Understanding the structure of the data as it is stored in the XOWComics.com site can help immeasurably in understanding the information you see, how it relates to other data in the site, and how the site itself functions. With an understanding of the data structure, using the XOWComics.com site can become much easier and intuitive no matter what amount of usage you have. And, for volunteer editors, understanding the organization of the data in the XOWComics.com makes the editor tools and the effects they have on data you add and modify in the site that much simpler to work with and comprehend, saving you both time and energy in your efforts.
Click on any of the screenshots on this page to open a new window and display the same data page as it exists in the site currently.
Publishers are the actual companies, organizations, or sometimes even individuals that are ultimately responsible for the production and printing of comic books. Though a Publisher often does not do the physical printing, they are responsible for the production and layouts of comic books. Publishers do not necessarily represent the actual company names that a comic book may be published under, rather it is a "Name" that is contrived from common usage to represent continuity of many comic book Series and Issues across different ownerships, legal titles, etc., of physical companies (for exact recording of publisher company names, see Indicia Publishers).
Publishers exist at the "top" of the hierarchy of data within the XOWComics.com site. All other data within the site exist, to one extent or another, within Publishers. A typical Publisher Detail page is shown to the right.
As company names have changed over the years, or as publishing companies opened subsidiaries to produce comic books, the number of Publishers grew substantially. Smaller Publishers often changed names frequently, especially during the 1950s and 1960s, in the United States for a variety of business reasons. Non-U.S. Publishers faced their own unique conditions throughout the years, resulting in a tremendous fracturing of actual Publishers over the last 100 years. The result is a compiled list of over 7,000 Publishers already within the XOWComics.com site and it continues to grow.
A Publisher has a limited number of "attributes" that the XOWComics.com site tracks. These individual attributes are as follows:
Note: for Years in Operation, individual values will be displayed in italics if the values are not certain to be correct.
A Publisher, as being the top of the data hierarchy in the XOWComics.com site, also can contain details relevant to other data within the site. This is often summary data that details the quantity of data "below" in the data hierarchy. The following is a listing of these items, each obviously detailed separately:
For all of these counts, a Publisher must not contain any of any individual type. Meaning, there does not have to be any Brands "within" a Publisher.
Brands are images, logos, artwork, style, wording, and combined media that form the "public image" of a Publisher or line of comic books. It is used to provide continuity often across discrete Series and Issues for comic books. Often, on a printed comic book, the Brand is part of the "masthead" on the cover and is continuous for at least a few Issues in the same Series.
As with many things in the comic book industry, there has been little continuity of Brands for Publishers. It is not uncommon for a Publisher to maintain many Brands at a time. And, it is very common for Publishers to change their Brands regularly.
The XOWComics.com site is attempting to track the Brands used by Publishers. This is done by assigning titles to each of the Brands, often either the listing of the textual wording used in the Brand or a textual description of a purely artistic Brand. The tracking of the scans of Brands is also an ongoing project. To the left you can see an example of a Brand Detail page, with a few image scans of the Brand as it changed thru the years of usage.
A Brand must be associated with one and only one Publisher in the XOWComics.com site. Though there are examples of Brands used across different Publishers, often Publishers that are subsidiaries of a single larger Publisher company, this restriction maintains consistency and integrity within the data in the XOWComics.com site.
A Brand has a limited number of attributes that the XOWComics.com site tracks. These individual attributes are as follows:
Note: for Years in Use, individual values will be displayed in italics if the values are not certain to be correct.
A Brand can contain details relevant to other data within the site. The following is a listing of these items:
If scanned images of a Brand are available, they are displayed on the Brand Detail page. As many visual versions and variations that exist of a Brand Image can be linked to a single Brand. If one scanned image is the most commonly used or is currently being used, then is is considered the "Primary Image" Brand Image. Primary Images are displayed with a larger border and displayed first when the Brand Images are displayed (see the example to the left).
Indicia Publisher is the actual legal name of the Publisher as recorded in the indicia of the comic book. When there is no indicia within a comic book or the actual company name is not listed in the indicia, historical research was employed to as accurately as possible identify the Indicia Publisher for individual comic books.
Surprisingly to some, the actual company names of Publishers changed and continues to change frequently in the comic book industry for a variety of reasons. The idea though that, for instance, "Wonder Woman" is a "DC" character is very common in the world. To accommodate this "common knowledge", the XOWComics.com site made this distinction then between "Publishers" and "Indicia Publishers".
