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A Peek at the "Comic Cave"

I’ve mentioned new/additional shelving and rearranging for months now. I still haven’t gotten things 100% the way I want them, but with touching things up here, rearranging there, etc. I’ve had the overall space essentially set up.

And falling behind on writing reviews–Ultraverse Revisited and otherwise–today I decided to show off the bulk of my "comic cave" space. However, it’ll likely be awhile yet before I get into a detailed "tour" or shelf by shelf show-off, etc.

And even these photos show some of the rough edges and unfinished messiness…though do not show the huge mess that is my longboxes, shortboxes, "desk" and table.


Above: an "outer" view of the main "library" (I’ll show the "inner" view further down). The bulk of the action figures on the front, with a corner piece for some of the Build-A-Figures and giant Heroclix; and presently some general storage/mess.


Here’s a better look at the bookcases from the above photo. The far right is graphic novels, and then other things on the shelves to the left beyond "just" graphic novels.


Opposite of these is my "media and games" space, as well as my Magic: The Gathering books, and Aliens and Predator books, as well as movies and tv…plus some storage.


…And here’s a view from the other side–the small bookcase is my Dragonlance paperbacks. The bookcase behind the chair has boardgames, card games, and even trading card binders.


This bookcase is seen looking out from the "inner" view of the main ‘library’ and includes the Thanos Shelf I’ve shown off a couple times.


And here’s an "inner" view of the first photo of this post, with primarily my DC and Marvel stuff, plus some storage with some of the bottom shelves. The cropping here is to avoid much of the mess I’m not ready to show.

As said…I’ll probably show off a more detailed look sometime later–including the staircase down to the basement, a few things I didn’t specifically show here, and a better sense of the space as a whole.

For now, this is a peek at the heart of my collection and where/how most of it is stored at present…at least, outside of the single-issues collection…the longboxes and shortboxes are quite the mess at the moment, as well as my "workspace" and "desk" and such.


Reunification of the Bookshelves Spring 2016

Over the weekend, I finally finished re-sorting/re-arranging the bookshelves. Having a more "concentrated" space as well as the largest number of "dedicated" shelves available, I was able to do stuff a bit differently this time through.


I also grouped things a bit differently, and while I pointedly had the shelves themselves spaced the same on each bookcase (3 of one model, two of another), I have a configuration that works fro me, though I can see this "system" going at least slightly awry fairly quickly. Still, the collection’s been a constant evolution anyway.

Follow on below for a shelf-by-shelf "tour" of the entire graphic novel portion of my comics collection.


The TMNT stuff, as well as the newer Dark Horse Usagi Yojimbo Saga volumes. There’s basically just enough room to add the fifth Usagi Yojimbo volume or the second TMNT by IDW volume, but not both. However, I expect acquiring and adding the second TMNT volume will be the final nudge at purging the other IDW floppies from this shelf–I stopped buying those at all when the first volume was solicited, as it is a far superior way of getting the series. Then on top of that, they’ve now got triple-sized paperbacks coming out for only 1.5 times the price of the skinnier ones. Go figure.


The first Superman  shelf. I start the shelf with some of the various/general collections that span the years without necessarily being chronological/ordered collections or runs of books…at least for what I own. Then the Chronicles volumes, the Showcase, and the Superman vs. _______ volumes. Some of the other Silver/Bronze age stuff, and then the post-CoIE "continuity" run begins.


The second Superman shelf continues the post-CoIE continuity stuff. I have the Death and Return of Superman Omnibus "out of order" as a divider of sorts, following it with more generalized Superman stuff, including Superman/Batman collections. The New 52-era stuff is here, because I only own the two volumes.


There’s some slight "overflow" of Superman-related stuff into general DCU. I start with some general DC Universe stuff, then go roughly alphabetical by "property" (grouping Deathstroke with Teen Titans for obvious reasons).


There’s a slight bit of "overflow" of "general DC" onto the final shelf of this bookcase…and I decided to use the entire shelf in that regard-as the DC stuff expands, I’ll "wrap" stuff through to this shelf, hopefully avoiding the need to completely redo the bookcase anytime soon simply to fit more DC books!


