Return to Stack Week, Part III: Paul’s Stack Caught on Video!

Left unchecked, a to-read stack can grow into an unwieldy tower of grief and longing. Journey with us now as we Return to the Stack. To the madness. To the folly of procrastination. This is the comics wilderness. This is Return to Stack Week.


I could write about it, but you wouldn’t believe me. Many Bothans died to bring you this footage…



Paul Montgomery is a hero.  He just hasn’t saved anybody yet.  Contact him at You can also find him on Twitter.


  1. Wow. That was lovely. You haven’t read SCUD yet? You wound me.  But then all is made better nt the dumbo hat. Thanks.

  2. Some of the books, especially the Showcases and Omnibus editions, are books I simply haven’t finished.  I’ve read a good potion of Scud, but not all of it.  I don’t have a queue.  I just read what I’m interested in at any given time.  I really need to make a priority stack though. 

  3. I have seen it and I still don’t believe it! All you guys with your libraries worth of stacks and warehouses of single issues need to have a big sale!

  4. I am just flabbergasted right now….Paul, where….where….where do you get the money for this?

    How do you have the time to read any of this?…Gee Whiz, your like a mini book store or something.

    I never even heard of some of those books you have on you. You probably have the biggest stack on the website. You need a vacation or something.

  5. I think you need a good blizzard to happen by you.  One that locks you in the house for a year.  That’s so much reading, and that stack…is just…man, words don’t even describe…

  6. You may have a problem, just saying. Great job.

  7. A vast majority of those are half-off trades from conventions.  Some are gifts.  A small handful are review copies.  I also never, ever read.  I should really read more. 

    My problem is that I’ve probably read the first 5 pages of all of those books (if not more) and then stopped.  Not because the book was bad, but because I was distracted by some other book or project.  No attention span whatsoever.  

  8. You are in for such a treat when you actually read that stack. I am in a similair boat with your JSA situation as a own Lucifer 2-6. They just sit there taunting me…

    I was also very pleased to see Amazing Joy Buzzards! 

  9. Seven Soldiers is a trip!  I loved it, I hope you enjoy it.  Its dense, and just great G-Mo writing.  The Frankenstein mini with Mahnke was my fav.

    Just rereading Black Adam: The Dark Age and it is fantastically good stuff.  

    Johns Flash stuff is amazing.  Blood Will Run is one of my favorites of the bunch

    Huge stack Paul, but one that seems full of enjoyment on many levels.  Conventions are hands down the place to go to get some great deals on trades.  I also occasionally find the $5 trades on ebay and such, so I pick up random ones as well

  10. @Paul: Oh your attention span cant be as bad as mine. I….Oh look a butterfly!!!

    *jumps out of window*

  11. Ah, half-off trades at the conventions are the BEST! I’ve started so many series or double-dipped on other series because of those half-off bins.

    Anyway: Love the video. More!

  12. I counted 97… I am speechless…


  13. It wasn’t 97.  It’s more like…it had to be like….23..tops. 

  14. i wasn’t aware of what an omnibus was until i started following this site. My husband stills blames you all for our economic spiral into the abyss. However, your stack make me feel so much better about myself keep it up

  15. Enter the Mandarin… that’s my jam right there.

  16. remember instocktrades is also a great place to get some books exceptionally cheap. I got my first Dynamo 5 trade for 6 bucks. Just gotta be a deal hunter.

    also, nightly news not read? FOR SHAME!

  17. That was amazing. You can’t have too many books. Ever. So, good luck!

  18. You want a good way to keep up with your stack? Find out that several times a year you have to write a paragraph about every book on the pile. Next time, that mother’s gonna have three things on it. Paul has found a loophole, but I’ll bet being forced to watch that parade of despair and edit it was no less sobering.

    Paul, you say you are a JSA fan, but I’m not sure how you would know that since apparently every JSA comic ever written is in your house unread. The good news is, you have too many excellent books on that list for me to even list them from memory

  19. Also, when I said "My hero" I was referring to Houdini, not the comic beneath it…

  20. damnnn, thats crazy

     you should lend some out while you catch up :-p

  21. @Jimski – I was going for full disclosure.  Aside from the current Justice Society book and a handful of single issues from the Justice Society Returns book, I have not read JSA.  This is mostly because I was buying the trades at cons and I didn’t actually get the first one til Christmas.  And I refused to read them out of order….


