This is getting to be a regular feature!
In this one, Alex starts it off with some questions about the site structure itself.
Alex J: Hey, Ian, I find myself often wishing that, by searching a particular title, I would know where it is set in the recommended reading order. While it is useful that you give us the name of the previous and proceeding issue, it would be nice to know which page it appears on in your master list of 39 pages. Is this at all possible?
TPBro: I know. This is a major pain. I haven’t yet figured out how to do it. It’s why I really want the whole list to be an infinite scroll, meaning it loads as you scroll down, and to couple it with a hot search that would just scroll you down to the book in the order.
It’s relatively intense programming stuff though and I’m not sure how to do it yet.
I’ll see if there’s some way I can get it to show the page or something in the meantime. The trouble is, I’m not sure how it would chose which order page to show, since a book might be on page 3 of the recommended reading order and page 1 of the superman order and so on.
Alex J: Since the RRO is basically the main purpose of the site, I’d think that would be first priority.
TPBro: Yeah, I agree – though all the books are loaded in the same database, just displayed by their category. So any change I make has to work for say, Buffyverse, somehow. I’ll try to do some research on it and see what I can do next day off I have.
Another alternative would be, instead of isolating the book via search, having the search somehow take you to the page of the reading order that the book is on, and just highlight that title – showing you it in context. I can’t figure how that would work, though, since it would break down if there were multiple results on multiple pages.
I’m not really a programmer, honestly, so this kind of thing befuddles me at the moment. I may be able to find a solution, though. You’ve definitely run into one of the major limitations of the site as it is right now.
Alex J: Based on the frequent descriptions of your updates, the entire website is formatted based on your well-informed opinion. In a similar vein, in your opinion, what are some of the best TPBs ever written? And, a slightly different question: which TPBs are essential for every comic book collector to own?
TPBro: haha, I’m much better at figuring out where something goes versus how good it is. I have a tendency to like almost everything, which is great for a completest because I rarely feel cheated of my money (because dc knows I’m gonna buy their crap anyway) but isn’t really as useful for all purpose recommendations, haha.
I’m working on honing my judgment skills, though (part of why I’ve started writing reviews).
I might not be able to tell you what the best ones are (I haven’t read EVERYTHING) but I can tell you some of my all time favorites.
League of The Extraordinary Gentlemen was what got me back into comics as an adult. I was already/still a huge literature fiend and that book just dragged me back in. They were some of the first trades I purchased since I was a teenager.
Swamp Thing is my absolute favorite. It’s raw and immature for Alan Moore and basically shaped the start of Vertigo, but I love it more than anything else since. It may not technically be as good (it’s hard for me to tell) as some other titles since it, but it is the title that took me back into the DCU for another look and lead me to my current passion. The crossover with CoIE is probably the best thing to come of that whole era.
There are obvious answers to the every collector should own question – Batman: Year One, Sandman (both titles, actually), Preacher or Transmet (maybe you only need one?) and so on, but I have a few lesser used answers. I think everyone should own the Howard The Duck Omnibus, the Deadman Collection, Crisis on Multiple Earths, and Wolverine Classic. Just from a historical perspective and my own nostalgia.
You’ve probably noticed I haven’t said much about modern (last ten years) dc much, this is mainly because I’ve read only bits and pieces of it, and just done a lot of skimming and research – I’m waiting until I finish getting through the silver and bronze age in my backlog and then I’m starting again at 1996, which is where I left off. This is really why I made the whole list myself, originally, so I could read the modern age DC straight through and finally know what was happening in the past 15 years!
This is too hard a question. I like a lot of comics, haha. Probably all of the books on the Self Contained list I would recommend, since those are all books that are currently in my collection (I just imported my own organizing excel document for those ones).
But really, I’d recommend different things for different people. I knew my lady would love Batgirl: Year One, for example, and I just handed my roommate Preacher. It’s just based on their interests, though.
Alex J: I just read Preacher and Transmetropolitan. The writer for Preacher even recommended Transmet in one letters column. “Let’s just say that if I’m going to hell for writing Preacher, I’m going to have some company.”
Self-contained stories like that can be a lot of fun, and I love that the list you have for them is alphabetical. Would there be any way to include an option on the site sorting all the other categories alphabetically, as opposed to chronologically, so a particular book can be easily found?
TPBro: Yeah, it can be done. That, actually, might be easier than anything else. I’ll look into adding it this weekend. [a note, the weekend for me is actually going to be tuesday and wednesday next week.]
Back on that original topic, right now, technically, there isn’t a search function on the site. There is only the Filter function, which creates a new list based on your filter terms. I’m going to see if maybe I can use a google based search to be able to find books within their various reading orders. Since you can currently find them ON google, I feel like it should work.
Theoretically, something like this embedded into my site, with my theme, would be able to link to the pages the book is featurd on.
I’m not sure why the recommended reading order isn’t on the first page of results – and it seems like they might be a little out of date.
This (“Batman: Year One” versus without quotes) gets a little more targeted, since it’s not grabbing just “batman” from the sidebar.
Here, it doesn’t really seem like the whole site is indexed. I’m not sure how to make it so everything shows up directly. Maybe if I am embedding the search in my site, though, it will have an easier time of it. It’s possible it is breaking down because there are so many different tags and categories.
I’ll have to play around with it.
Alex J: Sounds like a plan. Have you linked your website to any of the major comic websites and blogs out there? I’m sure they’d be interested in this project.
TPBro: I’ve got the link in my signature when I post on forums, but I haven’t really sent it out, no. It doesn’t feel finished enough to me, honestly. Maybe I shouldn’t be so skittish, though, haha.