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Eff yeah guys. The year twenty-ten is over. We did it.

It certainly was an interesting one. As comic fans, we’re in an amazing era – truly the age of the collected edition. While compiling the Marvel database, it’s amazing how many comics are now in some bound form.

Hundreds of books, just from the major publishers, contain comics that have been sitting around for 30 years or half a century, and now in the last two years have just been re-collected. It’s obvious that we’re only just beginning, with almost every new floppy ending up in trade and the publishers ransacking their archives to compile huge hardcovers. Very exciting.

Personally, the last year was a doozy – Beth finished college at SCAD, we announced our engagement to our families, adopted two kittens, moved between 2-3 different jobs each (not to mention freelance), and reorganized our house about 4 times.

Oh, and I started this website.

That’s a big thing, right? While this isn’t the one year anniversary (which will be in April, mark your calenders and expect presents at the party) 2010 was the first year for Trade Reading Order. Sure, I had lists of various forms hosted on my personal website, but the subdomain at tradereadingorder.ianaleksanderadams.com went up in April with this domain shortly following.

TRO in 2010: The Top Ten Highlights

Obviously, every single thing on this site came about in 2010, but let’s do a little rundown anyway.

1. Website Launched – TradeReadingOrder.com was put online, the wordpress set up, and the DCU TPB Recommended Reading Order uploaded from a CSV document.

2. Taxonomies and Fields – Originally just a list of books, I soon added many sorting fields making it possible to generate other lists from the one archive.

3. The Blog – The updates to the site originally consisted of one text widget in the sidebar. It was soon overflowing with changelog information, so I had to figure out a way to separate out the blog.

4. Reviews, Features, Essays and Giveaways – Now that we had a fully functioning blog, it was silly to let it go to waste. We’re now doing weekly giveaways, reviews (over 60 already!), features like Uncle Gorby’s Corner of Free Stuff, and will continue posting who-knows-what. Pretty amazing what happens when you suddenly become a publisher/media entity, even if it is to a tiny niche audience. THE POWER THE POWER.. er, heh. I mean, it’s nice to share!

5. The Forum – While not used as often as the blog, this still makes me feel like we’re a “real” website. A whole big thang!

6. User Accounts and Custom Sorting – At some point I figured out I could rework a “favorites” plugin in order to let people manage their own collections. I’m now using the site to do all my own sorting too!

7. Over 300 Users – Holy shit there are over 300 registered users! Not all of them are active, but just looking through a few of the profiles, I saw many accounts with over 200 books in their collection. It’s an awesome feeling knowing that this site is useful to other people.

8. Over 150 Subscribers – Our daily stats for visits go up and down (I think we had about 3000 unique visitors in one day as our high point, but our average is much lower right now), but I’m much more flattered by Feedburner reporting upwards of 150 subscribers to the RSS feed. That many of you actually care what I (and other posters) have to say? I hope I don’t disappoint!

9. About 2400 Database Entries – We’ve got a ton of books in the database, including novels and companion volumes, with more being fully fleshed every day. It’s crazy to think that this all evolved from what started as a personal list of essential Batman books (of about 100 trades).

10. Over 2600 Comments – That’s a lot of chatter! I’m extremely thankful to all of you who have offered advice, feedback, and even personal flavor and response to what we do here. There’s no way one person could get every detail of these immense publishing universes all on his own, and I’m indebted to you all more than I can possibly express.

TRO in 2011: The Top Ten Hopes

What are some of our dreams and aspirations for the coming year?

1. Our One Year Anniversary – This one is easy, but I’m still excited. Technically, all we have to do is make it to April. But in my mind, I’ve always marked this date as our official end of public beta. So I want the site to have reached a certain finished state – obviously not all the information will be up, as it’s going to be a long long journey, but I have some major goals. And we’ll celebrate with some hefty giveaways, cause I’ve found some amazing piles of stuff in my searches!

2. The Marvel List – This is the big one. I’ve been saying I’ll have it up soon for months, but it’s been a colossal undertaking. But I firmly feel I’ll be able to have it online before the one year anniversary, hopefully a lot sooner. I’ve currently got 2386 books in the offline database! This update will double the size of the website.

3. The Ultimate Marvel and Wildstorm Lists – With the big two done, their little brothers shouldn’t be so hard.

4. The Image Universe List – Similarly, this should be the last huge list. Then we just have Self Contained and smaller series to look towards as we head to 2012.

5. DC Covers – Every single DC Universe book will have a cover image. I think this is a realistic goal for 2011. Then we just have to keep up with it.

6. 364 Reviews – While the schedule might not be exactly daily, I want to have 365 books reviewed through the course of the year. I don’t care if it’s no reviews one day and 3 the next, this is the goal. At the very least, within 5-6 years I want a review with high quality sample scans on every single DC Universe book. If people really get into it, we could start looking at Marvel too… but one review goal at a time for my personal mental health.

7. 52 Giveaways – I’m loving this giveaway thing. I think you guys are also. I find books for a dollar or even free periodically, and I just get so much more satisfaction by giving them away.