    This is a sickness… 

  22. No more new books til I defeat this stack!!!

  23. Shooting that from above created a nice effect. "OK, he’s got to be done now…wow…nope, it just keeps going!"

    However, I did feel a twinge of pain as all the books hit the floor. Especially once those Omnibai (Omnibuses?) smooshed the poor trades that preceeded them. 

  24. Oh, hey what was the hilarious tune in the background?

  25. @DaveCarr – It’s music from Yann Tiersen’s Amelie score.  

  26. My stack is:

    all of Y: The Last Man (I waited until the series was over to grab all the trades.  I’m going to do the same with Fables.)

    Umbrella Academy

    Queen and Country

  27. Holy crap.  theres gotta be like 50 there.. You could read 1 ever 3 days and finish by the end of the year

  28. I felt a little sick watching that.

    My Monkey’s Name is Jennifer is from our first Vault show….two years back.

  29. Thank you.  You make me feel better about myself.

  30. Craziest thing…ever?

  31. @Josh – I got My Monkey’s Name is Jennifer at Baltimore Comic Con last Fall.  

  32. Someone take that man’s wallet until he reads those books.

  33. watching the first half of that video, i thought: pfft… Paul ain’t got nothing on me. But then, when it appeared like we had reached the end of the stack, you would magically edit in more freakin’ books! i bow to you my friend. ALL HAIL PAUL AND HIS MIGHTY STACK!!

    seriously though, you’ve probably only got like 3 books more than me…. 😀

  34. Would it be cruelty or tough love if you were forced to compare your stack to the one from the last time?

  35. (Just in case: The books in fast motion at the end are the same books from the beginning.)  

  36. @Jimski – I swear I’ve read books since last year!  I SWEAR!!!  


    Oh my god… 

  37. That’s…just…wow.  Also: Interesting chapeau.  Also, Also: Why do you have a picture of Prince circa Purple Rain on your wall?

  38. It seems like the only books you read since last year was the Sentry mini from Jenkins and Marvel Romance….so how were they?

  39. I am….terrified.


    Though I guess if I read more of the marvel/dc stuff it would be pretty easy to  accumulate such a stack, especially once essentials and showcases start piling up. Gadzooks.

  40. I also bought and read new books!  

    I reviewed the Sentry book.  Not a fan.  

  41. That’s just astounding. I wish I had a stack like that… OR DO I?

    But I’m glad to see someone else is trying out American Virgin. I might’ve been the only person to mildly enjoy that. The last issue was just sad though, and not in a touching way, I mean just poorly ended and out of nowhere due to cancellation. 

  42. that was absolutely unbelievable! i dont own half as many books as that. dude, id happily take some of them off your hands…

    but seriously, really enjoyed this. i’m in shock.

  43. There is certainly proof that you purchased new books.  That is undeniable but as for reading the new books, that’s still up in the air.  🙂

  44. I’ve written reviews of some of the new books!  This weekly column is proof that I read at least a little bit! 

  45. I paused this travesty at a point that I had to bring up.

    Go read Gotham by Gaslight, it makes Baby Hellboy cry that you haven’t read that.  Not even pancakes are making him happy.

    Also I’m reminded that someone needs to send me a list of Geoff John’s work so that I may purchase all of it.  I envy your JSA stack as well.

  46. Damn, that’s a mighty fine stack of JSA books (so jealous!), but how could you leave them unread?

  47. I’m going to attack the stack.  But I need to prioritize.  Where do I start?  Which books do I absolutely need to read first?  

    @jstump – That’s one vote for Gotham by Gaslight.   

  48. @Paul Finish Scud. Then the JSA trades. Tackle one story at a time.

  49. @Paul-Black Adam:The Dark Age.  Especially if you are reading JSA monthly, which I am told is dealing with what happened during the mini.

    And afterwards: Dynamo 5.  Because it is bad ass and not enough people are reading it.  A glowing recommendation from Paul will go a long way 🙂

  50. I would definitely say LOCAL then the FOURTH WORLD HC. Local being one of the most beautiful comic books ever created, the Fourth World stuff being incredibly imaginative and inventive and engaging.

