Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Storing comics


There's an interesting discussion over at the Comics UK Forum at present regarding the storing of comics. Bag and board, or piled in a box? 

Personally, although I have my 1960s/70s American comics stored upright in a few longboxes, only some are bagged. In the case of most of my British comics collection, - most are stored flat, and not bagged. 

And guess what? The condition of them all has remained ok. 

I bought a load of Odhams comics 30 years ago (Wham!, Fantastic, etc) and 1960s Dandy issues and have always kept them stored flat in a tall cardboard box. (See photo above.) Some are bagged, if they were like that when I bought them, but most of them are not, and they're in the same shape as the bagged ones, which is pretty good. 

Ditto a near-complete run of TV21. I have the first year (1965) bagged, but not the rest, and they're all in great shape. Here's a few photos...




Yes, I know there's the risk of spine roll if you store comics flat, but not so much if you alternate them so every other issue has the spine on the other side of the pile. I've stored my TV21 comics in a Victorian metal trunk that once belonged to my grandad and they're ok. Keep comics clean and away from sunlight, dust, insects and damp and they should be alright. And, if necessary, wash your hands before handling them to eliminate any chance of greasy fingerprints.

When I was in my twenties I was fastidious about condition and handling my collection very carefully. I'm still naturally careful, but if a comic accidentally flops over and creates a tiny spine crease it's not the end of the world. They still mean a lot to me, for nostalgic and historical reasons, but I'm sure I'll crumble to dust before they do. My attitude now is that although I like to keep comics clean and in good condition, life's too short to go overboard about it. That issue of Smash! I showed here at the weekend? I actually folded a page back to scan it better. Some comics are still waiting to be sorted out properly, or left around for reference, open to sunlight and stacked in an unkempt pile. Look! There's a 1960 Eagle amongst that lot which I accidentally creased on its corner. Oh the humanity. 

So, how do you store your collection? Please leave your comments below and discuss...

25 comments:

David said...

A coincidence for you: on top of the pile in that last photo is a Brooke Bond Race Into Space collector's card album. I don't normally collect such cards, but I couldn't resist buying this album, complete with cards, when I saw it in a charity shop.

Also, I have the Action book that's peeking out of the pile, and the Penguin Book Of Comics, but that's hardly a coincidence on this blog.

Lew Stringer said...

I collected all of those albums in the sixties, and my parents drank Brooke Bond tea (free card in every packet). I pulled that book out of the pile for reference a while back.

Yeah, I should keep all my comic reference books together really. They're all over the place but I like to keep some nearby to be handy to check dates etc when I'm blogging.

Richard Williams said...

Blimey, that took me back - Brooke Bond Tea collectors cards! I used to have the Race into Space, back in them days most of my friends drank Brooke Bond so we used to do swaps - great stuff! On the subject of comics storing, all my US comics are in long boxes but my UK ones are stored flat in any box or tin I can find and they are all in great shape as when I got them!

Graeme Wood said...

All my UK comics were originally kept flat on shelves in a small spare room we had in the house. They were all in pretty good condition though I sold most of my UK collection now. Made the effort in the 80s to get all my US comics into long boxes with the oldest bagged.

Manic Man said...

Mine as mostly stored longwise in some plastic sealable boxes, in bags if came, for American, Canadian etc., British are stored face up in a plastic box, Japanese are stored the same as the American, or the trades are on a bookshelves with annuals, trades and graphic novels, and a few misc. ones stored in simpler ways.

Take care but as Kirby once said, Comics are made to be read. I'm probably most careful with ones that are self/very small time printers.

Hibernia Comics said...

I'm not one for plastic bags or having to have mint conditions comics, rips tears or creases don't bother me, but I will draw the line at missing or part missing pages or filled in Comps etc.
I have a room fully shelved out and all my British comics stored flat on shelves, arranges into 50 or 100 pile high, and seperated into the different titles.
Your comics are in very nice shape Lew, especially those TV21, I only have a few of those. I would mind a rummage 'round you house, some treasures there I suspect!

Simon Bromley said...

I keep about two thirds of my 'old' (1972-2006) comics upright, packed tightly in an old record box. The rest are in piles -alternating directions as mentioned above (my Oink! comics have a pile to themselves, most of them in seperate plastic bags) - while the newer Dandys and Beanos (Dandy relaunch 2010 onwards) are in neat piles in a large plastic box underneath my desk, with my weekly Beanos piled on top. I'm small fry compared to a lot of you - just over 600 comics and counting, plus 40 or so annuals (including a Dandy Monster Comic from 1947, picked up from a secondhand market for less than a tenner) in rows round the living room skirting board! I'm running out of storage space though - I could do with another old record box. :)

Lew Stringer said...

Yes, space is a problem eventually. Even in a large semi-detached I'm running out of room so I'm trimming down my collection at present and buying less. I'll still hold onto all the ones up to about 1979, and all the ones I've been published in of course.

