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This project wouldn’t be possible without constant discussion between myself and other fans. There are links to many of the resources I frequent on my Links page, but remember, you can always leave comments right on any TRO page and I’ll get right back to you there. Or email me!

On that note, thanks to David B. for his comment on the Feedback page. Made my day!

Following up on the last Reading Order Interview culled from emails from Alex, here’s another Q+A set:

Alex J: Would you ever consider integrating Marvel and DC into the same reading list, based on publication dates and the crossovers? For that matter, so long as you plan to organize the TPB lists by publication, would there be any way to see all of the comics on the site on the same organized list?

TPBro: At some point I could add an “all books” list that’s sorted by the publication date of the content. all I’d have to do is tag it on every book and they’d fall in line automatically (assuming I’d already finished adding all of their end dates – right now only about 100 of them have that set. I have to put it in manually as 1960.12, or 1999.03, etc).

The beauty of it being a dynamic database is that stuff like that is possible without too much work, once all the data is in (this is a relative “too much work” obviously). The only problem is that I haven’t finished inputting the data yet, haha. This first year (possibly) is probably just going to be data entry.

Even with the limited data, though, there’s still a lot of cool stuff that can be done with it.

Already, the creator lists are going to be for any universe, because I figure people would want to see what that person has been up to over their career, not just for one employer.

There will be separate sets of character tags for each universe, though, and separate event/series tags for DC and Marvel, etc.

Alex J: I love that each of the articles links right to their Amazon page. Would it be possible down the line to connect to other comic book retailers for comparison shopping?

TPBro: Possibly – Amazon has a pretty stable page system and I actually link to them more for reviews and information (though I already have the page count and isbn numbers in my database, often they have other editions on there as well whereas I don’t really list multiple publications of the same book, just list by the first collected publication date). The also list multiple sellers from different sources, which gives you a good cross-section for estimating price range.

When I was laying out the site, I tried to think of what I’d want if I was looking for TPBs myself. I buy through a huge variety of sellers, but I always keep my recommendations up to date at Amazon (by marking things as purchased there) so I get told when new releases are coming out, etc.

I’ll probably link to another retailer at some point, but chances are it will be through some kind of sponsorship thing. So I don’t know who that would end up being. I can’t list every store out there, and if I’m going to be supporting a company it would be nice to get supported a little back. I’d like to chose a store I enjoy and actually use a fair amount (like instock trades). We’ll see where it goes, I guess. I might also look into doing some kind of automatic “search for this on eBay” link, though you often have to tweak your terms to really find what you want on there – sellers don’t list books in any dependable way.

For now, the Amazon links are also referrer links, so ideally I’d get a little change back to help pay my hosting fees (it’s only like 40 cents per book someone buys, but every little bit helps.) Otherwise I’d feel a little weird linking to amazon too – it’s not like they need my help to make money on book sales, haha.

On a side note, I admit to being a little uncomfortable about how much of the market share they control, but I haven’t found any reliable alternative for used books – they simply offer an amazing service. Whenever I’ve ordered from a seller on Amazon and there is a screw up, I’ve always been able to get my money back right away. Amazon covers it. There doesn’t seem to be any buyer friendly service like that out there anywhere else – getting money back from crappy eBay sellers can be a total pain.

Alex J: Focusing back on the possibility of non-TPB items on the site: what about integrating DVDs of the television shows and films, anywhere from the 1960s Batman to Batman: The Animated Series to Batman Begins?

TPBro: It’s possible. The database system could work for almost any type of media. I’ve already got novels well in the works (though you won’t see it online for some time).

Like, what we were talking about before – you see the way the DC Comics category splits into the different sub-lists like Pre-Crisis and Post-Crisis?

That category will probably be under “Comics” or “Collected Editions” or something like that. The next category down will be “Novels” and there will probably be some genres under there… like “fantasy” and then under that could be “Magic: The Gathering” – the next category could be science fiction, and under that could be star wars books.

And so on. These lists can be cross populated with tags, so “Star Wars Characters” tags could generate lists that include TV Shows, Books, Comics, and Movies, all on the same list. This is a long term thing, since I’m mainly focusing on putting the infrastructure in place right now and getting the comics list to be useful.

So in the long run, it could list all kinds of things that are hard to keep track of or that people like to read/watch/consume in a particular order. And that could totally include comics related stuff in other media.

It’s been something I put together instinctively anyway (I’ve got viewing order txt files, excel files for sorting book shelves, etc. I like to think I’m not OCD or something, but I seem to have a pretty serious database habit.)

Alex J: Speaking of which, how do you decide where to place the Elseworlds titles? Is it purely based on publication date? Surely there must be other factors to keep in mind.

TPBro: Mainly by publication date, that way they shouldn’t reference anything that the reader hasn’t come across yet. But I tend to group them at the end of the year for a little “Elseworlds interlude”. I kind have to do that anyway because it’s hard to find exact month publication data for a lot of the prestige formats. When going through and reading, I like to read a little pile of Elseworlds. Instead of having them constantly interrupting storylines, they become a nice set break that sums up the year in a lot of ways.

Some I hold on to until later to put them with a sequel or right before they intersect with the main DCU. But the majority of them can be read independently, so its fine to put them where they were published.

Honestly, like everything else, this is pretty subjective and you could easily keep all your Elseworlds books on a separate shelf if you really wanted.

Alex J: Some fantastic updates lately. This site is becoming more amazing every day. Have you come up with a solution to your Western and WWII problems yet?

TPBro: I started adding the westerns in (right after the Viking Glory trade). I’m happy with how it worked out for now, though I may have to tweak as I read through them myself.

The WWII stuff is dated by events in the books and mixed in with the Golden Age material going on at those same dates. Some of it is Bronze and Modern Age stuff that’s pushed up in the reading order and some of it actually came out in the Golden Age.

It’s mainly in two chunks – the start of America’s involvement in the war and the end of the war. It’s  squished to America’s time in it, since even though some events are outside of that period, the bulk of the content in the collected editions take place while America is in the war.

I’m looking forward to getting some feedback about that once its up and viewable.

Alex J: Aren’t there any TPBs about Anthro which should go before the vikings, though?

TPBro: As far as I know, while Anthro shows up here and there, his ongoing has never been collected. But yeah, if it was it would probably go before viking prince (at least before he gets frozen in ice or whatever haha).

And that’s it for this round! Hopefully I’ll be getting grilled more in the future, so you can probably expect a third round sometime soon. As I said before, feel free to send your own questions – I like talking about comics!

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