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1/31/2020 9:00 am  #1

Marvel Legacy - Windows Database Application

Historical text from Comixfan site:

Roger Ott

Feb 21, 2011, 08:56 pm

In the Amateur Submissions thread, I mentioned a Windows database app that I've created and got some good response on the screenshots. I didn't want to derail that thread, so I thought I'd start a new one. Here is a link to the screenshots:


This program has been a dream of mine since around 1985, when I realized that updates to the OHOTMU were going to make for an ever-expansive library of issues that would need to be cross-referenced to find all the pieces of data. I wanted to put together a database that pulled all that data together. The program itself has been in process for the past 10 years as I've taught myself the Visual Basic programming language. While I realize there are a ton of online resources to get information from, I wanted to deal with the official stuff. I take no credit for about 99% of the data, but the program itself is all me.

I named it Marvel Legacy after the mini-series from a few years back, because I thought it an appropriate moniker for an application that pulls data from several decades worth of the Handbooks.

Some of the cooler features:

Ability to filter the data with pre-established queries (classification, sex, or status), or create ad-hoc queries to find particular pieces of data (pull up everyone who's ever used the alias of Captain America)

If a character dies or comes back from the dead, simply change the Status field. Or if they change their name, it can be updated and the associated image directory will change along with it.

Groups are directly linked to the Characters. If Iron Man leaves the Avengers, simply move "Avengers" from the Current Groups field to the Former Groups field, and on the Groups form, the info updates in real time.

Any particular weapons or paraphernalia that have their own entries can be linked to the characters who've used them. For instance, links to profiles on Spider-Man's Web-Shooters and the Spider-Mobile are available from within the Spider-Man entry. Same goes for Groups.

Use Tags to create custom groupings (Add Gamma Mutate to all character and group profiles that apply, and then use an extended search to find that particular tag and you'll get a list of every entry across the entire database that has that tag.

And lots more!

This has been a total one-man operation with me doing the programming, data entry, and scanning and manipulating the imagery for every single profile. I'm to the point where the program does just about everything I want it to, but I'd be grateful for some feedback if anyone is interested in downloading the program and trying it out.

Send me a PM to find out more!


Feb 22, 2011, 06:45 am

I'm even more impressed that this has been a one-man operation!

Roger Ott

Feb 22, 2011, 07:10 am

VainInsect wrote:

I'm even more impressed that this has been a one-man operation!

Thanks! It's definitely been a long-running project. When I first started, I manually put in all the data from the OHOTMU Master Edition, then I got hold of a beat up set of the OHOTMU Deluxe trade paperbacks, removed the spines and started scanning the pages of text using an OCR program. This made quite a lot of the data entry of histories and powers easier, as I could cut and paste the text from Word docs and not have to hand-type those long blocks of text.

Around 2003, I thought I was almost done with the data entry...then in '04 those pesky OHOTMU books made a comeback and left me with a lot more work to do! But it was exciting.

The program is really a synthesis of all versions of the OHOTMU. A lot of the basics of it are taken from the Master Edition, with newer upgrades like the Power Grids from the more recent version. I still split up categories a bit more than the current Handbooks do, as it makes it easier to search for data, and there are a few things that aren't in any version of the Handbooks, like the Classifications, Sex, and Status fields.

As for it being a one-man operation, I'm hoping to change that soon. Ideally, I'd like to put together a team of people to help me update info. That's one of the main reasons I posted this here, because I figure the best people to tap for such an endeavor would be hanging out on this board.


Feb 22, 2011, 09:35 am

Very impressive work CyRog!

Roger Ott

Feb 23, 2011, 09:09 pm

Okay, I got the program website redesigned, and the latest version uploaded! The site is pretty bare bones at this time, but the basics are there.

I'm not quite ready to go "live" with the site yet, but a few people have messaged me about checking it out. I'm waiting on replies from a couple people, so hopefully I'll be able to send out an e-mail tomorrow with the download link.

If there's anyone else interested that hasn't already messaged me, send me a PM with an e-mail address so I can add you to my Users list.

Thanks for all the interest!

Roger Ott

Mar 2, 2011, 11:04 pm

Just thought I'd update with some news on what I've been working on lately.

Sometimes in programming you add cool things just because you can, so now my app sports a floating Watcher head that sits on the desktop and can be right-clicked for access to common program functions like opening up new information windows, accessing the help file, etc. Not something that was absolutely necessary for the program to function, but a nice little extra to make the program more unique. And fun!

