Grand Comics Database

The Grand Comics Database (GCD) is an Internet-based project to build a database of comic book information through user contributions.[1][2] The GCD project is cataloging information on creator credits, story details, reprints, and other information useful to the comic book reader, comic collector, fan, and scholar.[3][4][5] The GCD is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization incorporated in Arkansas.


One of the earliest published catalogs of comic books appeared in the 1960s, when Dr. Jerry Bails and Howard Keltner put together some projects to catalog the comic books of the "Golden Age." These efforts were Dr. Bails' The Collector's Guide to the First Heroic Age of Comics, and Howard Keltner's Index to Golden Age Comic Books, and their collaboration on The Authoritative Index to DC Comics. The next big step in organizing data about comic books was Robert Overstreet's Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, which is still being published. This guide is sometimes referred to as the first best attempt to list factual information beyond the superhero comics. It was likely the first catalog to get widespread distribution. Today there are several other comic book price guides.

In 1978, the GCD's immediate predecessor, APA-I (Amateur Press Alliance for Indexing) was formed by a few fans who were interested in exchanging information on comic books in index form. These people were generally interested in either one of two things — either following the plot threads and continuity of the stories, or the creator credits. APA-I is also still running, as a paper-based index. The organization publishes a quarterly magazine. APA-I members have gathered editorial records and conducted interviews with comic book professionals, to add to the information that could be gleaned from the books themselves.

In late 1993 and early 1994, three members of APA-I interested in comic books started up an e-mail correspondence. Tim Stroup, Bob Klein, and Jonathan E. Ingersoll soon began sharing indexing information in a common format using electronic media for storage and distribution. By March 1994, they had formed a new group to create an electronic version of APA-I related to comic books, giving it the name Grand Comic-Book Database and the goal to 'contain information on every comic book ever published'.

The newly formed GCD grew slowly, using the new medium of e-mail to canvass friends and acquaintances from APA-I as well as other contacts in comics fandom. Early work consisted of indexing information, setting goals, and deciding on file structure. Information was distributed on floppy discs and via surface mail. The use of e-mail to knit together the group through constant communication has proved important to this day. There had been several previous attempts to set up similar groups that did not have this advantage. The original file structure has changed, and data distribution and collection methods are now almost exclusively over the Internet. It is one of several online databases of comic book information.

In December 2009, a vote was held of the membership and it was decided to change the official name from "The Grand Comic-Book Database" to "The Grand Comics Database".


The Grand Comics Database is a volunteer organization of hobbyists. It is not a commercial endeavor, and its charter[6] states that it will not become one. The database currently catalogs more types of information than originally intended, and the formats of presentation and data gathering have changed also. All data is available for research and use by the public at no charge.

The project is overseen by a board elected by the members. Decisions on changes are to be made by the board as directed by member consensus. The project operates with several public contacts.[7]

  • The Public Relations Coordinators post updates to Facebook, Twitter, and other outlets, and monitor the contact email account.
  • The Technical Coordinator oversees the technical work on the site and coordinates it with the non-technical aspects of the project.
  • The Rules Coordinators manage the process by which data entry and formatting rules are established.

The bulk of the work is performed by an ever-changing group of editors and contributors through the online indexing system on the web site, or through offline submissions. Casual users of the website also make contributions through an error reporting system. And, because several comic book creators are members, these creators often provide details on their own work or colleagues' work.

Several e-mail lists are maintained for communication of a variety of comic book-related information. The database does not include any information on comic book pricing, nor does it conduct any sales or trade services.


The Grand Comics Database intends to catalog key story information,[8] creator information, and other information which is useful to readers, fans, hobbyists, and researchers. This includes creator information such as writers, pencillers, inkers, colorists, letterers, and editors. It also includes story information such as: title, feature of the story, genre of the story, page count, characters, and a short synopsis. Stories are defined to include any feature in a comic book, which allows the database to include advertising, text articles in an issue, letter columns, character profiles, and any other features that are in a comic book. Also included is information on the comic books themselves, such as: publisher, publication date, price, page count, a cover image, and reprint information.

The GCD project uses a broad definition of comic book;[9] a comic book is 50% or more art and/or pictures which tell a story. The editors try to err on the side of inclusion, so that if there is a question, a book usually can be included. This definition eliminates any webcomics. However, it includes small print run fanzines, promotional giveaway comics, and minicomics. Although syndicated comic strips are not indexed, listings include mentions of comic books reprinting newspaper strips.

