7 Days of Stack Week – Part 7: Go Big or Go Home

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.

Picture of some of Wood's books he's going to read soon

Ever since I started writing a column here at iFanboy I’ve been anticipating STACK WEEK.  As a fan of the site for years, I’ve always enjoyed the prior Stack Weeks and the voyeuristic look into the unread delights of so many friends and (now) collaborators.  When it came time to sit down and pen my contribution to this year’s weeklong celebration of the yet-to-be-read, I had a few false starts.  Should I dip my toes in the water as a rookie and just grab a handful of unread goodies off my shelves and discuss them?  NOPE.  Should I instead somehow try to shoehorn an economic lesson into the column to stay true to my usual theme? BORING. And then it hit me…


Here’s the honest truth.  While I LOVE the writing of everyone’s STACK WEEK contributions year after year, I don’t really identify with them.  Not because I don’t have unread books, but because I have TONS of unread books, and have for most of my adult life.  When I see pictures of other people’s stacks, I think to myself…”that’s what I bought at the last Con I attended” or “looks like my last DCB Service shipment.”

For me, having unread books has just become a way of life.  As you get older, your responsibilities continue to evolve, and simply put there’s a lot less time for simple pleasures. When you combine:11 O'Clock Comics Logo

  • An intensive, time-consuming career
  • A fantastic wife of 10 years (and counting)
  • Three beautiful (and active) kids
  • A desire to maintain friendships of the non-internet variety
  • The need to keep yourself physically fit (or at least a 36-year old facsimile of fit)
  • A passion for writing about comics and fantasy football, AND

…you’re not left with a tremendous amount of downtime.  On top of that, I long ago got off the hamster wheel of going to the store every Wednesday to get my issues, and feeling like I had to read them that week so I didn’t miss out on the conversation.  I’ve been getting the lion’s share of my comics through online vendors for close to a decade, and generally get them every other week.

Oh yeah, and then there’s the little matter of my not being able to stop buying stuff.  Comics are my vice.  In an otherwise disciplined life of financial rigor, comics are my outlet.  Even if I was single, with no kids, and a 9-to-5 job, I'd buy more comics than I could probably read in a timely manner.  So add all that up and you don’t have a “stack.” You have a virtual library of comic goodness waiting to be experienced.

Mentally, I categorize my unread stuff into sub-segments:

  • New Teen Titans 1 CoverNew single issues – I have roughly 1 and ½ long boxes of “new” single issues that have piled up over the last year or so. I generally read about half the titles I get as they come out, and then let others build up into runs. Every week or two I’ll pluck out a run and catch up. But when you buy 100+ new comics a month, there’s always a backlog.
  • Older back issues – Back issues used to be the lifeblood of the collector. No doubt you’ve seen Conor’s “Vault” from time to time, and like any self respecting comic book lifer, I have piles of back issues. While I’ve read many of them, I’m also guilty of acquiring issues that I’ve never gotten around to reading. Off the top of my head I can think of entire runs of Green Lantern, Green Arrow (the entirety of the Grell and Winick runs) and Teen Titans (the entire Wolfman/Perez run) that are sitting in long boxes, untouched by my eyes.
  • Collected editions of previously read stuff – I LOVE collected editions, and have acquired quite a few that collect classic stories I’ve already read in another form. Most of these volumes (e.g., DC’s Absolute Editions and Marvel’s Omnibus Editions) were purchased with the idea I would re-read them. In a few cases I’ve done that, but in most cases, these collected editions are just sitting on my shelves looking pretty.
  • New collected editions – Ah yes, the “waiting for the trade.” Lots of volumes of works I passed up in issue form, but then bought in trade/hardcover form. My shelves are littered with collected editions like this; I would estimate I have at least 30-40 unread trades that fit this bill.

Taking my diminishing free time and putting it up against my ever-increasing consumption, and I’m left with the reality that I probably will never be fully caught up with my reading.  Based on my current rate of reading, I estimate that I have AT LEAST TEN YEARS of reading in my “stack” even if I never buy another comic book.

Like I said, GO BIG OR GO HOME.

So what is one to do when you compile this many comics and collected editions?  How do you keep your “stack” from becoming an overwhelming eyesore and stressful mess?  BUILD YOURSELF A COMIC BOOK ROOM.

Wood Comic Room 5

 Wood Comic Room Picture 2 

 Wood Comic Room Pic 2 

Wood Comic Room 3
Wood Comic Room Picture 4

Unless you’re dancing around in my mind, you can’t tell my unread comics from my read comics.  And that’s just the way I love it.  STACKS FOREVER!


