Comic books have gone from entertainment for kids—that many adults didn’t approve of—to much more mainstream, with titles for all ages and tastes. Comics have even won major awards. In 1988, Watchmen by Alan Moore won the Eisner award for Best Writer and the Hugo Award for Other Forms. Maus by Art Spiegleman won a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation, and the 1992 American Book Award. In 2008, my personal favorite series of all time, Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan, won the Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series.
Comics are hugely popular today, but they are also delicate. You can’t pile up a bunch of comics, as with books, and not expect them to slide out from each other and take damage. A comic book forgotten on the floor is doomed to tearing.
How do you keep your collection in great condition? It’s probably easier than you think, and not expensive.
If you store your comic books as you would ordinary books or paper files, you’re going to end up with damaged comics. Fortunately, there’s a simple system for keeping yours in great shape for years, whether you keep them at home or in a storage unit. It’s all about the three B’s: bags, boards, and boxes.
When it comes to the three B’s, we’re not talking about just any. You’ll get your bags, boards, and boxes at a comic book shop or online.
Comic book bags are flat, clear plastic sheaths that perfectly fit the standard comic book size of 6.624” by 10.25”. There is a flap on top to fold over the comic and completely protect it. They give the comic book extra protection against damage, spills, and dirt.
Comic books have varied in size over the years, so make sure you use the right sized bags and boards depending on the age the comic was from. The Golden Age lasted from 1934 to 1955, the Silver Age from 1956 to 1969, the Bronze Age from 1970 to 1979, and the Current Age from 1980 to now. Any new comics you get, unless a specialty item, will use Current Age bags and boards.
Put a comic in a proper bag and you give it extra protection. Add a backing board, and you protect its structure. Comic boards are thin, white pieces of sturdy cardboard with the same height and width of a comic book. The board goes into the bag as well, behind the comic book.
These are made of corrugated cardboard, are 11” tall by 7 ¾” wide, on the inside, with varying depth, depending on the size you get. A 20” deep box holds up to 250 comic books. Each box also comes with a lid, and hand-holds openings on the side for lifting. Comics stack upright, somewhat like files in a file cabinet, making it easy to flip through them to find what you’re looking for.
Putting Your Comics Away
You’ll find a variety of tips on how to properly bag and board a comic book. Here are a few suggestions. Keep in mind that the flap is on the top front of the comic book bag and folds over to the back, not the other way around.
Put the board in the bag first, then put the comic in, in front of the board, facing forward. Fold the bag flap over and tape it to the back of the bag. The problem with this is that the tape can later snag on the comic and cause damage. To avoid this, try one the solutions below.
Put the board in the bag, then the comic, as above. Fold the bag flap into the top of the bag, behind the board.
My favorite method is this. Put the comic book into the bag first, then fold the flap into the bag, behind the comic. Last, slip the board in through the opening behind the folded flap and the back of the bag. This keeps the flap in place and keeps the comic snug.
Ready for Storage
With your comics safely in their bags, boards, and proper boxes, you’re ready to store them! If you put them in a storage unit and you live in an area prone to humidity, get a unit with climate control. This feature keeps the temperature and humidity consistent in your unit year-round, creating an idea storage environment for nearly all your possessions. The paper comics are printed on is sensitive to extremes in weather. Properly protected comics can stay in great shape for decades, so follow these tips, and you’ll enjoy your favorite adventures for years to come.