Too personal a question? We sure hope not – we really want to know how you do it!

But if we’re being honest, how comic book fans store their floppies and trade paperbacks after they finish reading them actually is pretty personal, because – as we found out among members of our staff alone – everyone seems to have a different approach.

Don’t believe us? Just see for yourself!

JJ TraversI’ve been digital for some time now. The majority of the mini-series and runs of my favorite writers that I own are in single-issue format. Though, as you can see, I do have a small collection of trade paperbacks. It’s slowly growing and the format is one I wish I had stuck with originally. I’m not the most patient of readers, so it’s really nice to be able to read an entire story arc in one sitting. My single issues are in four large comic book boxes at the back of my closest and there they shall stay.

David Brooke: As AiPT!’s Media and Content Manager, most of the comics I get now are from publishers. As a result, I’ve stopped collecting physical and gone completely digital. That said, I have long boxes stacked and filled with everything I get, organized by solo heroes, teams, and then alternative books, like DC Young Animal and Vertigo titles. I’m in dire need of organizing!Eric Cline: I collect print copies. It takes up a lot of space, but I just prefer not to read off of screens, personally. My boyfriend and I kind of share our collections, so if he buys something and I like it more than he did, I’ll keep the copy with my books, and vice versa. We keep our single issues in a couple of long boxes, but most of our collection is in trades. We just keep those on bookshelves along with some comic booky knick-knacks (Funko Pops, action figures, etc.).Cam Petti: Now, I haven’t gone to town and organized my comics in MANY years, BUT any filing instincts I have, I gained from working at a comic shop. So my long boxes that ARE sorted go alphabetical by series, then chronological by volume, then numerical by issue number. Of course, it’s more an art than a science figuring out what goes where and with whom or if it’s a one-shot spin-off or an annual or just a Free Comic Book Day comic. It’s can be a real headache sometimes.

Otherwise, I just dump them in the box as I get them, so you can find books by excavating into the layers of comics, digging back through time as you would through layers of rock, which I will be the first to admit is not a perfect system.

As for trades, I keep the bulk of them in a filing cabinet, which I think my 13-year-old self would find pretty cool. I’m pretty pleased with that.Pretty cool, Cam – looks like Professor Xavier approves! But that’s just four different ways of organizing collections. What about you? Let us know how you keep your comics and trade paperbacks in order in the comment space below!

  • TristanTre

    Hey Cam, I organize mine the same way you do. I’ve only been reading comics for a couple years but I made the decision last year to collect every issue of every series in DC’s Rebirth lineup. So, my collection got out of hand fast. I originally decided to just keep them chronologically (all Rebirth series mixed up but in order of release) but that quickly became a pain to keep track of any potential gaps or missing issues. I went back and sorted them all alphabetically by series. I was wondering, what DO you do with One-shots and Annuals? Just curious since I’m fairly new and that hadn’t even crossed my mind on how I should approach those.

    • Cameron Petti

      The general rule at the shop was to put annuals at the end of any one tittle, after the regular run, in chronological order. So issues #1-14, then Annual #1-3. Then, and here is where it gets REEEAL tricky, you put all mini-series and one-shots related to the title in alphabetical order after that.

      So it goes Rambo #1-5, Rambo Annual 1 and 3 (you couldn’t find #2), Rambo Cross-Over Extravaganza, Rambo First Blood, Rambo: Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, Rambo: Intracontinental Ballistic Missile, and Rambo Presents: Sam Trautman.

      It gets even MORE complex when it’s something like “X-Men: Gambit One Shot” because is that under X-men, but then then it’s ABOUT Gambit so should it go with his books? Or if you have two #30s that are CLEARLY two different volumes of a series, but all they say is just “Batman” (Legion of Super Heroes is notorious for this. The trick to figuring out which issue comes first is looking at the price tag. The cheaper comic was published earlier).

      As it turns out, filing comics is more of an art than a science, so just pick a thought process that makes sense to you; you’re the one that needs to find them, so that’s the priority.

      Good luck with all the Rebirth titles though. With all the crazy renumbering that Marvel and DC has been doing in the past couple of years, part of me doesn’t miss working the shop and having to deal with the headache of filing those away.

      • TristanTre

        So far, I’ve just organized each series chronologically with the annuals in the middle because most of them have been continuations of that current storyline and not stand-alone stories. If I ever went back to reread or let someone read through my collection, I’d rather them be chrinological just to make it easier.

        The renumbering back to the old numbers hasn’t been too much of an issue for me since I hadn’t collected any of the previous titles with the “New” numbering like Action or Detective.

        But your reply did remind me of the first Rebirth event, Justice League vs. Suicide Squad and then their subsequent tie-ins. That irks me in the case of the “what if I go back to reread that story line”. It’ll be search-and-peck to find which issues I’d need to read and in what order I’d need to read them since I have the main JLvSS issues organized as their own series but the tie-ins spread throughout their respective titles. But that’s just a personal qualm. I appreciate the input!