I have all my Oinks and Busters upright in boxes, and most of the comics I have work in are boxed.

Forgot to mention that all my golden age American comics are bagged with backing boards, and stored upright in a box. I ought to get around to reading those one day!

These days I rarely buy old comics, but I still enjoy buying various books about old comics.

Steve Marchant said...

I write my name and address on the front and keep mine on a spike!

Lew Stringer said...

Ha! It might catch on now you've mentioned it, Steve.

George Shiers said...

I just stack mine anywhere - in or out of sunlight (most are in at some point of the day). None of them are bagged or ordered and most are ripped or creased. As long as they're complete I'm happy )and I'm usually happy if they're not, too).

George Shiers said...

To add to my previous comic - right now I have the Wizard comic I covered the other day half hanging out of my scanner by the window.

Jovan said...

I've found that DVD storage boxes are good for storing Battle, Air Ace, and War Picture Library comic books. I also bag the comics in zip lock bags (but these are no doubt the wrong type of plastic). Storing them this way also keeps the mould and mildew at bay - always a threat during summer in Queensland.

Lew Stringer said...

I must admit I won't buy comics if they're ripped or creased, and try to avoid damaging mine too much. I folded back the pages of that Smash comic for a better scan but the spine was weak on that one anyway. I don't think I'd be as carefree with TV21 No.1 for example.

Judging by eBay, some people have a different idea of "excellent condition" to the reality of the situation. I've seen tanned, tatty comics described as "good condition for their age". Well, age didn't rip them or leave them in the sun, and it certainly didn't colour in some of the panels. :)

Anonymous said...

Most of mine are stacked flat in 44 litre plastic storage boxes under the stairs. Any second hand comics or books I pick up go in the freezer for a week (well wrapped in plastic of course) to kill off any paper-eating insects that may be in them. It took a long time to do a big bundle of Busters I picked up a few years ago, but I think it was worth it. All I've got in there at the moment is "Six Comics of WWI" which I hunted down thanks to Lew's blog.

Manic Man said...

Speaking of ebay sellers.. I always laugh when they sell comics (and I have seen this too often) as Mint apart from missing cover.. it's been years since I've had comics in my house that were listed in a book via grading.. going though each one, checking the grade (before all this number 7.9 whatever system)..

Though I must admit, to buying the odd comic with.. people haven't written on it! the Horror!.. of course, it's normally the writer/artist ^_^ .. Prefer to get it signed when I see them or directly from them.. worth way more then just buying one pre-signed but.. well. the main ones I got without getting it from the creator, its my Kitz N Katz, and sadly, by the time I could Contact the Great Bob Laughlin, he was dead.. they are probably the rarest ones I have..

Colin Jones said...

At the moment my comic "collection" consists of the most recently released Deadpool graphic novel downloaded to my tablet. I've never been a keeper of comics and I'm happy enough just to read about old comics on blogs like this.

paddykool said...

Hi Lew. I loved the article.As I mentioned earlier.I have a good selection of 1960's Marvels which I keep in Mylar bags in a couple of longboxes. Let's face it I've had them for nearly 50 years and some of them are worth a few bob.!! I have quite a few UK comics in my shed but I got a selection of old 1940s, 1950s and 1960s Beanos and Dandys professionally bound and then taught myself how to do it myself. I've made about 20 hardback books of my old Whams, Pows , Eagles, Valiants etc .you can look at the process and the results here ....http://paddykool2.wordpress.com/adventures-in-bookbinding-and-making-books/

Simon Bromley said...

This post has made me write a short post of my own, just to show a couple of photos of my collection!
http://bromley001.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/comic-collection/

Lew Stringer said...

Good stuff. Here are the links again as clickable links:

http://bromley001.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/comic-collection/

http://paddykool2.wordpress.com/adventures-in-bookbinding-and-making-books/

Mike Morria said...

Archive boxes, mate. You get them from conservation companies and they're acid-free--ideal

Mark Ryan said...

You've got to be careful of cardboard boxes that are not treated, there is a chemical in them that will yellow the pages of a short time. I store mine flat and mostly bagged. I am fastidious about the UK stuff I grew up with, as they are costly and hard to find. Eventually, I plan on buying more magazine sized bags and boards for them.

Lew Stringer said...

I've kept my comics in cardboard boxes for 50 years, Mark. There's hardly any deterioration. It's not the same boxes I've used for half a century admittedly, but I've had my Odhams comics in the same one for 25 years with no problems. Perhaps it depends on the quality of the cardboard.

Eric Hall said...

I disagree Lew. Comics WILL go yellow and brittle if not bagged. It takes about five years but they will deteriorate into yellow flakes of paper. Mylar bags and acid free boxes is THE only solution but paper falls apart - fact!

Lew Stringer said...

I'm sorry Eric, but you're mistaken. Unless you've kept your comics in direct sunlight or in a shed or something they won't go yellow and brittle in five years. I have comics from the 19th Century that are still supple and slightly off-white. It all depends where you store them.

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