Stack Week, Part Two: It Grows…

This is part two of an ongoing series on the collective stacks of unread comics those of us at iFanboy have gathered. Unlike Shark Week, Stack Week will have no narration by Mike Rowe, very much to our detriment.  And much like Hooper in one of my favorite movies of all time, I say to you, “I’ve got that beat.”

Way back on March 5, I admitted my problem, and made public the pile of books I wasn’t reading. So, let’s continue my catharsis and I’ll update on where the old stack was, and where we are now. You’ll have to wait for reviews, as I run a comic book website, and very often need something to talk about. You can feel free to ask anything about any of these books in the comments, and I’ll discuss them, or admonish me those those poor, unread soldiers.

Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser – Status: READ
Who Killed Retro Girl? – Status: UNREAD (except first issue) Excuse: I’ve read these before, and while I’m excited to read them again, there’s always new stuff coming in, isn’t there?
Cosmic Odyssey – Status: READ
Exit Wounds – Status: READ
The Great Taste of Deep Fried – Status: UNREAD (well, not read any further since the last time.) Excuse: It’s a humor anthology. Good in short chunks, quickly losing speed in marathon sessions.
Love and Rockets, Maggie the Mechanic – Status: UNREAD Excuse: I have none. I think secretly, I don’t want to read this, because if I like it, I’ll have to get more, and if I don’t like it, I’ll be the guy who doesn’t like one of the greatest indie books ever. It’s lose-lose.
Batman: Nine Lives
– Status: READ  Since we already did a show on this, I’ll let you know that I quite liked it, possibly more than I expected to. It’s a case of an artist (Michael Lark) who really adds to the overall book by leaps and bounds, sort of like when a sort of pretty girl (or guy) has a foreign accent.
– Status: READ
Ghost Stories
– Status: READ (I wasn’t kidding about that crying thing.)
Capote in Kansas
– Status: UNREAD  Excuse: It’s a small book, and I lose track of it!
– Status: READ

This brings us, three months and change later, to the current stack. Of the 11 books, I’d read 7, and left 4 unread. I can guarantee you that I’ve read a lot of books in that time, so I’m intentionally skipping over stuff, yet of the four left unread, I only own and paid for one of them, and the rest are either borrowed books, comps, or gifts.

In short the stack has grown. I had thought that going forward, working on iFanboy, I’d have more time to read, and sadly, this has not proven to be the case. I’m not here to whine about writing for the site, and producing content for the site, because it’s the best thing ever. Believe me. But I’ve had zero time to read during the days, and at night, I need my beauty sleep. I do appear on camera, do I not?

So let us proceed with the excuse-making and very shallow soul searching. From the top!

Tales to Astonish

This is a short prose book about how Jack Kirby got screwed over. I want to read it very much, but if you look to the lower left of the photo, you will see another prose novel, Stephen Ambrose’s Citizen Soldiers, which I am about halfway through, and have been reading for about 5-6 months. As I no longer have a commute, my prose reading has ground to a halt. This is too bad, because I really like reading regular books as well, but if I can’t find time to read comics, then what can you expect?

Drawing Words & Writing Pictures

This is a lot like How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way, but instead from indie publisher First Second Books. I’ve leafed through it, and am really looking forward to it, and hope to do something on a video with it in the near future. Also, it might help me learn something. On the other hand, it could be an utter waste of time. But it’s a really nice package, with glassy pages and big landscape printing.

Reinventing Comics

You remember the show we did on Understanding Comics, back in April? Since then, I’ve been meaning to read Ron’s copy of the follow up, yet there it sits. I’m guessing this is the same phenomena that makes people delay reading McCloud’s first book.

The Rest of The Stack

Under there are 5 volumes of Hellblazer, sent to me by a very generous iFanbase member looking to clear out his storehouse prior to moving. I am eternally grateful, and if he’s reading this, let me know your name, because I lost the email, and I owe you big time. I’ve been reading these happily, but it seems I’m missing one in the middle, by Ennis and Dillon, and I don’t want to proceed until I read that one. You can see the irony here I’m sure. I can’t read them because I need to buy more books, but I shouldn’t buy more books because I have too many books. Argh! Either way, there are two volumes of Ennis stories left, and then some Warren Ellis material, as well as everything leading up to Azzarello’s run, when I started reading it in issues, many years back.

Under those is a healthy stack of randomly numbered issues from Image, Dark Horse, and Viper Comics of all sorts of different series. These have been around for quite awhile, and I’m not making any promises. I did read Atom Eve #2, and mostly liked it.

You’ll notice the newest Thor hardcover in there next, sent to me by Six Gun, an intrepid supporter of the title, as well as iFanboy, and he took action against my initial condemnation of any and all things JMS. I’ve actually read this, and am planning how I will write it up here on the site. Stay tuned.