Since 2004, comic book fans can index their favorite comic book using the convenience of a web-based interface. Anyone interested is encouraged to contribute, by using the interface, uploading a cover image scan, or even simply sending an e-mail with new information. The standards request that all indexing be done from an actual copy of the comic book, to ensure that data is verified upon entry. A group of editors then vets each entry before the information is added to the database.

The database currently has comic books from many countries representing over forty languages,[10] though United States issues represent the bulk of the data. There are active chapters and indexers in several other countries, including Germany, Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden.

As of July 2016, the database includes information on over:

  • 9,000 publishers (including over 5,000 companies within publishing groups)
  • 6,000 brand emblems
  • 99,000 series
  • 1,300,000 issues (with at least partial info on over 250,000, including over 1,700,000 stories)
  • 600,000 cover images

See also


  1. ^ The Virtues of Captain America: Modern-Day Lessons on Character from a World War II Superhero. Wiley. 13 January 2014. pp. 203–. ISBN 978-1-118-61924-7.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Rhode, Michael and Ray Bottorff Jr. "The Grand Comics Database (GCD): An Evolving Research Tool." International Journal of Comic Art. Vol. 3, No. 1, Spring 2001: 263-274.
  4. ^ Linda S Katz (14 October 2013). The Image and Role of the Librarian. Taylor & Francis. pp. 95–. ISBN 978-1-136-75236-0.
  5. ^ John A. Lent (1 January 2006). Comic Books and Comic Strips in the United States Through 2005: An International Bibliography. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 25–. ISBN 978-0-313-33883-0.
  6. ^ "The GCD Charter". The Grand Comics Database.
  7. ^ "GCD Coordinators". The Grand Comics Database.
  8. ^ "GCD Formatting Documentation". The Grand Comics Database.
  9. ^ "GCD Contribution FAQ". The Grand Comics Database.
  10. ^ "GCD International Statistics". The Grand Comics Database.

Further reading

  • Allred, Will (1999). "Credit Where Credit Is Due". Retrieved Jan. 28, 2006.
  • Schelly, Bill. "So - You Want To Collect Comics Fanzines? - Part Two". Alter Ego (6), pp. 47–50.
  • Grand Comics Database (November 30, 2000). Grand Comics Database Adopts Charter, Elects Board of Directors. Press release.
  • Grand Comic-Book Database (November 11, 2002). Grand Comic-Book Database Initiates Online Indexing. Press release.
  • Keltner, Howard. "Golden Age Comic Books Index". Retrieved May 26, 2011.

External links

Atlas Comics (1950s)

Atlas Comics is the 1950s comic-book publishing label that evolved into Marvel Comics. Magazine and paperback novel publisher Martin Goodman, whose business strategy involved having a multitude of corporate entities, used Atlas as the umbrella name for his comic-book division during this time. Atlas evolved out of Goodman's 1940s comic-book division, Timely Comics, and was located on the 14th floor of the Empire State Building.

This company is distinct from the 1970s comic-book company, also founded by Goodman, that is known as Atlas/Seaboard Comics.

Captain America (comic book)

Captain America is the name of several comic book titles featuring the character Captain America and published by Marvel Comics, beginning with the original Captain America comic book series which debuted in 1968.

DC Special Series

DC Special Series was an umbrella title for one-shots and special issues published by DC Comics between 1977 and 1981. Each issue featured a different character and was often in a different format than the issue before it. DC Special Series was published in four different formats: Dollar Comics, 48 page giants, digests, and treasury editions. Neither the umbrella title nor the numbering system appear on the cover; the title "DC Special Series" appeared only on the first page in the indicia. Most issues featured new material, but eight issues were reprints of previously published material.

Edgar Allan Poe in popular culture

Edgar Allan Poe has appeared in popular culture as a character in books, comics, film, and other media. Besides his works, the legend of Poe himself has fascinated people for generations. His appearances in popular culture often envision him as a sort of "mad genius" or "tormented artist", exploiting his personal struggles. Many depictions of Poe interweave elements of his life with his works, in part due to Poe's frequent use of first-person narrators, suggesting an erroneous assumption that Poe and his characters are identical.This article focuses specifically on the historical Edgar Allan Poe making appearances in fiction, television, and film.

