Return to Stack Week, Part V: Intentions and Dust Bunnies


To paraphrase Dr. Jones, “Stacks… why did it have to be stacks?” My first article was all about my comic book lifecycle — and the first picture was, indeed, a stack. And now… well, this time I spread out my current stack out for you, above.

For me, a good stack is all about intention — as in, “I believe in you, [media object], I just did not care about you as much this other [media object], not because of you, it’s just that… well, the other one spoke to me more at the moment. But I will keep you in my heart and make sure to attend to your needs later. Really.” I am pleased to say that my reading stack is pretty straightforward — you’ll not see any trades in these, just comics — and recent ones at that. (My other stacks will just have to wait.)

Let’s go through the pic, shall we?

First off, we have the Thor: Rise of the One Shot, That Is, Until We Finish #600 Stack

Did anyone else notice that run of Thor one shots? I tell you, I have looked and looked and looked at these but when I open them up, I just… well, I get tired. I want to like Thor — I love the idea of Thor and feel some affinity with him for some reason (I think I dressed up like him in grammar school; I just remember that mask with the blonde hair) — but whenever I opened the one shots, I just found myself daydreaming. And it’s not the language… or maybe it is. I dunno. I promised myself I would read these one shots before Thor #600 came out, so I have my work cut out for me. But I have found that oftentimes it is good to give your stacked comics some kind of ultimatum: “Okay, 100 Bullets, you got me — but once your arc is done, I am going to read you all at once, so suck on that for awhile!” If you don’t have some kind of milestone, it’s quite possible that that specific part of the stack will continue to grow. Another good rule is that if a certain title reaches 12 issues, you either need to read it all or have quit reading the book 8 issues ago. I find that a title stack, once it hits four or five issues, points to larger problems with the comic relationship.




Second, we have the Should I Just Wait For the Trade? Stack

There are plenty of examples of this kind of stack, but my choices just happen to be what I had waiting for me when I looked in my night stand this morning. Now, to be clear, this does not mean that these books are of less quality or of less interest than other books. If anything, they are extra special, because there’s this idea that I could just skip the whole floppy-buying and go for the longer lasting and “easier to find in my bookshelf and read whenever I want” stage in the middle of the run! Like, I am loving — loving — The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and I know I am going to buy the trade, but for some reason I keep buying the floppy, but I am not reading the floppy because, I think subconsciously, I really want to read the story in its entirety when it comes out in trade. The Hellboy: Wild Hunt situation is much the same. I am really liking this 8 issue arc/maxi-series, but it’s almost aggravating to have it come out in single issues, so I am either “saving up” for when I have all of the issues, or rethinking it and waiting for the trade. Sigh, I don’t know what to do, hence both of these issues remain unread.






Third, it’s the I Found These Under My Bed Stack

This really happened to me last night. I was finishing up a book and remembered that I still hadn’t read X-Men Annual #2. I knew I had bought the book but it didn’t make it with me during my travels, but it also was not in my nightstand. So, I leaned out of my bed and looked underneath, and lo and behold, I found a bunch of books that I had completely forgotten about but had planned to read but then wanted to make the room look clean so had shoved them under the bed in a panic. This does not need further explanation, but I hope it serves as a warning — “out of sight, out of mind” takes on a whole different tenor when you add old socks, shoes and dust bunnies to the mix.








Fourth, I’ve got the Cool Books That I Like Reading But Have Not Had Any Time Stack

(Well, with the slight exception of X-Infernus, I am ambivalent about it; I like the art but I really don’t know why I should care about the story since I don’t know the background of it.)

This is basically my “to do” stack — Jonah Hex, Ultimate Spider-Man, and DMZ have all been my “must read first!” book at one point — but other times I like to read my most anticipated book last, which can screw up everything. Honestly? I wish all of my stacks were like this, where I know the books in the stacks are books that I really like and can’t wait to read. But as with many things in our life, we must temper desire with the demands of time. In fact, now that I have written this paragraph, I am promising those books that I will read them tonight — but I think I will read X-Infernus last.






And finally, we have the I Still Read Books Stack, which is actually a lot larger than this copy of Thirteen, which I am about 150 pages into. I do like reading “regular” books a lot and, indeed, before I started buying comics (almost) weekly, it’s impacted my usual reading schedule. But hey, this is a good problem to have, I guess.




So that’s what my current reading stack looks like. I am actually relieved that it’s not larger — I took a bunch of books on the plane two weeks ago and was able to ravage the queue, but I obviously have work to do. I have other stacks (movies to watch, screenplays to write), but let’s save them for future weeks. How about you? Any variances in your stack(s)? How do you prioritize? How can you help us all??



