Q&A #84: How and where do you store your comics?

In Q & A, a weekly feature of Fantastic Fangirls, we ask our staff to tackle a simple question — then open the floor to comments.

How and where do you store your comics?


“Where” is easy to answer: in my bedroom. The majority are in my closet, organized in long boxes by publisher and then series. The un-long-boxed minority are where the more diverting “how” comes in. I have four colorful accordion files for the comics I care the most about, organized by character. Pink is for DC: Wonder Woman, Wonder Girl (Cassie Sandsmark), and Robin (Tim Drake). Red holds Wanda Maximoff and Jean Grey. Alex Summers and Lorna Dane stories fill my blue file (#findhavokandpolaris). Those three files are also in my closet.

In a small bookshelf on my side of the bed, alongside such miscellany as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Fringe Season 1 on DVD, a plushy Pen-Pen, Carrie Fisher’s autobiography, both National Treasures, A Doll’s House, my Mary Jane Watson Heroclick, a collection of postcards featuring the sculpture of Auguste Rodin, my favorite STAR TREK novel, and the film 21 Grams, you’ll find a silver-grey accordion file barely containing my ever expanding Carol Danvers collection.


In theory, or in practice?

In theory, I have several short boxes of comics carefully arranged in alphabetical order by series.

In practice, I haven’t updated those boxes since I moved almost a year ago. It’s probably the curse of having too much space in my house, but I have those short boxes and a few long boxes in a closet. The comics I’ve bought over the last year are in three piles on a shelf in my living room that I intermittently and half-heartedly alphabetize. One of these days, it’s going to get better, but to tell you the truth there are many many things higher on my organization priority list. First, I’m going to make an organization priority list.

But first I have to watch Mad Men.


Considering I moved across the country a month ago, the disorganization of my comics collection is only to be expected. At the moment, all of my comics are in about 12 shortboxes hidden away in a closet, because I have more closet space than floor space in my apartment. (I choose shortboxes over longboxes because they’re WAY easier to lift, a choice that was proven smart when I made said cross-country move.)

Back when I first started buying comics, I tried to bag and board everything, because I had inherited so many bagged comics from friends and could stretch out my stock by double-bagging. Now, though, I have far too many comics to want to spend money on bags and boards that I could be spending on… well, on more comics.

As for organization, in theory I have a very precise system that only makes sense to me. It involves organizing titles (in number order, obviously) by company and by family (Avengers books, X-books, cosmic books), then organized further by character (solo X-Books, solo Avengers books, with, say, books about Cap and Iron Man stuck between the Cap section and the Iron Man section). But even these designations start to get twisty after awhile, and crossovers screw EVERYTHING up, and I’m not always sure where to find something when I go looking. It doesn’t help that the past year’s worth of comics are pretty much all in two shortboxes, only somewhat organized by title. And the last month’s comics are in a pile on my living room end table.

One of these days, I plan to organize ALL the comics in a way that makes sense. It’s an exciting prospect. But right now, I’ve got too much else to do.


Pardon me, I’ll be weeping openly in the corner over here.

I have twenty comic “drawers,” those cardboard drawer-things that look like bigger and bulkier long boxes. Only, you know, drawers, not lids. The drawers are three-quarters full.

I also have about a long box’s worth of comics loosely stacked in my bedroom. My family graciously doesn’t mention this stack, but it LOOMS at me, like Dirk Gently’s refrigerator.

Last summer I hired a teenager to file my comics for me rather than deal with the disaster myself.

I have to go hide now. The comics are coming to get me.

So What about you? How and where do you store your comics?

  • Currently, I have 3 long boxes in drawers that should be stacked but are sitting side-by-side in my living room. I could use another long box as I have probably 100+ comics sitting out waiting to be stored properly. Every comic is bagged and boarded.

    I don’t sort by publisher, but instead have everything listed in alphabetical order (then by issue, save special cases where I know a one-shot should be in a time line… it’s kind of a ridiculous system, but it works for me).

    My goal is to eventually stack everything (or buy a bunch of short boxes and a nice shelving unit) and have some sort of Excel Spreadsheet to catalog them all… One can dream…

  • in C:/Downloads/Comics


    In three drawers, which are now completely full, and some shelves, which are quickly running out of room as well. Things look bleak.

