Return to Stack Week, Part II: Heavier Than a Small Child

It’s part two of an ongoing series on the collective stacks of unread comics those of us at iFanboy have gathered. Return to Stack Week, now with less great white feeding frenzies and sardonic Mike Rowe narration. It’s really nothing like Shark Week at all.

As more time passes and I become more of a trade person rather than an issue person I start to accumulate more and more of them. I seem to always have a stack, no matter how much reading I do.

And it’s a lot of reading.

My stack never seems to diminish. No matter how much I read, equilibrium is always maintained. There are a few reasons for this. The first is that my prose stack is also mighty and in the few hours of solid, uninterrupted reading time I get before sleep time lately I’ve been hitting the prose stack. Another reason why my stack never seems to shrink is that we are always reading for the video show and those books have top priority.  The books that I buy for personal enjoyment (i.e. the ones in my stack) always get pushed lower in the stack.

Plus, look at those bottom four tomes! My stack is never getting smaller!

So which books sit on my night table, silently mocking, silently judging?

Empowered, Vol. 1 by Adam Warren
There’s only so much a man can take. Ron has spent so much time talking up this book that finally, after its fourth volume was made Book of the Month, I could resist no longer. It’s difficult because even though I know this is a humor book, the conceit is still a super heroine whose costume is always getting destroyed. I have to get past my anti-cheesecake instincts on this one. Enough people whose tastes I trust recommend it, though, so I’m really looking forward to giving this one a go.

Baltimore, or The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire by Mike Mignola & Christopher Golden
This one is a bit unusual in that it’s not a comic book so much as it is an illustrated prose novel.  I originally purchased it because a friend recommended it to me and I thought that it might make an interesting subject for a Mini, but then we stopped doing those and thus it has sat in my stack for the better part of 2008 and into 2009. To be honest I don’t even know what this is really about save that it has nothing to do with Hellboy. But the idea of a prose novel co-written by Mike Mignola is highly intriguing.

DMZ, Vol. 6 by Brian Wood & Riccardo Burchelli
This one just came out so it’s the new guy in the stack. DMZ is one of my favorite books and one whose trade release I always eagerly await. Wanting to read the story is only one reason why this one won’t be on my stack for long. The other reason is that Josh is a DMZ leecher and is always borrowing the newest trade when it comes out, so I might as well get it read as quickly as I can before it disappears. DMZ is one of the group of books that I decided to read in trade and I couldn’t be happier about it. Eventually this is how I will read most comics.

Hulk, Vol. 1 by Jeph Loeb & Ed McGuinness

I’m just as surprised as you are. I never in a million years would think that the much maligned Hulk book from Jeph Loeb in my stack. Hell, Ron makes fun of it and that’s a rare thing for a Marvel comic. But then I read a fantastic review of the trade from my buddy Augie de Blieck Jr. and it really sounded like fun. And sometimes you just want to turn off your brain and have a good time and not worry about anything but the story in your hands. That sounds like something I’d really enjoy right now.

The Batman Chronicles, Vol. 6 by Various
I’ve talked about this one before as previous volumes appeared in the previous edition of Stack Week. This is DC’s ambitious plan to collect every Batman comic book in chronological order. Yes, it’s completely insane and will never be completed, but I’m on-board, dammit. This volume includes Detective Comics #62-65, Batman #10-11, and World’s Finest Comics #5-6, and that just about gets us through the halfway mark in 1942, so we’ve got a long, long… long way to go.

Showcase Presents: Jonah Hex, Vol. 1 by Various
This one’s the veteran of the stack as it’s been sitting unread for more than two years. Well, that’s not entirely true. It spent at least a year on the shelf where I forgot about it entirely. Meanwhile, stacks came and went and Jonah Hex glared at me from my bookshelf. And then one day I was scanning my bookshelf and shouted an expletive and pulled it off the shelf and put it on my stack. It will be read in 2009, this I swear!