Mike Romo is an actor who lives in LA. He gets lot of Netflix emails asking “When did you send this movie to us?” because they get lost in his “shiny disc” stack.  He can be reached at, facebook and twitter.


  1. Haha, single issues.  A new element to the equation.  

    Let me throw a wrench into the works on the Hellboy situation.  The 8 issue arc is going on hiatus after issue 4. They’re apparently taking a break to catch up after a midpoint cliffhanger.  So it’s going to take a little longer to read the full story.     

  2. Does anyone longbox their trades here?

  3. To cut down your single issue stack is simple: just explain to your significant other how you are buying books at four dollars a pop and not reading them.   Especially effective with your "buy singles but wait for the trade" sickness.

  4. One good thing about stacks is that at least you have something waiting on you to read when you get home. Beats re-reading something for 2nd, 3rd, or 10th time. I, too, have a growing stack of "Thor" comics even though I like the darn thing. I’m not sure why that one gives me pause.

  5. @LukusLuke I do but only due to me not owning a bookshelf at the moment (And even before that, not even shelves)

     The Found Under The Bed stuff is always the best. 

  6. In feng shui, they say that whatever you have under your bed will influence your dreams. The recommendation is to store only sheets under your bed, but I think they can add comics to the safe items – I’m sure that if they do influence your dreams, it’s all good.

  7. Actually, I quite enjoy having a stack of unread comics around the house. I’ve got a nice stack of Green Lantern, Corps and Johns’ Teen Titans just sitting around waiting to be read. 

  8. Of course the one time I get on the Hellboy train, it has a layover in Cleveland. Of course it does.

    (Hadn’t heard about that.)

    Mike, I appreciate you calling attention to the one shots. There seems to have been an onslaught lately of side stories starring people who have their own books already. Thor and Wolverine specifically. I feel like I should be able to see what the strategy is there, but so far I haven’t quite puzzled it out.

    And as for prose books… yeeks. I’m not even looking at that shelf.

  9. Those Matt Fraction Thor one-shots especially are really good. Nice, out-of-continuity stories all interconnected but not relying on each other.

  10. I don’t even want to think about the movie and prose book stacks.  The comic stack ends up being the priority because I can make my way through them more quickly.  They stay in a box in the basement closet so that I don’t have to look at them. 

     @sonia  what if it is a stack of Hellblazer comics?  Yikes.

  11. These articles made me feel proud at first, because I don’t have a stack. But then I remembered that a good chunk of trades I bought in San Diego last year just got filed away in my longboxes.

  12. I am suprised that this is the first singles issues have come up in the equation. You would think with huge pulls done everweek for the show plus things that maybe picked up out of interest there would be more of these left by the wayside. I also have the double dipping disease with certain books. The wonderful wizard of Oz is one of then and Fables is the other. Mostly becuase they trades are taking so long. I heard that they are doing all the books which take a whiie so the collected edition will take too long.

  13. @voodoomama: We have to read the singles right away to do the POW show. 

  14. nice single issues thats awesome man. i feel the same way every week

  15. @ conor even if you’re just picking up something out of curiosity? Or if someone passes on a copy of something?

  16. @voodoomama: Yeah, that stuff gets read right away too, for the most part.

  17. Mike I feel you on the Wizard of Oz.  It’s great in single issues, though, and since you’ve already started you may as well finish out.  You can always switch over when the second series begins.

  18. I love that Oz book so much, I’ll buy it in every format they publish it in. I hope they adapt everything L. Frank Baum ever wrote. Everybody go to and tell him he rocks.

  19. Its really funny that you guys are doing this whole "stack" thing this week, and also a bit of a coincidence because I got so many PS3 games for Xmas that I actually got a unread stack of TPBs and comics, as well as a stack of unplayed games!!!

     My stack is a little smaller then yours, but has a few similiarities.  Here goes:

    DMZ Volume Six: I’m just not that interested in this anymore for some reason.  I totally hated volume five and once I started reading six, I hardly remembered what the story was really about.

    Preacher volumes three and four:  I just bought this today so gimme a damn break.

    Essential Godzilla: The cover fell off of this one so I’m going to get around to reading it once I remember to buy some superglue to put it back together!

    X-Men From The Ashes: Chris Clairmont’s stuff just reads so damn slow and so much fucking narration!!

    All Star Superman volume two: I just bought this last week.  Once I glanced at it, I realized that I would be a lot better off rereading volume one again before I go for this one.

    Ultimate Spiderman volume one: I really don’t have a good excuse for this one, I think I’m going to read it tonight actually.

    Fables volume one: I just bought this one last week also.

