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Send us your Shelf Porn!

by  in Comic News Comment

Welcome once again to Shelf Porn, our weekly look into the offices, dens, bedrooms and yes, sometimes even the bathrooms of comic fans. I’m trying to remember if we’ve had a look at anyone’s toilet before, but once you read the descriptions, you’ll see that it makes sense.

If you’d like to contribute your own pictures, send them to me at jkparkin@yahoo.com.

Today’s Shelf Porn comes from Chris Langro in Cumming, Georgia, as he shows us his shelves of books, framed art and statues. Take it away, Chris …

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I’m a 28 year old security engineer who was a huge comic book geek in the 80s and early 90s but like so many others, fell out of it when it became more of a burden trying to buy 15 different X titles, all with foil embossed holographic covers with a limited print run of 20 billion. My girlfriend of 2.5+ years along with a good friend got me back into comics about 2 years ago. My tastes have changed dramatically but the big 2 haven’t. Every time I go to a comic book store and see 30 new Wolverine comics alongside 30 crossover “event” comics featuring the death of a character who’ll be back in 6 months, I just have to roll my eyes.

There are good things and bad things about returning to comics as an adult; for one, I now have this wonderful thing called “disposable income”, something that was certainly lacking when I was a tween. A lot of great content has come out since then, and I’ve had A LOT of catching up to do. I just bought a new home, and the first thing I got was a beautiful bookcase to illustrate my ever-growing collection:


Now what you may notice here is that there is only 1 comic book longbox in the corner. I’ve since grown out of bagging and boarding everything. Comics are for reading enjoyment, not some stock-like speculation market based on hearsay and rumor. Starting about a year ago when my first longbox started overflowing, I decided to go trade-only for a couple of reasons: ease of enjoyment, ability to display, cost savings and perhaps most importantly, a guarantee of a story arch completion. I can’t tell you how many times I had to wait 6+ months if not YEARS between issues, provided they ever even came out again (Infinite Horizon, everything from Jonathan Hickman on Image, etc). Simply put, I grew out of boxes of comics and graduated to a nice regal bookshelf.

There is a slight method to the madness of my sorting. The topshelf is for statues and models. The next shelf down is mainly WW2 books and other random books. The next 2 shelves down are all the trades in alphabetical order. On the 2nd to bottom shelf on the left are my anthologies and comic strips. To the right are basically the books that are too odd-shaped to fit on other shelves. The bottom shelves are magazines that don’t really expire, mainly Armchair General and WW2 Magazine (Who needs to keep a magazine for video games that came out 3 years ago?). The bottom right shelf are the small ones.

Now what we got here is a gen-u-ine Frankie statue. Nothing says “I don’t take any crap” like stabbing a zombie in the eye while preparing to beat its head in with a wrench. The big man in the center is the one and old Miracleman commissioned by Randy Bowen. No price was too high for this, as Miracleman is my favorite series of all time (although I do wish I had a matching Kid Miracleman statue, as he’s my favorite villain of all time). Underneath him is Atomic Robo. For those of you who aren’t familiar with him…what the Hell is wrong with you? It’s like Indiana Jones meets Hellboy, but 10x funnier using science. In the words of Gob, “COME ON!” For good measure, we’ll end our tour with some non-comic book models, a Little Sister from Bioshock and a Bobblehead from Fallout 3.


As a sort of public service, I’m going to limit the discussion of my actual content to just the stuff that you might not know about (recommending All-Star Superman at this point is like pointing out the moisture found in water). Up top we’ll go with Atomika, a sort of gothic poem about the God of the Russian Soviet mega-state. I say mega-state because when you control the only God in the world, other nations are of no concern. This series should be wrapping up soon, but it was pained with constant delays as it was entirely self-published. On the bottom I’ll have to go with Pim & Francie’s Golden Bear Days, easily my favorite book of 2009. I discovered Al Columbia based on a recommendation of the Biologic Show from Gerard Way, creator of the Umbrella Academy. I was instantly hooked, as Al Columbia’s work seems almost custom made for me. While there is no traditional narrative to speak of, the images in this book speak so loudly that you’ll go deaf experiencing it.


You know what I said about disposable income? It’s what paid for the only bagged and boarded trades I have, which are the entire collection of Miracleman. I could go on and on about how much this impacted me, but I’ll just say that the minute Marvel announces some sort of Miracleman hardcover collector’s edition ridiculous Omnibus for God knows how much, I’ll be pre-ordering with bells on. But back to the policy of “maybe you don’t know about this” recommendations, I’ll go with Johnny Hiro. The best way to describe this is an Asian Scott Pilgrim. Next up is my 2nd favorite release of 2009 by my favorite publisher (Fantagraphics), it’s Michael Kupperman’s Tales Designed to Thrizzle. You might have seen his work on Adult Swim’s Snake and Bacon, which I admit didn’t translate as well to TV as I had hoped. Kupperman is a master absurdist and his take on 50s era advertisements are just brilliant. At the risk of breaking copyright law somewhere, I’ll some it up in this ad you’ll find in the book for the nut bra, which is exactly what it sounds like:

“FUCK SHIT, LADIES! THIS is the bra for YOU! Unequalled comfort and…what? What are you doing? You told me to be enthusiastic and swearing is my way of being enthusiastic. What? What’s your problem? Get your fucking hands off me!”


Onto the “too big to fail” category, we got some really Goddamn cool books. Brian Chippendale’s Ninja, The Acme Novelty Library Final Report to Shareholders and Rainy Day Saturday Afternoon Fun Book, Pushwagner’s Soft City, Matt Brinkman’s Multiforce. I guess what they say is true, size DOES matter. I apologize for the poor quality of this photo (stupid iPhone 3G with inferior camera!), but below I want to make special mention of Theo Ellsworth’s Capacity from Secret Acres. I think he’s one of the great unknown talents in the indie comics scene. His work is incredibility intricate and he crafts these beautiful worlds. I can only hope he finds enough hours in the day to keep creating such beautiful work.

And last but certainly not least are the anthologies and web comics. Anthologies are a great concept, but it’s really hard to find a good one. You need a great editor with a nose for talent like Sammy Harkham (editor of Kramer’s Ergot) to optimize the quality ratio. It’s incredibly easy to include 100 artists in 1 book, but 100 good artists is an art in of itself.


A few pages up I showed you where I keep my over-sized books. Well, this is where I keep my one “OH MY GOD ITS GODZILLA!” sized book, Kramer’s Ergot 7. It’s almost tall as a longbox and about twice as wide, and that’s CLOSED.

As I leave my nerd Mecca, I pass by this everyday: an Al Columbia print. It isn’t my favorite of his work because frankly, I don’t have $600 to buy an original print, but I got this custom framed and I think it is pretty neat.

Now you know how I said that I stopped collecting comics and moved to trades? Well, I did that and some of my favorite comics got upgraded to trades. But I don’t need 2 sets of the same content (with Miracleman being the exception), so I came up with this instead:

A toilet library. Every couple of weeks I rotate out the content just to keep things fresh for myself and guests. People seem to enjoy it and in a worse case scenario, I have an ample supply of paper if the toilet paper runs out…just kidding!

I hope you enjoyed my little tour!