Posted by inferiorego (21111 posts) - - Show Bio

At my house, I have 26 short boxes in my closet. Everything is in alphabetical order and put away nicely. The problem is that I have no clue what's in those boxes a lot of the time. Sure, I know that I own the whole 2005 volume of GREEN LANTERN and all 35 issues of X-MEN 2099, but what about all those mini-series? What about the random issues from series I picked up and left? What about one-shots? I've been collecting since the late 80s, and it's hard to remember what I actually own. Luckily, I found an app available for iPad, iPhone, and Android that can help you figure out exactly what you have, Comic Book Inventory.

Android Version

The android version of this product was released in April 2010, and while I tried the limited version of this product, I focused more on the iPad version, which was released in August of this year. Very quickly, the Android version of this product has a lot more features than the iPad version. I was actually bummed out that I found the iPad version first because I really like the Android look, except for the fact I couldn't add comic books correctly. My internet was down and it didn't seem to let me add any new books. However, I spent far, FAR less time messing with the Android version.

What I liked about this was the connectivity it has. I can check out what new comic books are coming out this week, I can create a wallpaper of my favorite cover for my phone, and I can even jump onto Ebay to buy some of the books that I'm missing.

The Android version looks pretty and has a lot of extra features. The "quizzes" section never worked though. It always crashed the app. I fell in love with this version in the short time I spent with it, even though it was a touch buggier it's iPad counter-part.

iPad Version

I downloaded the free version of CBI to try it out. The free version lets you input 100 comics into your inventory, so after ten minutes of inputting data, I needed to buy the app. It costs $2.99. Let's take a look at the actual app.

Here's the main layout. I got a third of my collection inputted into the app before giving up. It's extremely tedious and sometimes frustrating. I love the main page layout here that shows you what you own the most of in titles, publishers, authors, and pencils. Personally, I'd like to also see colorers, letterers, and maybe even a decades column here as well. You get to see one of the covers of your books in your collection on the left side. It changes every time you go to a new section of the app. Adding a comic is very simple. The first thing you do is click "Add Issue."

So, here's a little walk through. You click in the title area and add your book. Here, I'm adding my SAUCER COUNTRY issues. After you type it in, click "find."

Your series should pop up (more about that later), and all you have to do is select it.

Here comes the part I liked the best. Instead of putting in every single issue on your own, you can put in a set using "-." CBI inputs the others for you. Click "Save," and you're almost good to go.

If you go back to the main menu, and find your series you just imputed, you can also add the covers for the book.

So I clicked "Get Covers" and downloaded them all. If you click on an individual issue within the series, it will give you all the info. Pretty nifty, eh? Note: If you're downloading covers, put the iPad down. If you try and do anything else, the app will crash. The other downside is that is just downloads a random cover for the issue if their are variants, so a few times, I spent a good ten minutes hitting "download cover" until the variant cover I owned came up.

Although adding issue to your collection seems easy, at times, this is not the case. Numerous times, I had a problem like the one below.

This happened a couple of times, and what we see here is a volume the app doesn't recognize. I spent half an hour looking for it, and finally, I just input it myself. That was actually not as frustrating as trying to put it BATMAN INCORPORATED though. The book is actually labelled as "Batman, Inc." in the database, so searching for it is near impossible, unless you type it exactly like that. Searching for "Batman incorporated" doesn't bring it up and neither does "batman inc." You have to have the comma and extra period in their for it to work.

Also, the ampersand (&) does not mean the same thing as the word "and," and some books use the ampersand instead of the word "and." This makes looking up books a pain in the butt some times. Check out what happens when you try to add CAPTAIN AMERICA to your collection.

Obviously, it's easy to tell the difference between a Cap book from 1968 and a Cap book from 2002, but how about the 90s when Marvel renumbered their series a couple times? Well, you'll have to look through the actual issue, which isn't a problem, but I think this app would work better if each volume had a small picture of the first issue next to the selection. There are tons of books that renumbered, especially during the 90s, and so it can be a bit tough to figure out what book is from what volume. It only happened a small handful of times when I was inputting 1500 comic books.

