Celebrating the Unpopular Arts

Confessions of a Comic Book Hoarder 1

My name is Travis, and I’m a Comic Book Hoarder.

You all know what a hoarder is.  Someone who won’t (or can’t) get rid of piles and piles of stuff that they accumulate.  I know that in my case, it’s a combination of genetics and environment, so I’m not able to break the cycle yet.

But I keep nearly everything.  I never know, I tell myself, when I might need a run of NY Times Sunday Magazines for “research”.  Or those copies of the Entertainment This Month catalog from the mid-90s with all my checkmarks.  Or all the lists of stuff that I write down (I am an incurable list maker, yet I am opposed to listicles…discuss!).  Or basically just anything that I acquire becomes part of the detritus of my life (which I think was a potential title for me blogging at one point…).

(I like parentheticals, btw.  Get used to it!)

But what I intend to do with this weekly column here at the Atomic Junk Shop is to bring you people into my hoarding.  I’m going to show you some pictures of what I’ve amassed, and try to sort things out and share with you some commentary and reviews of the stuff that I’ve bought or gotten free.

“I want a mission.  Not just a gig or a good time, I want a mission!” — Henry Rollins, on the “Armageddon Man” track on the Black Flag album Family Man

Designed by Raymond Pettibon, of course
My name is Travis, and you’re with me now!


This year was supposed to be different, of course.  I was going to finally get all my comics sorted, and re-boxed, and read and reviewed, and Burgas was going to be so kind as to post my ramblings over at the old place.

And he did post the few things that I did this year.  And I thank him for that.

It’s certainly not his fault that I got behind.  It’s all on me.  The winter was a mild one, and would have been perfect to sort stuff and move stuff around without it being so cold that I didn’t want to move.  Then the summer was SOOOO damn hot, I couldn’t even lay around in my underpants without sweating, let alone move boxes of comics around and sort stuff.

I apologize for that mental image.

So that’s my excuse this year.  What about in the past?  Well, I think it was the end of 2012 when I had everything ALMOST sorted the way I wanted.  I was SO CLOSE to being done, to my liking, and then I decided “hey, why don’t I do a best of 2012 rambling post?”


Mistake.  I haven’t recovered since.  Between the regular pull list stuff I get (which increased exponentially once my comic shop guy started letting me borrow a Previews for the month) and the fact that I cannot pass up any cheapo bin of comics and bought any and every cheap book I could get my grubby hands on, I started amassing even more comics in the last few years than I had in the years prior to that.

And Flippin’ through Previews takes me a lot of time I should be using to read comics, and boy oh boy, do I like to read through Previews.  Oy.

And I haven’t even gotten to the part where the library and cheap DVDs come into play.  I spend more time looking at stuff I get for free or nearly so than I do on the stuff that I’m paying good money for.  What is wrong with me?


Anyway, here are some pictures of the stuff that I’ve amassed.  I have some shame in showing you all this (from our pal Hatcher, I learned the term “shelf of shame” — this is a “room of shame”), but I figure if I show you this, I’ll shame myself into making it less shameful.  Yeah.  That’s it.

(Apologies for the poor quality of the pictures.  I’m shocked, SHOCKED, that a 6+ year old flip phone has a crappy camera!)

Here’s what’s on my bed, to my left when I lay down.  You can kind of see what I’m dealing with.  Right next to my head is a pile of big trades and HCs, with a bunch of big manga omnibi (Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, among other stuff), that big collection of The Puma Blues, the Usagi Yojimbo big collections that DH has been putting out, and so on and so forth.

Big, concussion inducing books
Lookit alla them books I haven’t read yet! They is big!
The light! So bright!
These are on top of the Puma Blues and stuff. So shiny!

To the right of that, sitting on the bed, are a couple of long boxes, with piles of trades and bags of comics sitting on top of those.  I can’t even tell you how many times those piles have shifted and fallen on me in the time since I first took these pictures.  I’m working on it!

so retro!
Here’s a pile of cds on top of comics

Also sitting on these piles are a bunch of CDs and cassettes that I got cheap, blank video tapes (although I’m looking for more, let me know if you guys have a good source!), and that beard trimmer my sister got me for my birthday as a silent way of judging me (hi sis!).

shave and a cah-sette, two bits!
Just imagine the silent judging of my sister when she got me this shaving kit!

