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By | Monday, January 17, 2011 | 2:07 am | 15 Comments | Blog > Database Updates

With the help of the list Marc sent me, I’ve been moving his placements into order and putting in the remaining Marvel books. I found a couple more on his list and then even more upcoming books on Amazon.

Star Comics: All-Star Collection Vol. 1
Star Comics: All-Star Collection Vol. 2
Star Comics: All-Star Collection Vol. 3
Thing Classic Vol. 1
Power Pack Classic Vol. 3
Thunderbolts Classic Vol. 1
New Mutants Classic Vol. 6
Fantastic Four: Extended Family
Thor: The Lost Gods
Taskmaster: Unthinkable
The Legacy of Captain America
Captain America Vs. The Red Skull
Captain America: American Nightmare
Captain America: Man Out Of Time
Captain America by Dan Jurgens Vol. 1
Fantastic Four by Waid and Wieringo Ultimate Collection Book 1
Fantastic Four by Waid and Wieringo Ultimate Collection Book 2
Excalibur Visionaries: Alan Davis Vol. 3
Age of Heroes
Klaws of the Panther
Spider-Man / Fantastic Four
Young Allies Vol. 1
Hawkeye & Mockingbird / Black Widow: Widow’s Kiss
Amazing Marvel Universe
Marvel Universe
The Marvel Comics Guide to New York City

I won’t be adding these to the previous text list or bothering with links right now. The dynamic list is so close to going up that it just makes more sense to concentrate any time I have on getting it online.

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By | Sunday, January 16, 2011 | 4:06 am | 9 Comments | Blog > Features

Four Color Process has posted a fantastic essay/manifesto titled In Defense of Dots: The Lost Art of Comic Books which contains the images I used to make the above animated gif.

It’s a great article and should be of interest to many of you collectors. There is definitely an aesthetic draw to printing, paper stock, even manufacturing errors.

As an artist that’s done his own printmaking and matrix creation, selections in those factors can do a LOT to increase the aesthetic appeal of a piece. As a reviewer of collected editions, it’s often hard to make a call on a particular volume.

It’s amazing, but understandable, how divided the comics community is on the subject of how to treat reprints. There are so many factors that come into play.

The artist’s original desires, historical value, the original presentation. The fact that some artists worked assuming said original presentation but that they may have changed it if they could have.

Even aging artists’ questionable aesthetic sensibility concerning their past material (Neal Adams, etc.)

I find these images to be very illustrative of the challenges inherent in approaching this media. They’re from Fantastic Four 49 and the Omnibus Vol. 2 reprint, I think. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong.

Jack Kirby, along with an unknown original colorist (possibly Kirby himself or cover artist Joe Sinnot), created the first image as they created most of their work.

Quickly, powerfully, and with the intention of reaching as many young readers as possible.

Their long term archival intentions were probably negligible.

But I think it would be wrong to suggest that Kirby, at least, didn’t think about the printing when he worked on the original art.

His bold lines were obviously designed to make the action as clear as possible in a media that often gave way to smudged and muddy pages.

It’s too bad that our historical colorist isn’t clearly credited. I’d love to know more about how they thought.

Personally, I think he may have used the colors the way some use watercolors (or how I used to use certain inks in the printmaking labs.) Knowing that they would bleed, the colors seem arranged to flow into each other, using the white space as a mingling area.

That first image features aesthetically pleasing gradients between green and yellow on the hands to the right of the panel, for example. The color shift in the white also feels like that area is more a part of the figure.

These subtleties are completely lost in the reproduction.

Of course, the reproduction is clearer, perhaps easier to read.

There’s no “right” answer here. It’s art and will always be subjective.

In an ideal world, every page would consist of smart paper, where at a touch we could flip between pencils, inked linework, original colors and restored colors.

Perhaps that’s what the future holds for collected editions.

But for now, we’re lucky to have bound reprints along with excellent curated blogs like Four Color Process, where you can see those ancient panel details you or your grandfather may have overlooked in the rush to find out what happens next.

Head on over there to read their essay and view more of those wonderful little dots.

