Monday, July 06, 2009

Alan Moore? File under "H" for "Has-Been"?

The title of this post doesn't make any sense, but I couldn't think of anything else to use, so I figured I'd come up with something to start a blood feud between CBR's George Khoury and myself.

It's on, George Khoury. Bring the pain!

Okay, what this post is about is something much more mundane than Alan Moore's current relevance or my imaginary war with George Khoury: it's about sorting comics.

I'm literally in the midst of thousands of comics. They surround me, here in my geek lair, as I try to somehow make more space by putting all of them in unwieldy longboxes. I don't know how the physics on this kind of thing works, but I somehow think that if I take these piles and piles of comics that have been building up and slip them into my already alphabetically-organized collection of comics, I'll somehow have space to walk around and, I don't know, own other things besides comics. It's doomed to failure, I know, but I just can't leave these piles all over the place. One false move and I could lose a child in this mess.

So, here's my question for my faithful readers. How do you organize your comics? Specifically, do you organize them by title or by creator? Because what I've found is that I have my gigantic stacks of alphabetized long boxes (by title), a couple of Grant-Morrison-only boxes (that I separated when I was writing the book, and then just kept separate for convenience), three "Legion of Super-Heroes"-only boxes (same reason), and then piles and piles of comics I've purchased over the past two or three years (some of those "piles" have ended up in random longboxes, but completely unsorted, just to get them out of the way).

But my new system this time is to create more creator-specific boxes (or parts of boxes), because I find myself referring to some comics far more than others. Alan Moore's an obvious example, and it really doesn't make sense to have my copies of "Top 10" and "Miracleman" mixed in with incomplete runs of "Tailgunner Jo" and "Monsters on the Prowl." So, that would give me easier-to access Alan Moore comics. I've done the same with Matt Fraction, rounding up my scattered "Uncanny X-Men" issues just so I could write things that would make Ultimate Matt mad, and I've done the same with my Jason Aaron comics , pulling all the "Scalped" issues and "Ghost Rider" issues (and other sundries) into a single box.

Who else would you isolate and box separately? I'm doing it for Ed Brubaker, too, I think. Well, I guess I AM doing it, since I've kept his comics in a separate pile as I sort and alphabetize everything else. Garth Ennis gets his own box, basically on account of "Preacher" alone, but it will be nice to have his war comics and "The Boys" all in one place. Warren Ellis gets a box. So does Joe Casey. Mark Millar does too, as frustrating a writer as he is, because I can imagine doing some kind of retrospective on his work or referring to specific runs more than once.

Who else might you separate? Would you give Bendis a box or ten? Azzarello? Gaiman (even though I sold my "Sandman" comics years ago and have his good stuff in collected editions)? Kirkman? Giffen? Would you do it by artist? The more refined you get with a creator-based division, the more runs you break up and then it's hard to find that issue of "Jonah Hex" you were looking for because you can't remember which artists drew it without looking it up online and cross-referencing it with your collection.

What's your system, if you have one?

28 comments:

Matt Jacobson (formerly Ultimate Matt) said...

I file by creator, because that's what I'm usually interested in.

Anonymous said...

I have shared boxes of names and titles. Moore, Miller, and Gaimen might be in one. Pope shares one with other artists. But titles go together too. Cap, X-Men, Avengers. All of Busiek's books go together, unless it's Avengers and then that goes with the title. I try to guess where my mind will expect to find books in the future.

Alan David Doane said...

By creator, always. I have boxes that are all Warren Ellis, all Ed Brubaker/Sean Phillips (together and separate), all Grant Morrison, and two all Alan Moore. Other creators have to share boxes (Joss Whedon/Garth Ennis), with the only logic being what fits with what in terms of how many comics I have by each.

One box has Spider-Man comics by various creators ranging from Dan Jurgens to Gil Kane, but, you know, that's Spider-Man, he deserves his own box. At least, he used to, when his comics didn't all universally suck bilge water...

Kevin said...

I have a box that's half Frank Miller and half Darwyn Cooke. It's a good box.

Matthew E said...

By title, but with a large "miscellaneous" pile. Also, I use magazine file boxes (vaguely triangular things that sit on a bookshelf) instead of long or short boxes. You can pick 'em up with one hand.

Chad Nevett said...

I don't organise too seriously, but I've noticed that I accidentally slipped into organising by creator with one shortbox mostly filled with Jim Starlin, while another is Warren Ellis/Ed Brubaker/Garth Ennis, another is Grant Morrison, another is Joe Casey... Beyond that, I have stacks of comics than need boxes. I have one box right by my bed where I keep current ongoing series that I'm following for easy access. I used to keep minis I'm buying there, too, but that was too many comics.

