Sometimes it pays to be good, much to Evilguy’s dismay. I got an iPad as a Christmas gift.
Must suck to be on the naughty list, huh Evilguy?
Now, I know that iPads are inherently evil, as they are the home of choice for digital comics (ptooey), which I have made it clear I am opposed to, so my new iPad sat in the box for a week until I had a priest come over and bless it. I tinkered with it for about a week, downloading and playing the prerequisite Angry Birds before delving into what this puppy could really do. I think I’m still just scratching the surface.
I then downloaded a handful of comic apps by Marvel, DC, Dark Horse and Comixology. More on THAT later.
The coolest thing by far I’ve got on that thing is my comic app from Collectorz.com.
Over the years I tried many times to properly catalog my ever-growing comic book collection. Once, when there were only a few hundred, I think I had them in a notebook – problem being that I’d run out of space on a page for additional issues if it wasn’t planned right, and keeping things in numeric order was tedious. Next was a smaller version of my collection on a single sheet of paper, in Word or some word processing program, just listing title and issue number. Convenient to keep in my pocket as a “want-it-got-it” list, but impossible to keep complete or neat, and got lost along the way somewhere. Much later, I developed a spreadsheet to enter in my collection, but the shortcomings were still huge. It was unwieldy, required lots of time to manually enter the numbers (right click, insert line, grrrr…) and was a work in progress as I discovered how tough it was to categorize and then find things again. It couldn’t be carried with me or easily converted into a want list suitable for carrying. With renumbering, new volumes and multiple special editions and deluxe editions, it became evident that just issue numbers weren’t enough – and when you’ve got a collection this size, issue numbers mean increasingly less as the old brain doesn’t connect with all of them anymore. It didn’t take long before I lost interest totally.
Problems solved thanks to Collectorz. Take a peek.
I downloaded and tested the free version, which stores up to 100 (BWA-HAH-HAH) comics to begin with, and then upgraded to their Standard Edition very quickly once I was sold on it. Once there, cataloging the 8000+ comics in my collection took about 10-20 hours spread out over a few weeks.
The key feature for me was the “Add Comics Automatically” option, which taps into their massive database to allow you to search for, select and add comics to your database easily, either as part of your collection or on your “Want List.” By adding it, you also add a cover image (front and back) and data about the comic including month and year of original publication, talent involved (Writer, Penciler, Inker, Colorist, Letterer, Editor, Cover Artist and so on), plot synopsis, characters therein and other data like genre when applicable. Then they throw on a nifty cool background for most of the prominent series to boot.
Not EVERY comic has the gory details to this extent, mind you – not every comic has a back image, for example, and when you compare the data on a significant big seller like Crisis on Infinite Earths #1 to, say, Adolescent Radioactive Blackbelt Hamstersin 3D #3, you will find the latter lacking in detail – but the fact that I could find the latter AT ALL is a testimony to the strong database at Collectorz.
Speaking of which, how complete was their database? VERY. I came across perhaps a dozen books I couldn’t find out of my entire collection, and only two of them were surprising. For that scant handful, they could be added from scratch if you’re so inclined. I added one (I couldn’t resist adding the Megazeen of Horror) and it was a piece of cake.
Now that all my comics are in, I can put the search capabilities to the test – and they pass with a gold star. A simple search for “Humberto Ramos” gives me every book that I own that’s penciled by Ramos – Amazing Spiderman, Avengers Inititive, Crimson, Out There, Runaways, you name it. Is that cool? It certainly is, when I just found out that I have a very early Image comic that he drew (Gen 13) and I had no idea he was in there. Another search for my favorite villain, Taskmaster, yields strong results as well.
The work is all done on my desktop and then uploaded to the iPad, which proved tricky for some reason, perhaps due to a tricky WiFi setting, and the fact that the upload was half a gig when all was said and done. But it was solved quickly due to the FAQ’s on the Collectorz site, and I ran it through iTunes and a USB connection instead. And there, in all its glory, is my collection, every issue, every cover image, without having to dig through my attic and move fifty pound longboxes to enjoy it.
The useful features continue. Let’s say I don’t want to lug the iPad to a comic book show – no problem, I can print my want list or collection list, or any portions thereof. If I loan my comics to Evilguy (which we actually do from time to time) I can log them out like a library. There are plenty of fields I can fill in myself, including location bought, condition, personal comments and a 10-star rating system. And I can analyze my collection by listing, cover image and various graphical and statistical views.
Shortcomings? A few, nobody’s perfect. One of the more attractive features, the barcode scanner, is not yet compatible with the ipad’s camera (it does work on the iphone). Adding a book via barcode would require a scanning device on my laptop. This is something they are working on.
Oh, and one of the most common questions – does it show the guide value for the book – um, no. Considering that Collectorz also does CD, book, game and movie collections, the collect-ability and price speculation factor for comic books is somewhat unique in this respect for them. So no, no values other than cover price. For me, not a deal breaker, but considering this is the biggest FAQ being asked about this software, hopefully they tie into a dependable value system soon.
Overall, you can see I’m pretty stoked about this. Finally my collection is cataloged in a meaningful, practical and easy-to-use system. And now armed with my iPad, I look forward to my upcoming comic shows, ready to do battle, fill in some gaps, and come home without more doubles of She-Hulk.
The Standard package will set you back $29.95 (I got five bucks off by signing up for the trial beforehand and by liking them on Facebook). I have found the standard package to do the trick. For an extra twenty clams you can upgrade to Pro, which offers some additional download and export capabilities, UDF’s and Advanced searches, more suitable perhaps for a shop owner or an actively selling collector.
Not a paid advertisement, just a big old glowing endorsement from yours truly, the Goodguy. If you haven’t already, make your next click over to collectorz.com. And please leave comments with your thoughts too.
Now let me get back to some cover gazing.