Return to Stack Week, Part VI: Stack Lives

One of the surprising things (or not so surprising things depending on your point of view) about about doing iFanboy is the effect it’s had on my personal reading habits. I used to read comics for fun and for the love of reading them. Now, while it’s still about the fun and the love of reading comics, there’s a certain level of obligation or responsibility involved. Every week, I have to read my stack of issues for the audio show. Believe it or not, we read a lot of books in preparation for the video show. And then there’s the book of the month, and the comics I promise publishers or creators that I’ll read and give feedback on. There’s a whole lot of reading going on. Not that I’m complaining, it’s all fantastic, but my purely recreational reading has paid the price, and that’s reflected greatly by the presence of my current stack of books to read. 

And so my stack stares at me like a scorned and neglected lover. I know it’s sitting there silently judging me, waiting for its moment to strike. Lord know what will happen when that day will come. So I guess I better get reading.

That said, here is the current state of the Stack di Richards:

Oh yeah, I like these comics…

Recently I found myself in my local comic book store with a gift certificate to kill. I browsed the shelves and hit the Vertigo section and remembered “Oh hey, I was reading a couple of series, wasn’t I?” And I dug deep to remember:

The Losers, Vol. 3: “Trifecta”by Andy Diggle and Jock and The Exterminators, Vol. 4: “Crossfire and Collateral” by Simon Oliver, Darick Robertson and Ty Templeton. I had started reading both of these series about a year ago, reading the trades that my ex-girlfriend had in her library and enjoyed both series immensely and meant to go get the remaining trades to finish reading them… but that never happened. Well, life is all about redemption and that’s what I’m trying to do here. These are the smaller sizes trades in my stack, so hopefully I can read them and actually finish these series one day. Personally, I can’t wait.

A Little Esoterica Please…

At any given point, there is usually a few books that I’m constantly hearing about and just looking for a reason to read, but for whatever reason, I get delayed or I don’t get the book or whatever else that may get in the way of being able to talk about a book. Usually it’s these books that several people I know swear by and absolutely adore, and uncharacteristically, I have nothing to say about them. Finally I just have to put my foot down and read them. Skyscrapers of the Midwest by Josh Cotter is definitely one of those books. It’s a book that I’ve heard nothing but good things, really positive “indie buzz” about this hardcover collection of the acclaimed Skyscrapers of the Midwest. The book itself is beautiful and I’ve eagerly flipped through it in the store numerous times. Finally around Christmas, I picked myself up a copy (at the same time as buying it for Josh for Christmas) determined to see what everyone is talking about.

And then there is the legendary book. The Compleat Cannon by Wally Wood. My local comic shop owner has raved about this collection for years, telling me of its greatness and even letting me flip through his copy once. Imagine my delight when I came to the store one day and pulled me into the back room and presented me with my very own copy of the greatest comic ever published. Apparently a bunch of these long out of print books were “found in a warehouse” and he got his hands on a few and deemed me worth to be able to buy one. What makes this comic so amazing? Well it purely is a slice of history. First, it’s by the comics legend Wally Wood. Don’t know who Wally Wood is? You should. Second, the content of the comic is just amazing. Produced for our soldiers during the Vietnam War, Cannon is a comic full of military violence, naked women, and spies. Does it get any better than that? No it doesn’t and I can’t wait to curl up and read about the amazing Cannon and his adventures.

Finally a book that I’ve read before but not in this format. One of my favorite indie books of the 2000s, Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly’s beautiful Local. But not just Local, the Local hardcover which is one of the most pretty hardcover collections I’ve seen in ages. I read Local in issues, and rarely re-read the issues, so sitting down with his hardcover and re-experiencing the book from beginning to end, as well as all the bonus materials will be a delight. The bonus for this book is watching Ryan Kelly’s art mature over the span of years and the stories contained within the book.