Rolando said...

I used to have them by title with some exceptions like "Detective Comics" under "B" with the rest of Batman or "All Star Superman" under "S" for Superman. Recently I switched, though, to straight alphabetical order with no exceptions. I use the Internet and Google as an index if I need to find specific issues and can't remember the title or number.

However, I find it a tad annoying to have multi-title arcs separated (ie New Krypton or Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader). But then it becomes difficult splitting up runs of titles and keeping track of what is where.

Yeah, I definitely need to keep things simple or else I just confuse myself.

Ben Villarreal said...

I sort my "floppies" by title, but my anthologies and graphic novels by author. However, I can see how sorting your most cherished separately without regard to title and/or author might be advantageous in the likely event that the fire trap that is our comics' collections goes up. Then you only have to worry about pulling one box from the blaze :-)

On a semi-related note, I have my video games organized autobiographically :-)

Streebo said...

I use a bizarre filing system for my comics. I'm a storyteller - so I like to have certain types of books on hand at any given moment. I generally group them by theme or superhero tropes or archetype. This way - I'll find Miracleman, Supreme, Superman and Irredeemable all in one box and so on.

Greg said...

I organize everything alphabetically by title. Comics, trades, books, DVDs ... but not CDs, which I organize alphabetically by artist and chronologically if I have more than one CD by the artist. I have thought about doing what you do with regard to creators, but that smacks of "writer elitism." Why don't you do it for Bill Sienkiewicz, you writer elitist? Huh? Or Bret Blevins? (Yes, I'm sure you have all the Blevins comics in creation.) There's no perfect way, of course - occasionally I'd like to have all my Morrison comics in one spot, but usually, alphabetical is good enough. And it's fun when I come across some random issue of some obscure title that I bought before I knew who, say, Warren Ellis was, and it's written by Warren Ellis!

Timothy Callahan said...

I would prefer to list everything alphabetically by title, honestly, because, yeah, why separate just the writers and ignore the artists, and you can't do both, because what box does Promethea go in? The Moore box or the Williams III box? Etc.

But if I don't separate the "greatest hits" writers then it's all about moving fifty boxes around just to get to that one issue of Promethea that's near the bottom of the pile o' white cardboard.

Maybe I'll just sell them all and start from scratch. My new collection will begin with X-Men Forever #3.

Justin said...

I've been collecting for too long now to keep one giant alphabetical system so I broke everything up like Previews does. It sounds odd but it works and makes it easier to get to things. So I have separate collections for DCU, Superman, Batman, Marvel, Vertigo, Image/Dark Horse/Others, etc.

Trades though, are shelved by author.

Bill Reed said...

I have a wall of paper boxes filled with comics mostly in alphabetical order by title.

If I had longboxes, I would build a comic fort.

Greg said...

They have those boxes now that pull out like shelves, so you can stack them on top of each other and still reach the comics you want. It's one of the greatest invention in the history of mankind!!!!

cj said...

@tim: I take it you don't like Tom Strong?

Matt said...

I've got a Morrison/Quitely box and a Jim Steranko box. Other than that, I have no problem with finding "Devil Dinosaur" neext to "Desolation Jones." I find that too many different kinds of categorization only leads to more confusion than it really clears up. But I'm not writing any books about my comics, though, so it may be different for you.

Timothy Callahan said...

I love Tom Strong. Here's my theory on Tom Strong: if anyone else had written a comic like that in 1999, it would have made that person a superstar writer. From Alan Moore, people responded with..."meh."

Matt--it's not so much about writing the books as it is the sheer massive amount of boxes packed into a relatively small space. 60 longboxes in one storage room makes getting to those comics near the end of the alphabet almost impossible.

Timothy Callahan said...

And those 60 boxes end up behind stuff like luggage, pieces of a baby crib, seasonal decorations, etc, etc.

We just need a bigger house and built in comic drawers on every wall. Let's make that happen.

Rev Sully said...

OK...great question, Callahan.

Since early 2001 when I started reading again, I've been charged with storing what I refer to as my FunnyBook Accumulation. It's not a collection, heck, I still roll 'em up and put 'em in my back pocket (with a slipcover of course ^_~).

I got 4 longboxes...alphabetically. then it's basically One DC Universe longbox, One Marvel Longbox and a Miscellaneous longbox such as Dark Horse, Buffy S8, Warren Ellis' Avatar titles, et al...
And a Fourth Box...my DC Crisis Longbox; the exception to the Properties/Universe Rule. Where I get creative. It starts with the 1978 oversized Superboy & Legion of Superheroes then to the still-worth-the $30 CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS TPB. Then to Animal Man's Second Crisis...and anything CRISIS-oriented. I even file the Lightning Saga, the Sinestro Corps War and will file Blackest Night under the CRISIS Longbox because I really thought that INFINITE CRISIS was excellent and anything Superboy-Prime written by Geoff Johns is in this "super"-context. Blackest Night: same reason only for Earth-Two Superman...now an Evil Zombie!!!
But I think a split between the Big 2 with "the Rest". Kinda like the back bins at the FunnyBook Bodega, huh?

