Glossary

Absolute, Absolute Edition
Absolute Edition refers to a line of HCs from DC Comics. Absolute Editions are larger sized deluxe reprint volumes. Absolute Edition volumes measure 8.5" x 12" and have slipcases. These are exceptional presentations of their source material.
Archive
Archive primarily refers to a line of HCs from DC Comics which reprints material on a superior quality paper. DC Archives contain about 10 issues and while more expensive than other reprint formats are wonderful presentations of their source material.
Archive also refers to a variety of reprint collections by other comics publishers.
Dallas Stevens (DS)
Mile High Comics has the Dallas Stevens collection for sale on consignment. More information
Direct Market
More information
Digest
  • A TPB which reprints comic books in a smaller, resized format. Digests are about the size of a DVD case.
  • A Squarebound comic book reprinting other comic books (generally Archie Comics) measuring 5" x 7".
DS (Dallas Stevens)
Mile High Comics has the Dallas Stevens collection for sale on consignment. More information.
Essentials
A line of TPBs from Marvel Comics which reprints color material in a black and white format on a lower quality paper. The appeal of Essential volumes is the price: you can buy a volume containing about 25 (usually sequential) issues for under $20.
Graphic Novel (GN)
Often interchangable with TPB, a Graphic Novel is more accurately a volume comprised of a stand-alone, self-contained story or set of stories. If the Graphic Novel is based on pre-existing material/characters, it is usually separate from the continuing material or series.
Hardcover (HC), Hard Cover (HC), Hardback (HB)
A Squarebound volume reprinting material in hardcover book format, generally the height and width of a comic book. Usually HCs contain one story line, about 4 - 8 issues of a comic book, depending on the story line's length. Though HC length can vary. HCs are usually reprinted in color or black and white depending on the source material. TPB paper is generally slick and of excellent quality.
Marvel Masterworks
A line of HCs from Marvel Comics which reprints material on a superior quality paper. Marvel Masterworks contain about 10 issues and while more expensive than their Essentials counterparts are wonderful presentations of their source material.
Marvel Masterworks come in two types: Regular and Deluxe.
  • The Regular editions are numbered on the spine based on the title being reprinted, so the first Marvel Masterworks Uncanny X-Men volume would be Vol. 1 on the spine.
  • The Deluxe editions are numbered according to when the volume was released in the Marvel Masterworks line, so the first Marvel asterworks Uncanny X-Men Deluxe volume would be Vol. 11 on the spine, since it was the eleventh volume published in the Marvel Masterworks line. There is a marble pattern to the cover of Marvel Masterworks Deluxe versions.
Newsstand
More information
Omnibus
Omnibus primarily refers to a line of HCs from Marvel Comics which reprints material on a superior quality paper. Marvel Omnibuses are larger sized deluxe reprint volumes. Marvel Omnibuses measure 7.5" x 11". These are exceptional presentations of their source material.
  • If reprinting a larger ongoing series, generally about 30 issues of the title.
  • If reprinting a smaller finite series, than usually the complete series.

Omnibus also refers to a variety of reprint collections by other comics publishers.
Perfectbound
A binding which is not stapled. Generally the pages are glued into the spine.
Run
A set of usually sequential issues of a comic book or magazine title. Run could refer to either a series or creative team.
  • A complete run of X-Men
  • Chris Claremont's run on the X-Men.
Showcase Presents
A line of TPBs from DC Comics which reprints color material in a black and white format on a lower quality paper. The appeal of Showcase Presents volumes is the price: you can buy a volume containing about 25 (usually sequential) issues for under $20.
Softcover (SC)
A Squarebound volume reprinting material in softcover book format, generally the height and width of a comic book. Usually SCs contain one story line, about 4 - 8 issues of a comic book, depending on the story line's length. Though SCs length can vary. SCs are usually reprinted in color or black and white depending on the source material. SC paper is generally slick and of excellent quality.
Squarebound
A binding which is not stapled. Generally the pages are glued into the spine.
Trade Paperback (TPB), Tradepaperback (TPB)
A Squarebound volume reprinting material in softcover book format, generally the height and width of a comic book. Usually TPBs contain one story line, about 4 - 8 issues of a comic book, depending on the story line's length. Though TPB length can vary. TPBs are usually reprinted in color or black and white depending on the source material. TPB paper is generally slick and of excellent quality.
Vol., Volume
  • A comic book or magazine series.
  • A book.

Newsstand vs Direct Market

Newsstand copies are sold at periodical vendors, grocery stores, convenience stores, 7-11s, etc.
These are cover returnable.
This means you can rip the cover off unsold copies and return those covers for credit (Ow...that thought always hurts me).
This is why there is a note in the comic book indicia (fine print) indicating they are not to be sold without a cover.

The ascendancy of the comic book store brought a new market place for comics, termed the Direct Market.
Because the Direct Market copies were sold under a different set of rules/discounts, and the covers could not be returned for credit, a means to distinguish between the two was necessary.

The Direct Market starts at around the 40 cent level in 1979
Marvel was ahead of DC by some months on this.

At first a lined through barcode was indicative of a Direct Market copy, one sold through a comic book store.
X-Men 123 is an example.
Note that the intensity of the colors does not usually vary: the difference displayed below is merely a variation in our scans.

Later Spider-Man heads, Bat Symbols, or company adverts like "Who Watches the Watchmen?" were printed in the boxes, or even hieroglyphs.

Most modern comics use two barcodes, one for direct market and a different one for newsstand copies.

To be honest, I cannot recall when the two different barcodes originated, but certainly by 1993.

Both Newsstand copies and Direct Market copies are considered first printings by collectors.
Though today's Newsstands are far rarer than Direct Market copies.


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