chipping. A trimming defect that occurred primarily in 1960s Marvel Comics which produced a ragged edge around the comic book cover, most commonly in the form of tiny fleck or chips along the right side of the comic book.

MicroChamber. A "paper" used to preserve paper empheria by taking contaminants out of the sealed area where it has been placed.

Modern Age. CGC Registry term for comics published 1991 through the present.
View the top Modern Age comic sets.


nn. No Number.


One-Shot. A comic book issue that is published only once with no plans of a series.

Origin. The story of a character's creation.


Painted Cover. A cover of a comic book where a painting was used for the artwork instead of a line drawing.

Pedigree. A comic book that is from a widely known original owner collection.

Penciler. The artist who does the original line drawings of the comic book.

Photo Cover. A cover of a comic book where a photograph was used for the artwork instead of or in conjunction with a line drawing.

Platinum Age. The first age of comics, beginning in 1897, with early newspaper reprints (such as The Yellow Kid), bound into book form.

Post-Code. Any comic books that are published after the Comics Code Authority (CCA) seal came into use.

Pre-Code. Comic books that were published before the Comics Code Authority came into effect. They have no CCA seal.

Price Variant. A comic book that has a different cover price than others of the same comic book and that was intended for distribution in the same country.

Printing/Manufacturing Defect. A defect that was caused by an error in the printing process, such as paper wrinkling, miscut edges, misfolded spine, untrimmed pages (Siamese pages), off-center trimming or inks, and misfolded and misbound pages.

Prism Cover. A comic book cover with special reflective material that has 3-dimensional repeated designs.


Qualified. A Qualified label is used by CGC for certified books that have a significant defect that needs specific description. For example, it would be a disservice to the seller and buyer to call a 9.2 book with a clipped coupon a 1.5, so CGC will give this book a Qualified grade of 9.2, COUPON CUT OUT OF 10TH PAGE.

Quarterly. A comic book that is published four times a year (every three months).


Rat or Mouse Chew. Damage to a comic book that was caused by gnawing rats and/or mice.

Restoration. Treatment that returns the comic book to a known or assumed state through the addition of non-original material for aesthetic enhancement.

Readers Crease. A defect caused to the spine of a comic book due to readers folding back pages.


Saddle Stitch. The staple binding of comic books.

Silver Age. CGC Registry term for comics published 1956 through 1970.
View the top Silver Age comic sets.

Slab. A term used by some to describe the process of certification. Also used by some to describe the holder used in the certification of any collectible.

Slightly Brittle. Interior pages with areas prone to cracking when handled.

SOTI. (Seduction of the Innocent). A book by Dr. Fredric Wertham, which attempts to link juvenile delinquency to comic books. This book helped lead to the Comics Code Authority.

Spine. The fold and stapled or glued edge of a comic book. The side of a comic book opposite the opening edge.

Spine Roll. A defect of a comic book caused by improper storage that results in uneven pages and the bowing of the spine.

Squarebound. A comic book where the cover is bound with glue to the interior, resulting in a square spine.

Store Stamp. A store's name stamped onto a cover in ink.

Stress Lines. Tiny-to-large bends on or along the spine of a comic book, that may or may not break color, usually resulting from mishandling.

Subscription Crease. A large crease down the center of a comic book caused by the folding of a comic for mailing. Considered a defect.

Sun Shadow. A defect that appears as a dark stripe along an edge of a comic book cover. It is caused by prolonged exposure to the light.

Swipe. A cover, a panel or even a whole story which is obviously copied or stolen from previously published material.


3-D Comic. Comic book art which is drawn and printed in two mismatched colors. When viewed through special glasses, it produces a 3-D effect.

Tier. Different types of service that CGC offers. The differences are based on turnaround time, value of book, and year of book.

Title Page. The page of a comic book which shows the title of a story. Usually, it is the first page.


Variant Cover. Different cover artwork used on the same issue of a comic book title.


Warehouse Copy. A comic book originating from a large quantity find of one specific issue number.


X-over. Same as crossover.


Zine. Same as a fanzine.