Pipeline, Issue #64


Today, I reorganized my comic book collection. So here's a topic for

some fun discussion: How's your comic book collection organized? I'll

print all your responses to this one. I'm serious. I'm curious.

When I started collecting comics 9 years ago, it was easy. I had a

couple or three empty boxes of envelopes. These were the boxes Mom

brought home from work. They held 100 envelopes or something like that.

You could stack twenty or thirty comics in there.

Next thing you know, I had a few of those small boxes in my collection,

and they got broken down by artist. I had a Ron Lim box. (I was big

into SILVER SURFER and CAPTAIN AMERICA back then.) There was the

Liefeld box, the Jim Lee box, the Todd McFarlane box.

Eventually, those boxes wouldn't work anymore, and I upgraded to some other sort of box. They were the boxes you could buy at the local Drug Fair for storage purposes. They were a little too wide, but if I taped the empty envelope box to the side, it made the width perfect. They were about as long as a long box. The contents of those boxes were, well -- I don't quite remember anymore. I had a mutant box. I can remember that. The rest of the stuff was organized by title or creator, I'm sure.

Then starting just a couple of years ago, I started to get the short boxes at my local comics shop. They also held video tapes nicely, too, I found out. Now my room is a mess. My collection sits in 30 short boxes plus one long box. All but three of the short boxes are in my bedroom. (My bedroom is about eleven feet square. As you can imagine, after my bed and computer and comics, there's not much room.)

The boxes sit mostly along one wall, 7 across, stacked three high. There's another stack of three in front of them, and the other four boxes are off to a side. Before today, the contents of the boxes were arranged in such a way so as to minimize the number of times I had to dig through boxes. The comics I still collect were in the top boxes, and the ones on the bottom were the ones I rarely, if ever, need access to. (One of those boxes is my pre-Image McFarlane collection. His early work on INFINITY INC. is a lot of fun, and I still find some issues I'm missing at conventions now and again. Another box contains my SUPERMAN comics from when I collected all of those titles. Today I only get SUPERMAN ADVENTURES and that goes in a box up a level with the BATMAN animated-spinoff comics and other cartoon-based comics.) The top boxes were mostly writer-related. There was a Mark Waid box. Another box was a combo Kurt Busiek/Warren Ellis box. Another was a Peter David box. There was also an Erik Larsen box.

Today I changed all that. Why? Well, I'm running out of room. I could just buy more boxes, but I came to the conclusion I wasn't making judicious use of my space anymore. In order to keep runs of certain books together, some boxes were packed tighter than they should be, while others had more room than they really needed. What I did was to keep the bottom layer of boxes separate. I don't usually need those and I didn't need to bother with them. The contents of the rest of the boxes got organized alphabetically.

It's a process that took me four hours to begin today. And that's only the rough alphabetization. I still have to go back through the boxes and space out the comics better and put them in proper alpha order. It's sort of vague right now. The first three boxes contain the A's, B's, C's, and D's. The next few have the E's through I's. (THE INCREDIBLE HULK takes up just about a whole box.) The real headache began at the S's. Between STARMAN and SUPERBOY and SUPERGIRL and THE SPECTRE and SUICIDE SQUAD and STAR and all the SPIDER-MAN stuff. . . It got progressively worse until I hit the X's. You can only imagine the horror there.

So what I plan on doing from now on is to use my one long box as a temp box. I'll let the pile accumulate there for as long as I can wait. Then once in a while I'll got ahead and sort those out and put them in the right boxes, so I'm not constantly shuffling boxes around.

Of course, I could come to loathe this system. I might just go ahead and convert everything to long boxes in a couple of months. That would take up slightly more space, but save me a few boxes... I don't know. It's in flux.

The perfect thing would be to do what Don Rosa sort of does, methinks. Have all the metal filing shelves set up and just put everything in alphabetical order. EVERYTHING. It's easy to get at the boxes as you need it, if you don't have to take the two boxes on top of the one you're looking for off first.

Please forgive me this self-indulgent column, but I'm curious to hear how you all organize your collections. Let me know so I can write a special column -- or put it in reserve in case I ever get late with one. =)

P.S. OK, that's the commentary. Now for the review: THE FLASH #141: Mark Millar's last issue. This last storyline is very imaginative and clever. Grant Morrison and Mark Millar did an excellent job filling in for Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn and should be applauded. They did more than just fill-in stories. They made enjoyable stories.

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