I think I've finally applied some semblance of order to my comic collection, and thought I'd share pictures of how I organize my comic collection. Please keep in mind that I'm a cheap bastard and all of the shelving is worn-out, hand-me-down, repurposed and/or jerry-built. It's not pretty, but it's serviceable and, more significantly, inexpensive.
It's also housed in my unfinished basement. I lived in the house for several years with my collection upstairs out of concerns with dampness. But I was growing increasingly concerned about the weight on the upper floor as my collection grew, so I started looking at the concrete foundation of the basement more seriously. It had proved to be fairly dry as basements go, but I took the precautions of setting up a hygrometer and a dehumidifier before moving my comics down there.
Here's what it looks like coming down the steps. The bookcase on the far left houses graphic novels and the two back walls are lined with long boxes. Crammed in the corner are some superhero toys. (Mego action figures, Amsco's Marvel World playset, Mini-Mates, etc.) The Spider-Man image was part of a promotional display when the first movie DVD came out -- my cousin was working at Wal-Mart at the time and salvaged it as a gift for me.
You'll notice that the long boxes all have a comic on the front of them. I've taped a bag to the front of each box and placed the first issue of that particular box in it. Since all of my comics are organized alphabetically by title, I can quickly zip to whichever box contains any particular issue.
(And, I've got them set up in such a way that I can still lid the boxes with the outward facing comic protected inside, which also allows me to switch them out easily if I need to shift issues around again in the future. I'll post more on how I actually did this later.)
From the bottom of the steps...
The light-wood shelves on the left hold books about comics (top two shelves), comic strip collections (third shelf), and novels kind-of related to comic book properties (bottom shelf). The Human Torch cutout was created by some of my ex-wife's students several years ago. Sitting on top of the bookshelf, above the Human Torch, is a Dark Knight statuette signed by Frank Miller. I'm not normally into the whole statue/bust market, but I won it a few years back in a little contest. The Thing and Super-Skrull masks on the right were created by old friend Matt Geuther. The shelving along the back are hollow-core doors supported by concrete blocks.
In the above shot, you can see my second bookshelf of graphic novels on the far right, looking towards a table with the tail end of my long boxes. To the left of those boxes is my microfiche reader, currently displaying Adventure Comics #72. The small box just to the left of Secret Wars II #8 holds about 150 Golden Age comics in microfiche form. On the corner of the table, just to the left of the reader, is a portfolio with my collection of original comic book art. A signed/sketch-marked Mark Wheatley print sits on top of that since it doesn't quite fit in the portfolio itself.
If you haven't figured it out, my comic cove is in a U-shape. The light-wood drawer/shelving on the right in the above shot currently holds my manga and Big Little books, but it's not very well suited to the task. (I'm thinking I'm going to have to build something out of some scrap wood sometime.) The cabinet supporting the Super-Skrull is filled with comic-related video tapes and DVDs. Not just superhero movies, but several documentaries as well. Off camera, to the right, is another bookshelf housing books about comic book and science fiction fandom, and back issues of Wizard and Alter Ego.
On the far right, you can see my dehumidifier and a small fridge. I've got a TV and VCR hooked up to run tapes in the background, as well as my old Sega if I'm up for the old Spider-Man or Avengers games. (Truth be told, though, I tend to prefer Earthworm Jim or Flashback.)
What you can't see behind the TV is an action figure metropolis I built for my 6" action figures. It's fallen into a bit of disarray, and I'll need to straighten THAT up before I start taking photos of that.
I would love to be in a financial position where I could have real shelving built specifically for my comic collection. I would love to have my original comic art hanging up in UV-protected frames. I would love to design my own comic book library. But, even when I was more financially secure, I preferred to spend my money on the comics themselves than a showy way to store them.
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