Whether you collected comic books in the past, or are immersed in the hobby today, the CLZ Comics app may be one of the easiest ways to keep them all organized.
One thing about a pandemic is that it may coerce people to revisit things they collected in the past. Comics could be one of them, particularly for those who may have stored them away for years. Unearthing them and making sense of what you have (and their worth) is a lot easier when you can catalogue each issue or series. That’s where CLZ, short form for “Collecterz,” comes in.
The app is half inventory, half want list, depending on how you use it, but its main purpose is to know what you have, and what you need. The database is extensive, so even if your comic is obscure or not mainstream, there’s a good chance it will be on the app.
There is a CLZ app for both iOS and Android, and as far as I can tell, there isn’t a huge difference in performance between them. You can also access the features through the website, giving you another avenue to indulge in your comics from a computer. However, CLZ does charge a separate fee for its Comic Connect web app, which I won’t be covering here.
There is a cloud-based element to all this, though it depends on if you sign up for an account and subscribe to the service. With your data stored in the cloud, you don’t need to worry about losing everything you’ve added in case your phone dies, or for any other reason. You don’t necessarily need a Wi-Fi or data connection, either, as you can still add comics to your collection anytime.
CLZ offers a free 7-day trial to use the app without any restrictions. It may feel short, but make good use of it in that time, and you will get a good handle over how it works and whether you like it or not.
If your collection is small, or you’re just trying to figure out if what you have has any real value, you won’t be able to use it without signing up for that free trial. There is no way to dabble in it, otherwise. Previously, there was a 100-comic limit, but that has since been removed for both the iOS and Android apps.
When you do first start the trial, you also choose the method in which you want to pay for a subscription. You could go with $1.99/month or pay for the full year at $19.95, which is the better deal. You’re not obligated to sign up and create an account if you are a paid subscriber, but since you are paying, it’s not a bad idea to utilize the cloud features.
With unfettered access, you can basically add every comic you own into your personal database. The search tools are robust, clearly denoting the series, volume and years of publication. You can also look things up by character, publisher, artist, and even the country the issue came from. There’s a lot of manual input where necessary, though CLZ tries to automate it as much as possible.
Subscribing to the mobile app doesn’t guarantee access to the web app, as I already mentioned. You do have to pay extra for that, which is a bummer. With mobile, you’re limited to using it on phones and tablets. And if you do partake in the cloud-based services, you can access the data for as long as you subscribe. Once that ends, though, you can lose it all.
Manual input methods involve searching for a series or issue and then adding it. Or you can scan the barcode on the comic to add it automatically. CLZ uses the phone or tablet’s camera to read the code, thereby knowing exactly which comic to add. It’s also smart enough to recognize variant covers, which is far more important in the current age.
That’s easier for all comics that actually have a barcode. For years, direct editions in the 1980s and 90s (comics distributed to comic book stores) didn’t have them, so I’ve noticed I’ve had to add those manually.
Older newsstand comics seem to be fine, but I’ve found that the barcode reader is more effective with modern issues. There’s plenty of metadata to throw in once you’ve added one. The grade being a key one, as well as date of purchase, and whether or not you first bought the comic at cover price. If you’ve had your comic professionally graded by a company like CGC, CBCS or PGX, you can also add that tidbit in there.
Knowing what you have also clarifies what you need, and that’s another area where the app excels. You can create want lists to help when you come across an issue you don’t have. It’s super helpful if the issue in question is considered a “run-filler” that isn’t of major significance in the series or character’s mythos. Pick up any issue, regardless of whether it’s a run-filler or key, and just add it through the app.
CLZ Comics is an information-based platform, and that’s the best way to look at it. Rather than just a list and database, it provides context to each comic. Not only can you get a story synopsis of every issue, but also whether it carries any significance. Is it the first appearance of a major character? Does a popular character appear as a guest in another’s series? Did a certain artist pencil the cover or pages inside? All those factors, including age, determine what its value is on the open market. Fair market values are based on figures coming from GoCollect, which itself parses data based on sales of both graded and “raw” books (those that haven’t been professionally graded).
Assuming you apply the appropriate grade for your comic, you will see a dollar figure indicating its current value. By default, it’s in U.S. dollars, but the loonie is also an option under settings for currencies. You can always see how much your collection is worth, both in its entirety, and by series. These numbers are somewhat theoretical, however, because a comic book is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it. Hence, I viewed the figures I saw more as approximations.
Either way, it’s a fun app for any type of comic book collector. Your collection doesn’t have to be huge to get real value from it, though I would say it’s probably not worth it if your collection is really small, and you have no intention of jumping back into the hobby again.