  51. I started watching this thinking, "Okay, he has a stack.  Everybody has a stack.  No big deal."  And then you kept going and going. . .I’m impressed.  Also, based on comments above, your habits as far as stopping and starting are pretty similar to mine.  I just don’t actually *stack* my things,  so ‘stack’ means, "I own this and it’s somewhere in my apartment.  Or possibly my car."   Also, when I find out about other peoples’ stacks I start going, "Oh yeah, *The Losers*.  I bought a trade of that in Baltimore.  In October.  And I never read it so. . .it’s around here somewhere?"  Actually forming a stack would be a good goal for me in stack week.

    Re: prioritizing — I will tell you that ‘Alias’ is one of those books that you can read along at a leisurely pace and find pretty interesting.  And then you get to the last volume, and you read it, and you go *Holy shit, I didn’t even realize what I was reading*.  At least, well, that’s how it was with me.  Worth getting to the end, in other words, because there’s really payoff. 

    And, as I believe I’ve mentioned, once you get 7 or 8 issues into ‘Starman,’ there are Carnival People. 

  52. Drake is right, read the Black Adam mini before next week when the next JUSTICE SOCIETY ISSUE comes out.

  53. Start with Queen and Country. A good, solid espionage book.

  54. Kudos on the Dreadstar, P-Money.  Old-school gold.

    When that actress read that "many Bothans died…" line, do you think Lucas told her to pause that long or was something she picked up on the London stage?  Probably the latter.  I don’t think Lucas directs his actors at all.  Hayden Christiansen in Attack of the Clones was HORRENDOUS!  He was a little better in Revenge of the Sith…

  55. Well, I’m glad that someone has finally outstacked me.  I’ll give you some recs of the best of that stack. Locke and Key is fantastic. The second series is getting even better than the first. Young Avengers is a blast! Nightly News is pretty great too, especially if you dig Hickman’s style. I’d say avoid Planet Hulk. It’s one of the few trades that I’ve started and never finished. Just kind of a bore. Black Adam is great, but doesn’t have the same impact if you didn’t read 52. (please don’t add anything to that stack if you haven’t read it. I wouldn’t wish that on you.)

  56. Is the "gotta try it again" for Starman an indication that you may not have liked it?

  57. @jstump – I have a storied history with that Starman omnibus.  I bought it and pretended that I’d started it and loathed it just to freak out Josh and Dave Accampo.  It was a weird practical joke which sent Dave into a spiral.  Then I actually started it and it did nothing for me.  I was shocked.  Fully expected to love it.  I think I read the first two issues.  I’ll get to the rest of it though.  I really, really will.  

  58. I read the first trade and… didn’t love it.  Also bought the first two issues back when it came out and didn’t like it then either.  That omnibus is just too attractive for me to pass up though…

  59. @Paul. I’ve only gotten through the first Starman Trade. It’s good, but not spectacular. I’ve heard taht you gotta get further into it before it really kicks into high gear. I hope that’s true.


  61. @paul your stack makes me feel a lot better for my stack

  62. You should probably read those billions of JSA trades you have. You could be the only person I know that has every single trade of that run by Johns.

    To make this stack even more epic; think of how many single issues are apart on each of these trades. That stack would probably be 2x bigger then the trade stack.

  63. I don’t actually have all the JSA trades.  I have 1-7 and 9.  Missing 8, 10, 11, and 12.  

    Maybe I should read those first 7 though.   

  64. @Paul: How could you be missing #8? For me, a guy with some OCD, that would drive me crazy.

    Also from your video: What is that Dracula story you got? Plus; Ocean, Dreadstar, Cemetery Blues, Barnum, and Liquid City?

  65. A+ for presentation. That was entertaining. I wanted a little more commentary, but still, bloody great show, and awe-inspiring. As in the-monolith-from-2001: A Space Odyssey awe-inspiring.

  66. I would say JLI ’cause it’s a fast read. Or read it each issue at a time, between other stuff as long as you got decent memory, you’ll be fine.

  67. Wow, i just dont know what to say. Although i did really like the mini Smash video.

  68. I love this video…it made me happy that I’m not the only one with an absurdly huge stack. I LOVE STACK WEEK!!

  69. @Paul-The same thing happened to me with the Starman Omnibus. Though it hasn’t stopped me from pre-ordering Volumes 2 and 3. It’s a sickness… 

  70. @Paul, don’t worry we seem to have similar tastes and I would say that the beginning of Starman did nothing for me as well.  In fact sadly I would go so far to say that I didn’t get really stoked till the last 7 issues.  Which is about the last half of the book.