Holyoke Publishing

The Holyoke Publishing Company was an American magazine and comic-book publisher with offices in Holyoke, and Springfield, Massachusetts, and New York City, Its best-known comics characters were Blue Beetle and the superhero duo Cat-Man (later rendered as Catman, sans hyphen) and Kitten, all inherited from defunct former clients of Holyoke's printing business.

Holyoke is sometimes confused with companies owned by Frank Z. Temerson, including Helnit, Et-Es-Go, and Continental; with Worth Carnahan's Bilbara Publishing Company; and with Temerson's art director L. B. Cole's packaging clients Narrative Publishers and Aviation Press.

Horror comics

Horror comics are comic books, graphic novels, black-and-white comics magazines, and manga focusing on horror fiction. In the US market, horror comic books reached a peak in the late 1940s through the mid-1950s, when concern over content and the imposition of the self-censorship Comics Code Authority contributed to the demise of many titles and the toning down of others. Black-and-white horror-comics magazines, which did not fall under the Code, flourished from the mid-1960s through the early 1980s from a variety of publishers. Mainstream American color comic books experienced a horror resurgence in the 1970s, following a loosening of the Code. While the genre has had greater and lesser periods of popularity, it occupies a firm niche in comics as of the 2010s.

Precursors to horror comics include detective and crime comics that incorporated horror motifs into their graphics, and early superhero stories that sometimes included the likes of ghouls and vampires. Individual horror stories appeared as early as 1940. The first dedicated horror comic books appear to be Gilberton Publications' Classic Comics #13 (August 1943), with its full-length adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and Avon Publications' anthology Eerie #1 (January 1947), the first horror comic with original content. The first horror-comics series is the anthology Adventures into the Unknown, premiering in 1948 from American Comics Group, initially under the imprint B&I Publishing.

Iron Man and Sub-Mariner

Iron Man and Sub-Mariner is a one-shot comic book published by Marvel Comics in 1968. It is notable for being the first Marvel title to be intentionally published for only one issue, as it existed to use up two half-length stories left over after Marvel began its expansion and the characters were to be given their own solo titles.

Iron Man and Sub-Mariner does not feature a team-up of the title characters, nor a complete story for either. The Iron Man tale is continued from Tales of Suspense #99 (cover-dated March 1968) and continues in Iron Man #1 (May 1968). The Sub-Mariner story continues from Tales to Astonish #101 (March 1968), and continues in Sub-Mariner #1 (May 1968). The cover-logo trademark uses "and" while the copyrighted title noted in the postal indicia uses an ampersand.The stories were: an 11-page Iron Man tale, "The Torrent Without, The Tumult Within", credited to Stan Lee and Archie Goodwin as writers, with art by penciler Gene Colan and inker Johnny Craig, a former EC Comics mainstay; and an 11-page Sub-Mariner story, "Call Him Destiny, or Call Him Death", credited to Lee and Roy Thomas as writers, with art by Colan and inker Frank Giacoia. The latter tale retold the Sub-Mariner's origin and introduced the supervillain Destiny.At least one previous Marvel title had lasted only one issue, though unintentionally. Red Raven Comics #1 (Aug. 1940), from Marvel predecessor company Timely Comics, became The Human Torch with issue #2, dropping all features from the debut issue. The Grand Comics Database notes of the first and only issue, "No blurbs at the end of the stories in this issue indicate that there will be a Red Raven Comics #2. Instead they all advertise either Marvel Mystery Comics or in one case Mystic Comics, suggesting that perhaps Red Raven Comics was cancelled even before it went to press."

Limited Collectors' Edition

Limited Collectors' Edition is an American comic book series published by DC Comics from 1972 to 1978. It usually featured reprints of previously published stories but a few issues contained new material. The series was published in an oversized 10" x 14" tabloid (or "treasury") format.

Marvel Super-Heroes (comics)

Marvel Super-Heroes is the name of several comic book series and specials published by Marvel Comics.

Marvel Treasury Edition

Marvel Treasury Edition is an American comic book series published by Marvel Comics from 1974 to 1981. It usually featured reprints of previously published stories but a few issues contained new material. The series was published in an oversized 10" x 14" tabloid (or "treasury") format and was launched with a collection of Spider-Man stories. The series concluded with the second Superman and Spider-Man intercompany crossover. Marvel also published treasuries under the titles Marvel Special Edition and Marvel Treasury Special as well as a number of one-shots.

