7 Days of Stack Week – Part 8: You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

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 friend, it’s– let’s face it, you’re not reading this intro. For starters, it’s in italics and separated from the rest of the article by that line thingy. Second, you probably already know what STACK WEEK is and that’s why you opened this link in the first place.


Sharks are terrifying, phobia-inducing creatures. I'm queasy participating in something even this remotely related to those dead-eyed killing machines. But this is Stack Week, not Shark Week, and we’re talking about piles of unread comics. Which, when you think about it, can be equally as terrifying.

Earlier this week, Mike Romo talked about how he can’t escape all the different kinds of stacks he has lying around his place. My apartment is exactly the same. Not a single room is free from a mound of comics, impatiently waiting to be read. Well, every room except the bathroom, but our bathroom is so tiny there’s not even room for a sick in there. I digress.

The point is, I'm surrounded by stacks. And it feels like they've started circling. It is definitely not safe to go in the water.

“Come on in the water”

I started reading comics three years ago. While I think I’ve read a good amount of comics in that time, there’s still a lot out there that I haven’t read yet. At first the Required Reading Stack was fun. I’d finishing reading Y: The Last Man or Watchmen or Preacher and ask, even beg, for what came next. There was a time when I couldn’t get enough and I dove in to the deep-end of comic book goodness. The more I read, the more I wanted to read. After six weeks of trade reading, I was in the shop buying issues each week. But now. Now, I’ve got The Dark Knight Returns and Starman staring at me from my comics bookcase, judging me for not having read these seminal graphic works. At night they whisper “But you haven’t really lived until you’ve read Astro City!” The comics I was so quick to devour have now starting to devour me.

Then there's a stack of books on my nightstand that's comprised completely of books I’ve borrowed or been lent. They’re on my nightstand in the first place so I can read them before bed, therefore finishing them quickly enough to return them to their proper owner. The problem is I hardly ever read in bed. My roommate lent me Joss Whedon’s Fray and Jonah Hex: Face Full of Violence two weeks after we moved in together. That was four months ago. At least I’m nice enough to not borrow Sleeper from her until I return what I’ve already borrowed. Johnny Cash: I See a Darkness and something called the complete Krazy Gnatz are also on the pile, lent to me by my neighbor across the hall who literally just handed them to me when he found out I read comics. "Read these. They're great," he said. The Borrowed Stack is an oddly pressuring thing. They're comics that need to be returned in a somewhat reasonable amount of time. It’s like knowing that I have to read them, makes me dread them even more. It's like waiting in open water, hoping the sharks don't get ya.

“You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

I have a couple piles of trades that I call the Randomly Acquired Stack. They're just books I picked up here and there over the past few years, with no real rhyme or reason to them. Some were acquired from people upgrading to hardcovers, like my 15 trades of Ultimate Spider-Man or the B.P.R.D. books I got from our own Paul Montgomery. There are the trades that I picked up at cons or local shops because there were on sale – I have how Matt Wagner’s Trinity made it into my stack, but the $3.50 sticker on the back is a pretty good indication. On top of that, I shop at a fantastic comic book store, with people who know how to hand-sell books. Titles I hadn’t previously heard of, like Vampire Boy and The Tikitis, are now waiting to be picked up. And I am genuinely excited to read them, I mean, there's a reason I bought them in the first place. They're just trapped in this temporary limbo, assimilated into the giant beast that is The Stack.

There are the books I was given as gifts, like Afrodisiac and the French version of the graphic novel adaptation of Le Petit Prince, which I really am looking forward to reading with my Francais a Anglais dictionary handy.

There are the books that seemed like a good idea at the time, but now, for bizarre reasons, I can’t bare to look at, like Brad Meltzer’s run on Justice League and the second volume to of the Ultimate Collection of Amazing Spider-Man by J. Michael Straczynski because the John Romita, Jr. art is so unbelievablely gorgeous that the story just has to get better.

And I haven’t even started on my Imaginary Stack, which is a growing list in my head of stuff that I absolutely have to pick up and read soon. Blacksad and Brian K. Vaughn’s The Escapists are sitting the top of that list right now, but they're bound to get knocked off as time continues to fly by and I hear about more books.

After running back and forth in my apartment, digging through my stacks of books to double check titles and creators, I just found Alias, Parker: The Outfit, and Northlanders: Blood in the Snow – all of which I’ve started but haven't found the time to finish yet. I'm not sure if this stack is a shark or the damn hydra! But this is what happens to me. I get so excited about a book at the precise moment it’s available to me, and then BOOM! The next thing you know, you’re completely surrounded by piles upon piles of comics that just keep getting bigger and hungrier until they topple over and shallow you whole!

“I used to hate the water.” “I can’t imagine why.”

The thing is, it’s not like I don’t read comics. I’ve got stacks of issues on my coffee table and kitchen table from the last month. There’s split into a Read Stack next to each Unread Stack. Most of the time, the Read Stack is the bigger of the two. I mean, I spend about three nights a week reading comics. Even as we speak, at the top of a neat pile of trades in my roommate’s bedroom is the first trade of Gotham Central. And it’s taking all my will power not to just steal it from her and go read it right now – screw the rest of this article. You know why? Because I'd rather be reading comics right now. And at the end of a very long day, one of the best things I can think of to do is curl up with a good comic and just let myself be devoured by it.

Ali Colluccio lives in constant fear of being eaten by a shark, regardless of the fact that she spends all her time on land. Ironically, she loves the movie JAWS. She emails, tweets, and talks about Wonder Woman.


  1. Finally someone metions the imaginary stack! I thought I was alone in that.

  2. I strongly suggest you drop EVERYTHING and start reading Afrodisiac and Parker: The Outfit.  Really.

  3. I envy your BPRD stack. I want them but the hardcovers are coming out and I’ve only read the first one and the latest 3 arcs.

  4. My imaginary stack is my amazon wish list, it’s huge 🙁

  5. Nicely done Ali, Tikitis and Vampire Boy are near the top of my to read piles too.

  6. I eat stacks for breakfast .. send ’em here…

  7. Shelf goes in the water, you go in the water. Stack’s in the water. Your stack.

  8. To keep my imaginary stack under control I just add them to a wishlist on a comic website like instocktrades.com. That way I don’t have to think about them nor do I freak out when I got to a new comic store and can’t figure out what it was that I wanted to read.

  9. Alias, unread in a dusty pile?

    I am scandalized.

    I may need to go have a lie-down. 

  10. Ah, the Imaginary/Wish List Stack…to often it becomes a tedious hunt and then an expensive purchase on ebay, when the book inevitably goes out of print…damn you Fourth World Omnibus Vol 2!!!