Caring for Your Comics & Comic Art
Your comic book is a piece of Americana and should be treated with care. From Superman battling Hitler and Hirohito to Spider-Man taking on serious drug issues, comic books are a snapshot of both American and world history and culture. They are also delicate pieces of paper ephemera, and, as such, demand a certain degree of special handling and treatment.
Taking care of your comic books is not hard, but it does require some effort and dedication. The three major destabilizing and destructive elements associated with these paper products are:
- Direct Sunlight — Always keep your comics out of direct sunlight, as these UV rays will fade the printing inks used in their manufacture. When storing your comics make sure to always use acid free bags and boards.
- Moisture — Always try to keep your comic books free from any contact with water or moisture such as extreme humidity. Moisture will not only stain and mildew your comic book, but it will also deteriorate the elements used in its manufacture.
- Heat — Always avoid storing or displaying comic books in overly hot environments, as these elements will make the paper fibers brittle and will darken them making the comic book's pages brown in the process.
In caring for your comics, there are various handling and storage techniques that should be used. An overall note: while it's not necessary to wear protective gloves when handling your comics, care should be taken whenever your comics are out of their protective environment. Creases, folds, bends, tears, etc., can have an adverse effect on the comic's value, and should be avoided at all costs.
- Bag and board — One of the key elements of keeping a comic book in its current condition is to bag and board it. Bags and backing boards can be purchased at a local comic book store. The best bags and boards for comic book storage will be acid free.
- Do not tape — Do not put any tape on the bag storing the comic book. The main reason for this is that when removing the comic book it could catch on the tape and potentially damage it.
- Change bags and boards — It is recommended to change bags and boards every two to three years.
- CGC grading and encapsulation — For more valuable comics, Comics Guaranty, LLC offers a grading and encapsulation service, where they will render a third party opinion about the condition of your comic book and encapsulate it in a hard plastic holder.
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