Following those are a mini stack of 4 books recently borrowed from one, Conor Kilpatrick, obviously not averse to being my enabler. There you’ll see the third and fourth volumes of DMZ, a series I love but only read from Conor’s collection. I took the Infinite Crisis trade, because I ignored it when it was coming out, and figure I should give it a shot. I’ll be surprised if I actually like it, but I must give them the benefit of the doubt, because I’d like to be a fair man. The final volume from the Kilpatrick Memorial Library is Fear Agent, Vol. 2, which I just never read, even though I’ve been reading the single issues for over a year.

Mixed in among those is Jonathan Hickman’s The Nightly News trade paperback, which I’d been meaning to buy for a good long while, and am very much looking forward to reading, but wanted to wait until I had some time to really get into it, as Hickman is not one to write light, fluffy material, and I don’t want to miss a thing.  This one is favoring highly to be read soon.

Maggie the Mechanic, thick, in bold red colors is still there, mocking me, as described above, and back in March as well.

Continuing down, are two books from Viper Comics, in the lovely digest size, Oddly Normal Family Reunion, and The Expendable One. I have no idea what these books are about, and the former is the second volume, and I never read the first. I really should give these a look, as they’re from an alternate small publisher, and I don’t know enough about it, which helps no one.

Capote in Kansas, as described above, sits nice and low in the stack. It will be read soon. I promise!

The second volume of Doom Patrol, by Grant Morrison awaits reading. I mostly enjoyed the first volume, and if I were to read this, and enjoy it, then I’m looking at several more volumes to buy. Grant Morrison can go either way, as you know, and sometimes I want a sure thing, so his books sometimes sit and wait for the right moment.

Krash Bastards, a bastardized manga format book from Image Comics and Joe Casey holds up the rest of the stack. I have no idea what this is about. I just like Joe. I do know it reads backwards. This unnerves me.

The Annotated Wondermark was a book I picked up in Seattle, because his flyer made me laugh very much. These are Victorian style drawings with funny captions. I kind of forgot that I bought this, but I look forward to getting to it. It’s from Dark Horse Comics, and is, I believe, a collection of webcomics, which you can read for free.

Top Cow would like us to know that they do indeed put out good comics, and not just butt-related cheesecake, and giving them some credit, we’re gonna read some of their stuff, such as this book, First Born, from Ron Marz. I don’t know what it’s about, but they have a very nice printing quality, and hey, the book might just be the greatest thing ever. I’m going in with a blank slate. Wow me, cow folk!

When I talked to Eric Trautmann, Greg Rucka’s compatriot, he convinced me to pick up his Perfect Dark comic, assuring me that it’s much better than I’d imagine it is. This might be the case, but I wouldn’t know, because I haven’t read it yet. I do know that they dude is serious about his writing, and if nothing else, he didn’t phone this in.

There’s Joe Casey again with his Image graphic novel, Nixon’s Pals. Again, I don’t know a thing about it, other than I’m beginning to suspect that Image will let Casey just do whatever the hell he wants, and will just print anything he dreams up. Normally, this works out for the best, against all odds.

Holding up the bottom of all that paper is the still half-read The Great Taste of Deep Fried, and just under there, the Indie Spinner Rack Anthology, Awesome, which I’ve flipped through, but never just sat and read. I feel immense, deep, shaming guilt.

Not pictured is the newest Invincible trade, which my wife took before I had a chance to read it. It will very likely jump the queue and get read in extremely short order. It’s like crack that title!

There you have it. Listing them out like this really makes me wish I had time to read them all to tell you the truth. There are some books I’m chomping at the bit to devour, but I just can’t see to make it happen. Maybe I should find someone to blame. I’ll just blame the people making comics, because I clearly can’t keep up. Well, I’ve got reading to do, so we’ll see you later.


  1. I have a stack that rivals Josh’s although I doubt it is picking up steam like his. Good luck on the Stack dude, it is a frustratingly awesome problem to have. Well off to put a dent in my own pile, Starman Omnibus Vol. 1 due to Josh’s glowing recommendation. I am glad to see the ifanbase is pushing books on you guys, since all of the fantastic books that get some attention end up in my amazon queue.

  2. In total sincerity, before I even read a word of this the picture of your bedside stack made me laugh aloud. If I came home to that every night, after about a week I’d chuck them out the window and take up model airplanes.

  3. DMZ first.

  4. My stack is relatively small — I tend to read through most of what I have before buying new things.  But I also had ‘Capote in Kansas’ in my stack last time you made the post, and I haven’t touched it either.  I’ve really liked Ande Parks’ work on Daredevil, and I’m interested in the story, so I don’t know why — except that there’s a threatening author’s note that says something like, ‘if you haven’t read ‘In Cold Blood’ what’s wrong with you??’  And I know I have THAT in my (much more daunting) prose stack somewhere.  Hmm.