Young Avengers by Allan Heinberg & Jim Cheung (and others)
I read the first issue of Young Avengers when it came out and though I liked it well enough, I wasn’t looking to add any new books at the time so I didn’t continue on with it. Apparently I made a huge mistake. After Josh got this collection for Christmas from Ron and spent days and days raving about it I knew that I had to get it for myself because anytime that both Ron and Josh rave about a book I know I need to take a look. It worked out really well with Nova and I’m hoping it works again here.

Secret Wars Omnibus by Jim Shooter & Mike Zeck
My childhood memories are dominated by few things as influential as Secret Wars. Not only was it an exciting Marvel crossover, but it was the focus of an exciting toy line whose action figures starred alongside its DC Comics counterparts (from the Super Powers line) in epic battles in my bedroom (often against He-Man or G.I. Joe, with occasional cameos from the Thundercats). All those years of good times had to come from somewhere and they came from here. In my mind, Secret Wars is the Marvel equivalent of Crisis on Infinite Earths. It’s the seminal Marvel crossover, and the one that I always think of when I think of my favorites.

The Fantastic Four Omnibus, Vol. 1 by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

I’ve never actually read any of these original Stan and Jack stories but next to The Amazing Spider-Man these are the most important Marvel Comics from the original era. I looked through Ron’s copy of this Omnibus and I was entranced. I can’t wait to dig into the original issues of The World’s Greatest Comics Magazine.

Daredevil by Brian Michael Bendis Omnibus, Vol. 1 by Brian Michael Bendis & others
Yes, it’s a collection of the classic Daredevil run by Bendis and (mostly) Alex Maleev that helped to establish Daredevil as one of Marvel’s top creative books. It’s a modern day classic run. I’m going to go off on a tangent here that has nothing to do with the book’s contents, but what bugs me about these omnibus collections is that there is no sense of progression. The Daredevil by Ed Brubaker Omnibus is scheduled to come out later this year and it’s Vol. 1 instead of just Daredevil Omnibus Vol. 3. In fact, the Brubaker Omnibus should be Vol. 3, this Bendis Omnibus should be Vol. 2 and the inevitable Kevin Smith Omnibus should be Vol. 1. Yes, I’m crazy.

The Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus, Vol. 1 by Stan Lee & Steve Ditko
There are many things in life that require you lay down a good base; a strong foundation. I can now add my stack to the list of things that are fortified at the bottom. I believe it’s approximately 4,000 pages long. I threw my back out putting it in place for the photoshoot. What I’m trying to say is you could kill a (small) man with this omnibus. I’ve only read some of these original Stan and Steve stories so I’m really looking forward to reading it all together. I mean, this is the stuff, right? These are the stories that built Marvel.

Oh, comics. I love you so.


  1. LOL I thought Jims stack was big but bloody hell Connor this is huge. Admittedly it is the marvel omnibus’s that are boosting the stack but ive been there and the bigger the book the more daunting it is to pick it up and have a read. Young avengers is amazing and the daredevil omnibus was one of the best books i read last year.


    so here goes why not join in the fun for anyone half interested. I have a huge stack too


    Walking Dead HC book 4

    Hellboy Library edition volume 2

    Northlanders volume 1

    Young Liars volume 1

    House of Mystery volume 1

    The sword volume 2: Water

    Y the Last man HC book 1

    The Nightly News

    Bone: The complete Collection


    And some manga titles to add some variety


    Deathnote volume 5

    MPD Psycho Volume 1


    I guess I cant complain too much Connor as Im there with you on a massive stack L Best of Luck to all the ifanboys who are going to take up the challenge of getting though their stacks and I look forward to seeing what the others have collecting dust on their shelves


  2. haha i also have the secret wars one and daredevil by brian michael bendis. the showcase presents booster gold, hellboy library edition 1 + 2, and i decided to try Empowered too. maybe i can just read them all during spring break

  3. omnibi scare me

     for me its

    Fables vol 4-7

    Fear Agent vol 4

    DMZ vol 6

  4. I applaud you, Connor, for trying to read the FF and Spider-Man works.  Not so much for size, but for the books themselves.  I’ve read ASM in Essentials form and I’ve tried reading some of the other books like Iron Man, and I just can’t get past the writing style of Stan Lee.  It’s so dated and repetitive that it turns me off and it’s kept me from trying some of the other seminal works like FF and Avengers.  I know it’s a product of the times, but I think that’s the problem.  Good luck!