8. More Issue Reading Orders – I created the section on the site, but I haven’t been concentrating on it. Perhaps this will be an area where I’ll find someone to collaborate with, since I don’t read floppies personally, but it certainly seems like this website could function as a repository for issue reading orders. It would be nice to have one place to go to instead of having to google a million random forums for threads where no one responds to your questions. Sorry, just grumbling from personal experience – but I’d rather fix it instead of just grumbling!

9. Fully Functional Personal Collections – This is going to happen. And possibly very soon. We’re working on the code now. Basically, right now all your collections show in one list, sometimes a little jumbled up. This will be fixed and it’s going to make the site a lot more useful. You’ll be able to see a reading order list for your personal Marvel collection, personal DC collection, etc.

10. AJAX!! – A boon to the server and the user! Right now adding books to your collection requires a page refresh. You lose your place in the list and have to wait for things to load. We’re going to add AJAX functionality, making just the little icon reload while the information is added to your collection. Kind of like how the comment replies work. Believe me, it will make adding all those books much easier.

There are a million smaller things on my to-do list, but those are the big goals. I don’t see anything on there that can’t happen by the end of 2011. Actually, I bet we’ll be surprised how soon some of those goals get accomplished.

Of course, if you have any suggestions for our direction in 2011, speak up! As I said before, this site goes nowhere without your advice!

And finally, I hope this first day of 2011 was a great start to your new year. I know this last one was a tough time for a lot of people, but let’s take the best of the past and run with it.

The future is is wide open and we are gonna %$&*#!’n rock it!

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28 Comments Post New »

  1. avatar Ryard wrote on at January 1, 2011 9:41 pm:

    Congrats! Looking forward to contributing more to the discussions around here as time goes on…and one of these days getting series about plugging my collection into it.

    An Image list? Good luck with THAT. Their trade program is gonna be a mess to decipher.

    [Reply]

    avatar Ian replied on January 1st, 2011 at 9:45 pm:

    haha I’m sure, but at least there won’t be as many as Marvel, right?

    The main thing seems to be the weirdness to do with the wildstorm split. But in any case I’ll figure it out somehow.

    One thing I’m MORE worried about is possibly adding wildstorm back IN to the dc universe. If that happens.

    [Reply]

  2. avatar xxexplosivoxx wrote on at January 1, 2011 11:56 pm:

    i guess i’m a mooch since i’ve only commented on the giveaway topics, but i’ve really been enjoying the reviews as well. keep up the great work!

    [Reply]

    avatar Ian replied on January 2nd, 2011 at 12:03 am:

    No such thing as a mooch. Even just reading the site gives shows up on my stats and warms my heart. :)

    [Reply]

  3. avatar Simon wrote on at January 2, 2011 5:40 am:

    Happy Hogmanay Ian!!! Let’s make 2011 better than 2010!!!

    [Reply]

    avatar Ian replied on January 2nd, 2011 at 8:15 am:

    Damn right! Thanks Simon :D

    [Reply]

  4. avatar -B. wrote on at January 2, 2011 7:30 am:

    Woohoo! Good work out of you, Ian. I love this site and visit daily. And now that I’ve started entering my own collection (301 books so far), I use it to organize my stuff.

    It’s actually funny that I’m such a fan, because I prefer floppies to trades. But I’m slowly converting, and your site is such a treasure full of information that it doesn’t matter what my preference is. There’s always something useful.

    One thing I’m curious about is when I actually finally bit the bullet and registered. I wonder if there’s an option for you to have our register dates up on our User Profile? HeavyInk didn’t start out with it, but they added it eventually and I try to post at or around my anniversary date just as a thank you. (Been a member there since Nov 9 2007) Just a thought.

    Anyway, best of luck to you and all of us in 2011. Let’s all stay employed! (Or in school, whichever your situation)

    -B.

    [Reply]

    avatar Ian replied on January 2nd, 2011 at 8:16 am:

    Thanks dude!

    Not a bad idea about the registration dates. I’ll see if I can do it. WordPress isn’t really meant to even have profiles, haha, just like it’s not supposed to be a comic database, so we’ll see how easy it is to add.

    [Reply]

    avatar Ian replied on January 2nd, 2011 at 8:30 am:

    I found a couple things that might work, plus a way to build a “users” page that would let me list the registered users. I’ll see about implementing that stuff tonight.

    [Reply]

    avatar -B. replied on January 2nd, 2011 at 9:44 am:

    Sounds cool. Thanks for looking.

    [Reply]

  5. avatar GrimJester wrote on at January 2, 2011 3:40 pm:

    “8. More Issue Reading Orders”

    A master list that has issue arcs that haven’t been collected included with the books would be cool. Or at least essential arcs. Like with Batman, if you’re just reading the trades you never really get to know Jason Todd except for Death in the Family. Batman #408 would be an import issue to note before going into Death in the Family.

    Sometimes when I’m reading only trades I feel like I’ve missed something important that happened in the single issues. I read Green Arrow: Year One (Ollie hasn’t met Speedy)then JLA: Year One (He’s met Speedy). Feels like I missed Speedy’s origin but have no clue where to find that story.

