comic book organizing program?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Matt C, Sep 13, 2004.

  1. Matt C

    Matt C Stunt Coordinator

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    OK, so I went to visit my parents the other day, and rediscovered my old comic book collection, and now I have this weird inspiration to get it organized. Does anyone know of any high quality (but free) Windows XP programs to use? What I'm looking for is a program on the same lines as DVD Profiler, where I enter the comic title, and then it goes ahead and downloads the information (publisher, penciler, inker, etc.) on the comic, along with a picture of it's cover. Is there a program like that out there anywhere? I've googled around for one, and pretty much the only "new" program I could find is collectorz.com Comic Collector prog, and it looks like I have to input all that information myself (i haven't tried it yet, so let me know if i'm wrong). Unfortunately I didn't bring my books back with me (except for The Tick, Spawn, and a few other select titles [​IMG] ), I just wrote down the titles and issue numbers, so there's not really any way to get all of that info without researching every title online. So is there anything out there for me? Any suggestions? I can't be the only one who wants a program like this!

    Thanks,
    Matt C
     
  2. Chris Bardon

    Chris Bardon Cinematographer

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    No, you're not the only one, but there's nothing that I know of that meets those specifications. I wrote my own database in Access about eight years ago, but it's woefully out of date. About the only thing that's accurate in there are the titles and issue numbers (and usually volume numbers). I'm actually hoping for a dataset that I can draw from to fill in everything else at some point, since I really don't feel like manually updating entries for all 4500+ books.

    Let me know if you find something though!
     
  3. Matt C

    Matt C Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, the search is slow, but I did find a shareware program called Realms of Wonder Comic Tracking System which is supposed to download title information from the Grand Comics Database about the books. I'll give it a try when I get home from work today, and let you know how it goes. If it works well, I'd gladly pay the $15 registration fee.

    Let me know if anything turns up!
     
  4. Matt C

    Matt C Stunt Coordinator

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    I gave Realms of Wonder a try earlier, and while the program has the right idea, it doesn't seem to work out completely in the end. The interface is a bit clunky, and it took me a little while to figure out how to enter my books correctly, but once I did I had the option to try to lookup the issue online. So it's all sounding good... and then it crashed. But i started it back up, did the web search, and voila!, it downloaded the cover, as well as (limited) info on the comic itself. But, as often as not, the Grand Comics Database can't find the title, issue, it's not formatted online correctly for whatever reason, etc. And the program also crashed about 5 more times. So, while it was partially successful, it couldn't find all the info i wanted. I guess that's to be expected though, considering the gargantuan number of comic books in the world. Anyone know of any other programs to try?
     
  5. nolesrule

    nolesrule Producer

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    I've been using Realms of Wonder for about 6 years now. The program works flawlessly. And for $15, you get direct program support from the programmer F.X. Moon. He has a yahoogroups mailing list for which his core users (and beta testers help with support issues, and he's very quick for getting updates out to fix bugs once a bug has been found (unlike DVD Profiler, a program I also use).

    I've never had a problem with ROW crashing before. The GCD databse integration is a relatively new feature of ROW, and the biggest problem is that GCD changed its formatting so some of the ROW programming needed to be adjusted to work correctly again. Also, GCD's database isn't even close to complete, and they have a lot of skeleton records serving as placeholders...not much ROW can do about that.

    Also, in addition to the GCD download information, FX has also has a monthly priceguide updater and a Previews order generation program for people that like to add issues based on Previews magazine.

    Realms of Wonder is the best program for comic books I've ever used (I've used various programs, spreadsheets and databases over the years) and I highly recommend it.

    ROW is Access-based, so if you purchase the program, FX may be able to help you import your current data into ROW. He's very helpful about that kind of thing.
     
  6. Matt C

    Matt C Stunt Coordinator

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    Great, thanks for the info Joe. Now that I've fiddled around with the program, it seems to be working pretty well. I can find a majority of the titles I've tried, and most problems now seem to be on the GCD database side. Still, the number of titles on there is impressive, and I can see it greatly reducing my workload for entering comics.

    I just noticed the priceguide updater on the site, and I'm going to test that out tomorrow sometime.

    BTW, is there any other large online comic databases that could be integrated into the program?
     
  7. nolesrule

    nolesrule Producer

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    As far as we know, GCD is the most comprehensive out there.

    One of the things I love about the program is the options for discount and tax for new purchases. If you set up a profile for each place you buy your comics from, it can generate the net cost for buying an issue based on those factors based on cover price.

    As I said before, the best source for support (once you purchase the full version) is the mailing list. Because not only will you get support directly from the programmer and the opportunity to give input into future features, but you'll also have access to the knowledge of longtime users for the best way to use the program when having data entry issues. It's a low traffic list and you can just put a filter in your email to dump all content from the list into a folder...which is what I do for all email lists I'm on.

    I use the That's An Order application that was written for ROW to add "on order" issues to my collection. That way, when I go to the shop to pick up my most recent subscriptions, the issues are already in my database and all I have to do is change the purchase date, cover issue date, and "on order" -> "owned". I don't actually use it to generate an order, but many users who order from online shops do.

    All in all, ROW and its optional utilities can, for the most part, do as much or as little as you want it to do.
     
  8. Matt C

    Matt C Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, the more I used the program, the easier it became, and entering all of the issues looks like it will be a breeze. I'll have to go back and pick up my collection; I think looking through all of the books again to get all the detailed information on them will be a fun little blast from the past [​IMG] (Hopefully my scanner doesn't end up exploding from scanning covers though [​IMG] ) Thanks for the help Joe. And chris, you should try ROW out, maybe you can import you current database into it? And even though GCD is limited, it might give you enough info to avoid some of the really tedious entry work.
     
  9. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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  10. nolesrule

    nolesrule Producer

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    ROW can do most of what the Collectorz software does and costs 62% less.
     

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