AiPT: Hi Dan, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions. Comic Book Roundup is the leading comic review aggregate on the web, how long has it been around now?
Dan: I launched ComicBookRoundUp.com in 2009. The first version was fairly rudimentary and I was just running it for my own use. A few people came across it back then but it wan’t until 2012 that it starting getting traction.
AiPT: What compelled you to create this site?
Dan: At first it was basically a time saver for me. I had a list of review sites that I read but I found myself spending more time combing through their reviews and comparing them to each other than I spent actually reading comics. So I wanted a way to bring all the reviews to me so I wouldn’t have to go searching for them all the time. And I wanted to do it in a way where I could compare them to each other to easily gauge what the overall reviewer community feeling was about a comic.
Recently pulled issues and their composite scores.
I initially thought that there must already be a site out there that was doing just that. Comics would have been perfect addition to a site like MetaCritic. But after my searches came up empty, I decided to just build it myself.
AiPT: How does it work? It seems pretty efficient at capturing a score and summary.
Dan: Creating an efficient way of doing this was my primary goal so it’s really nice to hear that the efficiency also comes across to the people using the site!
I built a custom system that powers ComicBookRoundUp.com. The system includes everything from processes that go out searching for reviews to a data mapping process that maps reviews for the same issues together to a suite of tools I can use to go in and manually take care of any oddities the system alerts me too.
When you click on a comic’s name, it brings you to a profile page.
AiPT: Since ComicBookRoundUp is in the same vein as a Rotten Tomatoes of comic books — do you think comic books will ever achieve or approach the same level of artistry recognition as films?
Dan: In a perfect world, I think it’d be wonderful if comics were viewed with the same level of esteem as movies. I think there’s a long road ahead before that happens though. As long as the general public views comics as a genre instead of a medium it will always be a struggle. But developments like the creator owned boom give me hope. As long as comics continue to diversify the types of stories they tell there’s a chance.
AiPT: I like the feature of user reviews giving the audience the chance to chime in along the critics. It’s similar to Metacritic in a way. How robust is the community?
Dan: I’m glad you like the user reviews too! I find myself reading the user reviews as much as I read the critic reviews.
The user community has grown a lot over the past few years. It started with just one user who used to log in and post his reviews. At the time I thought that even just that one person logging in and taking the time to contribute their thoughts was awesome. Watching that number grow has been one of the most fun parts of running ComicBookRoundUp.com.
A look at the top Rumble #2 reviews gathered in one, easy-to-read place.
AiPT: What are your goals for the site moving forward?
Dan: The larger the community that uses ComicBookRoundUp.com is, the more I enjoy working on it. So to that end I’d like to continue building out the user functionality to give users more reasons to come back and contribute. One of the important things with the design refresh I launched last month was to make the users and their contributions more prominent on the site. Whether that was customizing a user’s homepage so new issues from their pull list and creator watch list are prominently displayed or updating the comic series pages to show which users have it in their pull list, the goal was to put more of a spotlight on the community and to make the site better for the people who took the time to sign up. The goal moving forward is to continue moving down that road.