    Essential Peter Parker is the Spectacular Spiderman volumes one, two, and three: These are physically in my stack yet because I ordered them from Lonestar Comics in Texas, but UPS didn’t bring them yet!

    Detective Comics run of issues #600 through #628:  I bought all of these for eight dollars on Ebay and then stuffed them in a shoebox under my bed.  I just once again realized that I owned them so that might has something to do with why I haven’t gotten around to reading them yet.

    Batman Chronicles issues #1 though #16:  I read a couple and I just don’t like them.  Worst art ever, stories are usually non-canon and just stupid.

    The Amazing Spiderman The Complete Collection DVD-ROM:  I was so happy when I got this.  I read the first 20 issues of Amazing Spiderman from the 1960s and then the damn disc wouldn’t work right when I put it in my laptop anymore, it just kept making all these loud and annoying spinning noise until I just game up on it.  I’m currently in the process of exchanging it for one that works right with the Ebay seller I got it from.

     Ghost Rider The Complete Collection DVD-ROM:  I just bought this at Circuit City’s going out of business sale last night!  I only paid $12!!  That’s a deal, son!!

    Shit, speaking of stacks, I also got Fallout 3, Resistance 2, Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion Game of the Year Edition, and Battlefield Bad Company that I haven’t even tried yet for my PS3.  It’s a good thing that I’m a loser on unemployment that has nothing else to do with his life or I might not have time for all this shit!!

  20. Am I alone in finding stack week depressing? All that money spent on things we struggle to get to read. Let alone books, podcasts, vodcasts, DVD, cinema trips and music. If I added all that to my stack and it fell, it could result in a fatality.

    For me some rules for managing my stack
    1) Accept some things are for dipping in and out of and not to be read completely
    2) No buying trades if there are more than 3 waiting to be read
    3) No buying just because I’m in a different comic shop
    4) No hiding books, at first I thought my stack was small and then I realised that I’d just put them in lots of different places
    5) No looking at the recommendations on amazon
    6) Get a library card
    7) If it’s been in there over a year put it on eBay

    Anyone else going to set some rules to their stack habit? Anyone else going to seek treatment for their OCD?

  21. @Pompster It’s all about perspective. I genuinely intend to read the books, and when times are tight and I can’t afford the time or money to go shopping, I really appreciate that I have all of this good stuff available. But your resolutions are good, and I think I’ll use them as a guide. Nice icon btw.

  22. @Pompster—-Sadly I’m a victim of violating #’s 2&3. Also, since I don’t crap money ($100 Omnibus sheeet) I’ll try #6 more often . Great Ideas man!

  23. @Pompster–excellent rules!  Must obey 😉 

    I agree totally with Rule #1: Some things are meant for reading in and out of.  Amendment: But go ahead and buy them anyway for that special "rainy day."

    Rule #2: Don’t buy trades if there are 3 waiting to be read.  Amendment: unless you run into them really, really cheap 🙂

    Rule #3: Certainly just going to a different shop for looking around is fun, & don’t feel obligated to buy anything.  Remember, we all have that "stack" of books at home.  Amendment: But if you find something that looks promising, or the other shop does not have it, go ahead and pick it up, it’s RIGHT there begging your attention!

    Rule #4: Certainly I agree, we are all running out of room.  Amendment:  But I plan on moving some time in my life, I’ll get a bigger place. Rule #5:  Amazon, boy that’ll make you let go of some dough, still it’s fun to browse.  Amendment: Doh! Free shipping.

    Rule #6: Get a library card.  For sure.  Love the library!  They have a lot of book, magazines, CDs, DVD & VHS stuff at the one here in my small town, even a few comics to read, but not a huge amount.  Amendment: See Rule #5–Head over to Amazon.

    Rule #7: Put it on Ebay after a year.  Great idea.  Amendment: Am I kidding.  I’ll just have to buy it back a year later at probably twice the price.

    and Rule #8: it’s hopeless, I horde. I am a hopeless fanboy 🙂


  24. Rules: You buy a bunch of books but don’t got a decent amount of comics in your library, give them the comics and make sure they display them in the library.

    That’s how you get rid of comics… a good cause and you’ll have more of an inclination to give great stuff. I tried giving it to several hospitals but the most promising one said that they only accept new books – I told them I had books and comic books that were like new and others in very good shape, but they didn’t want any.

    Anoither hospital  got back to me after a month, but it’s not promising and I already agreed with some library to give them a lot of books and some comics books.

    Or you can always go "Hey nephew, you like those Final Crisis issues? Look at those: Batman, ya? whoosh? no that’s Superman, ya? Invisible car, cool huh?" and save the money on something he actually wants. Credit crunch after all… make him think he likes the gift.