  • I love the range from the very carefully organized to “the piles are coming to get me.”

    I sadly live in a broken home, comics wise. The bulk of my comics (20+ boxes) are in storage, because there is simply not enough room in my apartment. The current four or so boxes live in my apartment. They’re… mostly organized by title, although when new batches come in, they tend to live in piles for awhile. The graphic novels/tpbs/manga are in even worse shape. I am already running out of bookshelf space, so a purge may be imminent. Or I may need to develop one of those pocket black holes — the ones in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” looked nice and adjustable.

  • Jen

    Wait — are you all suggesting I’m supposed to do something other than piling them (sometimes bagged & boarded, more recently not) on the nearest flat surface? Uh-oh.

  • I have four shortboxes and one longbox crammed into my closet, and another shortbox on my floor by my dresser. Every week I dump another handful of comics on *top* of that last shortbox, and every six months or so I drag out all the boxes and file that accumulated pile into the boxes, which are organized by company, then alphabetically by series title, then numerically. (We shall not speak of the pile by my desk of “comics to sell or give away,” which has been there…two years now?)

    The problem is that there’s barely any storage space in my turn-of-the-century apartment, and I’m about to need a new shortbox. (Also chosen for ease of lifting.) Where do I put it??? I am running out of “middle of my bedroom floor” real estate.

  • Oh oh! There’s a giant computer box filled with trades and individuals that I haven’t unpacked since moving last year. I never got into longboxes or shortboxes, I just stored my comics and trades in my bookcase, bed headboard and desk drawers. Everything I’ve bought since April 09 is fighting for space on the bookcases near my bed. Or taking up space on the living room table.

    I am a terribly unorganized fangirl.

  • I keep the new comics I’ve bought this calendar year in alphabetical piles in my bedroom. Everything else is in the room next to it (what i call my study when I’m being charitable). All the manga and digest-sized stuff are on a bookshelf. All other trades and hardcovers are stacked up on shelves on my computer desk. All the single issues are bagged and boarded (sometimes 2 comics to a bag, though I have enough spare bags n’ boards from comics I’ve removed from my collection that’s rare). I don’t have longboxes, so I store them in various plastic storage bins I own, or in the four drawers of what was my dresser when I was a little kid. They’re all alphabetical by title, then each title in chronological order, though the bins themselves are scattered about the room.

  • I have two shortboxes, with everything sorted alphabetically by title. I went through a BOARD EVERYTHING!! phase last year, but realized it was too expensive for how big my collection was getting, so I just board the ones most important to me. Everything gets bagged, though, and my new comic book store bags and boards everything anyway.

  • xenokattz

    I have filing cabinets with sagging bottoms. 2 of them are for DC/Vertigo, 3 for Marvel & 1 for all other publishers. Each publisher has subsections Solos, Duos, Teams. The third level is according to title UNLESS it comes in a “family” for example, under DC: Solos is Batclan; under it, also alphabetically arranged, are Batgirl, Batwoman, Batman comics (with sub-subsections: Batman, Detective comics, etc), & Red Robin.

    The X-titles are a special type of headache that I just re-arraged before this semester. Anyone who has been on an X-Team for longer than 2 years go under this section. The Solo (Gambit before Rogue), Duos (Cable & Deadpool before Cyclops & Phoenix) & Teams (X-Factor before X-Force) subsections still apply but Astonishing, Adjectiveless & Uncanny are their own section after all the other X-Teams. Story Arc Tie-Ins go after Teams BUT according to publishing date, not alphabetically by title although now that I think about it, I kind of want it to be alphabetical again. One-shot X-Titles (Origins, Millennial Visions) go after Tie-ins, once again alphabetically by title.

    All other publishers are just alphabetical. TPBs & graphic novels sit on a shelf arranged by publisher then alphabetically EXCEPT TPBs where I have individual issues as well in which case I file them under the appropriate filing cabinet.

  • xenokattz

    I should add that these are 2-shelf filing cabinets although in my wildest dreams, I have a comic book room. 😉

  • Sarah

    I have mine in PVC free binders in acid free comic binder pages. I have these binders on my bookshelf with my other books because to me, comics ARE books and are often not looked upon as such.