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By | Friday, January 14, 2011 | 11:59 pm | 28 Comments | Blog > Giveaways

Update: This giveaway is now over. Stay tuned! Also, feel free to enter one of our currently running giveaways.

Update 2: The winner has been announced.

Here’s the weekly giveaway!

This week, I’ve got a spare copy of The Batman Chronicles Vol. 8. This book collects some great Golden Age Batman comics – specifically: Detective Comics #71-74, Batman #14-15, and World’s Finest Comics #8-9.

In this early volume the rogues gallery is in full effect. Batman and Robin are up against Catwoman, Joker, Penguin, Scarecrow, even lesser knows like Tweedledee and Tweedledum!

As an added bonus, there is plenty of Superhero vs. Nazi action in these wartime comics.

I’m a huge fan of the Chronicles series of reprints. Following the character instead of title (like the Batman Archives) is the way to go. I only wish DC would speed up their printing, since there’s so much to collect!

The Rundown:

(1) Prize: One copy of The Batman Chronicles Vol. 8

(1) Random Comment Winner: One logged in commenter will be randomly selected from the replies to this post.

Eligibility: You must be registered and logged in when you comment to be eligible. You must also be in the continental USA for shipping purposes. If you are overseas and want to pay for the shipping yourself, feel free to enter, but keep in mind that it will probably be more expensive than just buying the book.

Deadline: You have until 11:59 on Friday, January 21th, 2011.

Good luck everyone!

You can see the previous giveaways and results here.

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By | Friday, January 14, 2011 | 5:07 am | 10 Comments | Blog > Database Updates

Here’s the latest batch of Marvel database additions (still none live, but this is for those of you following along with my offline work.)

Kumar started me on this track with the Punisher prestige books over at the CBR forums. Then I found Marvel Graphic Novels and Related Publications (A book I hope to find the time to review soon – I’ve already got a rough draft on here (along with three other reviews!!) but I keep getting pulled back into working on sorting this list.)

The remaining 230 books were found with the help of that publication and the odd amazon find.

Here’s the list (and these will be added to the main list in a minute):