Patrick said...

Here's my theory on Tom Strong: if anyone else had written a comic like that in 1999, it would have made that person a superstar writer. From Alan Moore, people responded with..."meh."

I'd argue the opposite, if anyone else had written the title, it'd be largely ignored. Think of something like Joe Casey's Godland, which would probably get a lot more attention and acclaim if Morrison or Moore were on it. It's that same kind of pastiche/sincere tribute to a bygone age of storytelling, and I'd argue is of a roughly similar level of quality with Tom Strong.

But, I think Tom Strong, like a lot of "fun" Alan Moore comics, gets so bogged down in its mannered imitation of bygone comics styles, it loses some of the fun it's supposed to have. Moore's Silver Age homages feel like Silver Age comics actually read, Morrison's feel like you imagine them to be.

Bruce Castle said...

Awww, I thought this was going to be a post about Fraction's Uncanny X-Men. When is that coming, Tim? Next WWC column?

And why don't you post WWC columns here anymore? What if I want to comment on those?

Good column this week, too. I'm very much looking forward to Wednesday Comics. And, please, comic-drop more often. I haven't read Solo or Batman/Houdini, but I'll have to check those out now.

Jherek Carnelian said...

Soon as you start sorting and alphabeticising you are officially a sad geek. Just do what I do,in the spirit of Anarchy and Rock n Roll. Throw 'em in the cupboard any old how and vow to sort 'em out one day. Except Morrison and Moore of course who have piles all to themselves. Oh and crossover series like 52 which are all together, in order, earliest issue first. Mylar? Backing boards get outa here!

As to Tom Strong. I love those books, they're not so slavishly homage as, say, 1963 or Supreme was but every time they target a Silver or Golden age trope they hit the bullseye spot on. Never liked Godland but then I never liked Kirby.

andy khouri said...

I cannot get behind your unorthodox filing-by-creator system. Items should be filed alphabetically by title regardless of author or publisher. That is the way of things.

If you absolutely insist on operating in this ridiculous way, at least have the decency to alphabetize the titles within each author group -- and for God's sake, arrange the boxes alphabetically by author's name!

Marc Sobel said...

I kind of struggle with this myself. I have a sort of creator/title/publisher hybrid system which makes absolutely no sense.

One thing that made my life much easier, though, was switching over to the drawer boxes, instead of the old kind with the lids on top. I don't know what kind of space you have, but in my little 2 BR apt, everything is stacked in my closet so the drawer boxes are great.

Dave Tobin said...

"We just need a bigger house and built in comic drawers on every wall. Let's make that happen."

We'll be getting our garage shelved for comics once we get the expense of our wedding out of the way next year. Hoping for floor to ceiling shelving with two layers of drawers for single issues all along the bottom of the units.

Currently I have two free standing bookshelves and about a dozen longboxes in that room. All the stuff is mainly organised by title and publisher. HCs and TPBs are mainly on the shelves and organisation can differ. My two favourite shelves have to be my Morrison shelf and my Moore ABC shelf.

numberkingdom said...

For Anarchy Online Cheats, Anarchy Online Dupes, AO credit cheats, Anarchy Online Bots, Anarchy Online Guides, and Walkthroughs click here

My store said...

Under asics ultimate 81 the agreement, Asics onitsuka tiger ultimate 81 footwear will be available in India ultiamte 81 onitsuka tiger by April 2010, initially at Reliance Footprint ultimate 81 tiger stores in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore,ultimate 81 onitsuka Hyderabad, Chennai and Kochi, the companies mexico 66 asics tiger said in a joint statement.Asics will have the asics mexico 66 right to sell its products at its own exclusive onitsuka tiger ultimate brand outlets, in addition to onitsuka tiger mexcio 66 being sold at Reliance Footprint stores.

My store said...

Just before I go, I thought it ugg classic argyle useful to point you to classic argyle knit some other places of interest with respect to sheepskin fashion.  Just remember, for links ugg argyle to sites outside ours, we argyle knit ugg are not responsible for the content, information, argyle knit uggs or accuracy of them. In many cases, there is conflicting ugg boots argyle historical information. If you use such links ugg knit boots, you do so at your own risk and ugg argyle boot you accept ugg knit boots any and all liability, implied argyle uggs or otherwise.