  5. Capote in Kansas will take you ten minutes to read. Ten minutes of pure awesome.

  6. I’m reading Drawing Words, Writing Pictures book (slowly) right now. It’s good, haven’t really read anything else like it.

  7. Interesting stack there Mr. Flanagan…interesting indeed.  Personally, I would think you should move Hickman up to the top of that pile.  Nightly News is one damn fine book, and I’m thinking you’re going to love it.  And sometimes, all it takes is a really kick ass book to get you going on other ones.

  8. I would raise First Born. I haven’t read first born but I just finished the first 2 trades of witchblade wrriten by Ron Marz. I was pleasantly surprised on how good it was. I mean REALLY good.

  9. Thanks Mario. That’s what the Top Cow guy said!  I am curious.  By this time next week, I will kill some of this stack, or so help me!

  10. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Did you ever experience the phenomenon of the stack getting taller than the table it’s sitting on?  That’s scary.  It looks like you’re close there.  Oh, and the teetering.  It’s the sexiest Jenga tower ever. 

  11. Loved Tales to Astonish.  Once you’ve read that, you’ll need to read Stan Lee and the Rise and Fall of the American Comic Book, by Jordan Raphael, to get the other side of the Lee-Kirby debate.

  12. It’s a tall end table to be sure.  There is a lower level, and there might be some books on it as well.  I can’t bear to look.

    The teetering might not be helped by the manga/digest size books stuck in the middle bits.  I must get there quickly before all is lost! 

  13. I have a whole stack of Gotham Central trades that I really want to read, but just can’t get myself to do it. I don’t know why, it’s a conundrum.

  14. Well, having too many comics to read is a pretty good problem to have. 🙂

  15. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @Eyun – Great series.  Jump right in. 

  16. My stack is so puny compared to everyone else. I’ve got 1/2 an Essential Howard The Duck to read, then Essential Defenders Vol2, 2 Brubaker-era Catwoman trades, Grendel:Devil’s Quest. I do plan on buying Casanova: Album 2 after devouring Album 1.

     I love me some Wondermark, I wish had that trade. Its great for a 5 minute break of hilarity.

  17. Trades stack:

    Madman Gargantua Edition. I’ve read first mini inside, have well over 1000 pages to go

    Nightly News

    Iron Man: Hypervelocity. I love me some Adam Warren writing. It’s probably next.

    Runaways HC v.1. Read first arc in issues years back.

    Absolute Sandman v2.

    Owly #4

    Complete Peanuts Dailys 1965-66 and 1967-68

    And if you count things I’ve read before in other forms:

    Absolute New Frontier; Absolute League of extraordinary Gentlemen 2; Hellboy Library Ed. v.1;  Amazing Spider-man Omnibus; Uncanny X-Men Omnibus; Both Daredevil Omnibii; and a whole bunch of Ultimate HCsand TPBs. Oh, Walking Dead HC 2 and 3.


  18. @RobAbsten I find the Madman Gargantua reads best in chunks. It’s not a page turner per se, but enjoyabe as all get out in sperts. Art is awesome, layouts are tight. I got the feeling that it read better in issues after reafing the Gargantua – it’s just not paced like an epic story. Of couse this is strictly specualative, as I didn’t read the story in issues issues, only in thle garguntua format.

  19. I have the Maggie the Mechanic collection and the following, The Girl from H.O.P.P.E.R.S. and although I enjoyed them both and intend to buy more, it’s a different experience from the single issues.  Not for the regular reasons of single vs TPB but because these stories were mixed with his brother’s work which is entirely different in tone.

    So if you find it’s not to your taste, hey, maybe it’s the times or the packaging.  I say read a couple of sections and put in a book mark.   The good stuff is her adventures with Hopey, not the mechanic stuff.


    But I’m also reading Invincible in trades and this one sorely tempted me to jump onto issues.  Fantastic. 



  20. Citizen Soldiers (I assume it’s your current non-comics reading material?) is a really good WWII book. I read it immediately after seeing "Saving Private Ryan" and pretty much devoured it in a few days. Very compelling stuff.

  21. "There’s Joe Casey again with his Image graphic novel, Nixon’s Pals.  Again, I don’t know a thing about it, other than I’m beginning to suspect that Image will let Casey just do whatever the hell he wants, and will just print anything he dreams up.  Normally, this works out for the best, against all odds."

    In this case it definitely did..I heard about this book from Around Comics. Chris B. is a co-writer and didnt think that spending the 9 bucks on such a cool idea would be a stretch. I am very glad that I did and u will too I guarantee it.