1. Punisher: No Escape
2. Punisher: Bloodlines
3. Punisher: Die Hard in the Big Easy
4. Punisher: Empty Quarter
5. Punisher: A Man Named Frank
6. Punisher / G-Force
7. Punisher: The Ghosts of Innocents Book 1
8. Punisher: The Ghosts of Innocents Book 2
9. The Punisher Movie Special
10. Punisher: P.O.V. Book 1
11. Punisher: P.O.V. Book 2
12. Punisher: P.O.V. Book 3
13. Punisher: P.O.V. Book 4
14. Punisher: The Prize
15. Punisher / Wolverine: African Saga
16. Thunderbolts: First Strikes
17. Target Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes
18. The Last Avengers Story
19. Tales to Astonish Featuring the Hulk, Hank Pym, and the Wasp
20. Avengers vs. X-Men
21. Ant-Man’s Big Christmas
22. Hawkeye
23. Timeslip: The Coming of the Avengers
24. Hercules: Prince of Power
25. Black Panther: Panther’s Prey Book 1
26. Black Panther: Panther’s Prey Book 2
27. Black Panther: Panther’s Prey Book 3
28. Black Panther: Panther’s Prey Book 4
29. Timely Comics Presents: The Human Torch
30. Miss Fury
31. Tales of Suspense Featuring Iron Man and Captain America: Men and Machines
32. Marvel Presents Captain America: Collector’s Edition
33. Timely Comics Presents: All Winners Comics
34. Captain America: Operation Rebirth (1999 Edition)
35. Blade: Sins of the Father
36. Darkseid vs. Galactus: The Hunger
37. Silver Surfer / Rune
38. Ghost Rider / Cable: Servants of the Dead
39. Green Lantern / Silver Surfer Unholy Alliances
40. The Silver Surfer: Inner Demons
41. Silver Surfer / Superman
42. Elektra: Root of Evil Book 1
43. Elektra: Root of Evil Book 2
44. Elektra: Root of Evil Book 3
45. Elektra: Root of Evil Book 4
46. Daredevil: The Movie
47. Daredevil / Punisher: Child’s Play
48. Daredevil: Marvel’s Finest
49. Strange Tales Featuring Dr. Strange, The Thing and the Human Torch
50. The Fantastic 4th Voyage of Sinbad
51. Superman / Fantastic Four: Infinite Destruction
52. The Hulk: Pitt
53. Hulk: Future Imperfect Book 1
54. Hulk: Future Imperfect Book 2
55. She-Hulk: Ceremony Book 1
56. She-Hulk: Ceremony Book 2
57. The Incredible Hulk vs. Superman: Double Lives
58. Hulk Annual
59. Iron Man: The Iron Age Book 1
60. Iron Man: The Iron Age Book 2
61. Iron Man Vs. Doctor Doom
62. Classic Punisher
63. Spider-Man / Punisher / Sabretooth: Designer Genes
64. Shadowmasters Book 1
65. Shadowmasters Book 2
66. Shadowmasters Book 3
67. Shadowmasters Book 4
68. Punisher: Eye for an Eye
69. Spiderman Unmasked
70. Untold Tales of Spider-Man: Strange Encounter
71. Spider-Man / Gen 13
72. Spider-Man 2099 Meets Spider-Man
73. Spider-Man and Batman: Disordered Minds
74. Batman & Spider-Man: New Age Dawning
75. Amazing Spider-Man: Soul of the Hunter
76. Venom: Carnage Unleashed
77. Spider-Man: The Movie
78. Spider-Man Vs. The Green Goblin
79. Spider-Man Vs. Wolverine
80. The Best of Spider-Man Super Stories
81. Godwheel: Wheel of Thunder
82. Wolverine: Triumphs and Tragedies
83. Sabretooth: Back to Nature
84. Wolverine Encyclopedia Vol. 1
85. Wolverine Encyclopedia Vol. 2
86. The Wolverine Saga Book 1
87. The Wolverine Saga Book 2
88. The Wolverine Saga Book 3
89. The Wolverine Saga Book 4
90. Badrock / Wolverine
91. X-Men 2: Official Comic Book Adaptation
92. X-Men: Dreams End
93. X-Men / Alpha Flight: The Gift
94. ClanDestine Vs. The X-Men
95. X-Men: Beginnings
96. X-Men Animation Special
97. X-Men Evolution Digest
98. X-Men Evolution Vol. 1
99. X-Men Evolution Vol. 2
100. Team X / Team 7
101. X-Men 2099: Oasis
102. X-Men: Spotlight on the Starjammers Book 1
103. X-Men: Spotlight on the Starjammers Book 2
104. X-Men: Wrath of Apocalypse
105. Magneto Ascendent
106. X-Men: Books of Askani
107. WildC.A.T.S / X-Men
108. Excalibur: Air Apparent
109. A Tale From The Age Of Apocalypse: By the Light
110. Tales From The Age Of Apocalypse: Sinister Bloodlines
111. X-Force / Youngblood: Smokin’ Mojo
112. Tales of the Marvels: The Wonder Years Book 1
113. Tales of the Marvels: The Wonder Years Book 2
114. Tales of the Marvels: Blockbuster
115. Marvels Book 0
116. Marvels Book 1
117. Marvels Book 2
118. Marvels Book 3
119. Marvels Book 4
120. Deathlok Book 1
121. Deathlok Book 2
122. Deathlok Book 3
123. Deathlok Book 4
124. Elektra & Wolverine: The Redeemer Book 1
125. Elektra & Wolverine: The Redeemer Book 2
126. Elektra & Wolverine: The Redeemer Book 3
127. Havok / Wolverine: Meltdown Book 1
128. Havok / Wolverine: Meltdown Book 2
129. Havok / Wolverine: Meltdown Book 3
130. Havok / Wolverine: Meltdown Book 4
131. JLA / Avengers Book 1
132. JLA / Avengers Book 2
133. JLA / Avengers Book 3
134. JLA / Avengers Book 4
135. The Legion Of Night Book 1
136. The Legion Of Night Book 2
137. Moon Knight: Divided We Fall
138. Nick Fury vs. S.H.I.E.L.D. Book 1