The tracking of Indicia Publishers is an ongoing project. To the right you can see an example of an Indicia Publisher Detail page.
An Indicia Publisher must be associated with one and only one Publisher in the XOWComics.com site. Though there are a couple of examples of Indicia Publishers that cross different Publishers thru the years, this restriction maintains consistency and integrity within the data in the XOWComics.com site.
An Indicia Publisher has a limited number of attributes that the XOWComics.com site tracks. These individual attributes are as follows:
Note: for Years in Operation, individual values will be displayed in italics if the values are not certain to be correct.
An Indicia Publisher can contain details relevant to other data within the site. The following is a listing of these items:
When searching for individual comic books in the XOWComics.com site, sometimes a Publisher search will not locate the item in particular you are seeking. In these rare instances, searching on the Indicia Publisher as it is listed in the indicia of the comic book will often help considerably in locating the individual comic books you are seeking.
A Series is a grouping of individual comic books Issues that share a commmon title, Indicia Publisher and Publisher. Changes in any of these three items defines a different Series of comic books.
For most practicaly purposes, this cumbersome definition of a Series is transparent to the vast majority of comic book enthusiasts. But, it does provide for a greater degree of detail to denote significant changes in a title, significant changes in the Indicia Publisher, or changes in the actual Publisher of a comic book by creating a new Series. Such changes almost always entail substantial changes in the actual comic book, thereby justifying denoting the difference by actually changing the Series.
Often, if there is a significant lapse of time, on the order of years, between the publishing of Issues in a Series, then a new Series will be created. As above, when such a long time span exists between Issues, it often denotes significant changes in the comic book itself. Often such changes indicate a Series that was stopped intentionally and then started again at a later date.
Whenever such changes in a Series occur, the Note for the Series will usual indicate the details so continuity from a "conceptual" viewpoint can be maintained.
A Series must be associated with one and only one Publisher in the XOWComics.com site. Though there are a couple of examples of Series that cross different Publishers thru the years, these Series are considered different Series and are listed as such. This restriction maintains consistency and integrity within the data in the XOWComics.com site.
A Series has a number of attributes that the XOWComics.com site tracks. These individual attributes are as follows:
Note: for Years in Print, individual values will be displayed in italics if the values are not certain to be correct.
A Series can contain details relevant to other data within the site. The following is a listing of these items:
Publication Types: a Series also has a designation of what type of publication or produced work it is. Examples of different Publication Types include "comic book", "fanzine", and "comic strip" (others will be made available). These Publication Types are clear and obvious classifications that a physical collectible may be organized by or termed. With such Publication Types, the XOWComics.com site supports and contains many more collectibles than just comic books, though comic books is clearly the primary focus of the site.
All browse and search functions in the XOWComics.com site allow you to narrow displayed results to individual Publication Types, as desired. And, on all appropriate areas where Series and Issues are displayed in the XOWComics.com site, the Publication Type is also displayed.
A special thanks to the editors "TR", "RathBrand", "Harold McCormick", et al, must be given for convincing the staff of XOWComics.com that Publication Types would be of value to collectors. These early editors within the XOWComics.com site expanded significantly the capabilities and potential of the tools and resources offered by XOWComics.com.
Issues are, as expected, the individual comic books, including both periodical Issues, one-shot Issues, bound volumes and single-bound collections. Though there is usually significant variation in the attributes of different types of anthologies, bound collections and comic books, the approach taken within XOWComics.com is geared primarily towards the singular concept of a comic book as a single entity.
An Issue must be associated with one and only one Series in the XOWComics.com site. Optionally, an Issue may be associated to any Brand that is in the same Publisher as the Series the Issue is within. Also, an Issue may be associated to any Indicia Publishers that is in the same Publisher as the Series the Issue is within. These restrictions maintain consistency and integrity within the data in the XOWComics.com site.
Issues may have multiple Issue Images associated with them. For the vast majority of Issues in the XOWComics.com site, at least one Issue Image is available. For Issues that have alternate covers, multiple Issue Images may be associated with an Issue. Issue Images may also consistent of scans of original artwork, prints and pinups from the Issue, even splash pages and character biographies from the Issue. Captions and Notes with each of the Issue Images often denote the differences between individual Issue Images within a single Issue.
An Issue has a number of attributes that the XOWComics.com site tracks. These individual attributes are as follows:
Note: for Volume, Indicia Frequency, ISBN, and UPC/EAN, a note will be displayed in italics if the data indicates no value is present in the Issue.
