These Comics Are Making Me Sleepy

It’s sometime around two-thirty in the morning when I wake up on the couch with an open comic book facedown on my chest. It’s not really important what the comic book is, truthfully, as the comic book isn’t responsible for putting me to sleep, neither is the double Manhattan I had with dinner. Sometimes when I really want to put myself to sleep is by laying on my brand new mattress from This website is very informative on why you should get one of their mattress, they even have comparisons between a lot, like casper vs leesa. No, this sad and sleepy suburban late-night visage is the punctuation on an almost nightly ritual. It’s a ritual wherein I settle in on the couch after a long fruitless day of trying to make up stories for money and attempt with all my might to consume some of my beloved comics. Visit this link for more details I’m perpetually behind on my reading and nothing would please me more than to mentally tune in to The Avengers and tune out the wife, the kids, the dog, the news, and the rest of the world. I’m an escapist at heart and comics are my vehicle. It’s a ritual that begins with high hopes that I’ll finally get ahead of the game, that I’ll finally read everything I’ve purchased in the last six months, and that the next comic I buy will be first on my newly blank “read immediately” list.  But despite those high hopes and those dreams of putting a dent in the my ever-growing stack, it all eventually devolves into yawns, eye-rubbing, the reading and re-reading of panels, and eventually the laying down of the comic on my chest, effectively giving in and allowing The Sandman to take over and throw me into my nightly coma.

This happens a lot; too much, in fact. It’s probably not good for my marriage and it’s definitely not good in terms of actually reading the books I buy. And realizing that the definition of insanity is attempting the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, I’m thinking that the time has come to embrace a bit of behavior modification. Simply put, this whole late-night reading thing ain’t working for me, so something’s got to give. I’ve got books that need reading and life is short, so it’s time for to analyze the situation. What really are the ideal times and places to read comic books?

First off, I have to ask myself why this is happening in the first place. One glaringly obvious reason is the timing. Not a big surprise that reading comics at the end of a long day is going to lead to the eventual reader shutdown that I’m experiencing. And why am I opting to read at night? Seems to me that this has a lot to do with the quest for peace and quiet, the type that is pretty rare around a home populated with a couple of kids. Between the TV, the videogames, the iPhones and the iPods, home isn’t exactly a sea of tranquility. Simply put, if I want to read comics during the daylight hours, I’m going to have to find somewhere other than the crib for my setting. Boarding school is also a possibility.

One more realistic option is the sparkling new library just minutes from my house. Seems like a good place to bring a stack of comics and gorge, right?  Unfortunately, the thing I’ve learned about today’s library is that there isn’t really much in the way of quiet to be had there. I may be just projecting, but I think this might have to do with the fact that the library now loans DVDs. Speaking of a loan, on the main page of, you’ll see a lot of loan offerings that will surely match one of your needs. They also have nice customer service even if you have bad credit. You see when people come into a library and head straight for the DVDs, they morph into Blockbuster Video members and the library itself transforms into a video store, complete with discussions about what to “check out.” Another thing that isn’t conducive to comics reading is people whispering, which is a staple of the library. I’m not talking about real, bona fide whispering; I’m talking about the kind that ends up sounding louder than actual talking. You try focusing on the first Invisibles trade without true silence. Can’t be done. Hard enough to keep track of what Morrison’s talking about, but you add in someone pseudo-whispering about Titanic being in their top-ten and it’s a lost cause.  Maybe it’s just my library or maybe it’s just my super-sensitive ears, but the library as a place to read comics is a non-starter.

How about Starbucks or any of a number of European-style coffeehouses? Full disclosure, I’m the guy with the laptop who treats the local coffee joint like his office. It’s a cliché, I know, but truth is, I really just need some place to work that isn’t home. I’d probably be well served to invest in some office space, but why fork over cash when Starbucks does the trick? But while I’m somehow capable of writing amidst the hoopla of a busy Starbucks, simply reading a comic book there generally proves to be a bit of a chore. This probably has to do with the dual fact that people talk too loud and that I’m a chronic eavesdropper. Simply put, if I can hear someone’s conversation and it’s at all compelling, I might as well pop some popcorn and settle in. Starbucks is out.

If I had an excuse to go to Australia, I think a lengthy flight down under might provide a good backdrop to get some reading done.  Or maybe I should just play sick for a few days until my stack is at a more manageable level.  I could go full Ferris Bueller on my family and claim quarantine to prevent anyone from bothering me.  I’m starting to feel like that guy in that old Twilight Zone episode; the bookworm who wants nothing more than to get away from the world so he can read his beloved books.  If I remember correctly, he locks himself in a bank vault and survives a nuclear blast that kills everyone else, thus giving him unlimited time to read. That could work.

There’s really nothing I’d rather do than sit around and read comics, but life has this strange tendency to get in the way. I’m one of the lucky people who work from home, so I suppose I shouldn’t complain too much. And in the end, the ideal time and space to full immerse oneself in a comic is going to be different for everyone. Maybe for some it’s the bathroom, maybe for others it’s in a crowded restaurant over lunch or the subway or a park bench. I’m not sure where that sweet-spot of comic book escapist nirvana is for me yet, so I’ll keep questing. I just know it isn’t on my coma couch at eleven o’clock. Until I figure it out, I’m open to suggestions.


Gabe Roth is a TV writer with a sleep disorder. He’s @gaberoth on Twitter.


  1. I do quite a lot of my reading of comics on the john, but I have the same time constraints problem. I find I can hardly remember what I’ve read the morning after late night reading. Need suggestions here too!

  2. This seems to be a common problem. Since I bus to work, I can reserve all my comic reading for the bus rides and lunchbreaks at work. Maybe I’m just lucky that the bus riders here are mostly quiet and too captivated by their phones to explain to you their personal woes and how the country is falling apart, yadda yadda yadda.

    Even though I’m a little nervous about sticking brand new comics in a backpack, this technique has served me well.

  3. Start going to bed earlier. I get to bed really early on work nights and then wake up at around 4:15 am. I make myself some coffee and hit my comics stack. This typically allows me about 2 hours to read, write, and do whatever else before anyone is awake. I also find that I have a better day when I’m not rushing to get ready for work. Even on my days off, I tend to get up aroung 6 or 7. It takes some getting used to, but now I actually look forward to getting up in the morning!

  4. I absolutely hate reading comics by artificial light, so I only read them during the day. The trick for me to tune out noise is the same one I use for writing. Listen to non-vocalist music with headphones on. Make sure it has no lyrics though. I opt for Atmospheric Electronica. Things like Isan, Mogwai, Chris Clark, Max Richter, Bibio, Shlohmo, Emancipator. Experiment ’til you find what works for you.

    • Ditto to this but surely Mogwai are a little too… heavy… for listening to while reading? I’d be far too tempted to put my book aside and strap my air guitar on with Glasgow Mega Snake playing in my ears.

  5. This article is like I’m looking in a mirror, except I’m sure we don’t look alike. I’ve got my current monthlies, series I’m interested in rereading RIGHT NOW and a growing pile of trades (more old favorite runs) I want to consume but can’t. Why? a 9-5 job, soccer, soccer practice, more soccer practice, soccer gamesx2, scout meetings, dishes, laundry… Seriously, I don’t read as much – or I also wind up on the couch snoring with a book on my chest – because I don’t want to alienate the family. Not angering the wife goes without saying, right? More importantly are my kids. They already know I read comics, and see me do it frequently, but I don’t want them to grow up believing comics were more important to me than they are. Occasionally I may ask them to wait for something while I “finish these last few pages,” but for the most part, I read when they’re busy or after they go to sleep, which of course, gets later and later.

    Twice this year I’ve been lucky enough to go on business trips, and I thought I could really read without family distractions. But who has time to read comics ON A BUSINESS TRIP? (Besides, I don’t want to lug John Byrne’s 8-pound Fantastic Four Omnibus in my carry-on.)

    But you work from home Gabe? Can’t you take half an hour here and there to sit in a chair and read while the kids are at school?