Millennium Edition (DC Comics)

Millennium Edition was the umbrella title of 62 one-shot comic books published by DC Comics in 2000 and 2001. It reprinted key issues from the history of the company such as the first appearance of notable characters, the relaunch of existing characters, or the start of major storylines. The oldest issue reprinted was Detective Comics #1 (March 1937) and the most recent was JLA #1 (January 1997). Each issue of Millennium Edition had a gold foil logo stamped onto the front cover and a brief essay on the inside covers detailing the significance of the issue reprinted.

Millie the Model

Millie the Model was Marvel Comics' longest-running humor title, first published by the company's 1940s predecessor, Timely Comics, and continuing through its 1950s forerunner, Atlas Comics, to 1970s Marvel.

Miss Victory

Miss Victory (briefly known as Ms. Victory) is an American comic book superheroine who first appeared in Captain Fearless #1 (Aug. 1941), published by Frank Z. Temerson's Helnit Publishing Co. Ceasing to be published after 1946, she was revived and updated in 1984 as a central character in the Femforce comic-book series published by A.C. Comics.

Silver Age of Comic Books

The Silver Age of Comic Books was a period of artistic advancement and widespread commercial success in mainstream American comic books, predominantly those in the superhero genre. Following the Golden Age of Comic Books and an interregnum in the early to mid-1950s, the Silver Age is considered to cover the period from 1956 to circa 1970, and was succeeded by the Bronze and Modern Ages.The popularity and circulation of comic books about superheroes had declined following World War II, and comic books about horror, crime and romance took larger shares of the market. However, controversy arose over alleged links between comic books and juvenile delinquency, focusing in particular on crime and horror titles. In 1954, publishers implemented the Comics Code Authority to regulate comic content.

In the wake of these changes, publishers began introducing superhero stories again, a change that began with the introduction of a new version of DC Comics' The Flash in Showcase #4 (Oct. 1956). In response to strong demand, DC began publishing more superhero titles including Justice League of America, which prompted Marvel Comics to follow suit beginning with Fantastic Four #1.

A number of important comics writers and artists contributed to the early part of the era, including writers Stan Lee, Gardner Fox, John Broome, and Robert Kanigher, and artists Curt Swan, Jack Kirby, Gil Kane, Steve Ditko, Mike Sekowsky, Gene Colan, Carmine Infantino, John Buscema, and John Romita, Sr. By the end of the Silver Age, a new generation of talent had entered the field, including writers Denny O'Neil, Gary Friedrich, Roy Thomas, and Archie Goodwin, and artists such as Neal Adams, Herb Trimpe, Jim Steranko, and Barry Windsor-Smith.

Silver Age comics have become collectible, with a copy of Amazing Fantasy #15 (Aug. 1962), the debut of Spider-Man, selling for $1.1 million in 2011.

Tarzan in comics

Tarzan, a fictional character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, first appeared in the 1912 novel Tarzan of the Apes, and then in 23 sequels. The character proved immensely popular and quickly made the jump to other media, including comics.

Timely Comics

Timely Comics is the common name for the group of corporations that was the earliest comic book arm of American publisher Martin Goodman, and the entity that would evolve by the 1960s to become Marvel Comics.Founded in 1939, during the era called the Golden Age of comic books, "Timely" was the umbrella name for the comics division of pulp magazine publisher Goodman, whose business strategy involved having a multitude of corporate entities all producing the same product. The company first publication in 1939 used Timely Publications, based at his existing company in the McGraw-Hill Building at 330 West 42nd Street in New York City. In 1942, it moved to the 14th floor of the Empire State Building, where it remained until 1951. In 2016, Marvel announced that Timely Comics would be the name of a new imprint of low-priced reprint comics.

Toby Press

Toby Press was an American comic-book company that published from 1949 to 1955. Founded by Elliott Caplin, brother of cartoonist Al Capp and himself an established comic strip writer, the company published reprints of Capp's Li'l Abner strip; licensed-character comics starring such film and animated cartoon properties as John Wayne and Felix the Cat; and original conceptions, including romance, war, Western, and adventure comics. Some of its comics were published under the imprint Minoan. Some covers bore the logo ANC, standing for American News Company, at the time the country's largest newsstand distributor.

It is unrelated to the book publisher Toby Press, acquired by in 2010.

Yankee Girl

Yankee Girl is the name of two fictional comics characters, superheroines each debuting during the 1930s and 1940s Golden Age of Comic Books. One was revived in the 1990s.

Young Love (comics)

Young Love was one of the earliest romance comics titles, published by Crestwood/Prize, and later sold to DC Comics.

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