Lost In the Back Issues

Let’s say you’re a new comics reader, and you’ve gotten sucked into all things Marvel by their screen universe. You want to dig deeper now. Meet these characters on the page. Learn more about their pasts and go on more adventures with them.

It seemed so simple of a plan...

Then you get to Marvel.com. Let’s get reading comics, you say!

Let's all go to Marvel.com! How hard can it be?

Okay, good, there’s comics up in the menu. We’ll just click up there and be reading some comics in no time.

Oh. Wait. No. What?

Oh. Okay. This is going to be a little harder. Browse. Browse sounds safe. We’ll go with browse.

Oh great, there's a pull-down menu.

Oh. Wait. So there are a bunch of ways to browse. Okay. Okay. We got this. Well, I know I want to read The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, so I’ll browse by series.

A whole bunch of scrolling later.

Alphabetical! Cool! I know the alphabet! I’ll just click on the “U” for “Unbeatable.”

Ultimatum...Ultron...Unbeata-no-wait...

And there it is! No. Wait. There it isn’t. In that spot between Ultron and Uncanny Avengers… Huh. Okay. Is it under Squirrel Girl then?

Yeah there we go, no wait.

Squadron Supreme, Stan Lee… dangit. They do have it, right? I mean, they wouldn’t file it under… No.

Yup.

Yup. The.

And it doesn’t even end there, under filing things under “the”. (Actual quote from a real librarian I showed this to: “F**king S**t.”)

How do we even?

Note that there are two entries for The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, thanks to that renumbering compulsion Rae explained yesterday, so now someone new to this situation would have an extra layer to figure out before even getting to the opportunity to click on and even (gasp!) read a comic.

(Also from a real librarian. “Ugh. This makes me itchy.”)

Marvel, you guys are great, and wow, I have tithed so much to this cult since I joined in 2012 and dove headfirst into print with print singles and my MDCU subscription, but you’re making it so dang hard to find one’s way around for new initiates, and you’re even making it hard for old hands to find stuff when even the alphabet doesn’t behave predictably on your site.

Free advice, from me, in a loving tone, Marvel: Hire some folks with MLIS degrees and have them help you clean digital house here. A lot of them love and know your stuff pretty well already. Get your stuff in order and easy to find–your readers will thank you.

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