I started digging around in my long boxes today; I have six of them this side of the pond with at least two or three of them organized somewhat half decently. I’ve always enjoyed collecting comics, indeed even the act of bagging and boarding them isn’t that much of a chore for me; but what I genuinely enjoy is the organizing and sorting of the actual comics within those long boxes. I just don’t seem to actually organize the comics within those boxes as often as I should.
The last time I did so it would have been shortly after my grandmother passed away, around the tail end of 2013. I ended up taking a few days off work and found myself organizing the long boxes that I had. It was therapeutic for me in some ways (apparently as a child I would line my toy cars up in perfect rows – almost like an ideal carpark/parking lot – when playing). Despite getting at least two of the boxes organized well, the others didn’t do quite so well; one box was left as the catch-all, and the others were partly organized – at best. I had no idea what was in each box as I’d over looked keeping track of that marginally important aspect of the sorting. And in the years since… I haven’t exactly kept up with keeping the boxes organized, either.
Needless to say, when going through those long boxes looking for a specific story arc that I still haven’t found (Court Of Owls, from the beginning of the New 52 in 2011) I realized something about the long boxes; that as much fun as it is for me to dig through them at the comic shop, digging through my unlabeled and roughly organized collection for something specific isn’t quite as much fun when you don’t know which of the six boxes the story is in – or even whether the full arc is all in the one box.
It’s not that I can even point to one and say “well that’s my Marvel box,” or “that’s where the DC stuff is,” because I honestly have no idea which boxes are which. Somewhere there’s a box full of indies, too, but I have no idea which because at this point, I can’t remember which box contains what comic. Which is, I guess, an excellent reason to go back through them and organize the long boxes properly (but since I need to pick another one up, and I am perpetually lazy, that may wait have a while).
And that brings me, rather belatedly, to my point.
Ever since I began writing for Graphic Policy seven or eight months ago (I don’t honestly remember, but I know that it hasn’t been a year just yet), I was fortunate enough to get access to review copies of certain publisher’s comics, and with that access came a whole lot of review pdfs that I have downloaded in the past eight months – not every comic I’ve had access to I’ve downloaded, only those I’ve wanted to read. Initially I’d just save them to my desktop, but it didn’t take long before that looked like an icon filled mess, so I realized that I’d have to organize them. It was surprisingly easy.
Much easier than even the thought of organizing the long boxes.
But the thing is, despite how easy it is, I’d still much rather be dealing with physical copies of comics than their digital counter parts; it’s the feel of the issue in my hands, the smell of the paper, and the feeling of history when I have an older issue in my hands. So what’s a modern day comic book reader to do when it comes to storing their print comics?
I’ve seen numerous solutions online, including self-decorated file folders, customized storage shelving units, and even simply using bookshelves to store the floppy issues in. Of the three options there, customized shelving units are a pipe dream until I either somehow learn how to make things (well) out of wood, or I get enough money to have some built. Storing floppy issues in a bookshelf isn’t a bad idea, but I’d need to get a few more bookshelves.
The option that intrigues me most is the self-decorated file folders as a way of displaying your comics. The method, as detailed here, does look pretty great on your shelves and is a brilliant way of negating the need for long boxes by allowing you to display your collection in an easy to browse method. Displaying your comics this way is a fantastic way to showcase specific series, stories or creative runs on a book shelf, without having to have a long box or two taking up some much needed space. Of course you can decorate the long boxes the same way, but that’s
At some point in the future, I may convert the six longboxes that I have into the magazine holder style storage on a book shelf, but that’ll be an organizing project that I expect will take years of slow migration – indeed, I may start picking up shortboxes in the interim to store my comics in going forward; they do take up half the room of a long box, after all.
What about you? Do you collect physical comics? How do you store them if you do?