An Issue can contain details relevant to other data within the site. The following is a listing of these items:
Issue Numbers are not always sequential. It is not uncommon for Issues Numbers within a Series to be sequentially incorrect when compared to numerical order. Issues within a Series are actually stored in a particular sorted order that is directly related to no other data within the XOWComics.com site, allowing for editors of the data to set the unique sort order of Issues within a Series to match the actual sequential publishing history and storyline of a continuing Series of Issues. Sorting tools available on every Issue Detail, List Content Items page allow editors to sort the Issues by any criteria displayed, so this added "sort order" feature for Issues within a Series is just another advantage of the XOWComics.com site.
Volumes are often taken from the indicia for individual comic book Issues. Sometimes the Volume is inferred from the publishing history of the Series itself, even as it applies across separate Series in the XOWComics.com site.
Page Counts are just a counting of the total number of pages of a publication. The Page Count includes every single side of every single page presented, including the cover. So, for instance, for just the cover of a standard, saddle-stiched comic book, there are four (4) pages; dustjackets are counted as two (2) pages only, as the "inside" of a dustjacket is not intended to ever be viewed. When the Page Count is not certain, the interface in the XOWComics.com site will display the value for the Page Count in italics.
The Publication Date for an Issue is always displayed as only a month and year. Internally, editors actually set a particular Publication Date, though, down to the day. This allows for the proper sorting of lists of Issues when sorted by the Publication Date, especially when multiple Issues in the same Series are published in the same month and year.
The ISBN is the International Standard Book Number (9, 10 or 13 digits) assigned to the individual publication Issue. Depending on the year and location of publishing, it may instead be the SBN code commonly used in the United Kingdom before the mid-1970s. All ISBNs consist solely of numeric digits, possibly the last digit being the letter 'X'. Digits in the ISBN may be separated into groupings by either a dash '-' or a space. For editors, the interface allows the entry of spaces and dashes but they will be stripped upon saving of the ISBN for compatibility with the ISO specifications for ISBNs. Note, ISSNs are not the same as ISBNs and should not be entered or available in the ISBN field; rather, if provided, ISSNs may be available in the Note field.
The UPC/EAN is the UPC (UPC-A, UPC-E, or GTIN-12) or EAN (EAN-13 or GTIN-12) assigned to the individual publication Issue. All UPCs/EANs consist solely of numeric digits. Digits in the UPC/EAN may be separated into groupings by either a dash '-' or a space. For editors, the interface allows the entry of spaces and dashes but they will be stripped upon saving of the UPC/EAN for compatibility with the GTIN specifications for UPCs/EANs. Note, ISBNs and ISSNs are not the same as UPCs/EANs and should not be entered or available in the UPC/EAN field.
The Price field is a listing of one or more Prices for the Issue when original made available for sale. Any individual Issue may have more than one Price, and each is shown as the numerical monetary value with the appropriate currency designators. A Note may also be attached to individual Prices to indicate particular printing variants, distribution methods, etc.
The Indicia Frequency is the publication frequency for Issues in the Series as it is listed in the indicia of the individual Issue. As a Series progresses, the frequency of publication may change, hence our tracking this value for each individual Issue. It is not uncommon for there to be a Note within a Series indicating a common publishing frequency for Issues in the Series.
Content Items are individual parts of an Issue. The complete list of Content Items in an Issue is shown always in the Table of Contents navigation on the Issue Detail, List Content Items page (the document with magnifying glass icon). For the purposes of the XOWComics.com site, Content Items include any delineation of artistic credits for both the cover(s), interior and contents for an Issue, though such content may not actually be a "story". For instance, advertisements, letters to the Publisher, promotional items, statements of ownership, etc., are all categorized as Content Items within the XOWComics.com site.
An example of the Content Items section of an Issue Detail, List Content Items page is shown to the right. This is the same Issue as shown as an example for Issues, above.
Notice in the Issue Detail section that the Content Items Count is listed as "2 (1 story, 1 cover)". There are two separate Content Items shown in the Content Items section of the page, one of some type of "cover" and one of some type of "story".
A Content Item must be associated with one and only one Issue in the XOWComics.com site. This restriction maintains consistency and integrity within the data in the XOWComics.com site.
A Content Item has a number of attributes that the XOWComics.com site tracks. These individual attributes are as follows: