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Showing Off the Shelves: Batman (December 2016)

I’ve been getting newer stuff worked in and generally re-situating my shelves, leading to showing off the current configuration.

Lagging a bit behind my Superman collection, which is well onto its third shelf, my Batman collection still has a little way to go to fill its second shelf and creep onto its third.


While The Dark Knight Returns is more of an "ending" to the story (or should’ve been, but Strikes Again and III are another subject/post entirely) I ended up starting the shelf off with it–I have the story in numerous editions, much like other favorites The Death of Superman and Kingdom Come.

Then, following what I did with the Superman stuff, I lead with the "survey" collections spanning the years, then try to approximate rough chronological order from the Silver Age into modern times. The Batman run seems a lot more solidly event-oriented, with the bulk of the "inches" on the shelf being the event collections.


Following the event stuff, I ease a bit into the New 52 era, and then back out into broad stuff. Even as I type this, it crosses my mind that the Batman Arkham volumes actually belong up in the earlier volumes as ‘survey’ books that are not collecting any singular story but a broad range of issues featuring a particular character.

The glaring gaps in my Batman collection are all the more glaring compared to Superman; but that’s not terribly surprising, as I’ve been a much more solid Superman fan than Batman over the years. No great dislike of the character; just a far deeper like of Superman.

The few hardcovers that I have are largely glaring stick-outs to me, such that I’d be somewhat interested in trying to replace them with paperbacks; particularly Heart of Hush and Batman: R.I.P. I’d ordered Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader at the same time as the Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow counterpart, so am somewhat hesitant to replace one, as they tie together in my mind; perhaps someday I’ll replace ’em both.

It’s simply astounding to consider the vast library of Bat-stuff out there…I have a relatively large collection here, but I swear I don’t have a fraction of what’s (been) available!


Showing Off the Shelves: The Flash (November 2016)

My Flash stuff is the most recent "subcollection" to take off for me, having "started" with The Secret of Barry Allen and not really counting the Flashpoint volumes to pulling those in, and adding a number of other volumes in 2016…including having pre-ordered the Flash by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato Omnibus prior to being laid off.


As Flashpoint was an "event," I’d had those books grouped with my other "event books," but decided that as the only "event series" that I have like this (and keeping what I do have of Blackest Night with the Green Lantern stuff, made sense to me to move Flashpoint over to fit in right after the Road to Flashpoint volume, leading directly to the Omnibus (which has the first 25 or so issues of the New 52 run).

I would hope that there’ll be another omnibus collecting the back half of the series, but for now, I’m more interested in/looking forward to The Flash by Geoff Johns vol. 3 and The Flash by Mark Waid vol. 1!

Showing Off the Shelves: TMNT (November 2016)

I’m showing off the latest configurations of "sub collections" on my shelves.

Here, today, are my TMNT and Usagi stuff. While not officially tied together, I’ve long associated Usagi Yojimbo with the TMNT stuff; and so they fit together well on a shelf. Though I’m basically maxed-out on this shelf now, so the Usagi stuff might end up getting moved to fit elsewhere before too long.


I’d jumped on the TMNT Ultimate Edition line as soon as it started, and "kept up" with it, including the surprise/addition of the 6th volume. Then I have the 1First graphic novel series, collecting the early Mirage stuff in color the first time. These were my initial introduction to the original/Mirage version of the characters, having had my start with the classic cartoon and the Archie-published TMNT Adventures.

After those we have stuff from Mirage itself over the years–first some of the generic collected volumes; then a bunch of the mid-2000s collected volumes up to the cgi-TMNT film just before Laird sold the property.

From there, the Archie edition of the original TMNT Adventures mini, collected; along with 4 of the 6 TMNT Classics Digest that reprinted the earlier TMNT Adventures issues; and then the current run of IDW‘s volumes collecting the TMNT Adventures run. From there, some other versions of the TMNT Adventures collections, the IDW TMNT hardcover, the 30th Anniversary Special and the 2012 & 2014 Annuals.

Finally, the first 4 Usagi Yojimbo mega-collections from Dark Horse.

I’d had a number of the earlier IDW TPBs of their TMNT series; but stopped with those as soon as I found out about the oversized hardcovers–and though I’m a couple volumes behind, my aim is to use THOSE for my "double-dipping" on the series. They’re the far better value, with about 3 paperbacks’ contents for about/slightly over the cost of 2.

I had at one point figured I’d be getting some of the various other large hardcovers IDW has been putting out for the various TMNT stuff…but they’re all different dimensions, and just don’t look like they go together that well, and thus are quite unattractive to me as a group of books.


Then, of course, there are the TMNT toys. While this is not the entirety of my TMNT toys collection…it is a full shelf’s worth, laid out for display at present.

Showing Off the Shelves: Superman (November 2016)

My collection is constantly growing and shifting, with gaps filled in here and there, a new/superior or preferred edition replacing another, and so on.

I have a large DC collection overall, though primary within that are my Superman, Batman, and Green Lantern collections. I think from there it drops down to The Flash and then the remainder of DC stuff and events.

Today, I’m showing off my updated Superman collection!


I start the section with the two Archives volumes I have, and then other general/history-spanning volumes. Then the Superman Chronicles of the Golden Age stuff, then the Showcase Presents kicking off the Silver Age/Middle stuff; the "themed" volumes, then the Superman vs. _____ books; several other collections, to Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? Kicking off "my" Superman we have the World of Krypton and The Kents, both (to my understanding) taking place before we jumped in with the Byrne reboot. Then For All Seasons as a general beginning/Year One/Origin thing. Next, the Man of Steel series collecting the entirety (I believe) of the Byrne run. I have stuff as much in order as possible from there; roughly publication order, working within existing structure.


We quickly get into the Death of Superman stuff, and the few volumes of stories after, before jumping to the weird semi-complete-ish (sorta) run of stuff from 1999-2001ish with the numbered Superman volumes (and Emperor Joker) to Our Worlds at War, the "new" "origin" in Birthright, and then stuff from around Infinite Crisis and into the New Krypton era, Black Ring, skipping the New 52, and I’ve got the Superman: Lois and Clark volume here. I have my Death and Return of Superman Omnibus as a "divider" to other quasi-miscellaneous stuff–the Superman: Doomsday tpb, the Gil Kane and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez volumes, then what I have of the various Superman/Batman collections.

While I’ve no significant interest in the older, incomplete "omnibus" that had a lot of the Death/Return stuff, I do also have my original volumes collecting the stories, including several editions of the Death of Superman volume itself–the original edition, the updated edition, and the hardcover edition they put out "recently" for the Book/Blu-Ray/Digital combo packs.


Spilling onto a third shelf, my two Superman hardcovers from the New 52 era–Unchained and Superman: Doomed. From there, the Earth One volumes, All-Star Superman, and other semi-isolated volumes into Supergirl and Superboy stuff, before getting into general-DC Universe stuff.


And while showing off "the Superman collection," I can’t leave out the shelf of 3D depictions of the character!

Of course, this is a "snapshot" of the collection at present–I have several figures packed away from moving; and several paperbacks have gotten shuffled around and pulled and not re-filed to read…and there are plenty of others I’d like to get as able.

But for now, November 2016, this is the core of my bookshelf-able Superman collection!

Unplanned Books-A-Million Clearance Purchases 11/3

Thursday evening, I found myself at a Books-A-Million for the first time in quite awhile. Where I’d figured maybe I would find a cheap book or a comic frame…I didn’t expect to find a giant stack of books that had my interest for the price.

I eventually pared a stack of about a dozen books down to three:


I got all three books for the price of 5 standard Marvel issues and a True Believers issue.

I was disappointed that Captain America and the Falcon by Priest that I found in the clearance section was not actually on (discounted) sale. And while they had a bunch of the Secret Wars (2015) skinny volumes for $4.97 apiece, they weren’t the greatest condition nor interest to me. I absolutely would have gotten the Age of Apocalypse one if that’d been there for that price, though!

The Wolverine volume is Wolverine; and collects a few issues from the latter part of The Essential Wolverine vol. 5 and the earlier issues from The Essential Wolverine vol. 6…but in full color. I quite like the Essentials line, but for this period of the title, the black and white/graytone effect gets very muddy and doesn’t work nearly as well, so getting this run in this format is very cool. All the moreso for the price!

The Avengers: Scarlet Witch fits thematically with my Avengers: Quicksilver volume. And I’ve been interested in reading Powers: Who Killed Retro Girl for awhile, especially since getting/watching the first season of the tv show last year (though I’ve yet to be able to see the second/final season).

It’s amazing, though, to consider just how highly-priced most Marvel volumes are, such that I virtually never buy any at "full price," because that price is just not worth it to me; while DC has had a number of volumes that I’m willing to pay full price for (even though I’d prefer cheaper means!)

New Death of Superman Editions

death_of_superman_new_editions_03Back in late 1992, possibly early 1993–VERY shortly after Superman #75 was published–a collected volume was rushed out, collecting the six Superman issues and the Justice League issue that made up the Doomsday! (now simply The Death of Superman) arc.

I have always considered it something that was rushed because on the back where they gave a cover gallery, several of the issues were obviously-marked (Roman Numerals) later printings…whoever had been tasked with designing the back cover did not even themselves have access (or care) to all first-print editions (and I say this assuming there were no digital images floating around back then to simply access and use).

And over 1993 we then got the Funeral for a Friend story collected as World Without a Superman, and then eventually a massive (even by contemporary standards!) The Return of Superman (my copy, bought at the time, was a whopping $14.95 or so..!).

Over the years, those volumes have remained in-print…with the only major difference that I have noticed being that the Death of Superman volume eventually was switched to the iconic Superman #75 cover image of the tattered cape amidst the wreckage of Doomsday’s rampage.

The volumes originated in a time where any such collected volume was a real rarity/novelty, and it was only the particularly “special” or truly “sold-out” major storylines that would get collected into a single-volume edition…and each was largely its own thing, existing as an isolated item. “Simple” as the spines were back then, my original editions, at least, look ok together, but do not match many “surrounding” volumes on the bookshelves…and other than “knowing” the three volumes belong together, there’s no real indicator of them, nor the order to read them in. I take such knowledge totally for granted, but especially in this day and age of constant deaths and resurrections and timey-wimey stuff and multiverses and pre-Flashpoints and New 52s…’nuff said.


We now get five volumes–each more manageable than the Death and Return of Superman Omnibus, and admittedly higher prices…but also more content in the volumes–for example, the Death of Superman volume now contains the Newstime magazine that was published during all this; the Funeral for a Friend volume has the Legacy of Superman and the Supergirl/Team Luthor special; while what was formerly the single-volume The Return of Superman has been split in two–with the addition of the four ongoing titles’ Bloodlines annuals (each issue starring one of the Four Supermen) as well as the entirety of issues that had only had several pages reprinted.

And while it does not fit the “set” or “series” quite the same way, we have the inclusion of the Doomsday volume, giving us the Doomsday: Year One annual as well as the complete Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey along with Superman: The Doomsday Wars.

I believe podcaster and fellow blogger Michael Bailey said it on Facebook (and I wholeheartedly agree!) that probably a better fit for this volume would have been the early-2000s mini-series Superman: Day of Doom in place of The Doomsday Wars.


Still, all in all, I love the new trade dress–the black bar with red logo/title text contrasts nicely with the images, and really make them look like part of the same series of books.

While I kinda question the wisdom of numbering the volumes (wondering if a 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 on the spine would put someone off from buying an isolated volume), I absolutely love that with the full set, part of the spines makes up a black box with the iconic (extremely so to me!) “bleeding S” that denotes the death of the Man of Steel.

This set gives me at least my 5th edition of the Death of Superman volume, and I have many of the issues in this set multiple times over. Yet, given what the saga means to me, on learning of these new editions’ existence and the inclusion of the specials and particularly the annuals…I was immediately interested. That the spines do what they do put me over the fence.

However, I did wait until these were available from InStockTrades, as I certainly was not going to buy all 5 at once at anything remotely approaching cover price, and even this was a hefty one-time amount to lay out. For saving 45%, though, I’m extremely pleased with the purchase, and having these volumes!

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.

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