7 Days of Stack Week – Part 4: The Stack Defeated!

It's that time of year again. In what's become an annual tradition here at iFanboy we have our version of Shark Week on Discovery. It's STACK WEEK! 

What exactly is STACK WEEK?  Well my lucky friend, it's the time of year where we take stock of the stack of books in our "To Read" pile and highlight some of the delightful comics that lie ahead for us in upcoming days, weeks, months and for some, years.

For the purposes of context I present to you my stack from 2008:

A moderate sized stack to say the least. In subsequent years, I would look back at the size of this completely managable stack with fondness.

And my stack from 2009:

This one actually looked worse than it really was. Or better, depending on your point of view. Either way, percentage-wise it was mostly omniboo, which means that while it only had eleven separate items, it was quite possibly the heaviest stack.

Finally, my stack from last year, 2010:

By 2009, things were spiraling out of control. This is what happens when you run a comic book website. You get things sent to you for review. You also find yourself exposed to a lot more material than before because you spend so much time focused on comics and talking to people about them.

And now, may I present to you, my current stack:

Ha, ha! Suck it, stack!

I have to admit that things did not always look so good. As recently as the beginning of January my stack was actually bigger than the 2009 stack. Its height towered up above the desk. Sometimes it even teetered. But one day I looked at my stack full of trades and collections that were being neglected and I considered the fact that a new year was only going to bring ever more books and so I made a decision. It wasn't so much a New Year's resolution because those are just so easy to break, but I challenged myself to defeat my stack. And I did. At one or two trades a night before I went to sleep, I was reading comics at a pretty healthy clip in January and I was down to stack zero by early February.

It felt really good when I finished that last trade and added it to my bookcase. (Which is now full and features stacks of READ trades at its feet.) I felt a real sense of accomplishment… having finally read all those trades I had been meaning to get to for a year. Of course, looking at the empty space on my bedside table only meant that I now had the excuse to fill it up again. And fill it up, I shall! Because while I've been focusing on comics so much this last year, my prose book stack was completely neglected and is currently at 21 books, so that's where my attention is going to be for the next few months.


  1. Pretty impressive.  My stack is completely out of control but I can’t do anything about it as it’s currently 7,000 miles away and will be until June.  It’s also mostly in single issues (all from old runs) so although I can conceptualize how bad it actually is, its not quite the same as having it piled in front of you.  In an effort to stem the tide I have eliminated all back issue purchases with the exception of finishing my Kirby Fourth World collection and a Y #1 if I ever find it at a remotely reasonable price (which seems to be impossible). 

  2. Out of all the fanboys, I relate the most to you regarding hurg stacks.  I’ve got at least 30 to read.  If I see a discount and know that I’ll enjoy (or most likely enjoy) the book, I pick it up.  I’m constantly finding new trades at half price, so I’m wondering if I’ll ever defeat my stack.  Either way, it’s highly satisfying to know that I’ll always have something new to read, at least for the foreseeable future.

  3. Damn, I look forward to stack week to see what books I can add to my Amazon Wish List. What I hope for every year is the money to attack that list. Anyway, congrats on finding the time to read through your stack. I hope it was all pleasure and no pain for you.

  4. I’m impressed.  I’ve been on binges too, but never on that level.

  5. Damn Conor…that’s something else. I couldn’t fathom being completely up to date.

  6. Bravo! I don’t think my stack has dwindled at all over the last year – while I’ve read some trades, I mostly just add to them (has anyone ever been able to get Marvel HCs for $5 a pop at one of those outlet store bookstores? I have – and a lot of them, too).

  7. Since you mentioned tackling your prose stuff for the next few months it made me think that  after I got into comics last year I really started neglecting reading any other book fiction or nonfiction. I had been a bibliophile my whole life but I didn’t know how to manage reading prose and comics at the same time. So I decided to just stick with tackling my comics stack, putting all the prose I hadn’t read back onto my bookshelves. Any tips? Do you alternate between prose and then comic TP/HC or do you go through periods of JUST prose and then JUST comics? I have a hard time being in more than one book at a time so I don’t know if I can handle doing both.

  8. I also wanted to say that I love seeing everyone’s stacks. (Wow, that sounds dirty). I like to add the interesting ones I see from your stacks to my wishlists at instocktrades.com.
    Also, while I love having a large stack of constant reading material, sometimes I get sad because it means that if I were financially responsible I wouldn’t buy anymore until my stack was lower and half the fun of reading comics, I feel, is the thrill of the browse at the local comic shop.

  9. There’s just no overstating what a psychic millstone around my neck it is to have that pile sitting there. After a while, I can hear it from the other room like the Telltale Heart. The fact that almost every book in the Stack could be finished in one sitting almost makes it worse. I don’t know about Conor, but when I finished the last book on my Stack I felt like I was living the end of The Shawshank Redemption. The sense of accmplishment, however meager, was incredibly satisfying: “I did something.”

  10. I got my stack down to nothing right before Christmas but it’s back to 7 or 8 books again now.

  11. the biggest problem is starting on a trade, and then not liking it very much, so then you put it down 2/3rds unread. Then it just sits there. Its pretty difficult to sell/trade these things, so they wind up just taking space on the shelf. 

  12. @Dan  -yeah i picked up 2 Marvel Adventures Spiderman V1 HC’s for $5 a piece. Make great gifts for my nephews. Totally awesome deals!

  13. Ha! Good for you Conor. I’m trying but I still have Punisher Max vol 3, Scalped vol 5 and 6, Transmetropolitan vol 8, and the Ultimates Omnibus to get through.

  14. Great work Conor! Now the “suddenly hit by a Bus” argument no longer applies. Take me away Lord, I have no stack left for me here. 😉

  15. Hilarious.

  16. I am inspired to tackle my stack. Il be back in May.

  17. @einstein399  I *tend* to alternate between prose and comics. I like to get into the mindset of one or the other and just read those for a while, so I usually don’t mix. Plus, I tend to get momentum going (like I did here) and just want to plow through either the trades or the novels that I have on deck. But its possible I’m weird.

  18. The problem I have is that I usually have to skim the preceding trade before each trade, especially if they come out rarely.

  19. Yeah, my prose stack is far larger than my comics stack and it’s been that way for a few years now. This year I’m <gasp!!> actually going to read less comics so I can make a bigger dent in my prose stack. With two new additions to the family, though, my time for reading has all but disappeared.

  20. Stack attack motha-f****!

  21. @dgazzuolo  gufffaw!
    Conor WINS by KO!!!
    wait ……21 books in your prose stack? we’ll have to go to the score cards…

  22. I was gonna come in and say: “Well what about your opinions on these books?” Then I counted and saw that you read all 59 (repeat, 59!!) trades and omnibi to do this article. So a slow clap for you accomplishing that.

  23. @TheNextChampion  That was February 2010’s stack. I read those books last year. The books I read in January were completely different, but there were more than 59 of them this time.

  24. I notice “Baltimore: The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire” was in both the 2008 AND 2010 stacks.  Did you give up on it in `08 and decide to give it another chance a couple of years later?

  25. @Nigel66  No, it was just on my stack for a few years. Like a caretaker.

  26. Conor, where is Starman Omnibu 5 and 6?

  27. @UltimateTodd  On my bookcase.

  28. They never made the mighty stack?

  29. @UltimateTodd  They did. The pictures you see above are from previous Stack Weeks. So the 2010 picture is from February 2010. I read all those books and then another whole stack was built up throughout the year, which I then read in January of this year.

  30. Sweet, I am reading Starman for the first time, I’m anout 1/3rd through Omnibus vol. 3, so far so good.