Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Attack of the Jargon!

Iconography Part 4 - Visual Vocabulary of Graphic Novels, Comic Books and Comic Strips

Jargon ©2013 H. Simpson

Before we dive into tomorrow's tasty morsel, let's get some perspective.

Every profession and industry develops their own jargon that is understood in that restricted environment. Real words acquire different meanings in these environments. Gutters in the comic industry means the space between panels, while in the outside world gutters mean something that drains off rain water.

Likewise, some professions find the need to make up their own words. Some remain real words only to those who understand them in the proper environment. They are unknown and misunderstand to the outside world. Then there are cases where the jargon leaks out and becomes commonly used in the outside world. Not only is it commonly used, but graduates from jargon to mainstream word and gets into the dictionary.

I'm going to use an extreme example. Band-aid is a made up word that started life as a trademark for a company. Because of falling into common usage it is now a dictionary word that means an adhesive bandage with a gauze pad in the center, used to cover minor wounds.

Most of the words from yesterday and ones I'm going to cover are made up and are used only within the specific context of comics. But hark, some words have left this rarified atmosphere and have reached the ear of the common man. So be not taken aback if ye shall one day find these definitions in a dictionary.

So once again and I will give credit where it is due. Mort Walker created these words as a joke for the National Cartoonists Society magazine. He put them in a book titled Lexicon of Comicana. He considered it a humor book. Alas, it became a case of satire falling flat. The bookstores stocked his book under Art Instruction and so it remains, as people actually do use the words. After all we need to call them something, right? I 'm not using every word he coined. I'm changing where needed.

to be continued…

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