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It’s time for another installment of Tough Questions With Alex J. The last sets of questions can be found here, here and here.

Alex J: Here’s another question for you: for the purists out there, would you ever consider making a list which removes all non-canon or no longer canon titles?

TPBro: It would be kind of a pain to keep up to date, lol, but technically it would be easy to accomplish – just add each book that is “in” to the category “Currently Canon” or something.

Alex J: I got a note from Multiversity, a major comic blog, saying they have a weekly feature about recommended reading orders for characters, and regarding your endeavor, they expressed doubt that one man could successfully categorize all of them sequentially as there will always be paperbacks you don’t know about. What do you say to that?

TPBro: haha, it’s an ongoing project – but obviously I’ve already got some help.

As for DC paperbacks I don’t know about, they’re pretty rare at this point. I’ve been researching this for a couple years, and it’s really not that hard at thing to track down, considering the relatively small publication history of the trade paperback comic collection in general and the relatively obsessive nature of the comic fan.

As for future stuff, it’s easy to stay abreast of upcoming solicitations for the major publications at least, and I’ve got a list of about 5 left that I know about that currently aren’t in my database at all for DC.

Now, if we were talking about EVERY trade ever – I’m not really worried about keeping a COMPLETE database. If it’s an important title, chances are it will make its way in. If it’s not, things will be as complete as they can be.

It’s the process that’s fun, and it gets more useful every day.

I guess really my primary goal is to make a reading order for DC trades. Everything else will come if that works out – and, possibly, if it works out well enough to somehow support itself in such a way that I’d be given more time to work on everything else. Right now I’m putting in full time hours out of passion, but I can’t do that forever – especially if I’m starting a family in a few years, haha.

Probably what will happen, is that I’ll continue putting in full time hours in my ‘spare’ time for this first year just to get the basics of the site fully functional and the DC list fully populated with covers, tags, and so on. Then everything else will be added slowly and organically over time. But I wanna get that DC list out there – that’s my primary goal.

Alex J: What have you learned from compiling the DC Trade Order that you can apply to compiling Marvel? And what are bound to be some of the biggest differences?

TPBro: I think the biggest thing I’ve realized is that I should add as MUCH info as possible and as MANY books as possible BEFORE uploading the offline document. I can upload an entire reading order in order, but adding in more books is a pain and organizing books after they are in the database is a pain.

When I uploaded the DC Order, I purposefully did it before I’d added in the archives, figuring it was already going to be useful to people and I could just add them in later after it was up. Huge mistake! It’s created hours and hours of more work for me. Moving and ordering 200 books can be done in a night in my offline document, but takes a lot more time online, for example. I’d been doing 5 or 10 a day, until I managed to seriously tweak how the site was working to make things a little faster.

Second, I should have ALL my fields except the one that’s impossible (picture of cover) filled out in my text based database before uploading. I can’t do tags or custom taxonomies (which means no series, marvel character, creator, and so on) but I CAN do ISBN, Page count, publisher, publication date, contents’ publication date and so on. There’s no reason that info shouldn’t be in the database BEFORE I upload.

But I didn’t learn that till long after the site was up. But moving forward, it’s going to make my life a lot easier for Marvel. I’ll compile the whole thing offline, then just have to go through and copy/paste stuff from custom fields to custom taxonomies, plus add pictures.

There shouldn’t be too many differences. There probably won’t be so MANY category lists – no split crisis reading order, no pre-crisis, no post-crisis. There will probably just be a recommended reading order (which might shift some books around based on event crossovers, etc) and chronological, plus the ages – golden through modern, though I’m not sure how clear the divide is in Marvel.

Marvel will have its own set of event/series lists, like “What If?” instead of “Elseworlds” and “Secret Wars,” etc. It will also have a distinctly separate character tagging database, since some characters have the same names, etc.

I will probably have to copy book entries that are in both universes (DC Marvel crossovers) in order to have them place properly.

That’s all I can think of…

And that’s it for now! Remember, if you have questions that aren’t answered on the How To Use This Website page, feel free to leave a comment on the Feedback page or Email Me, just like Alex did!

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