I like putting things in order. Arranging things into the places that make the most sense. I was doing that today, and over the last few days, for my comic books. Most people have their comic book collections in boxes, and I have some of those, but most of my comic book collection is on shelves.

Over the years I’ve built shelves everywhere I can. Along the walls of my studio, in my bedroom, and in the laundry room. I have a lot of shelves. It’s still not enough though. I’m planning on building some more in a hallway. It’s just a pass through hallway with nothing in it. I think I can build some shelf the length of it up over the door frames. They’ll be high shelves but pretty easily assessable and they can shelve books about ten inched high.

Meanwhile I’ve been moving other things around. I have two big book cases in my studio that both have four shelves a piece that fit comic books. Of course they’re both full so moving things around them means moving a lot of comic books around.

It started with the new Mister X comics and books that I bought recently. I wanted to put them all in one place. Usually I don’t put collected editions in among my comic books but for this I wanted to. The two Mister X books I already had plus the comic books in my Mister X collection already had their spaces but I needed a new place for both together. Hmmmm…

Often my comic books are shelved or boxed due to the order off their importance. If it’s on an easily accessible shelf then it’s important. If it’s in a box in a closet then it’s not important. I could get rid of those boxes more easily. So I picked out a spot on the shelf that had some less important books. I moved them onto a bedroom shelf after moving some even less important books onto a small new bedroom shelf that is high up. Then the Mister X books went in the important spot. That was easy enough.

The second book case in my studio has a lot of my indie comic books on it plus all of the series I’m currently buying. That’s the section that has to be adjusted the most. If a series I’m buying ends I move it into the section of comics with all the other ended indie series. Series I buy are constantly ending so I’m moving books in and out of that section two or three times a year. Long running series like Savage Dragon or Usage Yojimbo have their own place on other shelves so I never have to shuffle them around. That would be too much.

It was about time to shuffle my shelves and move the ended series when an idea struck me. That indie bookcase of ended series is also divided into two sections. Complete series and incomplete series. It’s been that was for thirty years. I think it made it easier for me to find stuff. I have card stock paper dividers between the comic series with the series name on the paper. If an incomplete series is only an issue or two the naming paper gets really close together and can be hard to thumb through. At least it was when all the papers were close together in that section.

But many years have gone by and lately I’ve been finding that system annoying. Two alphabet lists in one bookcase was no longer making things easier to find. I decided to mix the complete and incomplete series together. I’d say about two and a half shelves were complete series and half a shelf was incomplete. Either way I had to pull about half the comics off the shelf to begin with and all of them had to move eventually. Moving comic books is sweaty work.

The first thing I did was to clear out the bottom shelf of everything but the comics I’m currently collecting. During this I also had to pull out the series that have ended over the last few months. Right now the current comics take up about a third of the bottom shelf but that will grow to about half the shelf in six months or so.

Since there were many more completed series than incomplete ones I started by putting the end of the alphabet complete series on the shelf. After I had a bunch of them in place I mixed it the incomplete series from that end of the alphabet. I did that until I had the bottom shelf filled up. Then I went on to the second of the bottom shelf.

A word here about my paper dividers. Many years ago I used to get these scrap pieces of Bristol paper from when I worked at Marvel Comics. At the time this supply of paper seemed endless and so I used them as dividers. They worked pretty well. After the supply of them ran out I started to use a card stock paper. They’re not bad but they really do get bent over and folded up over the years. Sometimes I’ve used pieces of old backing boards and they work the best as they’re the thickest. I’d like to replace all my dividers but that’s a big job that’s also fairly pointless. Plus I’d have to buy a lot of backing boards. And maybe I should buy a label maker to make fancy labels! You see how I can turn a pointless job into a lot of work? That’s my super power.

This whole process took about three hours but I’m glad I got it done. It was a Sunday afternoon and I didn’t have any energy to work on art anyway. And here is the end of the story. I got the last book in place and stood back satisfied. I stepped back, took a look at my bookcase, and was happy in was in this new order. Then I turned around and saw another three or four short series on my drawing table. At least they were from the beginning of the alphabet and that’s where I ended so that I didn’t have to move too many comics. But it was a sitcom moment.