Batman tops the second bookcase with his first shelf. Given its quasi-non-continuity nature, I stuck my numerous editions of Dark Knight Returns at the start of the shelf, then shift to general Batman collections before the major "continuity" run of stuff.


On the second Batman shelf I have more general stuff again that–for me–works better here than at the start of the Batman placement, and into related Batman stuff. I then finish the partial shelf with Omnibus volumes as bookends, with the Robin bust bank as extra decoration. This also allows plenty of space for the Batman collection to expand without much issue, as the bust can be relocated and the Omnibii can as well.


I decided to separate out the main "event" books. While I have the Crisis on Infinite Earths paperback with the general DC stuff, I have the Deluxe Edition oversized hardcover here to begin the run of major DC events. For lack of better placement but similar nature, I put my various prose novels of DC stuff here as well…most of them adapting the various events, and generally being a good fit in this space.


Rounding out the nearly two bookcases’ worth of DC material is the green stuff…Green Arrow and Green Lantern. The vast majority of this is the Geoff Johns-helmed Green Lantern era, with a handful of other stuff. I never got around to getting the complete run of Blackest Night collected volumes…but I’m happy with what I do have, and have not felt any great need to track those down. With both Blackest Night and Brightest Day being firmly entrenched in the Green Lantern side of things, they’re here rather than with the "general DC events" books.


Topping the Marvel books, I’ve separated out the Thanos and Warlock Infinity stuff, heavy emphasis on the works of Jim Starlin. As these only make up a partial shelf, this is a prime spot to accentuate the books with two incredibly cool banks that have obvious relevance.


I’ve got the X-Men books is roughly chronological order, with the Essentials on up to the individual story volumes.


The second X-Men shelf continues things up to roughly present-ish stuff.


I then have a third shelf of "X-Men related" stuff…dominated by Wolverine and X-Factor. While I originally didn’t care for yet another "trade dress" on the Essentials, I’ve come around to actually preferring this latest, where emphasis is now on the character/title and not the word Essential; it allows the books to look a lot better grouped with similar volumes for a series and not stick out as being alphabetically out of place.


As the smaller paperbacks and digest-sized volumes would get lost in the shelf with the full-size volumes, I separated them out here. Due to their smaller size making them physically lighter, they’re actually grouped on top of a bookcase. I ran out of actual bookends, so fit the "comics reference" books here as well for the moment.


The first shelf on this bookcase is Annihilation and Avengers volumes…including the Heroes Reborn volumes. I have the Avengers stuff in a rough quasi-continuity order rather than any strict title-order. Since I have both the run of X-Men: The Complete Onslaught Epic and the singular Onslaught Omnibus, I decided with so many other thick and/or hardcover volumes, the Omnibus was a better fit here than with its paperback counterparts; and works as a split with the story impacting both the X-Men family of characters as well as the Avengers family of characters.


Following the Avengers books, I go mostly alphabetical by property for the rest of the Marvel books. I would have sworn I had the two volumes of Captain America: Fighting Chance but turns out I only have the Operation: Rebirth "classic" volume…which is a bit disappointing. There’s another large Captain America paperback I was picturing that I thought I had, but obviously do not. At least with everything back together, I have a better idea once again. I left space on this shelf for the Captain America: Man Without a Country paperback and the third volume of the Black Panther by Priest series.


Continuing the Marvel run from Hulk to Thunderbolts.


Since neither would fit well, I separated out the Spider-Man books (included Spider-Woman as a Spider- book) and Thor. There’s some space left over on this shelf that will allow for some expansion of the Marvel stuff without any major rearranging.


The Ultimate Marvel stuff now has a shelf to itself, with the gem of the collection being the near-complete Ultimate Spider-Man run…I just need to track down volume 8 to complete it! I have a handful of miscellaneous other Ultimate books in a loose-ish order, but I’ve actually mentally lost track of all the quasi-reboots and said the heck with it. Perhaps it displays my own ignorance of the books if there’s any glaring out-of-order elements.


Though it’s a lot of "shelf real estate" to "give up," the Aliens and related get a shelf entirely to themselves, along with some Aliens toys.


I have a near-complete Hellblazer library…I believe the entire 300-issue series has now been collected, and is represented in this run of volumes. I’m pretty sure the only thing under the Hellblazer heading that I’m missing is a Vertigo Resurrected collecting a mini-series set in the future. I also tossed Swamp Thing, Starman, and Watchmen here primarily for space and singularity. I hope to expand my Swamp Thing library in the next couple years, knowing that all the Alan Moore stuff is available, as well as a couple other major runs of the titles.


I managed to cram several "series" collections onto another shelf. The pre-Vertigo entirety of Astro City (unless I’m forgetting a volume); then complete runs of Preacher and Sandman in older editions (my parents gave me this 10-volume Sandman run between my birthday and Christmas in 2001!) Though I’ve loaned out several volumes, I otherwise have the complete run of the Walking Dead "serialized paperbacks." Volume 5 was THE newest one when I "discovered" the series…we’re now 20 ADDITIONAL volumes into the run. Kinda hard to believe! Finally, there was (for the moment) just enough room to squeeze the four Serenity hardcovers in.


This shelf is a mix of Disney Ducks stuff, into Archie and similar physically-sized volumes, then GI Joe, Star Trek/Star Wars, and finally Transformers.


Breaking from the vertical grouping/progression I mostly followed, I have two shelves where I intermingled "indie stuff" that basically makes up "everything else," and where no particular series truly separates itself from "the bunch" for now. I primarily alphabetized by series title, and order within that for the few that have multiple volumes.


Knowing that there are now six of these Savage Dragon Archives volumes, if I do wind up getting the rest, I will likely end up splitting those off somewhere. For now, they’re just the "brightest light" in the bunch offhand.


The final graphic novels shelf wound up with several miscellaneous volumes that don’t really fit anywhere else…and Valiant. I’d originally "intended" to keep "classic Valiant" elsewhere, as I don’t really have a problem with it, but as stuff was grouped and sorted and arranged, it came down to just clustering Valiant as a whole together. I am still extremely unhappy with current Valiant over last year’s stunt with Legends of the Geomancer, which stopped me in my tracks on the collected volumes. As it appears that the Book of Death hardcover does NOT have that mini included, I’ve basically written off Valiant in general, and may wind up purging these from the collection at some point–Time will tell!


Separate from the main collection, I have a shelf of "coffee-table" style books and such that are primarily comics-related. Most of these I’ve acquired in the past year or two, though the Great American Comic Book volume I think was a Christmas present during college, and the Buffy volume is simply far too tall to fit on a standard shelf with anything else that makes sense, so gets grouped here.

All in all, a massive collection far beyond anything I’d ever imagined growing up…or even within a couple years of college. Where once I’d dreamed of a generic personal library made up of all sorts of books (not just graphic novels), I now have enough of both to truly have the personal library and then some.

In doing all this sorting/organizing/arranging, I also yanked another couple shelves’ worth of books that were either duplicate, older editions to which I’ve gotten the newer, or generally decided I don’t need/want in the collection anymore for whatever reason.

This leaves me–still–with needing to get the actual comics collection sorted, but there should be time for that later after stuff in the personal life settles a bit.

Recent Ultimate Spider-Man Acquisitions

Over the last several weeks, I actually came across a couple volumes of the Ultimate Spider-Man oversized hardcovers that I’d thought long since out of reach, at least barring very specific hunting.


I came across vol. 9 at a sale at Comic Heaven recently; and about a week later discovered vol. 6 on the sale table as well. I ordered the Death of Spider-Man “omnibus” last weekend, having found it for just under 50% cover price INCLUDING shipping.


I’m now “only” missing volumes 7 & 8 from having the complete run. Yet, I don’t want to pay full cover price, ideally…and certainly no intention of paying significantly ABOVE cover price JUST because the darned things are “out of print.”

Still…it’s a new short-term “goal” for my collection, and a bit of a challenge given the volumes are several years out of print and not simply in-stock online for “easy” purchase.

Ending the Year: A Quarter-Century Collection Unified

shelf00For the first time in several years, I actually have my comics “library” whole, in one space (outside of some Walking Dead books out “on loan” at the moment). I’ve attempted to arrange the collection in a number of ways over the years, but keep changing stuff here and there. This latest “reunification” was no exception.

Previously, I’d had my Marvel Oversized Hardcovers grouped together, separate from the “regular size” hardcovers and premiere edition hardcovers and paperbacks. Several months back when I reorganized my “last 2+ years” shelves I didn’t do that separation, and decided I liked having stuff together like this more than the sleek look of all the hardcovers lined up together.

I went with a quasi-alphabetical scheme, “grouping” stuff like Avengers, Captain America, Essentials, Spider-Man, Ultimate Universe, X-Men, and such with other stuff peppered throughout. Within these groups I put stuff mainly in story order or in the case of numbered volumes, numerical order with the entire cluster roughly where they’d begin in-story (with a few exceptions for appearances).

And now, showing off the collection in detail!


Annihilation, Avengers, and Captain America. While I consider AvX more an X-story, the prominent titles on the spines and the AvX logo just made it totally fit better with the Avengers stuff, and keep my head from exploding at putting big A volumes in with the Xs…


I decided to put my Essentials in the E range, as the word Essential is so prominent on the bulk of my editions (notice that it’s hardly noticeable on the third Classic X-Men volume/current trade dress, instead more closely resembling the Omnibus styleage. (Over on the DC side the Showcase Presents volumes are grouped by character as the “Showcase Presents” is rather small and the character/title far more prominent.)


The Heroes Reborn and Infinity Gauntlet/etc. stuff are some of my favorite volumes and I wanted them together, so let the Hulk stuff jump the alphabet slightly (with the added excuse that Incredible DOES come before Infinity).I still am missing Infinity Crusade vol. 2, and intend to snag the new edition of Infinity Abyss soon, and likely Infinity next year sometime. As my only real Silver Surfer volume, the Rebirth of Thanos is shelved here as it was a definite prelude to Infinity Gauntlet, and the Thanos – Marvel Universe: The End is here as well as a continuation of the Thanos/Infinity stuff.


My Spider-Man and Thor collections are relatively small. Spider-Man’s basically all from bargain bins. The oversized Ultimate Spider-Man and Ultimates collections are some of the more “premium” books in my collection. Ultimate Spider-Man vol. 1 and Ultimate Marvel Team-Up were–I believe–my first two Marvel hardcovers. Pretty high on my list to track down yet are Ultimate Spider-Man vols. 6 through 9 and the Death of Spider-Man Omnibus.


The X-Men have largely dominated my hardcovers…the Grant Morrison New X-Men books starting things off; a bargain bin for Supernovas and Rise/Fall of the Shi’Ar Empire continuing things, and the “premium” Messiah Complex/Messiah War/Second Coming ‘trilogy’. Bargains yielded Fall of the Mutants, Mutant Massacre, X-Tinction Agenda and X-Cutioner’s Song; and I’ve had my eye on the Age of Apocalypse Omnibus and believe there’s an Age of Apocalypse Companion coming out next year, both of which would be cool to have, though likely a bit less physically readable than the five-volume paperback series.


Stuff like Rogue, Longshot, and Magik (with only 1-2 volumes) got shelved elsewhere; but “general X-related” and Wolverine stuff fell here to be WITH the X-Men stuff, if a bit out of alphabetical order. Due to their size, the various digest-sized stuff got grouped here rather than get lost amidst the full-size/oversized volumes. I put the Crossgen books here as well since they’re now under Disney WITH Marvel; and size-wise they’re a good fit.


And for the first time since returning to active publication, I finally have all my TMNT stuff together and all my Valiant stuff together.


My Superman collection has continued to expand. While I could replace the Death/Funeral/Return of Superman volumes with the Omnibus…these paperbacks are my original editions from 1992-1993, so they remain with the 2013 Omnibus. I’m yet a couple volumes behind on the Man of Steel paperbacks, and there are a number of Silver/Bronze Age themed collections that I don’t have yet.


With a bit of spillover from the Superman shelf, the bulk of the Batman stuff fits just below. I’ve had eyes on the newer Knightfall volumes, and do want to get those eventually, as they’re far superior to these original 3 editions (though vols. 1-3 are each from different printings/trade dresses prior). I’ve also had my eye on the new printings of No Man’s Land.


