Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Comics

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Category:WikiProject Comics

The Comics WikiProject's style guide is intended to apply to all articles within the project's scope — in other words, to all articles related to comics. While the recommendations presented here are well-suited for the vast majority of such articles, there exist a number of peculiar cases where, for lack of a better solution, alternate approaches have been taken. These exceptions are often the result of protracted negotiation; if something seems unusual or out-of-place, it may be worthwhile to ask before attempting to change it, as there might be reasons for the oddity that are not immediately obvious!

General guidance on editing articles is given in the Wikipedia Manual of Style. The WikiProject has set forth naming conventions, and guidelines for the fair use of copyrighted images. Pages related to this project within the Manual of Style include Writing on Fiction and Wikipedia:Guide to writing better articles. The notability guidance on fiction also offers advice on writing on fictional topics.

This page is meant as an adjunct to the Manual of Style and other editorial guidance offered on Wikipedia. It offers guidance that is the consensus currently established at Wikipedia:WikiProject Comics, or summarises other guidance as it applies to specific examples within the comics field. It is not policy and editors may deviate from it with good reason. To discuss major alterations or query points, please use the general project forum at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Comics.

Contents

Naming conventions[edit]

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For more details on this topic, see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (comics).

Characters[edit]

(Note: The term "codename" is used to mean the pseudonym, sobriquet, moniker, stage name, nom de plume, or any other alternate name, used or applied as the character's public persona.)

Fairly common throughout comics is that quite often a character will have an alternate name or codename. For example, Hal Jordan is also known as Green Lantern. When selecting a name for an article on a character, use the "most common name" as the rule If a given character is best known by one specific codename (such as Bruce Wayne as Batman or Peter Parker as Spider-Man), then that name should be used for an article of the character. Conversely, if a character is best known by their "real" name, then that name should be used for the article of the character. So John Constantine rather than Hellblazer and Lois Lane rather than Superwoman.

If a given character has been well-recognized in more than one identity such that no "codename" is necessarily better known than another, naming the article after the character's "real name" is generally appropriate. Henry Pym and Roy Harper might be two such examples.

Where a character's name includes an abbreviated term, that term may be spelt out in full rather than abbreviated form where that is the more common occurrence of the character's name. So it is Mr. Freeze but Doctor Destiny.

Publications[edit]

An article should generally be placed at the publication's official title, taken from the indicia rather than the cover. In cases of several comic book titles of the same name from the same publisher, X-Men, volume 1; X-Men, volume 2; etc. is the standard (note the use of a comma separating the publication from the volume number). This has the added benefit of essentially being the way the publishers themselves disambiguate between titles, and avoids a parenthetical disambiguation phrase. However, do not use this where only one volume exists.

When using a volume number, do not add publication (or comic book - see above) to the parenthetical disambiguation, as that may be presumed.

Please bear in mind that volume numbers are not always given in the indicia. The current volume of Punisher: War Zone is volume 2 (vol. 1 having run 1992-1995), though the indicia says only "Punisher: War Zone."

Where a cover title is different from the indicia, make this clear within the text of the article. So Doctor Strange vol. 2 is a solo book generally titled as Doctor Strange: Master of the Mystic Arts, which ran 81 issues.

In most cases, comic books are periodicals, except when they are published as books for trade. In either case they are a publication. If several comic book titles of the same name come from separate publishers, then default to publisher imprint: Starman (DC Comics publication) or Starman (Marvel Comics publication), for example.

  • Example of disambiguating between publisher and volume: Starman, volume 1 (DC Comics).

For a full list of publisher disambiguations see WP:NCC#List of publisher disambiguations.

Foreign language publications[edit]

Use the official English language title for article names, and place the foreign language title on the first line of the article if the work was originally published in a foreign language, unless the native form is more commonly recognized by readers than the English form. If the work was initially published in an English speaking country, use the title specific to that country. See: Wikipedia:Naming conventions#Use English words and Wikipedia:Naming conventions (comics).

Taking a lead from the Manual of Style (Japan-related articles), always make redirects for alternate names and titles.

Companies[edit]

For more details on this topic, see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (companies).

Use the full company name rather than the most common name. Example, DC Comics not DC.

The legal status of the company (Inc., plc or LLC), is not normally included, i.e. Marvel Comics not Marvel Comics plc. When a more general disambiguation is not sufficient use (comics), or (company) where that is not appropriate.

In the article itself, the title sentence of the article should include the abbreviated legal status. So Generic Corp. Ltd. is the largest provider of widgets in the world.

Please note, "Comics" should be included as specified by the originating business, so Top Cow but Dark Horse Comics.

People[edit]

This section is an abbreviated version of Wikipedia:Naming conventions (people), taking the most likely scenarios and inserting examples specific to comics.

For more details on this topic, see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (people).

General Wikipedia Naming Conventions start from easy principles: the name of an article should be "the most common name of a person or thing that does not conflict with the names of other people or things". This boils down to the two central ideas in Wikipedia article naming:

  1. The name that is most generally recognisable
  2. The name that is unambiguous with the name of other articles

Several general and specific guidelines further specify that article names preferably:

  • Do not have additional qualifiers (such as "King", "Saint", "Dr.", "(person)", "(ship)"), except when this is the simplest and most NPOV way to deal with disambiguation
  • Are in English
  • Are not insulting

For people, this quite often leads to an article name in the following format:

<First name> <Last name> (example: Alan Moore).

People from countries where the surname comes first[edit]

The conventions for dealing with such names vary from country to country, and the standard naming procedures are dealt with in individual manuals of style; see, for example, Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Chinese), Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Korean), and Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Japan-related articles.

Middle names, shortened names, pen names and abbreviated names[edit]

Examples: C.C. Beck, Brian Michael Bendis, Hergé, Bob Kane.

Generally, use the most common format of a name: if that is with a middle name, a shortened name or an abbreviation, make the Wikipedia article name conform to that format. Where a writer or an artist uses both a pen name and their full name, use the full name as the article title. See Peter David and PAD. Where an artist is known almost exclusively by a pen name use that as the article title. See Hergé.

Important: provide redirects wherever possible (or appropriate disambiguation where redirects are not possible) for all other formats of a name that are also in use, or could reasonably be typed in Wikipedia's "Search" box by someone looking for information about that person.

Adding middle names, or their abbreviations, merely for disambiguation purposes (that is: if this format of the name is not the commonly used one to refer to this person) is not advised.

Senior and junior[edit]

Senior/junior is only used when this is the usual way for differentiating a person from another with the same name, In the case of senior/junior adding ", Sr." or alternatively ", Jr." after the name, is preferred, so:

Using this as a disambiguation technique is not advised, except for those names where the practice is well established.

Qualifier between bracketing parentheses[edit]

Where "comics" is not the most useful disambiguation phrase, for example the person in question works or has worked in a variety of fields, some standardisation of the bracketed disambiguator is possible, for example "(writer)" and "(artist)" are very recognisable. Try to avoid abbreviations or anything capitalised or containing hyphens, dashes or numbers (apart from where more specific guidelines specify particular exceptions to that), and also try to limit to a single, recognisable and highly applicable word regarding the person at hand. Years of birth and death should not be used in a page title to distinguish between people of the same name.