Another thing I really liked about this was that you can add tags to your issues. Currently, I only have two tags on certain books "Vertigo" and "Wildstorm." CBI has both of these companies listed as DC, since DC does own them, but I really like having them separated from DC books. You can also use this tag for whatever you want: signed issues, first appearances, etc. It's a nice, small little feature that adds a lot of depth to this app.

I wish there was connectivity between Android and Apple devices. I wish I could just create an account and link my phone and my iPad, so I could add books on the go. I also wish I could add books just by scanning the barcode. They seem to update this app a bit, so maybe, we could see these improvements in the future.

Final Overview:

Comic Book Inventory will cost you $2.99, and it will let you keep virtual track of your physical comic book collection. I spent the majority of my time with the iPad version.

Good

  • Easy to use and understand application.
  • Let's you know how many issues you have from publishers, writers, artists, and series.
  • You can view the covers of all your issues, after downloading them.
  • Free version lets you input 100 issues. It's a very nice trial.
  • Tagging system great for those who like things extremely categorized.
  • You can backup your information onto a computer and export it to a spreadsheet style program.
  • Aside from single issues, many trades and graphic novels also exist in the database.

Bad

  • Both iPad and Android versions occasionally crash. In the iPad version, it sometimes crashes while trying to process a large number of books or downloading covers. The Android version crashes while trying to go to the "Quizzes" section.
  • Trouble finding a lot of volumes because of how they were inputted.
  • Trouble finding a lot of volumes because of how the search function works.
  • No connectivity between Android and iPad.
  • When organizing your collection, anything that starts with "The" goes into the "T" section.

Overall

Comic Book Inventory is a fantastic was to digitally keep track of your comic book collection. If you are a dedicated comic book collector, you are going to want to pick this up. This easy to use app is a lot of fun, even when going through your collection can be incredibly tedious. Sure, there's a few problems here and there, but the overall program a pretty sturdy and worth the $2.99 price tag. Check it out for yourself in the Google Play Store and on iTunes.

I highly recommend this app.

~Mat "Inferiorego" Elfring is a writer, comedian, and creator of the Barely Watchable Network. You can check him out on the twitter.

Staff
#1 Posted by cyberchop979 (451 posts) - - Show Bio

Excellent review! I actually had my eye on this app as a way to catalog my 8000+ comic books. It looked promising, and with Matt's review, I will definitely give it a shot!

#2 Posted by inferiorego (21111 posts) - - Show Bio

@cyberchop979 said:

Excellent review! I actually had my eye on this app as a way to catalog my 8000+ comic books. It looked promising, and with Matt's review, I will definitely give it a shot!

Seriously though, get ready for some tedious work... I'm going to try and finish my collection this weekend.

Staff
#3 Posted by G-Man (30304 posts) - - Show Bio

@inferiorego: Then you can do my collection. Thanks.

Staff
#4 Posted by AltyAce (43 posts) - - Show Bio

Excellent article! Have been looking around for something like this after using Excel

#5 Posted by cyberchop979 (451 posts) - - Show Bio

@inferiorego: I tried out the free version and I could see how it would get tedious. My biggest gripe with the App was that I could not find some of the Wizard .5 issues that I own on there. Had to input them manually, which wasn't a big issue, but not having the cover was a bummer.

#6 Posted by Mucklefluga (2503 posts) - - Show Bio

Love this new feature, is this app free on Android? I'd love to try it out on my mobile before i buy.

Woooooo Barely Watchable :D

#7 Posted by inferiorego (21111 posts) - - Show Bio

@cyberchop979: I had that problem with a couple ".1" issues as well. However, the manual input is only a minor annoyance.

Staff
#8 Posted by inferiorego (21111 posts) - - Show Bio

@Mucklefluga said:

Love this new feature, is this app free on Android? I'd love to try it out on my mobile before i buy.

Woooooo Barely Watchable :D

There is a limited version, just like ipad... 100 issues only

Staff
#9 Posted by ShiggyPop (1 posts) - - Show Bio

Thanks for this article! I was hopping around applications/services trying to find something to keep an inventory of my comics (only ~5300 issues) a couple months back before finally settling on Collectorz, which includes PC/Mac software and iOS and Android apps. While a bit more pricey than the alternatives this has treated me the best so far. They are currently working on updates to their iOS app (combing their iPhone and iPad app into one), set to release soon. Any chance of a review of that when it drops to see your thoughts of how that compares to this?