Green Arrow and Green Lantern have always been a good fit together; especially as I’ve so few GA as to be negligible compared to the GL books. I need to catch  up on the first couple Green Lantern hardcovers in the New 52, plus the Wrath of the First Lantern and The End, (and perhaps paperbacks for GL Corps to that point) but I think I’m almost ready to close out my keeping up with having the entirety of the Johns GL saga/”era”…whether or not I track down any of the tie-in Blackest Night volumes I don’t yet have. For lack of better placement and keeping a few inches to ‘grow’ I also shelved Astro City here. I believe I’m missing a single volume from having the complete run in one edition or another, outside of any collected volumes of the current Vertigo incarnation.


My ‘general DC’ stuff is a bit less organized; more a clustering. Somewhat alphabetical, but then I grouped the big events: Crisis on Infinite Earths, Zero Hour, Identity Crisis, Infinite Crisis, 52, Final Crisis, and Flashpoint. The Shazam books got stuck right after Flashpoint as a couple volumes are in the Superman books, and I didn’t get really “into” Shazam until the New 52 volume came out.


Hellblazer, Sandman, and Y: The Last Man headline my Vertigo shelf. I do want to “upgrade” my Hellblazer volumes to the newer printings for the early stuff, except I think vol. 2 is already out of print while 1 and 3-5 may not be? I may also “downgrade” the All His Engines to the softcover just to “fit in” more. I’m looking at doing the same with the Sandman: Endless Nights volume. Watchmen sits alone without any Before Watchmen as it’s physically smaller and if I’m to ‘buy into” the Before Watchmen stuff, I want it to physically match with the original.


I’m still missing a volume of Preacher, and am not happy that to get it I’ll likely have to get the new trade dress that may have some overlap due to the volumes’ issue counts being messed with. Alternatively I’ve considered just revisiting the series with the newest editions that seem likely to be fewer volumes but thicker all the way through. For lack of other placement, the zombies fit nicely here, as does my GI Joe.


Since reading the novelizations of the comics in the ’90s, I’ve been quite a fan of Dark Horse‘s Aliens stuff…and the novelizations continued into the AvP stuff…so by extension I’m a fan of their Omnibus series, and hope to expand it, at least on the Aliens side. I then have other misc. Image and Image-type stuff, and while Marvel published the Ender’s stuff, that’s it’s own thing, so fell here.


My DIsney, Archie, Usagi, and Bone stuff wound up down here, followed by Highlander and a true “mixture” of remaining stuff. Having the Death and Life of Superman novel (anniversary edition) on the shelf next to the hardcover didn’t work for me, but I’ve got both because of extra material in the paperback, so it’s relegated here. Several other volumes wound up here that I’m hanging onto but don’t otherwise fit with what they ought to, for me.


Finally, my comics “reference” and novels wound up on the top of the bookcase. Thus they reside with the comics stuff, but there wasn’t otherwise room to give them their own shelf with the current arrangement.

While going through the entire collection, I did do a bit of “weeding,” pulling a number of volumes I’ve grabbed off $1 tables and such; or that I got years ago when I thought I just wanted “more volumes” “in the collection.” I’ll probably wind up “weeding out” some of the Essentials volumes.


…and here again is the entire collection as “presented” last Friday, now with the closer-up shelf-by-shelf detail above.

The Entire Collection In One Space Again


Library Haul, part two

Yesterday, I posted a photo of some of the books I’d snagged from a local library.

Here are several I snagged from the other local library. Between the two, the books are around $180.

$180 worth of graphic novels I’m reading, enjoying…but not having to (directly) pay for.

Certainly allows me to read a heckuva lot more than if I were sticking only to what I could purchase myself!


Library Haul, part one

While their non-manga graphic novel selection is extremely…shall we say…”limited”…I did find several gems at the Willoughby Public Library today.

One of the Millar volumes of Fantastic Four, and two of the McDuffie volumes. I probably oughtta look toward requesting the Hickman volumes that’re out there.

And then several of the IDW GI Joe volumes.

All told, over $100 I don’t have to spend to read.


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