    [Reply]

    avatar Simon replied on January 2nd, 2011 at 7:27 pm:

    Best place for Speedy’s origin is Showcase Presents: Green Arrow v1.
    Green Arrow Year One is bit hard to place, see Ian’s excellent review of it on this site for the reasons why.

    I do use the recommended reading order for my shelves but sometimes have to tweak the shelf order to my taste; can’t get it spot on for everybody, but he does a good job.

    I like the idea of not collected stuff though, as that is useful for those of us that try to get everything for a particular character (Hellblazer for me). To say that is a mammoth task would be an understatement, so many titles disappear after only a few issues; but could probably be done on a character to character basis.

    [Reply]

    avatar GrimJester replied on January 2nd, 2011 at 10:26 pm:

    Do you know the exact issue that Speedy origin is in?

    [Reply]

    avatar Ian replied on January 3rd, 2011 at 7:49 am:

    I have thought of doing character reading orders under the issues one. I’ve always been interested in Green Lantern Jon Stewart, for example, because of Mosaic being uncollected.

    [Reply]

    avatar Ian replied on January 3rd, 2011 at 7:48 am:

    Yeah, it’s a failing of trying to sort trades. The Showcase GA, for example, contains a lot of stories that have to come past JLA Year One.

    Really, a lot of the problems are with the Year One books, which are geared more towards modern readers who don’t feel like reading a lot of old comics than towards actually moments in continuity. Good for summing up a story, but terrible to try and place accurately!

    [Reply]

  6. avatar Marc wrote on at January 2, 2011 3:59 pm:

    As much fun as 2010 was, it sounds like 2011 is going to be even better! Can’t wait for all the fun things going on around here and watching the site grow even more.

    I did quite a bit of research a couple months ago on Wildstorm, Image, Top Cow, and the trades for all three of them, just because I was interested in learning more about them. I somehow committed a lot of it to memory, so hit me up if you have any questions. Same goes for Marvel, of course, but you already knew that. ;)

    [Reply]

    avatar Ian replied on January 3rd, 2011 at 7:51 am:

    I hope so! I’m looking forward to it. There’s even some stuff I’m excited about that I didn’t put up there, cause it’s pretty experimental right now. Like the mobile ap.

    I’ll definitely be opening discussion up when I finally get to those other lists. I’ve got a fair amount in my excel already, but nothing near complete or sorted.

    [Reply]

  7. avatar Dirt55 wrote on at January 5, 2011 3:14 am:

    I know some may not like this suggestion…but have you ever thought of putting up a small “Donate” button on the homepage? I can’t express my gratitude enough for this site. I’d like to buy you a beer or your generic beverage of choice or pitch in for a trade or give-a-way or etc… Just a thought.

    [Reply]

    avatar Simon replied on January 5th, 2011 at 6:31 am:

    Ditto

    [Reply]

    avatar Ian replied on January 5th, 2011 at 8:07 am:

    it’s been suggested before, and I guess I should do it. I’m not really well paid enough at my day job even to be spending as much time on this as I do, haha, but I tend to be pretty illogical about it. In any case, I want to hold off on it until our one year anniversary.

    I’ve got this complex where I don’t feel like it’s worth it until Marvel is up or something, haha.

    For now, feel free to write reviews (don’t worry about being an amazing writer or having images, just bring an opinion and we can work on it together.) and keep error checking me on the lists, that helps the most! I want to make sure this site isn’t just the mad vision of one man, so diversity of opinion will really matter :D

    [Reply]

    avatar Dirt55 replied on January 6th, 2011 at 3:44 am:

    Well you just know that as soon as you do put up a button gratitude is coming your way. Until then I will consider putting up a review or two, despite how nervous I get even writing a very short review on amazon. I’ll do whatever I can to contribute to the site.

    [Reply]

    avatar Ian replied on January 6th, 2011 at 9:41 am:

    I appreciate it :D

    [Reply]

  8. avatar JED wrote on at January 5, 2011 10:08 am:

    Congrats on getting through 2010 – all the best for next year…. I’m sure I stumbled on this sit nearly the day it went live searching for a TPB database, and that’s exactly what we have here.

    Can’t wait to see how it progresses in the future… it would be nice to see the forum get more action….

    An iphone app would be great, and I would also be interested in a regular feature on stuff that’s available digitally that’s not collected. One off batman stories etc…. I’m not sure how much of that stuff is out there, but I’m sure there is some of it and more in the coming year as stuff becomes available…

    great work so far – keep it up!!

    [Reply]

    avatar Ian replied on January 5th, 2011 at 10:25 am:

    Thanks Jed! And yeah, you must have found us early :D

    The mobile stuff is hard, because different platforms have different software – I’m not sure yet if the best idea might just be to do a trimmed down version of the page into three separate sections (blog, collection, and filter/search.) My uncle is learning how to use Air programming stuff and has been fiddling around with it a bit, so maybe we’ll figure something out soon.

    I was just tweaking the forum a bit last night, making the text bigger, things easier to read, changing some formatting stuff. Let me know if you think it looks better! I think it will get more action once it’s a bit prettier.

    [Reply]

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