As for all other articles: try to avoid this type of disambiguation where possible (use disambiguation techniques listed above if these apply more "naturally") - but if no other disambiguation technique comes naturally, this type of disambiguation is the most preferred one.

Difficult to disambiguate: some examples[edit]

When two or more persons with the same name are known for exactly the same characteristic (usually their profession), the above gives no straightforward solution on how to disambiguate. Here is an example of how Wikipedians sought to overcome excessive clutter in disambiguators:

Topic-specific conventions[edit]

There are a number of other naming conventions which are applicable to the articles in our scope. The most relevant ones are as follows:

Category names[edit]

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A number of naming conventions exist specifically for category names; most of these are used to ensure consistent naming among all the sub-categories of a particular category.

"X by country" 
In most cases, sub-categories of a category named "X by country" take names of the form "X Y", where X is the most common name for the nationality of the country in question. For example:
"X by company" 
In most cases, sub-categories of a category named "X by type" take names of the form "Y X", where Y describes the type in question. For example:

Lists[edit]

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Lists should begin with a lead section that presents unambiguous statements of membership criteria. Many lists on Wikipedia have been created without any membership criteria, and editors are left to guess about what or who should be included only from the name of the list. Even if it might "seem obvious" what qualifies for membership in a list, explicit is better than implicit. In cases where the membership criteria are subjective or likely to be disputed, list definitions should to be based on reliable sources. Non-obvious characteristics of the list, for instance regarding the list structure, should also be explained in the lead section.

When deciding what to include on a list, ask yourself:

  • If this person/thing/etc., wasn't an X, would it reduce their fame or significance?
  • Would I expect to see this person or thing on a list of X?
  • Is this person or thing a canonical example of some facet of X?

Ideally each entry on a list should have its own Wikipedia article but this is not required if it is reasonable to expect an article could be forthcoming in the future; the one exception is for list articles that are created explicitly because the listed items do not warrant independent articles: an example of this is List of minor characters in Dilbert. Don't use lists as a "creation guide" containing a large number of redlinked unwritten articles; instead consider listing them under the appropriate Wikiproject.

A list can stand alone as a self contained page, or it can be embedded in an article.

  • Stand-alone lists are articles consisting of a lead section followed by a list. The items on these lists include (but are only rarely exclusively) links to articles in a particular subject area, such as people or places, or a timeline of events. The titles of these articles should always begin with List of or Timeline of or Glossary of. The title and bullet style or vertical style is common for this type of list. These Wikipedia articles follow the Wikipedia:Lists (stand-alone lists) style guideline. Subtypes of stand-alone lists include:
    • A Glossary page presents definitions for specialized terms in a subject area. Glossaries contain a small working vocabulary and definitions for important or frequently encountered concepts, usually including idioms or metaphors useful in a subject area.
    • A Bibliography page presents a list of relevant books, journal or other references for a subject area. Bibliographies are useful for expanding Further Reading topics for Summary style articles.
    • A Discography page presents a listing of all recordings which a musician or singer features. Additionally, discographies may be compiled based on a particular musical genre or record label, etc.
    • An Etymology is a list of the origin and histories of words with a common theme.
    • Set index articles document a set of items that share the same (or a similar) name. They are different from disambiguation pages in that they are full-fledged articles meant to document multiple subjects, while disambiguation pages are for navigation purposes only.
    • Dynamic lists change as the subjects they cover change, and may never be completed.
  • Embedded lists are either included in the article or appended to the end of articles. They present information or aid in navigation to related articles. Some examples include: See also lists, Compare lists, Related topics lists, Reference lists, and lists of links under the heading External links. To see how to include a list in an article, go to Wikipedia:Lists (embedded lists)

List formats[edit]

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There are a number of formats currently used on Wikipedia, both generalized and specialized, for articles that are lists.

Formats for general lists ("List of" articles) include:

  1. alphabetized lists or indexes such as List of mathematics articles, List of economics topics, as well as simple alphabetized lists without letter subheadings.
  2. annotated lists such as List of business theorists and Production, costs, and pricing.
  3. subheading-structured lists (i.e., categorized or hierarchical lists) such as List of basic geography topics, List of cat breeds, List of finance topics, List of marketing topics, Lists of mathematics topics, and Lists of philosophers.
  4. chronological lists such as Deaths in 2007 and List of winners and shortlisted authors of the Booker Prize for Fiction. (Lists whose titles begin "Timeline of" are, of course, always chronological.)
  5. sortable lists, which are formatted as tables, such as List of social networking websites‎

Formats for specialized lists include:

  1. timelines such as Timeline of architectural styles, which use the timeline syntax. (Almost all "Timeline of" lists do not use the timeline syntax.)
  2. glossaries, a type of annotated list, where the annotations are definitions of the list's entries, such as Glossary of philosophical isms

The best format to use depends on which of the uses a list is being put to in any specific instance. If the list is being used primarily by those familiar with the subject, then an hierarchical list would be preferred. If used mostly by those not familiar with the topic, then an alphabetical list may be more useful. Possibly the best compromise is an annotated hierarchical list,which is helpful to both groups.

Other factors include whether the list is being used primarily for navigational purposes or for developing Wikipedia content (redlinks), and whether readers are mostly looking for a specific topic, a group of related topics, or just browsing.

Currently there is no single recommended format.

Sorting lists[edit]

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In lists and categories Wikipedia generally sorts by the last name first, unless the specific list states otherwise. So Rick Jones is placed under J for Jones, while Clark Kent would be placed under K, and Jean Grey under G. To achieve this in categories, one would add a category link in the following format: [[:Category:Superheroes|Jones, Rick]]. The piping does not make the category link appear with the text Jones, Rick, but rather places the article on Rick Jones in the J section of the category.

When sorting in chronological order, lists should be sorted in publication order rather than in continuity order. Writing time-lines of the larger companies fictional universes is thought to be particularly tricky, given that such universe are always open to being re-written or re-created at the whim of the publishers. Therefore such time-lines should be written from an out of universe perspective, noting differences for each particular continuity, starting with the earliest published version and noting story-lines which have introduced revisions to previously published events.

List naming[edit]

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In general, lists are disambiguated as articles are, per Wikipedia:Naming conventions (comics).

The name of a comics-related list should use the following format:

  • List of <x> in comics-related media - when the list consists of such things as characters, devices, organizations, etc., which are in all comics-related media, such as comic books, comics strips, film, and TV series.
  • List of <x> in comics and animation - when the list consists of such things as the previous example, but only as what appears in comics or non-live action productions of TV or film (such as cartoons).
  • List of <x> in comics - when the list consists of such things as the previous example, but includes all comics (including comic strips), not just comic books.
  • List of <x> in comic books - when the list consists of such things as the previous example, but only includes such appearing in comic books.
  • List of comic book <x> - when the list consists of things or people who are associated with comic books in some way (such as publishers or artists).
  • List of comics <x> - when the list consists of such things as the previous example, but includes all comics (including comic strips), not just comic books.