  5. @BC1: a few months ago, I was talking to someone about how I just don’t care for Silver Age comics when it suddenly dawned on me that, as someone who was raised on Marvel, essentially every Silver Age comic I’ve ever read was by the same three guys. "Maybe I like ’em just fine. Maybe I’m just tired of Stan and Jack."

    Conor: one good way to reduce your stack quickly is to make yourself a nice cold cocktail, go out on the sunny back porch with that Hulk trade, and just sit down, pour the booze on it, and set it on fire. It’s not so much a way to turn off your brain as it is a way to break your heart.

  6. I find Hulk to be a pure guilty pleasure.  It’s like that movie you watch over and over again despite the fact that everything is wrong with it.  I keep picking up Hulk and I’m not sure why, it’s just fun.

  7. I…I…the Hulk?!?

    By Jeph Loeb!?


  8. The ‘Fantastic Four’ Omnibus is seriously great stuff.  You can just watch these guys inventing so many of the things we take for granted in modern comics.  And be sure to look at the letter columns, those are almost my favorite part.

  9. @jimski-  I would say I maybe have the same problem of just being burnt out on the Marvel Triumvirate, but this happens trying to read DC books of that era too.  They all sound so "tongue-in-cheek" and fluffy.  At least with the few DC books I’ve read from the Silver Age, I can appreciate the tone, maybe because I take them in small doses.  But after the 9th or 10th time hearing Peter Parker say "I’ll just do that little thing," I’m about ready to scream.  

    I wonder if this tone comes from the ’60’s era, where the writers thought they were "just passing through" on their way to writing "real books."  The ’70’s stuff from both companies, I like just fine.  So, that’s why I commend Connor on trying to read the really early material and hope he enjoys it.   

  10. I should say that I really genuinely *like* Silver Age & Silver Age style, including Stan, Jack, Ditko and the rest.  I still have trouble doing Omnibus-size chunks at once and maybe this is because — at the risk of stating the really obvious — it wasn’t written to be consumed in omnibus-size chunks.  So, BC, I don’t actually find the style — tongue-in-cheek or however you want to describe it –to be a turn-off at all, but I do see how it can become repetitive if you read 30 issues of the same thing in a row.  It was conceived as being something you read in an afternoon, then read another installment a month or two later.  This wasn’t meant to be read as a complete story the way that Bendis’ Daredevil was, and just because they’re available in similar format doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good idea to read them the same way.  I also think it’s fair to say "I read a couple issues of that, I get the idea," but it might help to see the omnibus as something you can dip into at random when you feel like a fun one-and-done, and not something that needs to be pondered like it’s ‘Ulysses.’  I don’t think that makes the silver age books less of an artistic achievement, but the way that they’re intended to be experienced is different.

  11. When I first read "I”m on board, dammit" it came out in my reading consciousness as "I’m on board, dagnabbit" for some odd reason. This stuck me as funny and I guffawed. Anyway,

    Caroline brings up a great point there: I find that I can;t read the FANTASTIC FOUR ESSENTIAL VOLUME 1 in a sitting for the same reason. I’ll read a few here or there, but very rarely can i reada chunk longer than 5 arcs. Yet I can watxh Law and Order reruns ad nauseam (sometimes for days). I guess this soeaks to my modern limitations, having neen happily mired in archs so long.

    Lest we think it’s a pronlem of datedness, I had the Same problem with the MADMAN GARGANYUA a while back. Was in my stack for months

    Currently, 3 volumes of Promeathea on my stack.

    PS. Cool points for Ulysees reference and the use of "portend" Caroline.


  12. I would love to have some of those Omnibus collections (especially Lee & Kirby’s "FF"). I wonder, though, are they readable at that large size? Balancing that "Spider-Man" collection on your knee might give you a hernia.

