ComicBase 6.0

In every comic-book collector’s life there is a moment when, looking over a vast trove of issues at a comic shop, the question arises: “Do I own this already?” It’s hard to keep track of an ever-expanding comic-book collection, but with ComicBase 6.0, the job is made easy – and fun. ComicBase compiles the details of a comic-book collection and calculates its monetary value. But that’s not all. It also includes a vast repository of comic-book information, detailing everything from comic-book titles, writers, and artists to special editions of issues. For the most part, the list of titles is both deep and wide. (There is a Deluxe Edition that includes a bonus disk with thousands of extra comic covers, video interviews, and movie trailers.) There are multiple ways to search, and results are impressive. When I entered The Nocturnals and Zero Girl, two comics that do not have a vast following, I found entries for both. However, the die-hard comic collector will find that the list isn’t complete. I recently searched several stores for a series titled Children’s Crusade, that begins and ends with a one-shot (single-release only) issue, and includes annual issues from the series Black Orchid, The Books of Magic, Animal Man, Doom Patrol, and Swamp Thing. ComicBase’s database lists only the beginning and end titles. The cancelled series Doom Patrol and Animal Man weren’t listed. Luckily, it’s possible for the user to make additions to the database and download updates via the Web. Because many comic-book publishers print limited runs of comic series and one-shots, keeping on top of the data is difficult. One flaw is not being able to find or catalogue a crossover issue (an issue in which the plots and characters from at least two separate series are featured in one comic). Another problem is in the way the information is displayed: while titles are typically listed by issue number and variation, it would also be useful to include the month and year, and to let users customize which fields they’d prefer to see and sort data by. At present the user cannot sort and view data. Staying organized doesn’t have to be scary. Despite the limitations of dealing with one-shots, crossovers, and limited series, ComicBase 6.0 is a useful program for tracking a collection, identifying missing issues in a series, and indicating how much issues are worth. The value that ComicBase 6.0 gives to comics is debatable, however – as it’s typically more conservative than the appraisal given by other, more expensive, professional comic-book programs.

OUR VERDICT

For comic aficionados, the software is a worthwhile investment to aid in the building and maintenance of a collection. Navigating the interface is easy, entering and amending information is simple, and printing out collection details is straightforward. This review appeared in the Expo 2001 issue

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