So "x" in comic books/comics should be used when talking about something "in universe", or at least printed "in comics", and comic book/comics "x" is used when talking about things (such as creators) outside of the publication.

When using the "...in comics" or "...in comic books" disambiguation, the word "fictional" should be included in the name prior to <x>:

  • List of fictional <x> in comics

The use of "fictional" can be presumed when <x> is something clearly fictional, such as: "superhuman" or "superhero".

  • Examples:
  • "...<x> in comic books/comics"
  • List of alien races in comics and animation (In this case, "alien races" presumes fictional)
  • List of Hispanic superheroes in comics-related media ("superhero" presumes fictional)
  • List of superhuman powers in comics ("superhuman" presumes fictional)
  • List of fictional characters in comic books
  • List of fictional locations in comic books
  • List of fictional devices in comics
  • etc.
  • "...comics <x>":
  • List of comic strip creators
  • List of comic book publishers
  • etc.

Splitting lists[edit]

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If such a list become too long (See Wikipedia:Summary style), then the list may be split.

Lists "... in comics" are split by media type (such as comic strips or comic books, see above).

Lists "...in comic books" are usually first split by publisher, so List of fictional characters in Marvel Comics.

This may be further split if necessary, so List of fictional characters in The Sandman, volume 1. (Note the use of "the" because this is a publication which has the in its title Also note the disambiguating volume number.)

Another way that lists may be further split is by reference to an in-universe location (nations, continents, planets, galaxies, universes, alternate dimensions, etc.), so List of fictional devices of the DC universe, or List of superheroes of South America. (Note that in this case, of is used rather than in.) When <x> is located "in" the disambiguating location, use "in", so List of superheroes headquartered in New York City (DC Comics). (Note the use of (DC Comics) to further disambiguate between the fictional city published in DC Comics and any other publisher's version of New York City.)

Lists as article sections[edit]

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Many elements related to an article topic may be suitable to be presented in a section in a list format. The most common material to be treated this way are creators, powers/abilities, characters, and issues or series. Care should be taken though to make sure the list is relevant and would not be better handled as prose or as a separate list article.

Listings of publications will generally fall into the following section types:

  • "Bibliography" sections are reserved for articles on writers or artists. These sections will present a bulleted listing of the person's body of work. Such list can be structured alphabetically by title or chronologically. They can also be separated by publisher. Publications list should not be split up if a chronological sorting is used.
  • "Collected editions" and "Related titles" are reserved for articles that focus in full or in part on a comic strip, series, or book. For comic books these lists present collected editions or spin-off titles. For strips or series these lists can include collected editions or the magazines or publications the series or strip has run through.
  • "Included titles" or "Crossover titles" can be included in articles on "event" story lines that encompass two or more publications.

Articles that focus only on one or more characters or a fictional organization should not include a list section made up of publications titles. Such appearance lists or indexes fall under Wikipedia's concept of a directory or an indiscriminate collection of information.

Article content[edit]

Article structure[edit]

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The structures suggested in this section are intended to serve as a starting point for writing a good article; they are not meant to enforce a single, binding structure on all articles, nor to limit the topics a fully developed article will discuss. Please bear in mind that all articles need to include citations to reliable sources. So when you consider writing on some of the points raised below, remember that the burden of evidence lies with the editor who adds or restores material. All quotations and any material challenged or likely to be challenged must be attributed to a reliable, published source using an inline citation.

Characters[edit]

The opening paragraph (or lead section) should concisely convey:

  1. The name of the character (including alternate names).
  2. When did it first appear? Which company or companies have published it?
  3. Who created it?
  4. What motivated the creation?
  5. In what major titles has the character starred or co-starred?
  6. What was its significance, if any?

The article can be structured along these lines:

  1. The historical background to the creation of the character, including comments from creators, similar creations or developments elsewhere. Has the character changed hands?
  2. The development of the character by creators, ensuring an out of universe style is adopted.
  3. A plot summary of important storylines involving the character. It is essential this section not become overly detailed. For further details see Wikipedia:How to write a plot summary
  4. How the character is used today. Is it licensed for use in other properties?
  5. What was the significance of the character? Who or what did it affect? Did the character establish a trend?

Section titles[edit]

Section titles can include Publication history, Fictional character biography, Creation and concept, Legacy, Characterization, Powers and abilities, Other versions, In other media, Reception, Development and description, Depiction, In the comics, or Character overview. Please feel free to create your own section headings, bearing in mind:

  • Section names should not explicitly refer to the subject of the article, or to higher-level headings, unless doing so is shorter or clearer. For example, Early life is preferable to His early life when His means the subject of the article; headings can be assumed to be about the subject unless otherwise indicated.
  • Capitalize the first letter of the first word and any proper nouns in headings, but leave the rest in lower case. Thus Rules and regulations, not Rules and Regulations.
  • The use of Roman numerals or enumerators to identify the succession of an identity from one alter ego to another, is discouraged. Instead find other ways to word the text so as to identify the subject. So Jason Todd rather than Robin II and Scott Lang rather than Second Ant-Man.

Publication[edit]

The opening paragraph (or lead section in a longer article) should concisely convey:

  1. The name of the publication (including alternate names).
  2. When was it first published?
  3. Where was it first published?
  4. Which company does it belong to?
  5. Who were the creators?
  6. What was its significance?
  7. Is it still in publication? Has it won any awards?

The article can be structured along these lines:

  1. The background. Why was it published? How was it marketed? Which creators and editors developed it? What trends inspired it?
  2. The launch. How was it received? Are there any sales figures? Any press releases or launch interviews?
  3. A description of the title's run, noting major creators and editors. Has the direction or format changed? Have there been major revamps
  4. The significance and publication status. Has it been revived, how many volumes have their been? How did the publication affect the course of the industry? Has it won any awards?
Summaries of characters or publications in other articles

Because of the key role the discussion of individual characters or publications play in comics historiography, it is often useful to summarize information about a particular character or publication in an article of broader scope (such as one discussing another character, team, publication or creator). In such cases, the bulk of the material should be in the article on the character or publication itself; the summary in the external article should be trimmed to one or two paragraphs that concisely present the following:

  1. What were the reasons for the character or publication's creation?
  2. What were the original publication dates?
  3. Were there any notable trends established that make this more than just one of many characters or publications? Were there any brilliant innovations or critical errors?

Teams[edit]

The opening paragraph (or lead section) should concisely convey:

  1. The common name of the team, its abbreviations and nickname(s) where relevant.
  2. What company and publications has the team appeared in?
  3. What is the team's country or allegiance, if any? Where is its base of operations?
  4. When was it first published? Who created it?
  5. If the team no longer exists, when was it disbanded or last published?
  6. In what major storylines has the team played a notable part?