#10 Posted by dcfox (150 posts) - - Show Bio

Looks cool. Is there a web version? Seems like it might be easier to add your collection through your computer and just browse it on mobile.

#11 Posted by They Killed Cap! (2243 posts) - - Show Bio

I use the collectorz program I have 4k comic books this is awesome for it. It runs like itunes.

#12 Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus (6885 posts) - - Show Bio

Very good review. I must say though, believe it or not, I keep my entire comic book collection logged through Comicvine now on my Lists section. Every comic I have ever bought and collected is listed there now, all numbered precisely and as such I have my boxes (9 long, 3 short) completely organized by alphabetical title with regard to how they are ordered. I used to render the list here too until it was clear that I get new comics every month and thus it keeps expanding outward. For my purposes, my Comicvine Lists suit me just fine for determining what comics I do and do not have, and with how valuable CV is a resource for determining storylines/arcs/crossovers/events, I could easily find out what back issues I need here at a moment's notice. Still love the review though!

#13 Edited by strangeling (180 posts) - - Show Bio

I've been wanting a good way to keep track of my 16 long boxes + 20 (or so) short boxes. Until I find something that really works for me, I've been using Comic Vine lists (See my mini bio.) [Scratch that. It doesn't show in the comments, just in the forum thread. I'll just make a link.]

#14 Posted by randalmeister (84 posts) - - Show Bio

@They Killed Cap!: I have the Collectorz iPhone/iPad and desktop apps. They work great.

#15 Posted by haydenclaireheroes (8844 posts) - - Show Bio

I need to get this app!

#16 Edited by Webjaker (366 posts) - - Show Bio
#17 Posted by ptaylor9 (10 posts) - - Show Bio

I am a big fan of the Collectorz.com app too.

its so easy to enter details, and with new app coming soon you will be able to barcode scan with the iPhone camera I believe.

#18 Posted by BKole (497 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm just curious here - with such a wealth of information inside the comicvine website, and that it's ease of use, why don't you guys just turn this website into a comic collector app. All you need to do (he says with little to no technical ability) is link a mobile version of comicvine to the website, and include something like a 'add this comic to my collection' button.

Easy (he says.)

#19 Posted by inferiorego (21111 posts) - - Show Bio

@BKole said:

I'm just curious here - with such a wealth of information inside the comicvine website, and that it's ease of use, why don't you guys just turn this website into a comic collector app. All you need to do (he says with little to no technical ability) is link a mobile version of comicvine to the website, and include something like a 'add this comic to my collection' button.

Easy (he says.)

I thought about the same thing while I was using this app.... however, that would be a super-low priority idea, sadly.

Staff
#20 Posted by BKole (497 posts) - - Show Bio

@inferiorego: No that.

That is a damn shame. I'd pay for it. So, you got yourself what...2 dollars right here.

#21 Posted by wmwadeii (3191 posts) - - Show Bio

I use the free website StashMyComics. Works for me. Not sure how well it works on a mobile site.

#22 Posted by Jaymundo (168 posts) - - Show Bio

Seems like a good app but I could make my own database on a spreadsheet for free and have all the custom columns I want.

#23 Posted by Mahzian (115 posts) - - Show Bio

I also use the Collectorz desktop / iPhone / iPad app too, the only drawback is that it doesn't have an automatic price guide like online sites like www.comicspriceguide.com (I used this briefly but the cost of subscription turned me off). They also have a neat barcode scanner app (which I believe is soon to be integrated into the regular smart phone / tablet app) which makes adding issues quick and easy.

That being said when you purchase all the software / apps it's a hell of a lot more than $2.99 so this would be a great alternative for the budget concious!

#24 Posted by sdunham818 (80 posts) - - Show Bio

Great article and great timing! I was just looking a similar product that gives you 100 book free trial. I like the product so far, also has a mobile device app for iOS and Andrioid but it's $7.99 - my opinon worth it because of the barcode reader to database function. The database is easy to use and has some cool features.

http://www.collectorz.com/comic/