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Comic Book Collecting- A Beginner’s Guide
Whether you like Spiderman, Batman or
Superman then chances are that you have probably bought a comic book during a
time when you loved that character. But some people go further then simply just
saying “I love this character!” and in fact they consider purchasing and
collecting comic books featuring their favourite super hero. This article is
aimed at those people who are just starting out in collecting comics and want to
learn more about collecting and caring for their personal collection.
The number one selling comic during the
month of September was All Star Batman and Robin Boy Wonder. But there are
literally hundreds of comics each with different characters, different
superpowers and different situations every week so as you can imagine that
lucrative number one spot will change all the time. The thing about comic books
is the addiction that you can develop from reading them, or collecting them
based on their scarcity. All it might take is a walk past a newsstand and then
be taken in by the look of a comic's cover art.
To say that there are hundreds of
artists drawing comic books is an understatement. Most collectors know the names
of Jim Lee, Scott Leifeild, Frank Miller, and Scott Mcfarland by the cover of
the comic book. Sometimes just the look of the book is enough for you to say
“Wow, let me see this!” and then before you know it you are buying that same
comic every week or maybe even signing yourself up for a subscription. Let the
Once you have your collection truly
underway you will want to make sure that the comics that you have will stay in
mint condition. As a collector, having a mint condition comic book is what you
should be striving for in terms of keeping your comics in great condition.
Luckily, there are comic book supply companies there to help you in this area.
These companies make polypropylene bags to store the comic book from the
immediate elements- dust, water (although not water proof), spills, and some air
tightness. These bags are perfect for all your comic books, as they will fit
almost any comic whether you have a collection of First Marvel comics or a
collection of Warren comics. Comic book collectors will want to make sure that
their prized possession of comics go unspoilt for many years to come and these
bags are the sure fire way to make sure that they stay in the condition that you
bought them in.
Comic book boards are essential to
keeping your collection safe from the dreaded ‘flexed comics’ and will also help
stop the corners from bending. But one top tip to keep in mind about a comic
book board is that they should be switched every 3-5 years. If you fail to do
this then the acids in the comic board can actually change the colours of your
comic which will obviously damage them instead of protect them. The rule of
thumb is simple - when you bag a comic book always include a backing board for
You simply can't stack up all your
comics in a corner of your room or underneath your bed - you need a better way!
You will need comic book storage boxes to protect your comics. These comic book
boxes come in two main sizes - “long” and “short”. They are the same depth and
width but they come in different lengths. The short boxes will be 15 inches in
length and the long boxes are 25 inches in length. When you are storing these
boxes make sure that you have the room to store them. The smaller boxes won’t be
too much of a problem, as they will fit in a small closet. But the longer boxes
may very well need somewhere more convenient to be stored.
Comic book collectors all over the world
are always trying to find new ideas to keep their collection of comic books safe
from the dangerous hands of youngsters and the other natural effects that can
cause a comic book to become degraded over the years and lose its mint quality.
Here are a few basic tips that will keep your comics looking more like their
You must monitor your comics
occasionally. You have to be sure that the location that you have placed them is
not adversely affecting them, if it is, then move them out immediately and find
a better place for them. The best place for a collection of comic books is in a
cool, dark, and dry place preferably in a comic book box in a room that
is temperature and humidity controlled. (A hot attic is not a great place!)
The usage of a comic book box in conjunction with polypropylene bags and backing
boards are without a doubt a great way to store either your new found comic book
collection, or maintaining all X-men comics from #’s 142-present.
Obviously the best place to go for these
comic book supplies is www.TCBulk.com which
has some of the best prices on all your comic book supply needs. Saving money on
supplies now, means more spending money in the future on your comic books!
2005, Digital Reprieve, Inc. All Rights Reserved
BCW protective pages are one of the most popular mediums
to store cards, photos, comics & magazines.
Protective pages come in 2 different materials which are distinctly different
(Polypropylene & Vinyl). Polypropylene is the most popular choice by collectors
because of the archival properties of the material. Below is a list of
attributes of the two different types of pages
Polypropylene Material (115 micron)
Safe (contains no PVC)
manufactured in USA
weld strength attainable for this material
for 3 ring binder (holes punched & cleared)
stamped BCW logo
Note: Polypropylene is considered an archival safe material by the Library of
Vinyl Material (4.5 mil)
polished clear finish
manufactured in USA
weld strength attainable for this material
to fit 3 ring binder
A D D I T I O N A L C O M I C & M A G A Z I N E I N F O R M A T I O N|
It is recommended that you change your comic
boards and bags every 3 - 5 years.
Most comic books have been printed on newsprint. This includes all comic
books printed prior to Modern Age, as well as some Modern Age books. The
reason that you will need to change the backing boards is that the
newsprint that most comic books are printed on has been bleached with
acid prior to printing, and some of the acid from the bleach remains in
the paper. The backing boards are coated calcium carbonate so that they
absorb the acid that migrates from the book. You will want to store them
away from sunlight and in a cool dry place because sunlight, heat, and
moisture can accelerate the acid migration process.
Miller Hobby Brand backing boards are solid bleached sulfate and conform to
ANSI standard Z39.48.
The National Archives and Records Administration specified the following
with regard to the long-term storage and preservation of photographic
"Look for plastic enclosures made from uncoated pure polyethylene,
polypropylene or polyester (also called Mylar D or Mellinex 516). These
are considered stable and non-damaging to photographs."