The article can be structured along these lines:

  1. The historical background to the creation of the team, including comments from creators, similar creations or developments elsewhere. Has the character changed hands?
  2. The development of the team by creators, ensuring an out of universe style is adopted.
  3. A plot summary of important storylines involving the team It is essential this section not become overly detailed. For further details see Wikipedia:How to write a plot summary.
  4. How the team is used today. Is it licensed for use in other properties?
  5. What was the significance of the team? Who or what did it affect? Did the team establish a trend?

Fictional objects[edit]

The article can be structured along these lines:

  1. History. A history of the creation of the object, including background events leading to the creation and the evolution of appearance and purpose, plus published appearances and major storylines.
  2. Design and features. A description of the major points and purpose of the object, including details of special abilities and powers, whether the object is a weapon and how it is operated by the user.
  3. Variants. A list and description of any major variants and close descendants of the weapon, plus publication details and creator statements.
  4. Cultural impact, if any. A general summary of the object's impact on culture, complying with the guidelines on popular culture.

In-line use of dates and issue numbers[edit]

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References to individual issues and dates within the body of the text are encouraged, although editors are allowed discretion to choose whether they want to add specific issue numbers or dates in the text of articles or by way of citations using <ref> tags. Editors should use each approach in moderation. Care should be taken to adapt the style used so as to fit the flow of the page. Editors should always strive to place readability at the forefront of any approach. A plethora of dates looks cluttered and impinges on smooth reading. This can be tackled by the use of such phrases as "three issues later" or "in the next issue", and by recasting sentences and paragraphs so as to avoid what journalists call "a laundry list" (e.g. "In issue #101, this happened. In issue #115, this happened. In issue #123, this happened".) Footnotes should give both the issue number(s) and the date(s) of what is being discussed. So {{xt|In 1956 Daffy Duck assumes the mantle of "Cluck Trent" in the short "Stupor Duck", a role later reprised in various issues of the Looney Tunes comic book.[1][2]

The following points should be considered when deciding which method to use:

  • Issue names and numbers for very significant events in a character's history are appropriate as in-article text
  • The lead section of a character's, team's or object's article should include within the text the issue number and cover date of the first appearance, so Spider-Man first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15
  • In-article dates should be used to provide context for chronological history, so The character was shown as learning of the existence of Krypton in 1949. The concept itself had originally been established to the reader in 1939, in the Superman comic strip.
  • When summarising plot, most events should not have the issue and date in the text, but in footnotes only, only mentioning the year of publication in the body in some cases
  • Limit issue numbers and dates to important story-lines and events. Whether an event or story-line is important is a matter for editorial consensus, discussed on the article's talk page
  • Always make context clear, even if that means using dates or issue numbers in-line where you would not normally do so

References[edit]

Popular culture[edit]

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"In popular culture" sections should be avoided unless the subject has had a well-cited and notable impact on popular culture. Any popular culture reference being considered for inclusion must be attributed to a reliable source for the article topic. Items meeting these requirements should typically be worked into the text of the article; a separate section for popular culture items, and in particular the following, should be avoided:

  • Compendiums of every trivial appearance of the subject in pop culture (trivia)
  • Unsupported speculation about cultural significance or fictional likenesses (original research)

This tends to be a particular problem in articles on fictional characters; for example, Roy of the Rovers may appear in any association football match report, and their many appearances don't warrant an exhaustive list.

Alternate versions of characters[edit]

Alternate versions of characters should have entries in the main article unless that article grows unmanageably large, in which case the alternate version article should be spun-off, as per guidance at Wikipedia:Summary style and Wikipedia:Article series. Splitting of subsections should only be considered where an article has already been copyedited to conform with editorial guidance. Such copyediting can sometimes reduce an article's length drastically, and so article length should not be thought of as the arbitrary point at which sections are broken out.

Some examples of alternate versions of characters are animated versions of comic characters or Marvel's Ultimate imprint.

Usage and style[edit]

Capitalization[edit]

For more details on this topic, see Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Trademarks.

Character names are typically trademarked and so should be capitalised when used within an article. When referring to a character whose name is preceded by the article "the", such as the Joker, the Flash, the Hulk, the Wasp, the Avengers, etc., do not capitalize the word "the" unless it is the first word of the sentence. When "the" is part of a publication title, such as in The Ultimates, "The" is capitalized. (Note: you should never add "The" to the beginning of a publication title or group title when it isn't actually the name - e.g. Infinity Inc., not The Infinity Inc.)

Examples:

  • a character: e.g. the Sandman, not The Sandman
  • a publication: e.g. The Sandman
  • a group of characters: e.g. the Fantastic Four, not The Fantastic Four (and not The FF or FF).

In titles of stories, chapters, and publications in the English language, the project standard is to capitalize:

  1. The first word and last word in the title.
  2. All other words except for coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, nor), prepositions (to, over, in, for), articles (an, a, the), and the word to in infinitives. Note that short verbs (Is, Are, Be, Do) and pronouns (Me, It, His) are capitalized.

In titles of stories or publications in a language other than English, the project standard is to use the capitalization used by that language, not the English capitalization. (If you are unsure about the capitalization standards of other languages, check the foreign-language Wikipedias.)

Flag icons[edit]

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For more details on this topic, see Wikipedia:Manual of Style (flags).

In general, the use of flag icons is not recommended; neither, however, is it prohibited. When deciding whether flag icons are appropriate in a particular context, consider:

  • Do the icons convey useful information to the reader, or are they merely decorative? Icons that convey irrelevant or redundant information are usually removed.
  • Can flag icons be used consistently? In other words, do all the groups in a given list have usable flags? If only a few have them, it may be better to omit flags for all the items than to have a different layout for each one.
  • Will adding icons disrupt the existing structure or flow of the text? It is important to keep in mind that infobox templates permit limited useful width, so the use of flag icons in them can potentially conflict with readability.

When flag icons are used, they should be historically accurate ones. In particular:

  • When dealing with items related to a particular time period, avoid using anachronistic flags from other time periods. Be especially careful to avoid using the flags of modern countries for ancient ones; in many cases, the proper successor of a country no longer in existence is a matter of considerable controversy.
  • Avoid using national flags in inappropriate contexts, such as for groups or individuals not aligned with any country.

When dealing with biographical infobox templates, the most common practice is not to use flags to indicate place of birth or death. However, there remains considerable disagreement regarding the appropriateness of flags in such cases, so editors should not regard this as a universal rule.

Precision[edit]

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In general, articles should strive to be precise. Where the names of specific publications, companies, or characters are available, it is usually better to use them instead of more general terms. So DC Comics launched the Booster Gold series after Crisis on Infinite Earths rather than DC launched Booster's series after Crisis.

It is important to note, however, that the level of precision in an article should be appropriate for its scope. Articles dealing with narrower and more specialized topics can use more specific terminology than may be feasible in articles dealing with broad overviews or very general topics; and general terminology is often appropriate in an introductory section even where more specific terms are used in the body of the article. Precision should not be pursued to such an extent that it impairs the average reader's understanding of the topic.