Apparently I like the Fantastic Four…

It’s no surprise that I’m a fan of the Marvel Omnibus collections. I’m just about ready to give up on ever being able to collect the original issues of the classic 1960s Marvel Comics, and for whatever reason I haven’t been a fan of the Masterworks reprints. Sure, I like the Essentials, but sometimes you want to see the comic in full color. Fantastic Four Omnibus, Vol. 2 is the one that I know will deliver entertainment. Last year, I loved volume 1 of the Omnibus, seeing how Marvel’s first family got started and enjoying the moment in history that it represented. Volume 2 promise not only more of that, but some of the best stories Stan Lee and Jack Kirby ever created, including the classic Galactus story which is emblazoned on the cover of this omnibus.

For a bit more modern turn, I was able to finally track down the hardcovers of Fantastic Four, Vol. 2 & Fantastic Four, Vol. 3 from Mark Waid and the late, great Mike Wieringo’s run. I got volume 1 when we were producing our show about Mike Wieringo and have meant to complete the run. Of course buying volume 1 in hardcover locked me into getting the rest of the run in hardcover, which proved to be a bit difficult to find. But after a few random trips to comic book stores, I was able to track them down. Now I can finally see how the story ends.

The don’t all have to be comics…

Finally, a healthy comic reader not only reads comics, but reads things about comics. I’m a big fan of comics magazines, reading everything from Wizard to the late Comic Foundry to Comics Now! (when it comes out). But the one comics periodical I haven’t read all that often as been The Comics Journal. With The Comics Journal #295, I decided it was time to change that. With an interview with Brian K. Vaughan featured on the cover, I figured this was as good as any issue to start with. Have you ever read The Comics Journal? It’s hard! Clocking in at over 200 pages, it’s dense as hell! The Brian K. Vaughan interview itself is over 30 pages! This may end up taking forever. I don’t know if I can keep up buying every issue if they’re all this thick, but I’ll give it a try.

Conor and I have long bemoaned Josh’s lack of appreciation of Jack Kirby. So when I heard that he read a book that changed his mind, I have to read that book. And so the lone comics book that I got from my family for Christmas makes it on to my pile: Kirby: King of Comics. This in depth book of Jack Kirby, his career and his art is a must have for any comics fan and if it was powerful enough to get Josh to come around to the King of comics, Mr. Jack Kirby, then it must be good.

And finally, even though it has nothing to do with comics, it’s kinda related:  The Making of Star Wars. I’m a sucker for any books about Star Wars (the original trilogy) and the stories around the making of my favorite movie of all time. I heard this book is fantastic and will gladly make the time to read it.

And so concludes this trip to the dark, dirty secret of my stack. We’ll see how long it takes me to get through it. I’m guessing I won’t be able to make a noticeable dent until the spring, but I’m hopeful. Wish me luck and let’s pray that the stack doesn’t get impatient and take matters into it’s own hands…


  1. My favorite behind-the-scenes book about Star Wars is called The Secret History of Star Wars, which you can find as a free ebook if it hasn’t been printed yet. It basically just collects various interviews George Lucas has made over the years and shows how he contradicts himself and generally has no idea what he is going to do next.
    God, I hate that guy.

  2. Those Waid/’Ringo FF issues were awesome. If I remember, that second volume is the FF in Latveria storyline, which was amazing, as was the Galactus arc in Vol. 3. Have fun with those.

  3. Should Local really count? I mean I understand you havent read it the HC yet but….you have the issues dont you?

    But I am more upset that people dont read ‘Kirby: King of Comics!’ more often. That is a fantastic book and has some of the best pencils you’ll see from any artist. It’s worth every dollar it costs and people who love comics should immedately buy it.

  4. I’ve read every Stan & Jack Fantastic Four, and it’s always awesome!!  It just continues in new directions constantly, and the art and dialogue are superb!

  5. For some reason since it was Ron, I didn’t read the title correctly instead of Lives like "They Live" I read it as Lives from "Day of our Lives."  I got excited thinking that Ron was either going to do this as one long trashy soap opera, all of his comics battling for his heart or a commentary on how he doesn’t have time for his "Stories" anymore.

    Although he did talk about how it stares at him like a scorned lover, silently judging.

  6. I should buy the FF Omnibus.  I have the Marvel Masterworks Vol 1 around somewhere and I love the first issues of the FF.  Issue 7 is one of my favorite single issue stories ever.

