One of the best parts of geek culture is sharing the goodies – a great new read, an awesome movie, or, in this Friday’s case, a helpful app! Created in 2009, Zap-Kapow! was the first comic book price guide app available in the Apple store. This handy app will keep changing values in the comic market on 150,000+ issues and variants right at your fingertips. Zap-Kapow! is on the eve of a major Kickstarter campaign, seeking to develop the app for Android and desktop. Recently, Paperdroids had the opportunity to interview Zap-Kapow!’s creator, Steve Roop.
What are the advantages to having an app over a print price guide?
Besides convenience (ever lug around a hardback book at a comic con?), we’re able to stay fresher and react faster than a printed guide could. We’re also not limited by space and can include more information and color cover art images than something like the Overstreet Price Guide can.
What publishers does Zap-Kapow! cover?
Mainly Marvel, DC Comics, Image, Dark Horse, IDW, Dynamite Entertainment, Archie Comics, but there are a handful of other smaller ones and some that no longer exist in the database as well.
What is the process in maintaining a guide of ever changing prices?
Never ending. Every week as new issues are released, we try to enter those, as well as make any other updates to the title necessary for back issue pricing. In between, we’re answering user emails and update any items they find that need attention. Then once a month, usually near the end of the first week, the previous month’s work is released as a price guide update.
How will Zap-Kapow! make my life easier?
It also doubles as a maid. And does windows.
Is Zap-Kapow! customizable? Can I keep track of my favorite series?
You can! There is a Favorites section that lets you add Have/Want Lists of comics you have or want. You can’t go nuts though, more than 700 or so issues is about as much as the mobile app can handle right now. That’s why we want to do a desktop collection management system that ties into the mobile. On the desktop we have more room and ability to really get into comic book collections in the thousands.
What’s on your personal favorites list, Steve?
Y: The Last Man, Saga, Amazing Spider-Man, Captain America, Ex Machina, Danger Girl … Currently trying to fill in holes for about 1/3 of the Y: The Last Man series, love that book.
Will my local comic book shop be on the guide?
Not exactly, but we have heard from dozens of shops that use Zap-Kapow in their stores to negotiate pricing with their customers (and vice versa!). We’d like to offer customized versions of Zap-Kapow to retailers at some point down the line and better include them in the app. Currently, there is a “Find My Comic Shop” app that will point folks to their local stores, of course most smart phones have that ability too. Not sure something like that would ever really be necessary in Zap-Kapow, but I could see something that lets users see who locally might have a particular issue in stock. Long ways off for that though.
What awesome features can users expect to see in the future on Zap-Kapow!?
We’re trying to get it ported over to Android, as well as create a desktop version that would allow for full collection management as well as pricing info for said collection. Features-wise for the mobile app though, we have aims to include the ability to look up comics using your smartphone’s camera and a real-time pricing option for auction sites. We also recently cracked the code on CGC pricing, so that will likely be included as well. Need this Kickstarter campaign we’re currently running to pick up some steam though, if the interest isn’t there for say Android users in the form of backing the project, we probably won’t waste time on it anytime soon.
What inspired you to create Zap-Kapow!?
I’ve collected comics since I was a kid. Eventually, beyond reading them, I realized they had some “value” and got into looking up those values in Wizard Magazine (they had a small price guide section at the end of each monthly issue). I also liked seeing where popular characters first appearances had popped up in the past, so eventually I looked as forward to Wizard Magazine as I did the comics themselves.
What’s the latest thing you’re fanboying over?
Starting to get pretty excited for the Guardians of the Galaxy (loving the comic book and what I’m seeing for the upcoming movie).