Plot summaries[edit]

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In order to justify the fair use of copyrighted material, plot discussions must be concise summaries, not detailed abridgements that can serve as a substitute for the reading of the actual story. Summarising should never be on a per-issue basis and should only outline the plot rather than describe minor details. Additionally, plot descriptions must include cited reference to critical analysis published in secondary sources. Editors should approach the discussion of fictional concepts within a "real world context"; this means editors should describe fictional elements in terms of how they relate to the real world, as fictional characters or topics.

Plot summaries should always contain references to when various stories were published - so In Alan Moore and Brian Bolland's 1986 story The Killing Joke, the Joker shot Barbara Gordon and paralyzed her, not Barbara Gordon was paralysed by the Joker. This serves two purposes. First, it ties the evolution of characters to actual historical context. Second, it gives a better sense of what areas of the character's history are in need of more coverage, and can help combat a presentist bias in articles.

Editors should keep in mind that Wikipedia is not a repository for plot summaries, annotated or otherwise. (For annotated books try Wikibooks, specifically Wikibooks:annotated texts bookshelf, for those without annotations see Comic Book Series Wiki.)

Plot summaries should not become so enlarged as to become separate articles. WP:NOT states: "Wikipedia treats fiction in an encyclopedic manner, discussing the reception, impact, and significance of notable works. A concise plot summary is sometimes appropriate as part of the larger coverage of a fictional work.

In general, articles focused on describing story-lines should be avoided unless significance is established through real world sources.

Unless there has already been substantial hype and press coverage about comics not yet published, information regarding such comics may be considered speculation (not by default, although it often can be) which is grounds for deletion because Wikipedia is not a crystal ball.

The use of in-universe statistics and chronology[edit]

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Great care should be taken when presenting in-universe information. We should remember these are not facts of actuality, but rather plot points which are open to interpretation, rewriting, or even simply being disregarded or contradicted within the text. This is especially true of comic book continuity, which, through the use of retcons, is more fluid than other serial fictions.

Statistics[edit]

Consensus at the WikiProject is that the use of statistics sourced from in universe material and reference works, such as the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, Who's Who in the DC Universe or roleplaying game resources is discouraged. These statistics constitute fictional facts. Fictional facts are not facts per se (independently verifiable separate from the reporting source) but fiction, and rewriting or paraphrasing fiction is not transformative. As these handbooks are encyclopedic sources (albeit of fictional facts), we are a competing product (a free encyclopedia) and because we are in no way transforming this fictional material, using this material may constitute a breach of copyright. However, we should accurately record things in an encyclopedic manner; if a newspaper reports Spider-Man's strength as being such that he can lift ten tons, that can be discussed, and even contrasted with OHOTMU statistics within a section on Spider-Man's powers, bearing in mind the policy of neutral point of view and the undue weight section; if Spider-Man can be seen within publications lifting things greater than ten tons, then we should note that, and not present the statistic as anything other than it is; a meaningless statistic within both our universe and the fictional one in which Spider-Man's adventures are portrayed.

Chronology[edit]

Regarding chronology, again over-specificity is to be avoided unless the point is a pertinent one. Continuity is often fluid, and all references to periods of time should be grounded in our universe, so that we talk of Tony Stark's origin as having been presented variously as happening concurrent with both the Korean War and Viet-Nam, rather than that Tony Stark became Iron Man while on a visit to Vietnam. The character was created in 1963, before the Viet Nam conflict had escalated. Similarly, when describing things with lengthy publication histories, plot summaries and character biographies should be arranged in publication order, not in an in-universe order. This is so that more recent developments are not misrepresented as having always been part of the character's history, which can give a misleading impression of the dominant portrayals of the character.

Relating units of time should also be handled carefully, and again they should only be presented where pertinent. The character of Hourman has limits on his powers which allow their use for only an hour, and so it is pertinent to present this information to the reader. Also note those instances where this limit had been broken, grounding that information to show that breach as a writers choice. Although the passage of time is at the forefront of the plotting behind the DC Comics series 52, with the issues of that series officially designated by week number rather than issue number, the specificity of time passages as noted within the comics should also be avoided within articles. These time passages, it should be remembered, are not facts, and should not be presented as such, but only presented where it might place events at conflict or that they break with previously depicted versions of the same circumstances. For instance, including how many days and nights events take place after each other and on which day of the week they happen would be too specific, redundant and not in keeping with writing about fiction guidance. Noting that "although previous writers had indicated that a period of five months had passed between Batman adopting Robin and Robin's first adventure, a recent crossover presented Robin's first adventure as having occurred in a far shorter time period" is an example of where such information would be pertinent.

Present tense[edit]

In order to differentiate between real historical events and the events described in a fictional work, it is appropriate to use the present tense for the latter. This is not to say that the article must be devoid of other tenses; rather, the discussion of a fictional occurrence should be anchored in the moment in which the event takes place. When discussing a specific story, for instance a later issue of Runaways, it is appropriate to write that the characters in that series "ran away" because their running away is backstory to issues whose stories take place after the events of the first storyline.

For reference, see Wikipedia:Guide to writing better articles, Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style, and Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Comics.

Titles[edit]

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In the interest of clarity, it is important when referring to the title of a literary work to know whether to use italics or quotation marks. The titles of comic book series, comic strips and comics publications should be italicized. For the titles of comic book storylines, chapters, comic strip episodes, an individual editorial cartoon or gag panel, editors should use quotation marks — not apostrophes — on either side.

  • Identity Crisis, the title of a DC Comics limited series, should be italicized. "Identity Crisis", the title of a Spider-Man storyline that leads to the creation of the Slingers, should be in quotation marks.
  • Crisis on Infinite Earths, the name of a reality-altering DC Comics maxi-series, should be italicized; the Crisis event the characters take part in, however, should not be italicized. Likewise, comic books whose stories take place before the Crisis are said to be pre-Crisis, and those whose events take place after are called post-Crisis.
  • In 2006, Marvel published the "Civil War" cross-over event. The flagship title of the event is the limited series Civil War.

Titles with numerous volumes[edit]

Where a comic book title has been published in a number of volumes — Legion of Superheroes, for instance, has had five volumes — the specific series should be referred to by volume number, as indicated by the indicia of the series, not by year of first issue being published or by first series or second series. The preferred styling for this is Title, vol. 2, No. 1. An exception is made for volume 1 of any series, which should just be referred to as Title No. Note that the volume and issue number is not considered a part of the actual title of the comic. However, "Annual", "Special", and the like are part of the title if they are listed in the indicia. So Uncanny X-Men but Marvel Comics Super Special.

Sourcing and citation[edit]

Sources[edit]

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Policy requires that articles reference only reliable sources; however, this is a minimal condition, rather than a final goal. With the exception of certain recent topics that have not yet become the subject of extensive secondary analysis, and for which a lower standard may be temporarily permitted, articles on comics should aim to be based primarily on published secondary works by reputable critics, scholars or academics. The use of high-quality primary sources is also appropriate, but care should be taken to use them correctly, without straying into original research. Editors are encouraged to extensively survey the available literature — and, in particular, any available academic commentary — regarding an article's topic in order to identify every source considered to be authoritative or significant; these sources should, if possible, be directly consulted when writing the article.

