Comic Book Vocabulary

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Panel – A panel is one drawing on a page which contains one moment of the story. A page may have one or many panels. Panels are frequently, but not always, surrounded by a border or outline.

Splash Page – A comic book page that is mostly or entirely taken up by a single image or panel.

Speed Lines – Speed lines or motion lines are the abstract lines that appear behind a moving object or person to make it appear as if it is moving quickly.

Caption – In a caption, words appear in a box separated from the rest of the panel or page, usually to give voice to a narrator, but sometimes used for the characters’ thoughts or dialogue.

Speech Bubble – A speech bubble or word bubble is a shape containing a character’s dialogue. The indicator from the bubble that points at the speaker is called a “tail.”

Thought Bubble – A thought bubble contains words expressing a character’s unvoiced thoughts, usually shaped like a cloud, with bubbles as a pointer.

Sound Effect (Onomatopoeia) – Sound effects or onomatopoeia are words not in bubbles that represent sounds in the comic. For instance, “Ka-Pow!” might represent a superhero punching a bad guy, while “Ding-Ding!” might indicate the doorbell button has been pressed.