139. Nick Fury vs. S.H.I.E.L.D. Book 2
140. Nick Fury vs. S.H.I.E.L.D. Book 3
141. Nick Fury vs. S.H.I.E.L.D. Book 4
142. Nick Fury vs. S.H.I.E.L.D. Book 5
143. Nick Fury vs. S.H.I.E.L.D. Book 6
144. The Tomb Of Dracula: Day Of Blood, Night Of Redemption Book 1
145. The Tomb Of Dracula: Day Of Blood, Night Of Redemption Book 2
146. The Tomb Of Dracula: Day Of Blood, Night Of Redemption Book 3
147. The Tomb Of Dracula: Day Of Blood, Night Of Redemption Book 4
148. The Pitt
149. Return of the Heroes
150. Code of Honor Book 1
151. Code of Honor Book 2
152. Code of Honor Book 3
153. Code of Honor Book 4
154. Ruins Book 1
155. Ruins Book 2
156. The Draft
157. The War Book 1
158. The War Book 2
159. The War Book 3
160. The War Book 4
161. The Two-Gun Kid: Sunset Riders Book 1
162. The Two-Gun Kid: Sunset Riders Book 2
163. Tales of the Marvels: Inner Demons
164. Power Pack: Origin Album
165. Nuff Said
166. Marville
167. 2099: Manifest Destiny
168. The 100 Greatest Marvels of All Time Vol. 1
169. The 100 Greatest Marvels of All Time Vol. 2
170. The 100 Greatest Marvels of All Time Vol. 3
171. The 100 Greatest Marvels of All Time Vol. 4
172. The 100 Greatest Marvels of All Time Vol. 5
173. The 100 Greatest Marvels of All Time Vol. 6
174. The 100 Greatest Marvels of All Time Vol. 7
175. The 100 Greatest Marvels of All Time Vol. 8
176. The 100 Greatest Marvels of All Time Vol. 9
177. The 100 Greatest Marvels of All Time Vol. 10
178. Target Marvel Classic Origins
179. Marvel Super Heroes: Secret Wars
180. The Art of Marvel Comics
181. The Amazing Spider-Man: 500 Covers 1962-2003
182. Marvel Presents the Fighting American
183. Birth of Spider-Man Box Set
184. Secrets Behind the Comics
185. 2000-2001: Fanboys and Bad-girls: Bill and Joe’s Marvelous Adventure
186. The Art of Marvel Vol. 2
187. The Art Of Marvel Vol. 1
188. Conan: The Movie
189. The Uncanny X-Men
190. X-Men and the Teen Titans
191. Incredible Hulk Vol. 1 (these reprint the newspaper strips, but I’m not sure about the amazon links. Very hard to find good info on these.)
192. Incredible Hulk Vol. 2
193. Incredible Hulk Vol. 3
194. Incredible Hulk Vol. 4
195. Incredible Hulk Vol. 5
196. The Amazing Spider-Man #1: The Great Newspaper Strip in Full Color
197. The Amazing Spider-Man #2: The Great Newspaper Strip in Full Color
198. The Amazing Spider-Man
199. Marvel Mini Books
200. Superman and Spider-Man
201. Batman vs. The Incredible Hulk
202. The Incredible Hulk: A Man-Brute Berserk
203. Batman / Daredevil: King of New York
204. Fantastic Four / Gen 13: Queelocke’s Really Big New York Adventure
205. Silver Surfer / Superman: Pop
206. Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of World’s Greatest Comics
207. The Fantastic Four Chronicles
208. Spider-Man Confidential
209. Stan Lee Presents the Mighty Marvel Superheroes’ Cookbook
210. X-Men Chronicles
211. Stan Lee Presents the Mighty Marvel Strength and Fitness Book
212. Comic Wars: How Two Tycoons Battled Over the Marvel Comics Empire and Both Lost
213. Comic Wars: Marvel’s Battle for Survival
214. X-Men: Companion I
215. X-Men: Companion II
216. Comics File Magazine Spotlight on Spider-Man
217. Comics File Spotlight on the Avengers Files
218. Comics File Magazine Spotlight on The X-Men File
219. Sons of the X-Men: Comics File Magazine Spotlight on The X-Men File
220. Critics Choice Magazine Presents: The Silver Surfer: An Analysis of Issues 1-9
221. Critics Choice Magazine Presents: The X-Men: Issues 129-145
222. Comics File Spotlight on Fantastic Four Files
223. Science of the X-Men
224. The Comic Checklist for Marvel Comics
225. Photo-Journal Guide to Marvel Comics (A-J)
226. Photo-Journal Guide to Marvel Comics (K-Z)
227. The Timely Index
228. X-Men: Collector’s Value Guide
229. The Illustrated Marvel Handbook and Checklist
230. Marvel War Comics Personnel Cross-Index
231. Marvel Superheroes Comic Checklist Through September 1971
232. The Marvel Comics Index: Daredevil 9B
233. The Marvel Comics Index: Avengers 3
234. The Marvel Comics Index: X-Men 9A
235. The Marvel Comics Index: Conan 2
236. The Marvel Comics Index: The Mighty Thor 5
237. Marvel Comics Index: Heroes from Tales of Suspense Book 2: Iron Man 8B
238. The Marvel Comics Index 7A: Tales to Astonish: Book One: The Incredible Hulk
239. Marvel Comics Index: Heroes from Tales of Suspense Book 1: Captain America 8A
240. The Marvel Comics Index: Spider-Man 1
241. The Marvel Super Heroes Guide Book
242. Marvel Comics Checklist and Price Guide 1961 to Present
243. The Marvel X-Men Guidebook
244. Marvel Graphic Novels and Related Publications
245. Thor: Official Index to the Marvel Universe
246. Planet Hulk: Gladiator Guidebook

