Comic Book Databasing

By | Friday, December 06, 2019 Leave a Comment screen shot
I have been a big fan of since Chris Siefert created it almost 15 years ago. It was built and designed using a lot of the ideas that I wanted to see in a comic book database, but were lacking in literally every other option. I don't know how exactly it's structured on the back end, but the front end suggests a really complex (in the best way possible) set-up that allows for a great deal of end user flexibility. The site has been a HUGE boon to tracking my collection, and has enhanced the research I've done for any number of articles and columns I've written.

Siefert, however, sold the whole kit and caboodle back in March to the folks at, which is owned by Pop Culture Media. The site remained running pretty much as Siefert left it until late last month when they announced it will be closing its doors on December 16. The message displayed throughout the site reads: will be closing its doors on December 16th, 2019 as we look towards creating a new and improved tool for collectors to utilize. We want to make sure everyone has a chance to download their data & collections by clicking on this link after logging in. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to contribute to the site and we look forward to seeing you again soon.
Clearly, then, they purchased the site exclusively for the data. Which is a little annoying in that data was virtually all crowd-sourced. (I cataloged nearly 4,000 issues myself!) But in any event, the site is going away and its 10,000 members are left looking for a replacement.

To the credit of the Pop Culture Media folks, they have been pretty overt about shutting things down, but still giving users about a month to download all the issues they'd tagged for their collections. The CSV format can be dropped into a spreadsheet program easily enough, and has been promoting that users can create a free account with them and import their collection there. There are some caveats to that, however. Because the titles are treated a little differently, not everything transfers over seamlessly. They can also only handle 500 issues at a time, so a collection of 5000 comics would require ten separate imports. Also, you have to make sure you go through the Export function under "My Collection" and not the one they provide in the link at the top of ever page so you can capture publisher information.

I'm probably in a distinct minority here, but that's not a very practical option for me. I've got a little over 20,000 issues logged through and, when I ran a test of the first 500, only about half of them ended up getting transferred. So I'd have to go through 40 individual imports, and still go back to manually add 10,000 issues. Doable, I suppose, but extremely time-consuming.

The other thing I noticed with my test is that didn't pick up on any variations. So when it tried to read, for example, that I had Action Comics #840, it couldn't tell if I had the direct market edition, the newsstand edition, or the Canadian version. It called all three versions up, and I had to select which one I had. Easy enough for a single issue, but multiply that by, say, all the variations of every Marvel and DC issue since the 1980s and you've got a fair amount of work in front of you!

I'm fully aware that Pop Culture Media didn't buy the site just to take over the basic functionality and run it out of the kindness of their hearts. I don't doubt they are working on a new version of the site, and it will almost indubitably include a better import functionality -- it is the same data, after all! But I know they bought it because they're confident they can make money off all this data. At a guess, I'd say their "new and improved" version will be mostly the same but under a subscription model, and users will have to shell out some cash to sign up.

I've already downloaded my data from, so I don't have to re-catalog my entire collection again, but given the issues I'm seeing with going over to, I'm willing to wait for a while and see how much charges for their service. I think that might well be worth it for all the adjusting I'd have to do using the current setup.

Regardless, though, if you are also a user of, please make sure download at least something to make sure you've got a record of your data before they close up the current shop for good!
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