Stack Week, Part IV: A New Hope?

Welcome to Part IV of Stack Week, in which our resilient hero realizes that the best way to manage one’s comic book reading is in a krishna-esque absolving of material possessions.  Or so he thought.  This time, it’s personal.

When we laid out our plans for the week of stacks, in which we would share our innermost secrets and bare our souls to the world and show off the stack of comics we own that have yet go read, a large aspect of my life was put into focus. You see, while we all admit to having this guilty stack of comics that have gone unread, usually I’m not the type of guy who lets his comics go unread. When I lay down hard earned cash for a comic, I make a point of it to read it within hours of purchasing it, solely to capture the essence of energy and excitement one gets when finding, picking and buying that cherished comic book. But times are busy and I’m just like anyone else, and my reading pile has built up, but that’s not what I find interesting. No, it’s the fact that I even have a stack in the first place.

For anyone playing along at home, and I know you are, you may know that I recently “moved” to San Francisco. And by moving, that means I packed a bag of clothes, grabbed my laptop and hopped a plane west from New York. 95% of my possessions are still on the East Coast, including my 32 long boxes of comics, my shelves of trade paperbacks and all other comics related items. Sure, I buy my comics here in SF and I’ve been filling up yet another long box with issues. But my personal library, so to speak, has been placed on hold. And by putting my personal library on hold while I navigate the concept of moving cross country, I found myself in the enviable position of having eradicated my stack. My stack of unread books went read, mostly from flying cross country as much as I do. It was a glorious moment of freedom, I had no spines of books staring at me, unread.

And so, when the plot was hatched to share this week with you what our stacks looked like, I laughed in triumph about how this article would be a primer as to how to conquer your stack, read your comics and not feel any guilt. But then I turned around and looked my shelf, and saw it. The new Starman Omnibus, Vol. 1. Still in the plastic. Ouch. I meant to read that the night I got it. Then I scanned a little to the left…oh. There’s that Alan Davis Captain Britain trade I bought a few weeks ago at a Bay Area comic store having a clearance sale. Crap, I was super excited for that wasn’t I? But two books hardly make a stack, they’re just anomalies. But then I saw Cerebus, Volume 2: High Society and then it hit me. My past has caught up with me and karma is laughing at me square in the face.

I’ve got a stack again. Crap.


Now mind you, it’s not a big stack. Having limited personal possessions helps to keep from accumulating too much. But apparently we’re magnets for these darn comic books, and we can’t stop buying and reading them. And so now, I present to you, my current stack:

Starman Omnibus, Vol. 1

As mentioned above, yes this is still in the plastic, but I plan to read the hell out of it — maybe this weekend.

How to Make Web Comics

I don’t know if this qualifies as a comic book, but it’s a book about comics by Image Comics, so it’s close enough, right? I may get to this sometime this summer

Capes: Punching The Clock, Vol. 1

Apparently Robert Kirkman wrote this? I have no idea when I bought this.

Madman and The Atomics, Vol. 1

The recent Madman series from Image got me so excited, I planned to read all the previous material I could get my hands on. Best laid plans I guess and I never progressed past this volume.

Cerebus, Vol. 2: High Society

I pledged earlier this year that I would read the entire run of Cerebus. I finished volume 1 back in March or so. Much like my homework in middle school, I decided I would read volume 2, “later”.

Captain Britain

This gem of Alan Davis work on Captain Britain has gone untouched, not for any lack of appreciation for the character or of Alan Davis. Rather just…indifference. Maybe now that he’s dead, I’ll need to revisit Brian Braddock, at least I’ll be prepared.

The New Smithsonian Book of Comic Book Stories

This was a gift and an awesome one at that. A big ol’ hardcover anthology of comics, that as the cover says “From Crumb to Clowes” This dandy should be a must have for everyone — but it’s so heavy…

And such is my modest stack. As much as I’ve tried to shun these earthly possessions, I’ve been unsuccessful. We lament the lack of time to spend reading casually and the sort, and I thought I had moved beyond that all, but it just goes to show, that you can never really shake it.

Finally, I present to you a stunning example of the beaming pride and embarrassed shame of a comic book collector. In addition to my stack of unread trades, I have a stack of un-read issues of the All Star Squadron. Written by Roy Thomas back in the early 80s, these stories are supposedly great golden age-esque tales of the characters of the Justice Society of America and came highly recommended to me by a trusted source. I lucked into a large stack of these issues at a comic shop and snatched them all up. But as opposed to reading them, I’ve decided to wait until I have collected the entire run, so I can read them uninterrupted. Will that happen this year? I couldn’t tell you, but I’m rooting for myself to pull it off…





  1. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    It’s like A History of Violence.  You start up a new life in a new town, and Ed Harris The Stack shows up to drag you back into that world.  You can’t escape!

  2. I think it would be weird to have my collection on the other side of the country.  I can’t imagine how hard it is for Ron.  Yowsa.

  3. @ PaulMontgomery.

     I would enjoy it if a scared Ed Harris came after Ron. It could be a mini.

  4. You need to be reading that Captain Britain trade – not quite up there with the Alan Moore run that directly precedes it, but not that far off either.

    Lovely art too of course.

  5. High Society is the only Cerebus I own. I’ve read all of them up to the last two (thanks, Carnegie Library system!), but this is the only one I liked enough to buy. Time to buck up and get to it, son. After all, you’ve already read Starman, right?

  6. @ Ron — I too have been trying to read Cerebus. I made it out of volume one and m a third of the way through vol. two… maybe before the year is up i’ll finally be ready to start High Society. The two parter that I’ve been wanting to read for years.

  7. Not High Society — I meant Church and State — parts one and two. Oye.

  8. Stack week is depressing me–it’s making me look at my own stackS and ask "WHAT THE FUGG AM I DOING?!?" I think I have a problem….