It’s 5am again, so it looks like that’s it for tonight!

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By | Thursday, January 13, 2011 | 4:44 am | 2 Comments | Blog > Database Updates

Huge functionality update in a second, but little business out of the way first.

I did a tiny update to the DC list and placed Jonah Hex: Tall Tales.

I’ve got the Captain’s Log thread on the forum feeding into the twitter account now, for those interested in mini-updates/what I had for breakfast.

You can now view any books TRO Database ID under the other ID numbers at the bottom of a database page. This value is displayed more for your curiosity than anything else – it’s external functionality is minimal. But higher numbers mean the book was added to the database more recently.

Ok, now the big news:

The DC Quick list now loads much faster and a link to each book’s placement has been added to database entries!

A lot of you asked about way to quickly see where a book lies in relation to other books on the main list. It was impossible to link to a paged wordpress listing, so I couldn’t generate a link that sends you to a placement on one of the main lists.

However, I was able to add id tags to the text only DC Quick List!

(you can read about my programming struggles and intentions here)

Then I could go back and put a “View in place on the DC Quick List” link on every single (placed) dc book with a few lines of code! These links bring you right back to the quicklist with that book at the top of the page.

I’m hoping I can style and tweak this a bit somehow, with it showing the book highlighted in place a few entries down the page. But I’ll need some help with that kind of dynamic formatting.

So that’s pretty exciting, but it’s not all! As you may have realized, the website is generally quicker to visitors who are not logged in.

Because of the collection management feature, we can’t show the main lists or book entries cached to logged in visitors, because they might be changing that page by adding or removing books from their collection.

But the DC Quick List is a whole ton of database queries, so for a quick list it’s been kind of slow to load for logged in visitors (since the site has to generate the list every time – giving me a nice memory warning in my email box.)

I figured out a way around it. I made a widgetized space (like the sidebars, where everything is cached except the login widget) and put all the list generation code inside a single widget. Then I set that to be cached for a day or so. If I’m doing DC placements, it might be a day behind, but it should load very quick for everyone now – which should be useful considering how much more use it’s going to see!

That also means I can probably add a few more features to it. I’m thinking the most useful might be an amazon link for each entry. But I’m curious to see what you guys think. Thumbnails are out – too much load on the server, takes up too much space.

This functionality will be fully available for the marvel books once they are all sorted and added to the database.

Only downside? Totally got distracted from the review I was working on. D’oh! :D

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