Comic books are an important and integral part of pop culture. They have evolved over the years and as with any print mediums are continuously changing. They are a type of graphic storytelling that can be enjoyed by all ages, young and old alike.
In the 1940s comic books grew in popularity as they were a good source of entertainment since they were cheap and portable. Usually, comics show the triumph of good over evil while reflecting good values and morals.
Marvel comics, with its plethora of superhero franchises, is one the most popular and famous comic book franchises in the world.
The standard dimension for a Comic Book today is 6-5/8 inches in width by 10-1/4 inches in length. Comic books need not follow a standard size and can be printed with just about any dimension that will accommodate the graphic panels.
That said, a comic book author may want to take the advice of the printer who may make size suggestions to help keep the production and distribution costs as low as possible. A few small design changes, in the beginning, could translate to big savings later.
Comic Book Dimensions
The width and height of the book make up the dimensions of its finished form. The standard size for a Comic Book today is 6-5/8 inches x 10-1/4 inches. But there is no hard and fast rule that says you have to stick to this size. And if we go back in history, you will see publishers have made comic books in more than one size.
For an easy understanding of the changes in dimensions over time, let’s take a look at how historians and fans have divided the history of comics into “ages”. These ages are periods of time that reflect the change in trends over the years. Each has some special characteristic and also helps us to see the differences in dimensions over time.
The ages are divided into the following –
- Golden Age – circa 1938 to 1956
- Silver Age – circa 1956 to 1970
- Bronze Age – circa 1970 – 1985
- Current/Modern Age – circa 1998 to present
1. Golden Age
The Golden Age is generally thought to have started with the entry of Superman in Action Comics. It began in 1938 and continued till 1956. It took off from where the Platinum Age ended, very little is known of the platinum age as there are not many people with comics from this age in their collections.
The earliest comic books of this age had 64 pages, enough to include 4 or 5 adventures within the covers. In this age and in the ages to come comic books consistently kept a height of 10-1/2 inches (26.7 cm), but their width narrows through time. The Golden Age comics saw a width of 7-3/4 inches (19.7 cm).
2. Silver Age
The Silver Age of comics continued till 1970 and is considered to be one of the most popular ages with collectors today because of the number of iconic characters relaunched or created in this time. If you collect comics from this era, it will provide you with great knowledge on the history.
It began with DC Comics and provides many stories about where the characters originated from, some of which are still popular today and have a huge fan following in TV, movies, and video games.
This age is identifiable by a reduction in the width of the comic books to 7-1/8 inches (18.1 cm) from the slightly broader Golden Age width of 7-3/4 inches (19.7 cm). The height remains the same at 10-1/2 inches (26.7 cm)
3. Bronze Age
In this age we saw the shift from lightheartedness to more serious themes in comic books. Comic books started to showcase current topics like war and drug abuse. The Bronze Age increased the scope of genres covered in comics to include something for all ages and all mindsets, in increasingly sophisticated stories. This shift was the first seen over 15 years of comic book history.
This age saw a slight increase in width to 7-1/4 inches (18.4 cm), while the height remains the same at 10-1/2 inches (26.7 cm).
4. Modern Age
In between the Bronze and Modern ages, there was what was known as the Dark Age. Here the inclusion of dystopian societies became common, while heroes changed, some died, some were seriously injured and some retired. Fortunately things changed and the end of this age signaled the beginning of the start of the Modern Age.
Along the way DC reimagined the Justice League franchise by giving it a new title. Writers were given more freedom to tell a good story without the baggage of earlier events. The dimensions of comic books changed the most in this age, with the width coming down to 6-7/8 inches (17.5 cm) and the height remaining at 10 1/2 inches (26.7 cm).
5. Other Formats
It is important to remember comic books are also published in other formats, like magazines, modern trade paperbacks, graphic novels and mangas.
Magazine format comic books usually come in two sizes, the regular at 81/2×11 inches (21.7×27.9 cm) and the thick magazine at 8 3/4×11 inches (22.2 x 27.9 cm).
Trade paperback is the name given to the collections of stories reprinted in a new format. Usually, the size of the paperback will match the original comic collection but sometimes a smaller digest-size edition is also printed. These paperbacks could be in the dimensions of 6.625 inches x 10.25 inches or 6.75 x 10.375 inches.
Manga volumes or “tankoubon” as they are known in Japan tend to come in numerous sizes and formats, the most common being 5.04×7.17inches or 5.83x 8.2 inches.
1. Why are comic books published in different dimensions?
Comic books come in different dimensions as they belong to different ages. Over the ages we find the width of comic books decreased.
2. What are the common dimensions for a comic book?
The most common dimensions of a comic book is 6-5/8 inches wide by 10-1/4 inches high. Though it is not necessary to follow this size, it can be changed somewhat.
3. How long have comic books been around since?
Published in 1897, The Yellow Kid in McFadden’s Flats is seen to be the first comic book. The Yellow Kid became so popular that in 1896 it was drawn at the same time in two different newspapers by two different artists.
4. What is the best way to store comic books?
Protect your comics by storing them in plastic book bags. The creases can be avoided by further inserting cardboard backing which is acid-free. Remember to store your comics upright so that pressure from the top books does not damage the ones at the bottom.
5. What is the difference between a comic book and a graphic novel?
Although both formats deliver illustration-based storytelling, there are a few differences. Graphic novels are usually longer and contain complete narratives. Comic books contain excerpts of serialized narratives. Comic books are published more frequently and may appear weekly or monthly, whereas graphic novels do not follow a schedule.
In conclusion, we would like to say that the history of comic books is intriguing and how it is related to the dimensions of a comic book is extremely interesting. Now that you know about the changes in comic book dimensions over the ages and in different formats, the next time you pick up a comic book, we can guarantee you will also be reaching for a measuring tape.
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