And that’s the piles closer to me.  BEHIND them are piles of boxes with stuff on top of them.  I’m not sure how many boxes are in each stack behind there, but on top of those are my Cerebus Archive porfolios, the IDW Kirby Artist Edition HC I have (New Gods, maybe?  OMG, I don’t even remember!), and some other odd sized stuff.  There’s also piles of comic books on top of those, mostly stuff from this year, maybe some from 2015.

Piles of shame!
This was taken awhile after the rest of the pictures. So much crap! It’s a Rorschach test if you can pick out details. Like, where the hell is my Watchmen GN?

Then down at the end of the bed, there are piles of empty boxes (except for one sideways tipped box of stuff at the bottom of the picture) piled high in front of my stereo system.  I plan on talking about what I’m listening to in upcoming columns, as well!

So much shame!
Those empty boxes hide my stereo! It’s back there in the middle of the pic, I swear!

Then to the right are more piles.  There are newspapers, but mostly comics and boxes.  For some insane reason I thought it would work if I emptied my comics from their boxes and then start alphabetizing them and re-sorting them from there.  What a stupid move!  They’re piled up so much, and the bagged and boarded ones get all slide-y, so everything is leaning to one side.

That one pile up there has a bunch of Superman and Ultraverse comics right now (don’t judge me!), and those are precariously perched.

Who reads this much?
That box up top covers those comics, and lookit all them books in front of them!

Right next to me are piles of bagged and boarded comics that I’ve gotten at my local shops for cheap this year, and oh my god, why did I do this?!?!

more weird OCD stacking
If you can tell, this is the new stuff I have on the right of me. I swear those are boxes!

So yes, I’m crawling into bed.  Thankfully I’m still flexible enough that I can do so, but I need to move things around before I get too fat to move!

The main problem is that I don’t have enough space to maneuver stuff around, to have them sit somewhere while I sort them, without having to move them right back where they were right before.  Grr!

Also, everything is basically resting against itself, Jenga-style.  I can’t move anything without everything shifting because of it.  Why do I do this to myself?!?!

I could move one of these easier than the stuff in my room!
Much more sturdy than my piles o’ stuff
There it goes!
This is every pile in my room right now.

And it’s like all these piles KNEW I was writing about them, because they’ve all started shifting funny, everything sliding, and DAMMIT ALL TO HELL, STOP SLIDING!!!

So that’s what I’m going to be doing tomorrow.  Making sure that everything doesn’t fall over completely and maybe even stacking some better.  HAHAHAHAHA!

So to wrap up for this week, I’ve got a ton of comics and books and CDs and DVDs and videos and cassettes and records and newspapers and crap that I’ve hoarded, and I hope you’ll join me as I go through this stuff and try to explain why I keep getting it all.  Maybe there isn’t an explanation, but let’s see if I can figure one out.

Next week: I already have to interrupt the proceedings because of the library.  Explanation next week!


  1. Jeff Nettleton

    Not quite that far gone; but, I have my piles. I cleaned house when I first moved to my current place. I donated dvds and graphic novels and books to the local library. Cleaned out a lot of stuff. Then, I started to feel the itch, for some of the things I let go. We all know that itch. You decide to clean out the things you haven’t touched in years; then, something reminds you of it and you wish you could look at it again. I got rid of my comics years ago; I have scans of just about everything and even more that I never owned. Still, when someone talks about a DC 100-PG comic, I wish I could pull out some of my favorites and look through them again, even though I can pull out a disc and do it on the computer. In my avatar photo, you can see my cat, and a bookcase in the background. Some of those books are gone. When I look at the photo, I wonder why I let those books go. Especially the old ones. The only thing I miss more is my cat. That’s a different thing, though. The books, the comics, the dvds; they were (and are) the trophies of the hunt. They are the finds from comic shops, used bookstores, and dvd shelves and displays. That was the real thrill, almost more than reading or watching; the hunting through some old shop (or even newish one) and finding something for which you had been endlessly searching or something new that you have just discovered and fell in love with, at first sight.

