Have you ever been friends with an obsessive comic book collector? You know who I mean: that guy (lets call him Davey) who lives down the street and has an entire closet full of old Superman issues that he swears will be worth something by the time he moves out of his parent’s basement? On another note, have you ever bought a comic book and left it lying around only to find the pages have yellowed and the cover has been heat-warped? Here are some tips for proper comic book storage for all those casual collectors, because you can bet Davey would have a conniption fit should he ever witness your use of Action Comics #1 as a coaster.
- Don’t touch comics with dirty hands. It’s really that simple. The grease and oil that are naturally present on your hands and fingers can erode the ink and discolor the images. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before handling your comic collection.
- Always bag and board. Buy packs of mylar sleeves and backing board for all of your comics. The clear plastic slips over the issues and the pressed board inside holds the shape and protects form. Having all your comics arranged in sleeves also makes it easy to browse without damaging the pages. You can buy packages of sleeves and board for a relatively cheap price if you buy in bulk.
- Get a comic book box. You can find boxes specifically designed for comic storage in any comic book store or online. They come in short and long sizes, for the casual or avid collector.
- Find an adequate storage area. It is best to keep your collection in a cool, dry place with a stable temperature. Keep them away from direct sunlight (and bright light in general). An average home closet is generally one of the best places to store comic books. Places to avoid include the garage (where temperature often fluctuates dramatically) and the basement (where humidity can often drop or peak). Davey certainly keeps his collection in the upstairs closet.
- Place all boxes accordingly. Do you generally throw your storage boxes wherever they will fit, cramming them into a corner or under a pile of other possessions? Don’t do that. It is best to keep the boxes in an easily accessible, yet out of the way, location. For example: if you put the comics in your closet, try not to store them at the end of your shoe line in a prime accidental-kicking zone.
- Go the distance. Check in on your comics every now and then, making sure they haven’t started to discolor. If you smell mildew something is obviously not right. Re-bag and board the comics if necessary after several months. You may need to use a dehumidifier in the storage location if it gets too stuffy.
These tips will prove invaluable should you choose to start a comic book collection of your very own. If you run into any more problems in properly storing the issues, please find your friendly neighborhood Davey.