Original article dated Monday, December 12th, 2016. Written by Juan
Welcome to Becomix‘s blog! Thank you for having come till here.
Many may be wondering what is Becomix exactly, what is this site about. An answer could be: a platform developed using open-source technologies with the aim of realizing a crowdsourced comics database, linked to a marketplace that will put in touch sellers and collectionists from all over the world. A site that offers you the tools, the space and a simple way to catalogue your collection.
If it’s not clear, let me explain how this idea has come to be. The explanation is a bit long, but it will make you understand what kind of site are we going for.
Ever since I’ve been a kid I’ve been a comics reader. Every week I awaited various Disney Series (Topolino [Mickey Mouse magazine, tn], Paperinik, Topomistery), The Smurfs, Il Giornalino and anything else I could put my hands on. With the start of middle school happened something unexpected: PK came out.
A friend of mine, which already got ahold on the number Zero and Zero/Two issues, showed it to me. What an absurdity, to start a series from number zero. But more importantly, where did the Zero/One issue go? For my peace of mind I choose to subscribe straight away to the series, so that I would not miss any issue (moreover the first three “Zero” issues were shipped free of charge to all subscribers). Anyway the subscription didn’t quell my excitement: the issues always arrived early at the newsstand, so everytime the two-three weeks of wait gnawed at me before I could read Paperinik’s new adventures.
Thanks to PK’s format, american comics didn’t seem grown-up’s stuff anymore, so between Disney and Marvel there was a short step. During that summer the Onslaught’s saga came out, followed by the reboots of The Avengers, The Fantastic Four, Captain America, Iron Man and Hulk.
My fantasy was also stimulated by manga, it was easy to take out the cash for Dragon Ball, then Ranma ½, then Battle Angel Alita (Gunnm) and so on.
Soon the PKs were forgotten and left in a shelf. During high school, needing money and space, I sold my collection (not complete) to my friend Giuseppe Giulio aka Giugiù for the modest price of 30 euros, for the fisrt thirty issues. They were gone, the PK were gone, those damned PK that exasperated me with their delays, but more importantly marked my passage from childish comics to teen’s comics.
Some years later, graduated high school and university, I started working for Jpop manga as a translator. It lasted about an year, then for economic disputes the collaboration ended, but it was enough to put away some savings. And during the lonely nights, something didn’t add up. What was the thing that kept me awake at night? I had a job. I had (more than) a band. I had a girlfriend. I had friends. What was going on? It were the PK, reclaiming their rightful place in my closet.
Ok, understood. I have to make them come back to me. Somehow.
Well, let’s look on the net. Where to begin? Trading sites… returned nothing, only eBay or bookstores. Let’s check eBay. The most disparate prices, offers either too inclusive or not enough. I had to look in the various forums dedicated to comics, in the lenghty posts of people who wanted to get rid of their stuff.
Nothing, internet didn’t help. Let’s try calling Giugiù, which in the meantime became a front-end developer.
«Yeah, I can give them to you», he told me after contacting him «But at what price?»
There, the value. How much can cost 30 issues of PK, some ruined, an incompleted collection?
Internet searches, alas, didn’t help clarify the situation. Heck, I know the exact value of my LP collection, of every single one of them. I have lots of comics, yet I have no way to know their worth, to classify them, to sell some of them.
There’s a user-compiled platform, for records, that offers a musical database in which they can consult tons of info (versions, credits, labels, etc.) and immediatly see if someone is selling and at which price. A site that allows you to manage your collection, to review, catalogue, consult, free of charge. But what about comics? Let’s see.
Ok, there are some databases. Most of them are american, most of them are obsolete. Ok, there are some comics trading sites, beyond Amazon and eBay. But there is something exclusive to comics, that connects people? Do I have to sort through threads upon threads of forums to look for the issues that I am missing?
From here is born the idea of Becomix. When Giugiù came with the Pks I asked him:
«What do you say about making a website like this together?»
In that evening of March 2016 started the Becomix project.
Juan (translation by Paolo Gozzi)