Okay, I guess my computer doesn't need super powers, but it does need the right tools to do the job. Here's what I was looking for:
- Easy to use
- Must have database of covers (including variants)
- Windows based (online components are okay, but I want this hosted on my own computer)
- Extensive database of creators, plots, characters, publication year, etc.
- Lets me enter multiple comics at a single time
- Let's me record when I have multiple copies of the same comic
- Not overly expensive (I would prefer not to pay any on-going subscription fees
- Ability to enter "location" information so I can keep track which long/short box a specific comic is in (curse you, Joker, this one is a deal breaker!)
With these requirements in mind (yes, that's actually the way I think) I hit google and started to search for reviews of comic book database software. This was one of the first reviews I found at About.com, and it actually added a few items to what I already knew I was looking for:
- Browse and search capabilities
- Wishlist. This one is so obvious that I can't believe I didn't think of it. Just because I'm missing Marvel Comics Mighty Mouse # 7 - 9 does not mean I'm really in any hurry to find them. Oh, sure... if I found them in a bin for 25 cents a book, I'd pick them up because I'm that compulsive, but it doesn't mean I'm itching to get them).
- Determine the value of your collection. Okay, this one did cross my mind when I was thinking of my original criteria, but I wasn't sure it was feasible because comic prices are so darned subjective these days. Honestly, the only way to accurately gauge the street price of a comic is to monitor ebay and see what they're going for (my quick hunt for those Mighty Mouse comics shows them to be worth about $1 - $2 each, depending on condition; a similar hunt at mycomicshop.com concurs with those prices.
- Web access to my collection so I can use my smart phone at the comic shop before I spend money on a back issue.
This article also pointed out the fact that I wanted a flexible system that could handle graphic novels, digests and other formats beyond the "standard" comic book. I was also going to be aware of the fact that some of the software solutions were more geared for entering new comics than for cataloging vast, ongoing collections. Even though I only buy a few titles a month these days, my horde is still growing and I need to make rum for my new stuff.
These were all cool features and reviewer Ben Sweetser did a very thorough job of examining three products. After reading his review, I promptly investigated each and every one of them (another bullet list? I think I'm setting myself up for an intervention: "Mike, your use of bullet lists is affecting the people who love you and we would like you to see help. Perhaps someone could help you re-learn how to make quick, valid points without them?").
I now had a starting point for my quest... now it was time to soldier on and see which (if any of them) was worthy of putting on a cape and becoming my Super Computer!
Comic Talk continues Monday as I start to review each of these products
Netflix Friday is a blast as I review a cheesy little movie that is MUCH better than I thought it would be