I also spent part of the last week adding the bibliographies from the Marvel site to their appropriate profiles. What a chore! Anyone who's ever spent a lot of time looking at those long blocks of semi-colon separated text may now have severe myopia! I wanted the info separated enough so it was easily readable, so I wrote some code for the program to parse out the text using the semicolon as a separator and add a line space between each issue listing. The coding took a few hours, but saved me literally weeks of work doing that by hand. Basically something that looked like this:

with Avengers, alongside Fantastic Four, vs Annihilus (Avengers #233/Fantastic Four #256, 1983); spoke to Thor about Iron Man (Avengers #234, 1983); confronted Tony Stark over alcoholism, rescued him from fire set by Firebrand/Gary Gilbert (Iron Man #172, 1983)

now looks like this:

With Avengers, alongside Fantastic Four, vs Annihilus (Avengers #233/Fantastic Four #256, 1983)

Spoke to Thor about Iron Man (Avengers #234, 1983)

Confronted Tony Stark over alcoholism, rescued him from fire set by Firebrand/Gary Gilbert (Iron Man #172, 1983)

I even coded it to capitalize the first word of each sentence for me!

Right now, I'm adding the Swords, Talismans and Tomes appendixes info to the program, probably to finish tomorrow. The data entry will never end, but that's part of the fun, ain't it? [img]file:///C:\Users\Andy\AppData\Local\Temp\msohtmlclip1\01\clip_image001.gif[/img]

Overall, I'm close to having a finalized version ready to make available to the masses. Once I get some feedback from my beta testers, I'll hopefully have an announcement of an official release candidate.

Roger Ott

Mar 5, 2011, 09:38 pm

Made some cosmetic revisions today, the biggest of which is moving the Power Grid off the Powers tab so it's visible all the time and tweaking it to make it look a little more like the Grid from the Handbooks. Screenshot here:


Roger Ott

Mar 12, 2011, 10:54 am

I released a new version to the Beta group last Wednesday, and am waiting for some feedback. I've been coding nonstop for the past couple weeks, so I'm going to shift gears for a couple days and work on getting image packs ready, adding to the website, and putting the program through its paces. I've started a list of minor changes I need to make, and a couple minor additions that will go into the next release.

Ultimately, I'm hoping to have an "official" release ready for public use by the end of March, at which point I can concentrate mostly on information updates. I have a lot of work to do between now and then, however, so that date is subject to change.

Roger Ott

Mar 17, 2011, 06:46 pm

Now that the program is in the almost-done-but-still-being-fine-tuned stage, I've started updating the help file. Most of this week has been spent doing brand new screencaps and rewriting it from the ground up, and it's pretty comprehensive.

I'm also working on putting image packs for the program on Dropbox, so I thought I'd do a little test and post a link to the new website image I created last week just to see how it works.


Roger Ott

Mar 27, 2011, 05:57 pm

Counting down to sometime in the first week of April for the official release. I'm still finishing up the help file, which is packed with an insane amount of information, and also working on the image packs. I made a few enhancements to the program, mostly just some minor tweaks and an extra feature or two, and I'm testing those out. I'll probably release one last beta to the tester group this coming week, then work on some background updating to the website and get the package ready for release.

I have decided against a standard Windows installer package. By just distributing the program files in a zip format, users can keep the program portable and run it from a USB drive if they want. All a Windows installer would do is make a program menu group and place a shortcut on the desktop, neither of which is absolutely necessary.

So, sometime between April 1st and 8th I'll be opening the program up for public download. I have to say I'm kinda nervous and excited at the same time.

Andy E. Nystrom

Mar 29, 2011, 12:29 pm

Good luck with the release. Because April 1 is April Fool's Day, I'd wait until April 2 at least so that people who aren't on these boards don't think it's a clever hoax.

Michael Regan

Mar 29, 2011, 12:47 pm

Andy E. Nystrom wrote:

Good luck with the release. Because April 1 is April Fool's Day, I'd wait until April 2 at least so that people who aren't on these boards don't think it's a clever hoax.

That way it can be a birthday present :birthday:

Roger Ott

Mar 29, 2011, 01:10 pm

Andy E. Nystrom wrote:

Good luck with the release. Because April 1 is April Fool's Day, I'd wait until April 2 at least so that people who aren't on these boards don't think it's a clever hoax.

Yeah, that occurred to me after I posted. I was leaning more towards the weekend anyway. Absolutely no later than next Wednesday, since my wife's birthday is on Thursday. Anyone who is married knows it's not a good idea to be focused on anything else on your wife's birthday.

Michael Regan wrote:

That way it can be a birthday present :birthday:  

Things are moving along pretty quickly at this point, so that's actually a possibility. I finished up the Help File last night, reconfigured the program to use context sensitive help, and will spend the next couple days just plugging away at any minor last minute tweaks.

If for some reason that doesn't happen, though, consider it a belated birthday present!


Mar 29, 2011, 01:12 pm

Yeah, not the 1st nor the 3rd, I'd go with April 2 because I know someone who says she was born on the 3rd (but we all really think it is the 1st!) and she is a real April Fool!!