Solicitation and promotional material[edit]

Editors should remember that Wikipedia is not a crystal ball and should question all sources with regard to discussion of future developments. Because solicitation information and promotional materials such as advertisements, preview interviews, and panel discussions at conventions regularly contain hype, story elements scrapped before publication, or even incorrect information to promote upcoming releases, it is not as reliable as information from the printed comic book page. Past experience has shown that nothing is sure until the issue has been distributed and read. For instance, the Green Lantern storyline "Emerald Twilight" was solicited and originally written as an entirely different story [1], and the Sentry limited series was promoted through preview articles, interviews, and solicitations employing a hoax.

When writing about future developments, editors must clearly cite their sources and note that the actual story has not yet seen print. Misleading promotional information and assumptions based on solicitations have led editors to make major mistakes that can diminish the WikiProject's credibility as a resource. Editors should move uncited claims about future developments to the talk page and only re-add after finding clarification and reliable confirmation.

Citations[edit]

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Because individual issues of comic books are primary sources in their articles, basic descriptions of their content, such as their plot and credits, are acceptable. WP:PSTS says, "...a primary source may be used only to make descriptive claims, the accuracy of which is verifiable by a reasonable, educated person without specialist knowledge... Do not make analytic, synthetic, interpretive, explanatory, or evaluative claims about information found in a primary source." The nature of historical material requires that articles be thoroughly — even exhaustively — cited. At a minimum, the following all require direct citation of secondary sources:

  1. Direct quotations of outside material
  2. Paraphase or other borrowing of ideas from an outside source
  3. Controversial or disputed statements
  4. Subjective or qualitative judgements
  5. Numerical quantities or statistics

Beyond this, editors are encouraged to cite any statement that is obscure or difficult to find in the available sources, as well as any significant statement in general. There is no numerical requirement for a particular density of citations or for some predetermined number of citations in an article; editors are expected to use their best judgement as to how much citation is appropriate. When in doubt, cite; additional citations are harmless at worst, and may prove invaluable in the long term.

Citation styles[edit]

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For more details on this topic, see Wikipedia:Citing sources § Inline citations.

In general, articles may use one of two citation styles:

  • Footnotes
  •  : Footnotes are generally the more appropriate option when the level of citation is very dense, or where the citations include additional commentary.
  •  : A single footnote may be used to provide citations for any amount of material; they typically apply to one or a few sentences.
  •  : When a reference tag coincides with punctuation, the reference tag is most commonly placed immediately after the punctuation, except for dashes, as recommended by the Chicago Manual of Style and other style guides.

To cite individual comic book, comic strip or editorial cartoons, use the templates, {{Cite comic}} or {{Comic strip reference}}. For collected editions or graphic novels use {{cite book}}. A guide to citing comic art is available at Comic Art in Scholarly Writing: A Citation Guide.

Examples:

  • The Flash vol. 3, #23 (Feb. 1989) - citation style for a comic book issue without citing creators or publishers, typically used within the article text.
  • The Flash vol. 3, #23 (Feb. 1989), DC Comics. - citation style including publisher and date. This is the minimum required for an in-line reference.
  • Messner-Loebs, William (w), Purcell, Gordon (p), Dzon, Tony & Mahlstedt, Larry, (i). "The Clipper Returns". The Flash vol. 3, #23 (Feb. 1989), DC Comics. p. 12. - a full citation, including creators, story title and page number.

Requesting citations[edit]

Editors should attempt to take a reasonable approach when requesting citations. Unless the accuracy of a statement is in significant doubt, it is generally better to start with a request for citations on the article's talk page, rather than by inserting {{fact}} tags — particularly large numbers of such tags — into the article. Over-tagging should be avoided; if a large portion of the article is uncited, adding an {{unreferenced}} or {{citation style}} tag to an entire section is usually more helpful than simply placing {{fact}} tags on every sentence. Note that some articles contain per-paragraph citations, so checking the citations at the end of a paragraph may yield information about facts or figures in the paragraph as a whole.

Images[edit]

As comics are a highly visual medium, it is sometimes necessary to illustrate articles with images drawn from the publications. Because comics are a relatively new medium, with most major works created since the mid 1930s, most of the material is under copyright, and as such any use of images sourced from comics will be subject to copyright. Such images may only be used on the English-language Wikipedia, hosted on servers in the United States by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation, where they qualify as fair use under United States copyright law. All such images must include on the image description page:

  1. Identification of the source of the material, supplemented, where possible, with information about the artist, publisher and copyright holder; this is to help determine the material's potential market value. See: Wikipedia:Citing sources#When uploading an image.
  2. A copyright tag that indicates which Wikipedia policy provision is claimed to permit the use. For a list of image copyright tags, see Wikipedia:Image copyright tags/Non-free content.
  3. The name of each article (a link to each article is also recommended) in which fair use is claimed for the item, and a separate, specific fair-use rationale for each use of the item, as explained at Wikipedia:Non-free use rationale guideline. The rationale is presented in clear, plain language and is relevant to each use.

Please see Wikipedia:Non-free content for a rationale of how a specific usage of an image qualifies as fair use. This document details Wikipedia:WikiProject Comics guidance specific to the issue of fair use and comics.

Three templates to use alongside any Fair use rationales have been created:

Cover scans[edit]

For general comic book, graphic novel and trade paperback covers, it is generally accepted that, like Compact disc or DVD covers, they can be used under fair use reasoning for the purpose of identification, as long as the image of the comic book cover is clearly captioned, identifies the series and issue number in question, credits the artists, and is used in an article containing commentary or analysis of the issue or series in question. A "cover" is the cover of the magazine or book as published. That includes the title, credits, UPC, copy, and trade dress. Where covers are not being used to identify the publication, but are instead identifying a character or element depicted, editors may crop images where either:

  1. The elements that identify it as a cover are still visible
  2. The cover has been cropped down to a level where such trade dress is no longer visible, as it is unlikely that the actual artwork is available to be scanned

Interior art[edit]

Because interior pages are actually the content being sold, they have to be used sparingly. For example, we can not create a written version of the Death of Superman story arc and illustrate it with small scenes from each part of it -- that would be too much and border on people not actually needing to purchase the original at all to appreciate the story and artwork. However a single famous or extremely important panel or series of panels, (a scene), is acceptable under fair use provisions when used in an article to which the image pertains and which makes a critical point about the scene or panel in question, and the point is more clearly made if illustrated. Please ensure the caption identifies the series, issue number and page number.

Note, it is important to use an insubstantial amount of the total comic book because the amount of the original work copied and the impact of the fair use on the commercial value of the work are critical considerations in US case law.

