The other day I was straightening my living room, which hosts a half dozen piles of books and graphic novels, arranged in little piles according to which library they were borrowed from, which library they're going to be returned to, what's a review copy that needs to be reviewed by a particular date, what's a review copy that can be reviewed whenever, what has already been reviewed and can be put away at any moment and so on. I gathered up three or four Rebellion collections of 2000 A.D. strips to file them away in the Rebellion/2000 A.D. section of my book shelf, and found that there was no room left...that section butted right up against the Fantagraphics section, with no room for any more books.
A few days later, I went to put Miss Don't Touch Me next to the other NBM graphic novels, but couldn't fit it in, and simply laid it atop the trades on that shelf, where there were already a few other graphic novels from small publishers that I couldn't fit on the small-sized miscellaneous trades shelves.
It is with horror that I then realized I have reached and exceeded capacity on my book shelves, meaning a brand new shelf arrangement would be needed soon, one that would likely necessitate finding room for another bookshelf in my apartment, and then rearranging all of my graphic novels to somehow fit them all onto shelves correctly.
This task horrifies me with its complexity and scope, and I immediately placed it at the bottom of my Things I Must One Day Do Even Though I'd Rather Not Do Them Today list, below doing my 2008 taxes, get ready for the switch to digital cable and finish lettering Self-Published Comic Project #1.
Let's take a look at the current arrangement of my book shelves, because I wrote over 4,000 words of comics reviews yesterday and have no desire to write a few hundred more about JLA: Salvation Run or American Elf Book Three or any of the other books in my To Be Reviewed Before The Disappear Completely Beneath Cobwebs pile tonight (although I do spend a few paragraphs on the James and Amy Kochalka in a post about my favorite comics couples over at Blog@).
So, terrible pictures taken with the tiny digital camera embedded in the top of my laptop! That will be an easy enough post for tonight! And some people actually kind of like that thing, don't they? Some terrible perverts who like to masturbate to images of graphic novel spines they find on the Internet? That's why I sometimes see the words "shelf porn" on blogs on posts about book shelves, isn't it...? Come, follow me around my apartment as I show you my bookshelves, and kindly don't masturbate as I do so or, if you must, at least don't tell me what you're doing, deal?
Here we have my hexagon-shaped end table/cabinet thing. It is super-heavy and a horrible object to move in and out of pick-up trucks and apartments. Upon it is where I keep my Drawn and Quarterly books, bookended by the books too large to fit on any of my bookshelves, like Lost Girls, a Little Nemo collection, Tiger! Tiger! Tiger! and some others. As you can see, there isn't much room left on it, which is extremely problematic, as Drawn and Quarterly has a lot of awesome books on the horizon. Soon I will have to rethink where to keep them, if not next to one another in one place.
I did not clean my apartment prior to this photo session, as that would be even more tiresome than writing about Salvation Run, so you'll note random, non-graphic novel objects all around. For example, here we see my penny jar and some rolls of pennies, which I have been rolling to turn in to the bank for dollar bills, because I am poor. Also, my glasses. Did you know I wore glasses? Ha ha, you probably didn't! That's because, although I post drawings of myself all the time, I never draw myself with glasses, as I don't wear glasses while I'm drawing (I'm nearsighted...or farsighted...? I wear them when I have to see far away, like when I'm driving or at my day job [look out on a pirate ship]). Also, I can't draw glasses very well. But I'm practicing doing so all the time! I think I might just need to buy easier to draw frames...
Here is some kind of hope chest I inherited from a roommate when he moved out and left most of his stuff that was heavy. I can't remember if I'm storing something inside it or not. On top of it is where I keep my Showcase Presents and Essential volumes, because I love to look at them. Especially the Showcases. I love the rainbow their spines form! This also presents a problem, as I'm just about out of room on the chest. I have six volumes that need added, and I'm sure I will add as many more as DC and Marvel choose to print.
On the right is a stack of Millennium comics, which have been there since I started reviewing each issue of Millennium. Which was... Jesus, April of last year!
Right next to that is a miscellaneous book shelf, where I keep a lot of smaller-sized graphic novels from various publishers. The top shelf is manga—Akira Toriyama, Kiyohiko Azuma and a handful of other manga, mostly of one or two-volume series. I cannot resume buying Dr. Slump or get the next volume of Yotsuba& until reorganizing.
The middle shelf is pretty random. Spine out are AdHouse books, Firs Second Books, a few Viper books, Persepolis, Chiggers and so on. DC, Vertigo and Minx digests are stacked vertically there, with a dusty Can't Get No at the top; they will be put with the DC books when I get the appropriate bookends.
