What does (& does not) count for the Guinness record

I wanted to take a moment today & talk a bit more about my Guinness world record attempt for World’s Largest Privately Owned Comics Collection.  It is still an “attempt” and not a record because I still need to gather up the witness statements, data records, photographs, and video and send the whole package off to the Guinness folks in London for final adjudication.   It can take several months before they render a final decision, but hopefully I’ve been careful about what I counted, how I kept my records, and how I documented everything.

First, I was careful to define my record attempt as “privately owned” in order to distinguish me from people who buy/sell comics for a living and tend to accumulate bulk numbers of comics (including many duplicates) that they are buying/selling as a business and their numbers are typically in a continual state of flux as bulk numbers of comics move into & out of their inventory.   I buy comics as a fan to read & collect, once a comic comes into my collection it’s trapped there forever.   I think that’s a fairly significant distinction.

Further, the record count only takes into account unique comics that are in some way different from one another, so I had to filter out duplicates (comics where I have more than a single copy of the same book).   I used to buy duplicates every now & again thinking I’d sell the duplicates for big bucks as they appreciates.   Over 40 years that added up to ~1800 duplicates in my collection!!   Anyway, when thinking about selling off the duplicates I had two problems; (1) I have a pretty solid track record of never buying duplicates of things that went up in value to any significant degree; (2) I’ve got no desire to actually deal with selling comics, I’d rather just give away my duplicates to people & try to instill a love for comics in them by getting them started on reading these 4-color fantasies.  Anyway, the “only count unique comics” factor is another thing that differentiates my collection’s total from people who buy/sell as a business since they tend to have massive quantities of duplicates in their inventory at any given time.

I’ll also note that the definition of “Comic” for purposes of this attempt needs to have panel-to-panel continuity/storytelling.  By the official definition:

A comic book is a book / magazine made up of narrative artwork in the form of separate panels that represent individual scenes, often accompanied by dialog.

So that big hardcover of Terry & the Pirates comic strips counts (for me) as 1 comic, it fits the definition above.   But things like OHOTMU, Who’s Who in the DCU, Wizard Magazine, Comics Buyer’s Guide, various sketchbooks & pinup books, etc. all don’t count  since they are either text pieces in association with static images, articles about comics, or just pin-up images that don’t tell any particular story.  I have 1000s of things that got filtered out of my final count because of this.  I was able to easily filter these out of my total count by adding a custom field in ComicBase that we populated with “non-comic” for anything I’m tracking that does not meet the Guinness definition of a comic.   I then deleted those records after I did my export to Excel so they didn’t count in my final 89,613 total.

Hopefully this gives a bit more insight into the process, it relied heavily on fairly precise record-keeping, which would have been impossible without the help of my wife, Janine:


EDIT: SyFy’s Blastr picked up the story about my comic collection bid for the World Record on June 25th:

Bob Bretall: bob@comicspectrum.com
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One Response to What does (& does not) count for the Guinness record

  1. Amazing collection and work! I have around 10-15k and have just started the cataloging. I can only imagine….excited to see what happens with this attempt!

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