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This is an archived WebSchemas proposal Periodicals and Comics for schema.org. See Proposals listing for more. Note: active schema.org development is now based at github

Comics and Periodical Schemas

The following schemata are condensed from an email posted to the WebSchemas email group on January 17, 2012.


The scope of these schemata is to describe serially published print and digital publications generally and comics more specifically. While this specification is primarily focused on comics, other periodical types - such as magazines - are included within the larger periodical framework. Specialized serials (such as scholarly journals) may extend this framework similar to how the comic schema defined below expands upon it.

The comics schema is intended to describe serially published multi-page print and digital comics. Although some of the work types described below apply, newspaper comic strips and web comics have serialization and syndication structures distinct from other periodicals described here and therefore are not part of the scope of this schema.

The stand-alone Graphic Novel schema defined below is intended to describe long-form comic works, including both original graphic novels and collections of previously published works.

Periodicals and Comics

  • Periodical Series - a sequential grouping of periodical issues - The New Yorker, Redbook, The Lancet, Amazing Spider-Man
  • Periodical Issues - individual instances of periodicals - The New Yorker Vol. 1, Issue 4
  • Individual comic issues - short-form, saddle-stitched, serially published comics (the pamphlet-sized comics seen in comic book stores and hobby shops) - Amazing Spider-Man# 600

Graphic Novels

  • Graphic Novels - long-form comic works (including original graphic novels as well as collections of previously published comics)


Periodical Series

Periodical Series (extends and inherits all fields from Intangible)

  • endYear [number] the last year of publication of the series
  • imprint [string] the publishing division which published the series
  • startYear [number] the first year of publication of the series
  • volume [string] the volume identifier for series[1]

Periodical Issue

Periodical Issue (extends and inherits all fields from Creative Work)

  • issueNumber [number] the issue number within the series
  • numberOfPages [number] the page count for the issue
  • series [periodicalSeries] the series to which the issue belongs
  • subtitle [string] the subtitle for the issue (e.g. "The Music Issue" or "The Anniversary Issue")
  • upc [string] the UPC number of the issue

Comic Issue

Comic Issue (extends and inherits all fields from Periodical Issue)

  • artist [person(s)] see role descriptions above
  • colorist [person(s)] see role descriptions above
  • coverArtist [person(s)] see role descriptions above
  • format [string] the format of the comic (comic, book format, etc.)
  • inker [person(s)] see role descriptions above
  • letterer [person(s)] see role descriptions above
  • penciler [person(s)] see role descriptions above
  • variantDescription [string] a description of the variant cover for the issue, if the issue is a variant printing[2]

Graphic Novel

Graphic Novel (extends and inherits all fields from Book)

  • artist [person(s)] see role descriptions above
  • collectedIssues [comicIssue(s)] a list of all issues collected in the graphic novel (for collections of reprinted works)
  • colorist [person(s)] see role descriptions above
  • coverArtist [person(s)] see role descriptions above
  • inker [person(s)] see role descriptions above
  • letterer [person(s)] see role descriptions above
  • penciler [person(s)] see role descriptions above

Code Examples

Comic Issues

Unformatted code:

Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #673
<img src="http://x.annihil.us/u/prod/marvel/i/mg/7/00/4ea85e808c079/portrait_xlarge.jpg" width="150" height="225">
SPIDER-ISLAND: EPILOGUE It’s the morning after for New York City. See how everything has changed for Peter Parker and the spider-crew now that he’s once again the world’s only Spider-Man or is he?
Writer: Dan Slott
Penciller: Stefano Caselli
Colorist: Frank Martin
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Editor: Stephen Wacker, Tom Brevoort
Orig. Published: November 02, 2011
Rating: T+ 
Format: Comic 
UPC: 5960604716-67311
Price: $3.99
FOC Date: Oct 10, 2011

With microdata tags:

<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/ComicIssue">
    <div><span itemprop="series" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/PeriodicalSeries"><span itemprop="name">Amazing Spider-Man</span> (<span itemprop="startYear">1999</span>)</span> #<span itemprop="issueNumber">673</span></div>
    <img src="http://x.annihil.us/u/prod/marvel/i/mg/7/00/4ea85e808c079/portrait_xlarge.jpg" width="150" height="225" itemprop="image">
    <div itemprop="description">SPIDER-ISLAND: EPILOGUE It’s the morning after for New York City. 
                                See how everything has changed for Peter Parker and the spider-crew now that he’s once again the world’s only Spider-Man or is he?</div>
        <dl><dt>Writer</dt> <dd itemprop="writer" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Person">Dan Slott</dd></dl>
        <dl><dt>Penciler</dt>: <dd itemprop="penciler" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Person">Stefano Caselli</span></li>
        <dl><dt>Colorist</dt>: <dd itemprop="colorist" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Person">Frank Martin</span></li>
        <dl><dt>Letterer</dt>: <dd itemprop="letterer" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Person">Joe Caramagna</span></li>
        <dl><dt>Editor</dt>: <dd itemprop="editor" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Person">Stephen Wacker</span>, <dd itemprop="editor" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Person">Tom Brevoort</span></li>
        <dl><dt>Orig. Published</dt>: <dd itemprop="datePublished">November 02, 2011</dd></dl>
        <dl><dt>Format</dt>: <dd itemprop="format">Comic</dd><dl>
        <dl><dt>UPC</dt>: <dd itemprop="upc">5960604716-67311</dd></dl>
        <dl><dt>Price</dt>: <dd>$3.99</dd></dl>

Notes and Explanation of Terminology

Graphic Novels

The graphic novel schema is an extension of the existing book schema, with additional fields to delineate comic-specific creator roles, the distributor (Diamond comics) code, and to list the collected issues inside the work.[3]

Periodicals and Individual Comic Issues

Individual issues are serially published as part of a larger series (for the sake of consistency, even one-shot issues belong to a series comprised of a single issue). All comic issues can be uniquely identified by the combination of:

  • The name and volume number of the series to which the issue belongs
  • The issue number
  • The variant description of the issue (if it exists)

Periodical issues are an extension of creative work with fields to describe the series to which the issue belongs, the issue number, UPC and subtitle. Comic issues extend periodical issues with fields for creator roles, a variant description and the distributor code.

Comic Creator Roles

The following roles are common work types used in comics (writers, editors and the like are already modeled in predecessor schemas). Comics often employ multiple people in a single role (for example, an issue may use several inkers, colorists, or even pencilers).

  • Penciler: the individual who draws the primary narrative artwork[4].
  • Inker: the individual who traces over the pencil drawings in ink after pencils are complete [5].
  • Colorist: the individual who adds color to inked drawings.
  • Letterer: the individual who adds lettering (including speech balloons and sound effects) to the comic.
  • Artist: this term is generally used in lieu of a penciler when the primary artist works in a medium other than pencils or digital line art (e.g. if the primary artwork is done in watercolors or digital paints).
  • Cover Artist: often the art team for the cover of a comic is not the same as the interior art team.[6] In cases where the penciler or artist for the cover is not the same as the interior, that creator should be listed here.

Local ID Spaces

Comics and magazine use a number of local ID spaces, for example: the Diamond Comics Code in the United States, identifiers from individual publishers and commonly used IDs from fan sites such as comics.org. Rather than identifying every potential local ID within the schema itself, the current guidance for organizations which publish commonly used IDs is for such organizations to extend the schema.org product ID with their own product ID endpoints. For example, a distributor's code APR797 would be referenced as follows:

<span itemprop="productID" itemtype="http://schema.org/productID http://schema.distributor.com/OurID">APR797</span>

Footnotes and Comments

  1. At Marvel we use the start year as the volume number, as does comics.org, but this isn't uniform, so we have kept this data point distinct from startYear.
  2. e.g. "Bryan Hitch Variant Cover" or "2nd Printing Variant"
  3. I am using the term "graphic novel" a little more loosely than the comic industry does - generally graphic novels are original creative works while bound editions which collect previously printed materials are termed "collections." I don't think that this is a meaningful distinction for consumers and retailers, however.
  4. still generally in pencil, believe it or not, but can be digital
  5. often still in India ink, but can also be digital
  6. The same can be said for character appearances on a cover. The appearance of Wolverine on a cover in the '90s was not a strong predictor of his appearance in the interior of that comic.

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