Saturday, August 12, 2006


I recently bought the Archive Edition of ComicBase. It’s a really powerful comic book inventory database program that is tied in with Comic Buyers Guide prices and has weekly updates (example of a weekly update here) of prices and new comics. The 1 long box, 2 short boxes and handful of graphic novels I brought with me to Australia have grown into 1 long box, 8 short boxes and over 200 graphic novels. In comparison I have 20ish long boxes and an unknown number of graphic novels in storage back in Vegas.

ComicBase is way and above the other inventory programs out there. Some of the other ones I’ve looked at aren’t much better than the one I wrote in basic on my Commodore 64 back in the 80’s. I called it CIA for Comic Inventory Assistant. Cool, huh?

I bought the Archive Edition of ComicBase, the most expensive of multiple flavors of the program, because God forbid I not spend forty bucks when I could spend three hundred. The Archive Edition comes with over 150,000 cover scans so you can see pictures of the issues in the program. It also allows me lots of cool options for the Windows slide show screensaver. I really wish the slide show screensaver didn’t suck so badly though, if the Megabucks Slot Machines used the same type of randomizer we’d all be multi-millionaires.

I also sprung for the handheld bar code reader which allows me to jump to and batch add comics just by scanning their bar code; provided they are new enough to have bar codes and that they were entered when the issue was added. This version of the program allows you to submit new or corrected data so I’m doing my part by entering and sending in the ones I have that it doesn’t. I would love to say I’m doing it out of a generous nature and desire to share with others, but honestly I just like playing with the bar code reader. Bleep!

I do have a problem with the program though. It is very ridged on what it will report. I was expecting to be able to build detailed, custom queries and reports. It allows me a number of custom fields and check boxes but I can’t build reports based on them. It also doesn’t allow me to build reports based on many of the fields it has built in nor does it let me alter the report format.

For example I want to print a wish list. It allows me to easily build an “Issues I am missing” list by taking the list of titles where I own at least one issue the series of and printing the issues I am missing. The problem is that I have a lot of comics from a lot of titles where I am not interested in the issues I am missing. I can easily print a report based on titles in my collection and then not select those titles, but besides the hassle of going through several hundred titles to do that I also have a good number of comics on my wish list where I don’t own any comics in that title series.

What I want to do is to be able to mark comics as being on my wish list and then to print just a list of those marked issues. To do that under the current system I have to use the provided “marked” check box which is fine, but then I have to print a title report of EVERY comic in the database and tell it to only print marked issues. At least I think that is what I have to do because it’s been a few hours and its still “preparing report.” I'll let it run overnite before giving it up.

I’m thinking at this point, at least for the wish list functionality, I’m better severed by the pocket-sized notebook I carry around.

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