    My stack: 

    "Umbrella Academy, Vol 1"

    "Punisher: Girls in White Dresses"

    "Hellblazer: Stations of the Cross"

    "Planetary, Vol. 4"

  13. I have been trying to conquer that Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus since it first came out.  I think the farthest I got was like 3 issues in.  You definitely need to be in a specific mood to read that old school stuff, and all of the modern things in my stack seem to take precedence.  This is the year though, I swear it!

  14. Augie is dead on about Hulk. That’s what’s kept me coming back month after month. Simple fun & excitement that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

  15. Well, aside from those Omnibi, that sounds like a tackleable stack. Of course, I don’t get to talk, since mine is much shorter and I still haven’t gotten around to them.

    See, I understand trade stacks. I don’t understand stacks of new floppies.


  16. Man, I love stack week. I hope you guys keep it going because I love to see that other people are reading (or neglecting to read). I myself have managed to reduce the size of my once towering stack to a mere 2 books: American Flagg Definitive Collection Volume 1, and The Nightly News by Jonathan Hickman. It looks like I won’t be finishing off the stack though because I’m about to hit up Amazon to buy The Green Lantern trades and the Grant Morrsion JLA Deluxe hardcover Volume 1. Oh well, I like it better this way. I’d much rather have a prodigious stack than nothing to read.

  17. When reading those Silver Age books I find it really helps to try to keep the original context in mind: these are meant to be exciting stories for young people circa the early ’60s. Maybe that’s an obvious statement, but I mean that you almost have to approach the reading experience as a lighthearted historical media examination. When approached this way, I find that all of the corny Stan Lee jokes, for example, become charming. And all the original villain schemes become almost profound in their audacious simplicity. Just don’t open the books with the same (subconscious) expectation that they were written and drawn "for you", today. They weren’t. But they can still be fun, interesting experiences, and I can really appreciate how imaginative and off-the-wall screwball crazy some of them are.

  18. My stack flows pretty nicely. I’m a bit of an insomniac, so I get a lot read at night. But there’s always one book waiting for me to finish: the Rising Stars HC. I read the first 75% of this tome about 2 years ago over the course of a couple days, but I just haven’t gotten around to reading the last couple issues for some reason. Maybe it’s because I keep picking up the first trades of lauded series that I’ve never gotten around to and diving into them. Since I first opened Rising Stars, I’ve burned through Sandman, Powers, Lucifer, G.Mo’s Doom Patrol, Invisibles, and then some. Am I subconciously trying to replicate the experience of reading this as if it’s still in its original release schedule?

  19. @BC1: I love reading old Stan Lee stories.  I love reading old Silver Age comics, I love reading Golden Age stuff.  I love all that stuff.  The old writing style doesn’t bother me in the least, it’s just a different style.  I’ve never had a problem getting into comics (or books, or movies, or TV) from different eras.

  20. I have all the trades of Fear Agent in my stack along with the second volume of Conan. I have other stuff lying around but I try not to keep a "stack" I would go crazy if I did.

  21. At the top of my stack right now is the Local Hard Cover from Oni Press (courtesy of my next door neighbor at NYCC and pal, James Lucas Jones). I read the series when it came out as singles, but it’s been a long while. I’m really enjoying the presentation – Oni and Brian Wood did an awesome job with the packaging of the hard cover.

    My actual stack consists for about 3-4 short boxes and various piles of trades in my office:)

    Filip Sablik

    Publisher, Top Cow Productions

    Read a free issue of Witchblade at

  22. Good luck sir!  Keep us updated on the progress

  23. Conor I’m really disappointed in you, although I can imagine why you’ve hold up on reading Hulk for so long. Let’s hope that is never read, period! We dont want you to end up like poor old Billy when he read Loeb’s Ultimates 3 🙂

    Good luck with the omnibus’s too, I tried reading Howard the Duck omnibus in one sitting….couldnt do it. That is like a power read every day until you finish it.

  24. Re: Empowered

    Trust your anti-cheesecake instincts.  I found that book truly disgusting and set it down right around the time the main character expresses her dismay that a hideous alien who planned to rape and sexually torture her decided against it because she was too fat for him.