Images which cannot be "fair use"[edit]

Due to the non-free content policy of Wikipedia, which states:

  • The material should not be used in a manner that would likely replace the original market role of the original copyrighted media; our use of copyrighted material should not make it so that one no longer needs to purchase the actual product.

it has been decided that images derived from the following sources:

are not allowable on Wikipedia, as their use here would indeed directly compete with the commercial value of the original fan reference work containing that image.

Images for decoration[edit]

All fair use images must be used as a part of a commentary on the material in question; it is not acceptable to use fair use images for mere decoration.

Resolution[edit]

Fair use images should not be any larger than is required by the particular informational need for the image — just consider whether what it is being used to illustrate is legible. Accordingly, images should generally be no larger than the size the image will be displayed in an article (usually with a width no greater than 200-300 pixels); please discuss first with other contributors if you think this is insufficient.

Superhero box images[edit]

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The WikiProject suggests the following factors be followed when choosing an appropriate image for the info box. It is felt that using the most universally recognisable appearance of a character, for example Spider-Man in the red and blue rather than some other costume, and using a noteworthy image, either well discussed or used in many other sources, or a promotional piece of artwork the copyright holders have released for promotional purposes fits this purpose best.

  1. Follow the fair use criteria, especially the Images that cannot be fair use guidelines. These supersede all the following criteria. Also, source your images fully, including all applicable information (issue/page/panel, scan source, web source) and give a fair-use rationale.
  2. Ensure that the picture clearly shows as much of the character as possible:
    • The ideal image is a full-body, three-quarter picture of the character standing straight with no background, with a facing-the-camera or profile picture as the next-best.
    • If a full-body shot is unavailable, the picture must show the whole of the head and torso (or the equivalent for non-humanoid characters).
    • Visibly contorted poses should not be used under any circumstances.
    • Pictures which hide significant areas of the character in shadow should be avoided (exceptions apply only where the shadow is itself part of the character's look - e.g. Raven.), as should pictures where blur or distortion effects are applied.
    • Colouring should be neutral - pictures which have a heavy colour cast, or otherwise depict the character with false colours should not be uploaded unless the cast has been removed first.
    • Heavily stylised art should only be considered for use when the character is closely associated with the style to the exclusion of less extreme styles.
  3. Pictures which have more characters or objects than the subject of the article should only be used if the subject is the most prominent object - editing the picture, by cropping, obscuring or painting out the other characters may help to ensure this.
  4. If the character has a clearly defined primary costume (e.g. Superman), a picture of this should be used.

Uniform cover artwork crediting convention[edit]

To credit cover art, the following styles are suggested for use:

For covers in a comics-company or comics-character article such as All-American Publications:
  • All-American Comics #16 (July 1940). Cover art by Sheldon Moldoff.
For covers in a comics artist article such as Sheldon Moldoff:
  • All-American Comics #16 (July 1940). Cover art by Moldoff.
For a cover representing a major character change or important event, such as in Al Hartley:
  • The teen-humor heroine gets serious in Patsy Walker #116 (Aug. 1964). Cover art by Hartley
For a cover illustrating a style or historical element, such as in George Tuska:
  • Tuska's cover of Iron Man #18 (Oct. 1969) displays a panoply of character faces, as well both old and new Iron Man armors.
  • Promotional art for The Amazing Spider-Man #500 cover, featuring Spider-Man's wife, Mary Jane Watson-Parker, and many of his antagonists. Art by J. Scott Campbell.
...which, in similar entries without the description, would be:
  • Promotional art for The Amazing Spider-Man #500 cover, by J. Scott Campbell.

The parenthetical issue dates use abbreviations for the long months (Jan., Feb., but not March, April). Parenthetical references in captions and in article prose represent limited space, as per WP:MOS. Months are spelled out in regular, non-parenthetical mentions.

Templates[edit]

For more details on this topic, see Wikipedia:WikiProject Comics/Templates/Infoboxes.

The various primary and auxiliary infobox templates and navigation templates maintained by the Comics WikiProject are all coded to use a common set of styling characteristics. This is beneficial for providing a consistent appearance to the entire set of articles within our scope.

Infobox templates[edit]

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A few general guidelines apply to all comics infoboxes:

  1. Most of the fields in each infobox can be omitted if desired; the choice of which ones are appropriate for a particular article is left to the discretion of the article's editors.
  2. Multiple values given in a single field should be separated by both commas and, where appropriate, line breaks; merely spacing them onto separate lines can confuse screen reader software, and is ambiguous when long terms wrap onto multiple lines in their own right.
  3. Any use of flag icons should follow the relevant guidelines.
  4. The use of infoboxes to identify the succession of a superhero identity, for example Robin (comics), from one alter ego to another, is discouraged. It is felt something as fluid as fictional comics continuity is not so easily represented. Roman numerals are also discouraged as a means of identifying holders of a superhero identity.

Primary infoboxes[edit]

A primary infobox is intended to provide a summary table for some topic. It should generally be placed at the top of an article, before the lead section; this will cause it to be displayed in the top right corner.

{{Infobox comics creator}} 
Used for creators.
{{Infobox comic book title}} 
Used for comic book publications.
{{Infobox graphic novel}} 
Used for graphic novels.
{{Infobox Star Wars comics}} 
Used for a Star Wars related comic book.
{{Infobox comics story arc}} 
Used for a specific storyline.
{{Infobox comics character}} 
Used for comics characters
{{Infobox comics location}} 
Used for fictional locations seen within comics.
{{Infobox comics organization}} 
Used for fictional organizations seen within comics.
{{Infobox comics elements}} 
Used for fictional elements seen within comics.
{{Infobox comics species}} 
Used for fictional species seen within comics.

Several infobox templates that are not specifically designed for comics topics are also commonly used on comics-related articles:

{{Infobox company}} 
Used for companies which publish comics.
{{Infobox convention}} 
Used for conventions.

Categories[edit]

Overview[edit]

The category scheme originates in one root category — Category:Comics — and can be thought of as a tree structure where branches cross at several points. A guide to the top-level sub-categories of this root category is presented below; for brevity, a number of categories that are rarely used or lie outside the scope of this project have been omitted.

Category:Comics 
Root category for matters related to comics. Due to the scope of this category, it should only contain subcategories and possibly a limited number of directly related pages.
Category:Comics awards 
Root category for awards related to the comic books.
Category:Comics genres 
Root category for all topics related to genres presented within comics publications.
Category:History of comics 
Root category for articles related to the history of comics.
Category:Comics-related lists 
Root category for lists related to comics.
Category:Fictional content in comics 
Root category for fictional creations.
Category:Comics people 
Root category for people (both creators and non-creators) with some connection to comics; see the section on people below for more information.
Category:Comics-related organizations 
Root category for organizations related to comics.
Category:Media about comics 
Classifies media covering both the comics industry and form by media type.
Category:Works based on comics 
Root category for works which are in some part based upon comics or content originated within comics.
Category:Comics industry 
Root category for all topics related to the comics industry.
Category:Comics publishing companies 
Root category for companies which publish comics. For people who publish comics, see Category:Comic book publishers (people) or Category:Comic book company founders

Categorising fiction[edit]

The categorising of fiction is one which requires some thought. Most importantly, articles on fictional subjects should never be categorized in a manner that confuses them with real subjects. A "list" category containing members of a series, such as Category:European countries or Category:Presidents of the United States, should only contain real examples of those series. If a list category for fictional subjects has a real-life counterpart, as with Category:Fictional Presidents of the United States, its contents should be expressly identified as fictional in the name of the category itself. This is not necessary where the grouping is purely fictional, as with Category:Superheroes. Fictional subjects may only be mixed with real ones only in topical categories, i.e., ones that do not classify a series of real things or people. In such topical categories, there is not the risk of confusing fiction with fact as with list categories.

