Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Comics Software Review: Choosing, pt. 4

So now that I've finally selected Comic Collector by to catalog my supposed collection of 10,000 comics, I've been steadily entering titles and issues. Since I started with Archie Comics, I don't have as many as I would have if I had started with Marvel or DC Comics.

If I had to guess, I would think that I probably had more Marvels than DCs, but I honestly don't know if that's true. You see, I go through periods where I buy more of one publisher than the other, but then change as my tastes evolve, and as the quality of the comics changes.  Among the titles I expect to have a lot of, there are the usual suspects: X-Men (at least 150 issues in a row with no breaks) and Daredevil (probably about the same, but there may be a few breaks after issue 300 when Frank Miller left to pursue Battier pastures with The Dark Knight Returns).

I also expect to find good runs of the following titles:
  • The Defenders (I've got almost the entire run of 150 issues, missing only a few early issues -- but not #1 because I've got that!)
  • Jonah Hex (original series, I have most of it)
  • The Warlord (probably just missing the early issues)
  • Knights of the Dinner Table (I'm probably only missing four or five issues -- they were destroyed in a flood)
Fortunately, Comic Collector has cool reporting tools to help me track what I have, and to make "Wish Lists" of things I need. Here's a breakdown of the main publishers I've cataloged so far (from Oct. 28, 2011 - April 8, 2012):

Click on image to see full-size.

  • 802 Archie
  • 574 DC Comics
  • 537 Marvel Comics
  • 95 Kenzer and Company
  • 41 Eclipse Comics
  • 29 Dork Storm Press
  • 28 First Comics
  • 25 Abstract Studio
  • 16 Harvey Comics
  • Many others

As you can see, Comic Collector does an admirable job of reporting what's in your collection. I may do another column on just the reporting tools. It shows both bar charts and pie charts, plus it has the ability to create custom filters that let you look for specific types of comics (for instance, I have 575 comics digests, of which 560 are Archie Comics digests -- the others are from DC Comics, Harvey Comics, and a few others).

Filters: Let's hear it for Al Milgrom
Filters may be one of the most powerful features of the reporting tools. In addition to finding out that I have almost 600 comics digests, I can create a filter to search for individual characters (Archie is in about 805 titles) or I can filter by creators. For example, out of the comics I've cataloged, 52 feature work by the incomparable Al Milgrom. Most of his work in my collection is for Marvel (including this cool Black Panther cover right here).

It's also possible to filter for specific characters, so if you want to know how many times Spider-Man appears in your collection, you can search for it. For example, Spider-man appears in 70 different titles. Or, that is to say, the word "Spider-Man" appears in the descriptions of 70 different comics. You see, although there is a screen for listing specific characters in a comic, these are often empty. Some people choose to mention the character in the text description of the title (it's that part that appears in the right-hand detail panel). So doing a full text search for Spider-Man seems like a better way to track down our friendly neighborhood Spider-man.

Let it all hang out (online, that is)
Since I purchased this software, they have actually added a feature that makes it even cooler than it was. They have provided us PRO users with the ability to post our collections online via Sync & Share. Here's what it says about this service at their Website:

  • Sync & Share is a basic Connect edition, created for desktop users who just want to sync their collection online and share it with friends, but wish to keep using their desktop software (Windows or Mac) to manage (add/edit) their database.
  • Sync & Share includes all browsing, viewing, sorting, searching, sharing, Facebook, Twitter and statistics features of Connect. But NOT the Add feature and NOT the Edit feature.
  • In other words, you will be able to upload your collection online, access your own collection from anywhere, any device and share the list with friends. However, you will need to do your data additions and modifications offline, with your trusted desktop software, then re-sync to Connect.
  • In short, Sync & Share is Connect without the adding and editing features.
  • A full-featured Connect subscription is available for US $19.80 per year.

I didn't review their Connect service because, as I said before, I was only interested in a desktop solution without annual fees. But this addition actually fills in one of the minor gaps in their software: An online component that I can use to track what's in my collection so that I can avoid buying duplicates when I'm at my friendly local comic book store.

This feature was added in March 2012, and it's fantastic. In addition to being viewable on my computer, it also has a cool smart phone interface, which is perfect for that comic book store scenario I described above.

If you're interested in seeing my collection, you can take a quick peek right here:

By the way, the online system has reports, too, including this cool chart with a percentage breakdown of my comics by publisher (the percentage is available when you rollover the pie slice: I added them to the graphic so you can see them here).

There's also a bar chart showing the my comics ranked by title. Here's my top 5 series (so far -- keep in mind, I have not yet entered most of the Marvel of DC comics):

  • 89  Archie's Pals 'n' Gals Double Digest
  • 84  Jughead's Double Digest
  • 83  Knights of the Dinner Table
  • 74  Archie Double Digest
  • 68  Betty & Veronica Double Digest

Finally, there are a few other cool features that bear discussion, such as the smart phone tools that let you browse your collection and use your phone's camera as a bar card reader: Yes, there's an app for that! As we'll talk about it next week as I finally conclude my series about the totally cool Comic Collector by

And see you back here to launch the weekend off in style with another edition of Netflix Friday.

No comments:

Post a Comment