  25. That Jonah Hex has been in my stack for about as long as you’ve had it in yours.

    For the past year, I’ve been reading a couple stories here and there from the Hex Showcase. I wasn’t expecting too much from it, but it is great. It is nice to be able to read some "new" Jonah Hex whenever I’m in the mood to read some.

    My stack has gotten light in the last two weeks. 

    I’ve also got a couple other monsters in my stack.

    Palomar from Gilbert Hernandez of Love and Rockets (this book has been blowing me away every time I dig into this 500 page beast).

    I got a Madman hardcover in there.

    Absolute Watchmen at the bottom cuz I’ve read the paperback and single issues many times before.

    I’ve got a bunch of hardcovers arriving this week, so my stack will be maintained.

  26. The Daredevil omnibus volumes are numbered by creators, not as a character collection.  Bendis volume 2 is in the works and I can only assume, since Brubaker’s run isn’t over yet, they’re planning on releasing subsequent volumes of his run.  


  27. @AMuldowney: I know, I’m saying that’s stupid.

  28. Rereading those Daredevil Bendis books right now and they hold up wonderfully. 

     When it comes to annoying trade/hardcover collections, the Gotham Central one bugs me most. The trades are missing about 5 issues of the series, just not in any of the 5 volumes. Makes no sense.  

  29. @brianmaru: I coul dbe wrong, but I believe that the new hardcover releases of GOTHAM CENTRAL are comprehensive.

  30. @conor  That’s my understanding.  There were 40 GC issues, total, and I believe there are going to be 4 hardcovers with 10 issues each. 

  31. @conor and ohcaroline


    I hope that’s the case, even though I am not big on buying them a second time. I will say, one nice thing that was in the second volume with the Two-Face story, DC included two old issues that revealed details on Dent and Montoya’s odd relationship.  

  32. gotham central 1-40, FF vol 1 Omni, ASM vol 1 Omni and a stack of roughly 300 random books in runs, annual etc…. Thankfully i’m unemployed so i should see it of soon. Dont say the credit crunch is all bad!

  33. @brianmaru  — YES!  That was nice to have.  I might end up buying the hardbacks and donating the trades to my library (which has an annoying tendency to buy only the first volume in a trade or hardcover series). 

  34. I had no idea DC was trying to print all the old Batman stories in chronological order. The man in charge of this project has to have a death wish.

  35. Just get Stephen Fry to read those omnibus editions, record it and sell it. That’s what they should do. You will be able to play it when you’re sleeping.

  36. Omnibi are hard.  Except for the Cap one.  That was a breeze…

  37. i hope we’ll get some sort of review of the Hulk: Red trade once you’ve read it Conor

  38. Am I the only one that feels that some Marvel Omnibuses are just too large?

  39. @CopaRamsey: As a reader I love the large Omnibi.  The more pages in it the better for me.  As someone who often needs to scan pages for his show, it can be annoying.

  40. the spider-man one is the only one i think thats a bit too unweildy, but i can see why they would want to collect all the ditko issues in one book. More content for the same price point!

  41. mmm…but if they put it in a library it will be like encyclopedias – you can’t loan those. Damn librarians.

  42. Thankfully, much of my stack comes from the Chicago Public Library.  Sorry, Guy-who-has-been-itchin’-to-read-From-Hell-for-the-last-two-months.  I returned it today!

  43. @BigE: So that’s why it was gone! You bastard!! 🙂

  44. That Amazing Spiderman Omnibus is just a beast of a book. I eyeball it everytime I’m at one of the several comic shops I stop at.

  45. I read DMZ!  I’m making a dent!

  46. That Amazing Spiderman Omnibus looks like a fresh idea.  I bought the complete collection on DVD-ROM and the piece of shit doesn’t do anything but make a bunch of noise in my laptop everytime I got it to work.  It only worked right twice!!

    The DMZ volume six is still in my stack though.  I’m not anticipating that one too much for some reason.  It just doesn’t really do it for me anymore.

  47. @Conor – I’m willing to bet you’re going to have a lot of fun with that Hulk trade.  It’s horrible and it’s ridiculous and it’s oh so enjoyable for all the wrong reasons.