The bottom shelf has WildStorm trades, NBM books and otherwise it's completely random—I see some Villard publications, a hardcover of the first volume of Bone, some Twisted Toy Fare collections (Shut up, don't judge me!), Colonia and so on.
I had to get all avant garde to get this shelf in the frame. This is my biggest bookshelf, which I would be lost without. It was part of a pair, given to me by an ex-roomate's girlfriends' friends who were moving back to Japan and gave her two bookshelves and a couch, which she gave to him and he gave to me. The second bookshelf was destroyed in the moving into my apartment process, sadly, or I wouldn't even be facing this looming shelving crisis.
The top shelf has Dark Horse books on one side, and Oni and Image books on the other. They are both full at the moment, which is problematic, as I have many, many Little Lulu books yet to collect.
The next shelf down is the one where the Rebellion trades and the Fantagraphics books are encroaching on one another. Below that is the Top Shelf/Alternative Comics/SLG/random trade shelf, with some Oni digests stacked vertically in the middle, beneath a wooden carving of a cat dressed up like Batman.
The shelf below that is full of...real books! Half the shelf are books about comics though, and the other half is mostly books full of art reference. The bottom shelf is children's books and collections of comic strips. Goddess of War is in a cardboard envelope between this shelf and the wall, as I have yet to figure out what to do with it.
This is a cheap little shelving unit I inherited from my college girlfriend. It is awesome because it spins, although I currently have it in a corner which makes spinning difficult.
This is all manga—Astro Boy, Red River (which I'm waaaayyyy behind on), Fushigi Yugi (ditto) and a bunch of series I started but didn't get very far with (Kare Kano, Et Cetera, Fruits Basket, etc). On the back is where I keep the manga series I really didn't like at all (Duck Prince, By The Sword, Reborn! pretty much the first volume of every CMX release from their first few rounds) and/or am ashamed to have anyone know I even own any volumes of (Battle Vixens, DearS, Instant Teen) and/or I simply don't care for the spine design of (Neon Genesis Evangelion, Fairies Landing, etc).
You can't see form here, as my bill-holder obscures them, but there's a pile of all the little Jeffrey Brown books I have on top of this thing, awaiting the arrival of little bookends to hold them up.
The bottom shelf of my TV car thing houses more manga. This is almost all Rumiko Takahashi, most of it Ranma 1/2. I love the rainbow of Ranma 1/2 spines...right up until Viz started publishing the smaller, cheaper trades with the uniform blue spines. I've yet to finish this series, although I really ought to.
More manga, and little trades with colorful spines or just really nice spine designs. On the top shelf are a couple of Peanuts collections, a couple of Dennis the Menace collections, The Clouds Above and Jimmy Corrigan; then we've got some Bumper Boy and some more AdHouse books, The Cute Manifesto and The Mourning Star, and two more shelves of manga, including Sgt. Frog and the Kingdom Hearts and other Disney manga. That takes care of the living room. Now let's head to the other end of my apartment, to the bedroom, which isn't used as a bedroom at all, as there is no bed in it...
Here we have my DC trades. The top shelf is real, actual, prose book-books, the middle shelf is Vertigo trades, and the bottom shelf is all DC superhero stuff, which is all rather random, as I've read so many DC comics in singles format. I think Starman is all there in trade, but otherwise it's just a Green Lantern trade here, five Batman trades here, a couple Perez Wonder Woman trades there, and like that.
The top of this book case has singles piled atop it, and the top shelf is mostly book-books, although I've started putting some trades with them too, as I've run out of room elsewhere. The middle shelf is all manga. Ken Akamatsu's harem comedies Love Hina and Negima!, which I've fallen hopelessly behind on, and the first volume of A.I. Love You, which I didn't care for. Also, Iron Wok Jan and Kill Me, Kiss Me, one of my favorites. I'm really enamored of stories about Asian high school students getting crushes on each other and beating each other up for some reason, and this is a good manhwa series with a couple of different couples involved.
And finally, here's my Marvel gns, which are few and far between. The series I read in trade—Captain America, Daredevil and Garth Ennis'later Max Punisher—I'm pretty far behind on, and the series of trades I was most avidly followin, G.I. Joe, Marvel quite randomly stopped publishing after five volumes. Most of the modern Marvel stuff I'm interested in I've been reading in singles, and most of the old Marvel stuff I'm interested in comes out in Essentials. I don't have much interest in most of what they published in the '80s and '90s, I guess. Anyway, plenty of room to grow here yet.
And that's my shelving situation. A pretty enlightening, thrill-packed post, huh? Come back tomorrow night, and I will show you how my kitchen cupboards and drawers are organized.