Comic Fodder

How Do I Organize My Comics?

Okay, so you've been collecting comic books for twenty or thirty years, and someone decided yet again that it would be a bright idea to start Flash over with a new #1. Only now it's called All-Flash. With a different person in the costume. Assuming you haven't already gone mad, torn your hair out, and gone on the web to find hair replacements supplements after you've calmed down... what's a poor collector to do?

In a time of temporary riches, I bought three nice wooden cabinets, with three drawers each. They are fantastic-looking wood, able to hold somewhere around 1,000 of my comics if they are all in their backs and boards. They are also very expensive. Which leaves the rest of my place littered in the traditional long white comic boxes, with a new smattering of half-boxes, per my friend's advice that some day, I'll be too tired to carry all those long boxes around when I move.

My new endeavor is the DrawerBox, a cardboard drawer that slides in and out of a heavier version of your comic long box. This is not a paid endorsement (which is too bad, I should have thought of a way to make some money off of this...) I have 15 of them, stacked three high and five across, although we are told you can stack them six high if you want, with advice to have five rows of them, to help with overall stability.

Now, instead of cross-stacking my long boxes three high and having to move three or four boxes to get at that old comic, I only have to slide one drawer out. They are not perfect, but the drawbacks are slight. You may have read somewhere that walls tend to "sweat" a little, and therefore it is a good idea not to stack your comic boxes right against the wall of your room. Well, the drawers are stiff enough that you will be pushing them back into the wall anyway, whenever you go to shut them, so be prepared to set them up flush against the wall. Make sure you load from the bottom, because overloading the top one and then opening it might lead to trouble. I'm lucky enough to buy them from a store that assembles them for me, so I just walk in and buy one. They are slightly irritating to assemble by yourself.

Okay, but how to organize the titles themselves? Here are the problems.

1) New series of the same name. If Alpha Flight comes out with a new series ten years later, do I need to get another divider board label for it? Or can it go in front of the first and second series of the same name?

My answer: It depends on how often you get into your old comics. If you think the first series will be sitting for a while, but the new series is ongoing, make a second title board. If you have room in your file structure, you can always wait for the second series to end, and then move it wholesale in with the older series by the same title name later.

2) Everything in alpha order?

My answer: Forget that! The mutants are all going in one place. West Coast Avengers and Force Works gets fit in somewhere with the Avengers. DC has another section of the room. No mingling! Except for DC/Marvel crossovers, of course. They come mingled...

3) What do I do with all these mini-series?

My answer: For small series like WW III, I simply slide them right into chronological place in my collection of 52. If I re-read the story, I don't have to go searching for it, it's right there. My long-term goal, since I am in this for the long haul, is to write up a timeline of big Marvel and DC events. You can use the checklists that come out now with company-wide crossovers, like Civil War, or World War Hulk. After all, when I go back to re-read these, I can have all of my Annihilation books next to each other, and the Civil War one-shots go right in with the rest of the Civil War area too.

4) What about the Marvel Ultimates line, and Independent titles?

My answer: You ask too many questions. Give them separate areas, although it might mean you have to expand to a separate room, and your wife will leave you. You may also want to consider selling some finally, and going outside to talk to real people. There are actually other things in life besides comics.

Got a tip on how to organize? Post it below!


Tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can't seem to stop.

The way I dod it is with traditional long boxes (although I might move to half boxes for ease of storage) stacked into two back to back steel framed shelves. The long boxes are numbered so I can update my spreadsheet catalog (alpha sorted by title then volume in some cases) with the boxnumber if moves are needed to be made.

What really sucks about this system is when the computer harddrive needs to be reformatted and the back up disk can't be read.

-- Posted by: Josh at June 25, 2007 1:10 PM

I don't think we're supposed to give away free advertising at FilmFodder, but I'm a happy subscriber. The interface is fairly intuitive and most of the time the connection between myself and their servers doesn't hang (when it does... walk away and try again later).

I'm a fan of online services not just because I don't need to worry about the data on my own harddrive, but they also have decent cover scans, manage comic values, etc...

As per storage of said comics, it's a mix of long and short boxes. I feel like a I lose closet space to cardboard with shortboxes.

I may need to look at drawerboxes and hard shelving in the closet. Right now the boxes are just stacked. And, yes, alphabetical sorting is for chumps. My comics are broken down my publisher, character, etc... Partially because I can't imagine all of the shifting which would need to occur to accommodate every addition of a new title. I worked at a record store for a while, and whenever we got in a new artist in the A's or B's, we had to adjust all the way down the alphabet until we reached a point where there was empty shelf space.

-- Posted by: ryan at June 25, 2007 3:01 PM

Can you elaborate on what you mean by 'cross-stacking'?
You stack 3 long boxes 'east/west' on top of 3 long boxes that are 'north/south' ?

-- Posted by: JC at February 23, 2008 11:26 AM