  7. I think you should have covered up those tits. I know this is the internet and kids can see that stuff anywhere, but still this website is usually really clean.

    Other than that sweet article.

  8. I think the fact that you used the word "tits" is ironic.

  9. I’ll take ron’s word that the ‘Compleat Cannon’ is a good read but… many people honestly looked at this or bought it because of the cover? Be honest 🙂

  10. There are lots of books out there that have nudity.  I don’t remember any of them.  If something is supposed to be trashy, but isn’t, and people still remember it 30-40 years down the road, there’s probably something to that, don’t you think?

  11. @josh: Oh yeah, I mean ron described the reason why that book was a great read. It didnt have anything to do with anything trashy or the like….

    But obviously sex sells; more people have comment on the naked girl on the cover then ‘wow what a great comic, I gotta get that!’.

  12. Ron, you need to finish the Losers.  Pronto.  That book is so awesome.

  13. NSFW image lol

  14. @TheNextChampion – Dumbo’s ass might be great looking, and Bambie’s mom is a MILF, but that’s not why I went to see those movies. Sex only gets you there. The content keeps you.

  15. art should be viewed as it was created.

  16. @chlop: A beastiality joke? That is the best you could offer? 😛

  17. I don’t use human skin to create dust jackets for books anymore, and I feel jokes should reflect the inner me, so beastiality it is.

  18. The Kirby: King of Comics book is FANTASTIC. I bought it last year at the Comic Con (they were selling the rest of the 1st editions at the booth). The art looks so great on a larger scale.

  19. that kirby book looks amazing. and your stack looks good ron. mine cant compare lol

  20. I got that Making of Star Wars book for Christmas, as well. The photos alone are a good enough reason to buy it. Add in a LOT of detailed prose about how the movie actually came to be, and it’s damn awesome. I’ve only managed to read the first 30 pages so far, but think I’ll have to devote my prose reading time solely to this book after I finish my current book.

  21. The Cannon/Wally Wood book looks interesting, too bad it’s hard to find.  I think that’s something I might enjoy.  Several year ago, there was a mini series of WW called The World of Wood and contained some SF and fantasy stuff in it he’d done.  Most of the women were sexy–I guess one of his hallmarks, so why not flaunt that on the cover?  Plus, it just might have something to do with the content inside, being on the American GI in Vietnam, war, etc. I’ve certainly heard GI’s stories detailing some of the boys towns over there, gambling, prostitution, etc.  So I’d expect a bit of that in the book, and also the content might be for more mature readers, hence the tip off on the cover.  At any rate, I’d like to check out that as well.

    The Jack Kirby tome looks very intersting as well.  Have to keep an eye out for that, thanks for the recommendation.  Yes, I used to be a diehard The Comics Journal reader during the pre PC/internet thing–yep, I’m older than dirt.  At any rate, it was a good way to keep up with comics and creators.  and the interviews were much more indepth than other fanzines and magazines from that time.  I still have my back issues which I’ll never part with, but they have interviews by old school guys like Jack Kirby, Frank Miller, Stan Lee, Will Eisner, The EC Comics guys, Alan Moore, to newer creators like Art Spiegelman, Neil Gaimen, Gary Panter, Peter Bagge, Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes, and more. They would talk about who they were influenced by, and who they admired either as an artist or creator, and sometimes about where and their life growing up, etc.  Plus criticisms and such.  They used to be great reads back then, but then they got too be too big, and started a newer direction with creators and such I was less interested in, so grew out of touch with the magazine.  Plus most newstands wouldn’t handle them for one reason or the other, so I got out of touch.  At any rate, if they have some I am interested in, I’ll pick one up–good call. 

    By the way to all three geeksters: Ron, Josh, and Conner, I love these lastest installments of back issues and graphic novels you have not read.  So many great books, and so little time.  I’m there with you.  I have stuff I have yet to get around to reading or started and have yet to finish.  A couple of books are:  James Robertson’s Starman, Dave Sim’s Cerebus: Jaka’s Story, Elfquest by Wendy & Richard Pini, Castel Waiting the large tome, by Linda Medley, and some others.  Fun columns though, ya’ll rock 😉