  2. Hal


    Mon dieu! A visit to HA (Hoarders Anonymous) seems in order! I certainly recognize some of that horror. My measly two bookshelves are entirely full, I have seven towering infernal piles of books, CDs, and DVDs, an ottoman with ten (count ’em, TEN!) piles of more books, graphic novels/TPBs, DVDs, et cetera, not to mention a big plastic box fulla more stuff – I got that as I was getting frustrated that that STUFF was just PILED there – fairly neatly but still… – only now the TOP of the box has been colonized by more miscellanea. I do give some stuff to charity shoppes but I sometimes regret that and replace the sold objet! And then of course charity shoppes and used bookstores are both the devil’s own temptation and very HEAVEN, if you can find one in the age of the interweb plague!
    I look forward to more columns but we have to get you to tidy those things up, kemosabe. Perhaps you could commit to reviewing a book or three per month and then you could whittle down your, um, piles? Column as clean-up program!

  3. Simon

    This Reader Had 8 Comments And You Won’t BELIEVE The Things He Says!

    * One of us! We accept you, one of us!

    * [rerun] As for hoarding unread books, I’ve been there. For what it’s worth, my solution is to limit the average monthly loot to 10 trades max. It means I have three days to read each trade, which is a busy enough average to keep up all year round! Anything more would just pile up forever. And I keep a list of what I might want later, to pad my order on small months or read from other sources. Works for me!

    * Lists are more convenient in text files, where it’s easier to tag and search and edit them.

    * I’d stop hoarding most Disney-Warner and such, as I’d be able to read them from a library or digital source once best-of-year lists and such have sorted the wheat from the chaff. (And I’d prioritize reading comics to reading *about* comics.)

    * Did you imply that your beard is just a way of hoarding facial hair?

    * I’d stop worrying about sorting the old stuff. Isn’t the main point of sorting, to have easy access for re-reading? But since you don’t have time to re-read, sorting right now seems pointless. You could let go and just enjoy (and review) all the new stuff, to be piled or boxed and sorted when you retire. (It’s a shame to sort the dust when you could be reading THE PUMA BLUES or TALK DIRTY TO ME!)

    * The phone pics add an “underwater” quality, as if from the hull of a sunken ship, heh.

    * “Clean / The cleanest I’ve been / An end to the tears / And the in-between years / And the troubles I’ve seen // Now that I’m clean / You know what I mean / I’ve broken my fall / Put an end to it all / I’ve changed my routine / Now I’m clean” — http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/depechemode/clean.html

  4. John King

    I thought I had problems…

    Travis, beds are not for storing comics, books, etc on (unless you have 2 or more beds in which case you can store them on any beds you are not sleeping in).
    You can store them under beds, next to beds, – no problem.
    and, of course, we’ve all put them temporarily on the bed but took them off before sleeping … or left them there for a few nights while men are working on the heating or something (I know I have).
    But long term is a problem, especially from hygene issues if you are unable to wash the sheets.

    One thing to be wary about – I don’t know if it’s happened to you yet – but it can be very awkward if you’re kneeling down and a pile falls on the back of your legs, as it can be awkward to reach around and remove the items while trying not to damage them

  5. bert

    I’m right there with ya!

    the guest bed in the “comic room” is unusable due to the stacks of comics (and the 4′ Godzilla action figure) :p

    the walk in closet in that room, is unable to even step into due to the 50+ long boxes in there, and all over the room are stacks and stacks of trades awaiting time to read (oh, I have bookshelves too, LARGE bookshelves, but those are full of trades too, so they started “stacking’ on the floor of the room a few years back.

    I just can’t pass up a $5 or less trade sale at a con. . and conventions I go to, always seem to have those.

    so yeah, I totally feel your pain! (luckily, my Hubby allows me to *have* a comics room. .but it gives me a pang of guilt every time I pass the room!

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