April 2 :birthday:

Roger Ott

Apr 2, 2011, 06:30 pm

Okay, not to miss Michael's Birthday, here's the url for the unveiling of the first public beta of Marvel Legacy!


Anyone who wants to download and check out the program can now do so (Windows OS only, sorry Mac and Linux). Poke around the website, as it gives a pretty good general overview of what the program can do. Installation instructions are on there to help you get started.

I opted away from a standard Windows Installer, which makes the program fairly portable. Just download, unzip the files and you're good to go!

At this point, I don't have a tracking or registration system in place, but if you'd drop me a line and let me know what you think, I'd really appreciate it, especially if the program does something wonky! There's a support e-mail address available on the website.

Thanks for all the kind words and encouragement! Enjoy


(Oh, and keep in mind a TON of data is outdated. Now that the major programming phase is nearly complete, I'll be doing monthly data updates to try to get all the information up to speed)

Roger Ott

Apr 3, 2011, 06:59 pm

One last thing, anybody who's brave enough and wants to try out the Editing features, the password is 111111 for the beta release; just enter it at the login screen (Ctrl+E brings up the login). There are a ton of features built into the Editor Mode that make data entry a lot easier and consistent.

Keep in mind, any data changes you make will be erased when users install the monthly database update. Only one person at a time will have Editor privileges when I do the version 1.0 release.


Apr 30, 2011, 03:47 am

Just dropped by to say this is an amazing work! Please continue with your excellent project! All of us fans say thank you! :worthy:

Roger Ott

Apr 30, 2011, 05:45 am

Thanks! I haven't had much opportunity to do any data updates this month, and I only have a couple tweaks to make to the program itself. After working incessantly on it for several months, I need a bit of a break (and my wife kinda insisted)

I am, however, in the planning stages of my next project, which should be equally fun. More details on that, soon.


Nov 18, 2011, 10:02 am

Finally got to check this out! The Watcher thing is really cool and creepy!

Roger Ott

Nov 18, 2011, 06:37 pm

ToddCam wrote:

Finally got to check this out! The Watcher thing is really cool and creepy!

Glad you like it! I obviously haven't had a chance to update it in awhile for several reasons, but I'm hoping to get back to it some time soon. I'm also tweaking a new program that I'll probably make an announcement about in the near future.

Michael Regan

Nov 19, 2011, 10:40 am

Roger Ott wrote:

Okay, not to miss Michael's Birthday, here's the url for the unveiling of the first public beta of Marvel Legacy!

Wow, I am out of it these days and just notice this line. Thank you Roger!

Roger Ott

Nov 20, 2011, 11:59 am

Michael Regan wrote:

Wow, I am out of it these days and just notice this line. Thank you Roger!


And, you're welcome.

Roger Ott

Nov 7, 2012, 08:45 am

Nothing new to report on the current Marvel Legacy app at this point, but my next project, The Comic Book Index, is in private beta test phase and is going well! Anyone wanting to find out more can check out the website at:


I'll be starting up a new thread on the board with more information!

Marvel Legacy is not dead, by the way, but I'm going to be retooling the program into a much better version, using the things I've learned from creating The Comic Book Index. The biggest change will be having the database housed on a web server instead of locally on your machine, making updates much easier! Stay tuned!


Nov 7, 2012, 01:39 pm

How is this going to differ from comicbookdb.com or comics.org?

Roger Ott

Nov 7, 2012, 03:13 pm

How is this going to differ from comicbookdb.com or comics.org?

There are similarities, for sure. But, The Comic Book Index is more concerned about the stories, the universe, the characters, and less about how many variant covers there are, or how much the issue cost, how many pages it was, etc. I basically wanted to go for something streamlined. Plus, it's a desktop app, not just a website. The website will work in conjunction with the program itself to provide a very unique user experience, or at least that's the goal.

Also, this will not be an "anyone can contribute" site/program. That way lies madness, and I'd rather not spend the bulk of my time reviewing some unknown contributor's perceived "correction" when that time could be better spent indexing more comics or working on making the program more useful. I'll be working with a small team of people I can trust, who have proven they have the work ethic of a true researcher. I suppose that means it won't grow as fast as those other sites, but I won't sacrifice quality for quantity. I find a lot of inaccurate information on those other sites, or at the very least inconsistencies. Am I saying all my data is 100% on the money? No, that's not absolutely possible, but we're going to strive for getting as close as we can.

Plus, this is Marvel-centric. No DC, Image, Dark Horse, etc. I'm glad those other sites are working to cover everything from every publisher in existence, and my hat's off to them for their efforts, but that's not my thing. I love Marvel, and that's where I'll focus my work.

My photostream (over 6 million photos!)

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