  71. That stack helped me sleep easier.

  72. Robin Year One is a lot of fun. The art and story are great.

    I enjoyed Fahfrd and the Grey Mouser. It’s early Mignola doing sword and sorcerey. Also a fun read.

    Nightly News is good but, like a lot of Hickman’s stuff, very dense.

    Gotham by Gaslight is GREAT and a quick read. 

    I think I’m in the minority, but I enjoyed 1602 being a Marvel Zombie and all.

  73. ScottB, you stole my suggestions for must reads! 🙂 But yes, I concur. Robin Year 1, Fahfrd Grey Mouser, Gotham by Gaslight, 1602… mmm… good stuff.

  74. Could you put my book between seven soliders vol. 3 and 4? On second thought I will totally wait, that is an incredible stack of goodness that I would hate to be mixed in.


  75. Gotham by Gaslight has been in my stack for three years.  Thought I’d read From Hell first, but after another failed attempt (this is the one Alan Moore book I’ve found nearly inaccessible–and I teach literature), I think I’ll have to crack the Mignola goodness.

  76. Oh, and the second volume of FABLES has just been moved (tonight!) from my stack to the bookshelf.  Thoroughly satisfying, both in terms of the read and simply physically moving the book.

  77. @ScottB – I am not really a Marvel Zombie and longer and I loved 1602.  It’s just an interesting story and fun to read.

  78. Is it bad that my stack is just as big?

  79. At least the pictures are pretty.

  80. @jstump & ScottB – yeah, I’m not much of a MZ either but I thought 1602 was pretty alright and interesting for what it wanted to be.

    Though I can’t for the life of me remember the ending.

  81. "That’s all folks!"

  82. Thank you.  this was a present to me.

    makes me feel better about having a few "read long boxes"

  83. That was just scary. At first I thought, ‘OK I’m normal’ but then I thought ‘Look how I could end up’. Seeing that stack has made me question my own sanity, for yours Paul I fear there is no hope.

    What’s really scary is there are Vol 1 trades in there. If you like them you’ll have to buy the rest. 

  84. i have a mean stack of trades myself.  from hell is in there too, but thats just plain madness

  85. You have more books in your stack than I have on my shelf.

  86. My god.

  87. wow thats an intense stack im glad i dont have to deal with it

  88. I found My Monkey’s Name Is Jennifer in the half off bin at a store other than my LCS about a month ago, recognized it from the video show, and picked it up without hesitation. Sir, that needs to move to the top of your stack immediately. Followed by Local.

    By the way, how far did some of those poor books have to fall before having omnibi dropped upon them? Ouch!

  89. No books were harmed in the filming of this documentary.  They dropped about a foot to a pile of pillows off to the right.  

  90. Awesome video. I especially loved mouse/elephant costume at the end, very cool.

  91. Hey PAul, Any chance we could see the stack you DID read.

    Also, can I have the ones you don’t like?

  92. @Jesse1125 –

    1.) As expressed in the documentary, I can’t actually read.  And I can only do math on shovels.  

    2.) Sorry, but no.  I’m building a fort out of these.  

  93. Paul just has his 19-digited housekeeper Aude read to him.  Once they knock out The Day I Swapped My Dad For Two Goldfish, they can move on to the big boy books.

  94. Ugh… looking at that stack hurts… but, in retrospect it makes mine look better…

     Gotta read: Ultimate Spider-Man Scriptbook, The Dark Knight Strikes Again, Amazing Spider-Man Essentials 4-8, Fantastic Four Essentials 1-3, Daredevil Essentials 1-3, Tales from the Clerks, Teen Titans Year One, Robin Year One, Invincible Ultimate Collections 2-3, Daredevil by Brubaker vols 1-4, Welcome Back Frank, Wizard Spider-Man Spectacular, Young Bond: Silverfin, Barry Ween vol 1, My Monkey’s Name Is Jennifer, Captain America Omnibus, Ultimate Iron Man 1 and 2, Wanted, Superman For Tomorrow, Every JMS Spider-Man, Gotham Noir, Gotham Central vol. 1, Batman False Faces, Gotham By Gaslight, Superman For All Seasons, Hulk Gray, Spider-Man Blue, Daredevil Yellow, Batman Chronicles 1-3, Superman Chronicles 1 and (when it arrives) Scott Pilgrim 5…

     Christ…and I plan to pass my exams this year 😐