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Comic Collector Live Review By Ben Sweetser

About.com Rating 2 Star Rating

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Comic Collector Live Review By Ben Sweetser

The Comic Collector Live Main Screen

Copyright Comic Collector Live
Editors Note: There is a new version of Comic Collector Live that has been put out since this review.

Comic Collector Live 0.7.0.0 (www.comiccollectorlive.com) – reviewed 3 May 2007
Price: Free
Pros: Free, growing user community, promising start
Cons: Interface is not very intuitive, can be difficult to add multiple comics, not all the advertised functionality is available yet.

Bottom line: Despite the amount of advertising, the software is still in its early stages. It has some promise for free software, but there are some interface nuances that are tough to get around right now. I will update the review when the software reaches 1.0
Ratings:
Inputting new comics – 2.5 stars
Entering an existing collection – 2.5 stars
Searching and browsing – 2.5 stars
Wish list – 2 stars
Determining the value of your collection – 0 stars
Overall – 2 stars

First up was Comic Collector Live, a new product from MidTen Media that has been heavily advertised in recent comics and Wizard Magazine. Based on version number alone (0.7.0.0) the software appears to still be in beta, though nothing on the website seems to indicate beta status (even in the software’s version history). After I began using it, I found that some advertised functionality is not there yet.

Comic Collector Live Input Screen

Copyright Comic Collector Live

Inputting new comics (2.5 stars)

Comic Collector Live requires you to download series information to enter comics into the database. If you do not have a title in your database prior to entry, you will need to download the series before adding issues. This is fairly easily accomplished, and once the title is in, you only need to double-click the title to add the comic to your collection. For the most part, this was reasonably painless until I ran into some titles that did not appear to be in the Comic Collector Live database. If a series is not there, you must submit a database change request and wait for the series to be added before you can include the issues in the database. If the change is never approved, you will never be able to add the title to your database.

Of my 30 new comics to enter, two series were not listed in the Comic Collector Live database, and one issue of third series was not listed. This left me with several comics not added to the database. I submitted change requests to add the information to the database, and was informed with the new issue that if I did not submit a cover picture with the submission, the addition was more likely to be rejected. Four days after submission, I did not see the comics listed, but they were eventually added. Overall, the process took about 22 minutes to add the comics that could be added.

Entering an existing collection (2.5 stars)

While there are a couple methods for adding comics, the interface as it is currently designed is not meant for adding large numbers of comics with any gaps. While double-clicking comics to add them to your database is pretty easy, you cannot select multiple issues at once to add them to your collection. There is an option at the top of the window to “Insert Many”, but it only lets you define a range. If you have any breaks in the range, you need to go back through to remove the issues you do not have yet or you will need to Insert Many multiple times. When you use the Insert Many tool, it adds all covers of issues included in the range to your collection, so if you do not have variant covers, you will need to go back through and remove them from your collection after you add them. This meant it took me a significant time (about 30 minutes) to add my 550 issues. Comic Collector Live does not have any import capabilities to automatically add issues from an existing data source (perhaps if you were previously maintaining data in a spreadsheet or other database program).

Comic Collector Live Browsing Screen

Copyright Comic Collector Live

Searching/Browsing (2.5 stars)

Comic Collector Live’s current search capabilities are minimal at best right now. The software provides categories (Cover Title, Story Arc, Character, Publisher, Writer, and Artist) in which you can browse your collection, and there is a search box at the top, but all the search box does is take you to the name in the list that matches the text you type in. It behaves in a manner similar to clicking on an item and starting to type the name you are looking for.

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