Comic Books have certainly earned their place in the mind of many people around the world, since the beginning of the early 20th century they were one of the most popular forms of entertainment for young people and the medium who brought to life any of today’s popular characters such as Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and the Hulk. While the ever-changing society has turned their attention to other forms of entertainment, comics certainly still have their place among a very special audience that cares for them deeply.
Building a comic book collection takes time, effort, and money. Keeping it safe also takes a lot of resources. Long gone are the days when stashing the comics in boxes and throwing them in the attic or basement was an acceptable resource. These days is common to find what could have been an incredible collection torn to pieces because of what humidity and temperature fluctuations did to them. From yellowing pages to dry rot, comics are easy targets for the elements. You can keep them in top condition by following these tips on how to care for them, let’s read on:
Storing the collection
Keeping the comic books in top shape is one of the biggest challenges for collectors. The preferred method used by most is by placing each individual issue on a Mylar bag along with an acid-free backing board that is sealed with soft white tape. The comic book can then be placed on an acid-free cardboard box or on a plastic container. Bear in mind that all this process needs to be handled with care. Older issues tend to be very delicate, and a single hit on their spine or a dent on their corners decreases their value greatly.
Organisation and Display
This might be the most personal step on this list of recommendations. The way every collector organises their individual issues is a matter of personal taste. For collectors, most comics are unique pieces of art, and as such, they like to store them by character, others by date, author, publisher, a first appearance or a milestone moment. Whatever your preference is, choosing key issues that hold a specific value to you, can help you asses and condense your collection.
Choosing what Stays and What Goes
At some point, the inevitable will happen: you will run out of space to keep your comics at hand in your household. Even with a ton of space dedicated to it, most collectors usually face this problem, especially if their interest is shared with other aspects of the fandom such as action figures or memorabilia related to comic books. A good option might be to consider alternative storage space solutions to safeguard your collection and make room for more items.
While in the past this option seemed to be avoided by many collectors or just embraced with reservations, these days it is one of the preferred methods to safe keep entire collections due in no small part to the creation of self-storage units with temperature-controlled features.
Handling your Collectibles, the Right Way
Even the most novice collectors have a clear idea on how to handle a comic book, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to learn about a few suggestions that are standard issue. First off, try to handle your comic with clean hands at all moments, wash them with soap and water before touching the comic books. The Mylar bag and board suggested a few steps back, needs to be changed every 7 years because it loses its properties and the comic will be exposed to the elements, even if it’s sealed.
If you have been collecting for a long time, you probably have a few milestones issues that have a special place in your collection for personal reasons or monetary value. You can increase their value and protect them a tenfold if you send them to the Certified Guarantee Company (CGC). These guys will thoroughly examine your comic, place them on a sealed plastic slab and grade them in accordance with the condition it’s in. Many collectors choose to have their most meaningful comic slabbed even if they do not intent to selling them.
Managing the Storage Space
If you choose a self-storage unit to place large volumes of your collection, you need to take some preventing measures to avoid any problems. It goes without saying that you probably should get a temperature-controlled unit that keeps the comics in a controlled environment at all times, especially if you live in an area with constant fluctuations in temperature.
Last but not least place them on top of special racks above floor level, even if you don’t have natural sources of water close to the storage unit you need to prevent liquid leakage by keeping them out of reach. While placing boxes on top of each other is not the best course of action, there will be no major problems if you pick them from sturdy materials or if you use plastic crates to keep them stored. Also, make sure to use a classification system that is easy to remember if you need to retrieve an item, so you know exactly where it is.
Investing in Your Investment
Yeah, it sounds like a redundancy, but by investing on protecting your collection, you’ll have safeguarded your investment and something that you hold dear. It’s very unlikely that any modern comic will reach the value of the most valuable comic book out there (a very fine copy of Action Comics #1, the first appearance of Superman (valued at more than 2.5 million euros if you are wondering), but the current low runs on most printed comics make nearly every single one of them a potential holder of the next big event in TV shows and films that continuously adapt these stories. A brief example: No one dared to think that the first printing of a little comic from 2008 called “The Walking Dead” would command such high prices, especially because that first issue was under-printed. Today, a CGC graded copy is currently valued at almost 9.000 euros online.