In general, categorize by what may be considered notable in a character's depiction, such as his or her origin and major powers. In contrast, instances where a character develops a new power or starts a new job for a limited amount of time, or a background detail which isn't heavily used can be considered trivial. Such things may be interesting information for an article, but not useful for categorization. If something could be easily left out of an overview, it is likely not a defining characteristic.

Adjectives which imply a subjective inclusion criterion should not be used in naming/defining a category. Examples include such subjective words as: famous, notable, great, etc.; any reference to size: large, small, tall, short, etc.; or distance: near, far, etc.; or character trait: beautiful, evil, friendly, greedy, honest, intelligent, old, popular, ugly, young, etc.

General principles[edit]

Naming[edit]

For naming conventions related to categories, see the section on naming conventions above.

Most specific categories[edit]

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In general, articles and categories should be placed in the most specific applicable categories, and should not be placed directly in a "parent" category if they are already present in one of its sub-categories. In other words, if an article is placed in Category:Marvel Comics mutants, there is no need to place it in Category:Marvel Comics characters as well.

Note, however, that this applies only to direct placement into a "parent" category; it is normal for a category to have multiple indirect paths up to some other category higher in the tree. For example, Category:Wildstorm Publications titles is both a sub-category of Category:DC Comics titles (which is a sub-category of Category:American comics titles) and a sub-category of Category:Image Comics titles (which is also a sub-category Category:American comics titles); thus, there are two distinct paths from Category:Wildstorm Publications titles up to Category:American comics titles.

Nested categories[edit]

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One important aspect of the "most specific" principle is that if every article in a category belongs to another category, it is sufficient to nest the categories directly, rather than double-categorizing each individual article. For example, Fantastic Four does not need to be added to Category:American comics titles directly because Category:Marvel Comics titles is already a sub-category of it. Similarly, the articles in Category:Comic book inkers do not need to be added to Category:Comics artists directly.

In some cases, entire category trees will nest as above. For example, all "by company" categories should be sub-categories of the applicable "by nationality" category, and that a redundant "by nationality" label should not be applied to articles where a "by company" one is given (for example, Category:DC Thomson Comics should be a sub-category of Category:Scottish comics, so an article already in the first need not be added to the second).

Note that this strategy should be applied only when every article in one category belongs in the other. For example, it is inappropriate to make Category:Comics by Warren Ellis a sub-category of Category:British comics titles, because there are many works in the first category which were not published in the United Kingdom; thus, Lazarus Churchyard must include both categories separately.

Fictional characters, organisations and elements[edit]

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The category tree for all conflicts and operations derives from the top-level Category:Fictional content in comics, as follows:

Category:Fictional content in comics
Category:Fictional characters in comics 
Organizes all characters who appear in comics through an appropriate sub-category.
Category:Webcomic characters 
Root category for characters appearing in webcomics.
Category:Comics superheroes 
Root category for all superhero characters.
Category:Fictional concepts in comics 
Organizes concepts which occur within comics (including parallel universes and alternate realities).
Category:Fictional superhuman features or abilities 
Organizes powers and abilities present within comics, typically of the superhero genre.
Category:Fictional locations in comics 
Root category for locations which appear within comics story-lines.
Category:Magic in comics 
Root category for all articles related to depictions of magic in comics.
Category:Fictional objects in comics 
Root category for all objects which have appeared within story-lines in comics of operations.
Category:Fictional organizations in comics 
Root category for all organizations which have appeared within story-lines in comics of operations.

A large publishing company will have a tree of categories for every component; at its greatest extent, the tree will take the following form:

The full tree may not be necessary for every publisher; another configuration is to have a simple two-level scheme:

Classifying characters[edit]

Categorizing by the nationality of a fictional character is problematic. The chief difficulty is that, unlike real people, a fictional character's origin is subject to being rewritten at any point in time. For example, in many instances Superman is portrayed as being born on Krypton and sent to Earth as a baby. More recently, the character has been depicted as having been born on American soil when his ship landed. This makes judging a character's nationality difficult. Other difficulties occur when we consider alternate realities and futuristic settings: Is the America of Judge Dredd the same as the USA we know today? Even in cases where nationality can be determined, however, doing so is quite often neither obvious nor intuitive, and requires an unreasonably detailed knowledge of the character's background. For example, the original incarnation of Dan Dare was later revealed to be an R.A.F. pilot who had travelled forwards in time into the future after a collision with a UFO. While this would make Dare a British national of a country that is analogous to the 1940s era United Kingdom, this plot point occurs some twenty years after the character's initial appearances and is thus not a widely known fact. Unlike categorizing by publisher, which can be done from almost any comic book appearance, categorizing by nationality thus requires an exhaustive knowledge of obscure plot points, and is at times simply impossible due to the underlying nature of fiction.

Superhero team categories[edit]

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Categories for articles relating to superhero teams (i.e. Category:Legion of Super-Heroes or Category:X-Men) should not incorporate the articles on individual members of such teams, or their respective villains and supporting characters. Instead, such characters should be organized as lists (i.e. List of Legion of Super-Heroes members or List of X-Men members). These list articles should then be included in the appropriate category. As a general rule, if a list article exists, it is preferable to include the list article in the category instead of every individual article presented in the list. The reasons for this are threefold:

Team categories are appropriate for the following types of articles relating to a superhero team:

Please note that this does not apply to categories based on an affiliation other than membership in a team. It is appropriate to include character articles in Category:Marvel Comics Eternals, because those individuals are being grouped by membership of a special race, not by membership of a team. See also Category:DC Comics aliens or Category:Marvel Comics mutants.

People[edit]

The category tree for all topics related to people involved in warfare derives from the top-level Category:People associated with war:

Category:Comics peopleClassifies all people involved in comics. Note the term comics is preferred over comic book as being more inclusive.
Comics creators 
Classifies all creators working in comics.
Category:Comics critics 
Root category for critics writing about comics.
Category:Comic book company founders 
Root category for founders of comic book publishing companies.
Category:Comic book publishers (people) 
Root category for publishers of comic books.

Alternative wikis for articles about comics[edit]

Note: Previously reached consensus allows the DC Database and the Marvel Database and Marvel Universe wikis to be listed where appropriate under "External links." Other wikis below were added without discussion. In either case, open wikis are not cited as references, per Wikipedia:Verifiability#Self-published sources.