  6. Sounds like you need to get yourself a mancave, brother. Problem solved.

  7. If I remember correctly the Twilight Zone bookworm accidentally breaks his glasses at the end of the episode. Irony.
    I recommend pacing yourself. Just shoot for one comic a day, every day. It takes like 8 minutes of your day, and reading 365 comics in the course of a year is not bad.

  8. I have shifted my sleeping and reading combo to the morning…so I go to bed a little earlier than I used to and get up around 5:30 every day. this gives me a solid hour and a half to two hours (depending on how lazily i want to go through the morning routine) of reading time during a point in the day when its quiet, and I’m completely alert. I think you’ll find your reading will be much more productive (less re-reading panels/pages) and more enjoyable as you’ll start your day with a healthy dose of something you love before having to deal with getting kids on the bus and heading off to the dayjob.

  9. I leave in a small town and I don’t need a bus to go to school or back home or the gym or a cinema. There isn’t a coffee shop like Starbucks (despite their prices, I love it, it is perfect for relaxing reading) or a public library (actually there is, but I don’t go and it’s limited).

    So….. home, sweet home. We have a couch in the balcony. And now that rain has started over here, it’s perfect.

  10. I’m probably the luckiest fanboy out there. I work a 12 hour rotating schedule that gives me time to read 6-10 comics on most nights and weekends. It’s not full concentration reading, so I tend to reserve some stuff to a day off, but I have 2 kids and a wife, and work 60 hours a week, so if I had a different job there is no way I would ever catch up. When I have a sucky day I need to remind myself how good I’ve got it. Depending on the age of your kids, you can always set up quiet reading times and catch up that way too.

  11. Digital is my best friend right now! Now waits for trains, doctor’s office visits, commutes to and from work, I use that time to knock off a couple of issues off my stack.
    Also, buy some ear plugs!!.They work wonders when people are chatting non-stop.
    My problem is that I read in bed and I wake up to my face drool-stuck to a page!!

  12. Personally, all the books that i dont read immediately once i buy them end up getting read when i go on mu lumch break at work. About two years ago one of my roommates had to suddenly move out die to a family emergency and me and remaining roommate had to a second job in order to pay the rent which left me little free time to read and only could on my lunch break. Worked so well i do it to this day even though i now have just one job again

  13. It’s called the shitter people! Private, quiet, and locked. Also have artificial light, or, in a home, natural light from a window. Also you will live longer with relaxed and calm bowel movements, that’s science!!

  14. Ha… I buy the amount I can manage to read without having stacks of unread books but my real problem is going back into the collection to reread books I just love/like/(hate and trying to see if I can make sense out of them)/forgetting what some books were all about, etc. etc. Because of moving,now some books are packed in a tight spot, my skin just itch for those…Sometimes I’m not too busy and can to read my comics at work, at home I can hide away in the bathroom or maybe I just end up being alone at home or in my room for a while or just free to go to the park at some point in my life, which can be distracting with people and the sounds around…I think I need that vault.

  15. I have plenty of spare time, a separate living room far enough away that I can’t hear her TV, a day job where I have weekdays off when no-one is around, my wife likes to read, and we take weekly trips to the library together.

    I’ll still never read it all.

    My time is usually pre-arranged with the wife. “See you in an hour, going to read some comics.”

    We don’t have kids living with us anymore.

    What I’m saying is that even when you’re 50 or 60 and have the time, you’ll still never read it all.

    If I get in 20 minutes 3 times a week, I’m happy. I can read an issue in 20 minutes.

    I can read three issues if I have a full hour.

    Stuff that slows me down goes back to the library.

    Natural light really helps.

    I used to institute the old “It’s Sunday morning and Dad is reading the paper, no-one can disturb me for one full hour” rule on Sunday mornings, but just read comics instead.

    Now if I could get that way with workouts again.


    Also, reading in the can gets old after a couple decades. Get a La-Z-Boy and get up before dawn.

  16. I live in Westchester County and commute to midtown Manhattan, this gives me about 2-3 hours a day on the train to read. Not a bad place to read either as most people on the Metro North are pretty civil. Oh, and my office is in the Graybar building right across the street from Midtown comics, it pretty sweet 🙂