Miller Hobby Brand comic bags are made of uncoated virgin polypropylene.
Classification of Comic Books:
Comics are classified into 3 major categories, Victorian Age, Platinum
Age, and Modern Age. Comic books came into existence during the Modern
Age of comics in February of 1934 with the release of Eastern Color
Printing's Famous Funnies #1, Series 1. The Modern Age of comics is
classified into 4 sub-categories, Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze Age,
and Modern Age (Bronze Age and Modern Age comic books are also referred
to as "Current" comics).
Age - 1795 to 1899
Age - 1897 to 1938
Age - 1929 to Present
Age - 1934 to 1955 (Miller Hobby Golden Age Comic Bags & Backing Boards)
Age - 1956 to 1969 (Miller Hobby Silver Age Comic Bags & Backing Boards)
Age - 1970 to 1979 (Miller Hobby Current Comic Bags & Backing Boards)
Age - from 1980 to Present (Miller Hobby Current Comic Bags & Backing Boards)
You will need to determine which of the 4 categories of the Modern Age
of comics that your comic book falls under to be sure to get the proper
size of comic bags and backing boards. We suggest that you measure your
comic book or refer to the copyright date to determine which category
your comic book falls under.
A D D I T I O N A L C A R
D B O A R D B O X I N F O R M A T I O N |
Miller Hobby Corrugated cardboard storage boxes are one of the
most popular mediums for long term storage of cards, comics & magazines.
We take great pride in having the highest quality boxes available which
means no other company manufactures a higher quality product.
Attributes of Miller Hobby corrugated cardboard storage boxes:
storage boxes are flat bed die-cut in comparison to rotary die-cut
crushing of box flutes
for better scores which makes box easier to fold
edges rather than saw-tooth edges
flute heavy duty corrugation
white outside liner
bundled & strapped
Valuable old comic books can still occasionally be found
for a fraction of their book price at tag sales, church
sales, shops, and country auctions. One day you might
get lucky and come across an entire stack of early
comics in good condition for say, $50. If you do gamble.
If it's a large promising collection of comic books, pay
more. Although most people are aware that good
specimens can fetch big dollars, few of us, including
antique dealers, understand just how much. Editions
where a famous character makes his/her first appearance
command highest prices. The following estimates are for
first-appearance comics in very fine to near mint
condition. Please buckle safety belts before reading.
Action Comics #1 June 1938, The first appearance of
Superman: $100,000 - $200,000. (Please note* DC Comics
produced an oversized exact reproduction of this comic
book in 1974.)
Detective Comics #27 May 1939, The first appearance of
Batman: $100,000 - $200,000. (Please note* DC Comics
produced an oversized reproduction of this book as
well. The reprints have "Famous First Edition" on the
cover that might be removed and sold as an original
interior. A coverless reprint is a valueless comic)
Captain Marvel Adventures March 1941: $15,000 -
Captain America #1 March 1941: The cover depicts
Captain America whacking Adolph Hitler with hard right
to the chin. $40,000 - $75,000.
Casper the Friendly Ghost, Harvey Comics Hits #60
September 1952: $150.00 - $200.00.
Fantastic Four, Present Marvel Comics Group, November
1961: $7,500 - $15,000.
In general, Superhero comics like Spiderman, The
Fantastic Four or Green Lantern are more valuable than
humorous comics like Casper or Richie Rich. Amongst the
most valuable humorous books are early Walt Disney
creations that have cross-over appeal with Disney
collectors. Generally, old comics are more valuable than
later editions. Comic Books are generally assigned by
age to the following categories.
1897-1937 Early Period - Not really comic books, most
have thick cardboard covers and are found in brittle
darkened condition today. Richard Outcalt's Hogan's
Alley was introduced to two newspapers in 1895 and is
generally considered the first comic strip. The term
"yellow journalism" was probably coined from William
Randolph Hearst's political views often reflected by
the strip's lead character the Yellow Kid.
1938-1945 Golden Age - Led by early issues of
Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Captain America and
700 other costumed characters, the most sought after
era of comic books. All Golden Era books in good
condition have antique value today. Most sold in their
day for around 10 cents. In mint condition most are
worth $7.00 + today.
1946-1949 Post Golden Age - Many romance and crime
comics are introduced.
1950-1956 Pre Silver Age - Satires like Mad and horror
comics like Haunt of Fear emerge.
1956-1969 Silver Age - The next great era of comic
books. Beautifully drawn early examples of Green
Lantern, the Hulk, Flash, Thor, the Amazing Spiderman,
and other heroes are hotly sought after today. Many
are worth several dollars and some are worth thousands
1970-1979 Post Silver Age - Collectors should seek out
near mint editions.
Keep in mind that you don't have to come across a
superhero first-appearance issue to stumble into a
significant find. Look for issues that have appeal. Are
the heroes well known? Does the comic introduce a new
villain to the scene? The introduction of any
significant new character (good or evil) adds value. Is
there a sentimental or cross-over market? Buy from a
qualified dealer if you want to be a collector. Take a
shot at a legitimate tag sale if you want to leap tall
buildings in a single bound.
Reprinted with permission
Copyright by Wayne Mattox ©
Copyright 2013, Digital Reprieve, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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