For those of us who have collected comics for a long time, the following guidelines may seem obvious. For collectors new to the hobby, however, these points may just save a precious comic book from being damaged.
1. Avoid rolling the comic, as you would a newspaper.
2. When handling a comic, do so gently. Avoid holding it tightly.
3. Always handle the comic flat in the palm of your hand, and turn the pages carefully, allowing each page fall down gently on its own. In doing so, you avoid placing any pressure on the comic book or its spine.
4. Comic stores tend to organize their comics standing up in comic boxes or bins. When perusing these comics, avoid bending the top of the comics down over the previous books. If you bend the spines while searching for a particular comic book, you will damage the spines for the next customer who comes along. That being said, a previous customer could very well damage the spines of comics you want to purchase. Always handle comics with care and respect.
5. When enjoying trade paperbacks or graphic novels, simply cradle the spine of the comic book and open it just enough to read. Avoid opening the book completely and “cracking” the spine, and never grasp the comic by its covers and read in the air, doing so will surely cause dents on the covers and the pages.
6. If paperbacks or graphic novels have been stored in extremely cold weather, let the books acclimatize to room temperature before opening it to read. Opening a “frozen book” could cause the spine to crack. If the glue on the spine becomes very brittle due to t e cold, the cover may even pop off.
7. Avoid “dog ears”, that is, don’t bend the corners of the pages to place mark where you last read. Invest in a book mark.
8. Eating while reading is a bad habit, especially around valuable comic books. If crumbs fall into your book, this could stain your comics or cause impressions when/if your comics are stored. If you handle food while reading, you may also actually transfer oils from the food you eating directly to your comic books.
9. Always keep your hands clean. We naturally excrete oils and these are easily transferred to your comic books, especially if they are being held tightly.
10. As outlined in an earlier post, be sure to store your comics in a cool dark area. Using comic bags and boards is also strongly recommended. Storing your comics upright is also suggested;
there are a variety of comic boxes to choose from. Mylars and Mylites are the preferred choice of comic sleeve. These are museum grade and while they may cost a little more, the will last a lifetime. WARNING: Be careful when using the stiff Mylar bags, comics can be damaged when inserting them, take your time.
11. Avoid storing your cardboard comic boxes directly on the basement floor, especially if it is concrete. Use a palette of some kind or shelves to keep the boxes off the floor. Over time, boxes may absorb moisture from the concrete and even the carpet. Moisture + comics is a no no.
12. Again, this was mentioned in an earlier post, but avoid exposing your comic books to direct sunlight, and even bright artificial light.
13. Don’t write on your comic books or colour in black and white areas! It is not a colouring book. Also, be careful not to write on paper with a comic book beneath your work – this will cause impressions on the comic book cover and although this sort of damage can be minimized with a good press, often times the impression is still faintly visible.
14. Do not cut coupons out of your comic books…especially back issues…most of those offers have expired. 🙂