Jason is a mutant with the ability to squeeze 36 hours into every 24-hour day, which is why he was able to convince his wife he had time to join the iFanboy team on top of running his business, raising his three sons, and most importantly, co-hosting the 11 O'Clock Comics podcast with his buddies Vince B, Chris Neseman and David Price. If you are one of the twelve people on Earth who want to read about comics, the stock market and football in rapid fire succession, you can follow him on Twitter.


  1. I think I’d better go home, because I’m certainly not willing to go that big.

  2. I feel awed and jealous and some how happy thats not me all at once

  3. I’ve seen these pics before on the 11 O’CLock boards and I’m still jealous. One day, Jason, you’re going to retire and the kids will be out of the house. When that day comes, find a place for awet bar in your comic room, lock yourself in and have fun.

    These pics make me feel so much better about my tiny little stack. 

  4. That is a stunning and beautiful room. I aspire to read everything I buy, but absolutely relate to compulsive buying syndrome. My weakness is European history and social thinkers … a proliferation of Amazon wish lists helps me manage the habit … Only two short boxes of single issues, trades and graphic novels await my perusal … 😉

  5. Jason Wood was featured in Robot 6’s Shelf Porn. Meaning;No, your comic room will never look this good.

  6. Adopt me please!

  7. I’ve also got a comic room with also an estimated 10 years worth of to-be-read material. However, that room has no infrastructure and thus does not look nearly as cool as that.

  8. Drool…  I have shelf envy

  9. I need to submit to Robot 6.
    Jason and I took the construction of our comics rooms very seriously.

  10. hey man call it what it is….its a library! all you’re missing is the rich mahogany, fireplace and leather bound volumes! You can just tell people you are retiring to the library to immerse yourself in sequential storytelling.

    seriously though that is impressive. My office is also my library room full with floor to ceiling book cases with all of my art/design, prose and collected comics and such. I’m ok with the fact that i’ll never read most of the essays in most of my art books. Its pretty fun to have it all in one place, and i take great care to organize and re-organize my shelves from time to time. Looks like you do as well! 

  11. Now this was the most comforting Stack Week segment yet. Looking into a mirror…

  12. That room is amazing.

  13. Thanks for the kind words everyone. My favorite part of my comic room is actually the gallery of original art I have inside the room and in the adjoining hallway. I didn’t want to overcrowd the post with too many pictures, and since art doesn’t really equate to a “stack”, I omitted it. But if you’re interested in a more detailed look, you can check it out here:


  14. I too am afflicted with the curse of buying more than I can ever read. It wouldn’t surprise me if the wife sics Intervention on me.

  15. Thanks Jason. Yours was the most relatable “Stack Week” column for me. 
    I too have ten years worth of reading just waiting for me, and at 39 I keep telling myself most of it will get read in retirement.  Of course, that assumes I stop buying books now.

  16. Speaking of going big, I think I might finally be back into the double digits (previously triple digits) of trades and hardcovers in my stack, which contains the entirety of Bendis’ Daredevil run, Brubaker’s Captain America run, and another half dozen Marvel Omnibus collections.  So…yeah, maybe in 20 years I’ll be caught up.  Damn you, awesome, awesome comics!

  17. That room is amazingly sexy.  I stand in awe sir.

  18. I identify with this stack post.

  19. I love your drawerboxes. I only have two (though I need to buy a third one I think).  One day I will have your glorious wall of drawerboxes. ONE DAY!

  20. Aha ! – I  recognise a previous CBR shelf porn posting !

  21. This is overwhelming.  Seeing this does make me realize that I need a room of just book shelves.  Not only for comics but for CD’s, Video Games, books,  DVD’s and Blu-Rays.  I’m almost very sure that my future Wife will also make me put my guitar in said room.

  22. If I ever get married, I think I want it to happen in that room. 

  23. Upon closer inspection, I actually have close to 300 unread trades/hardcovers in my stack; also, that I am wearing loafers.

  24. Awesome! get some guitars in there and you’ll have created the Elysian Fields.

  25. Sweet article.  My wife and I set up something very similar, except we used metal Hon lateral filing cabinets to organize our comics so we could access them easier.  Would love to see a whole article devoted to the best comic book rooms (we’d submit ours).

  26. Yeah, I find it best to keep my unread material interfiled on my bookshelf for fear of my wife finding out my purchasing-to-reading ratio.

    Great stuff, Jason. Sweet setup you have there.