Flash Wheaties nn (1946) First Graded Highest Copy 1 of 4 CGC 7.0 
Preserving the illustrated march of time and the dreams we have had, along this passage into infinite.
Adventures of Superman #625 (2004) CGC 10
This site is devoted to presenting issues in the preservation and conservation of physical structure comic books. Part of our mission is to present reference material to help you make to informed choices in the care of your comic book collection and understanding the psychosocial relationship of their themes. See bottom of the page for consulting services in the New York City Area. Because comic books were often, at certain points in their history, published on low quality paper, they often don't age very well. Great care must be taken to preserve the original status of comic books. Much of the material on this site will be links to other sites that have more comprehensive material on the overall subject of paper document preservation, see the section called: Paper Conservation Associations and Education.
Please Note: This site is owned by Nathan Chukueke and NOT any other person or organnization. Since: 2004
What is Comic Preservation?
In terms of the subjective study, comic preservation cover these general areas:
Proper Handling of Comics
Keep your hands clean and dry when handling comics.
Proper Archival Level storage of a Collection
Use acid free comic books boxes for long term storage.
Use the proper comic encapsulation method, that is appropriate for ones' economic resources.
Proper basic comics cleaning (non toxic chemical)
Proper assessment and treatment options for structural damaged to a comic.
The subject of comic preservation can be a heated one, among those devoted to the reading and collecting these graphical storybooks. The main issue in the debate is not whether ones comic should be preserved, but rather what is preservation and when does it become restoration. The general notion of preservation involves two ideas:
1. The first idea is that one wants to prevent decay of what they have at present.
2. The second idea is that a person wants to maintain whatever they have, in the condition, in which they have it at present.
Both ideas must be linked like the concept of yin and yang, if ones collection is to survive the long term ravages of time and decay caused by varying environmental conditions. The notion of maintenance and prevent from decay in the comic world, are not yet so blended together. The main problem is a lack of education, limited grasp and or interest in dimensions of paper documents preservation.
Another problem is a lack of understanding of the difference between preservation and restoration. In truth there is a fine line between the two ideas. There are two general types of comic restoration.
Restoration type one is to repair physical structural damage to a comic, such as mending a binding, general paper tears sealing, and replacing missing or rusty degrading staples.
Restoration type two is done to enhance the appearance of a comic, such at cover color touch ups.
The second class of restoration has caused lots of problems in the comic marketplace, because seller would not tell buyers about cosmetic enhances to the comics that they were buying. This lack of disclosure was and is seen as a type of fraud.
Restoration type one in reality, improves the life span of ones comic, but suffers as a preservation tool because of the stigma of all restoration work. In the case of very rusty staple, sometimes found in golden age book (issue of climate and moisture) staple rust can migrate to the paper around the staple, which can result in the deterioration of the binding and decoloration of comic pages in contact with the staples. In such cases, structural restoration can prevent the further decay of the comic in association with rusty staples. In this situation, as in others relating to type one restoration, preservation and restoration meet.
To many collectors putting their prized comics in polyethylene bag, thinking "this is a good enough preservation move", until they come back to their comic in a few years to find the quality of their book is changed for the worse.
While polyethylene bags are OK for short time comic storage, perhaps over a few months to a few years. Comic aging depending partly on the climate where the comics are stored. Polyethylene are not considered a safe long term archival quality solution to document preservation. Polypropylene is considered a better encapsulation method because generally it is more stable in structure than polyethylene. In the end although polyester film encapsulation is considered the best for the value.
Polyester Film Encapsulation link
Uncoated archival quality polyester film encapsulation is commonly known as Mylar Sleeves, for most comic collectors. These sleeves are at present the most logical form of long term storage, that is in direct contact with your comic books. These Polyester sheet usually come in the form of sleeves that are made in 1 to 4 mils in thickness. There is another product called Melinex which used for encapsulation, but not usually seen in the comic world.
NOTE: Mylar can crack and tear.
The thicker mylar usually is the one that may crack if its too dry and hot.
Thinner mylar may tear, if not handled with care.
Another source for a break down of plastic types used in storage: Guide to storage products
Note: First Vendor Name Listing are web clinks
There are some encapsulation methods that are for special situations.
The companies below offer comic encapsulation that is made not to be opened without detection being noticed. This is done because such encapsulated comics have being professionally graded. These companies will als do encapsulation on other print documents such as magazines and artwork.
Comics Guaranty, LLC CGC: is a company that grades comics. They use a product called a CGC holder. This two layer comic encapsulation container maybe one of the best methods of storing a comic and having an idea of its market worth. The CGC holder has few different parts, two of these are a Barex plastic and Micro Chamber Interleaving Paper.
Comic Book Certification Service (CBCS): is a company that offers comic encapsulation and grading.
Professional Grading Experts (PGX): Is a company that grades comics but directly offers other services such as pressing and basic cleaning.
Note: Because of the cost of grading and the quality of the holder, these encapsulation methods are usually reserved for special items.
Millcase is a hard plastic case that is listed as having UV filtering.
Slab-Pro: is the name of the company that offers various products to protect and present your comics.
They even come in different colors. I have tried the product and it is a great concept. You might however need wider storage boxes. Luckily Slab-Pro does sell Slab-Pro boxes that for Slab Pro fitted comics. It seems to that Slab Pro fitted comics can add an extra layer of protection for shipping grades comics
UV CLEAR PROTECTOR is intended to put your slabbed comic book into to protect it from harmful UV rays and scratching. It is peel off item. I would say it’s a must have item if you display your graded comic books anywhere they are exposed to the sun for extended periods of time
COMIC PORTFOLIO are black vinyl portfolios for your comics designed like a folder, they are made of rubber silicone. I was generously sent a sample of Comic Portfolio Graded model and other products made by Slab Pro. The product is well made. They come in standard, graded and art styles.
Invisible Comic Back Board: Have you ever wished you could display that cool wrap around comic cover you picked up of some comic book? Well, this invisible comic back board may be the answer. Made of very clear and thick mylar they replace your standard comic backing. After analyzing my sample, few thoughts:
This product may also help prevent corner dinging, of that most valued comic if dropped. This product is not cheap its more like the rolls royce of comic backing, so I would say its good for something you really want to display or use it to protect your most valued items.
If you live in a warm climate I would still use micro chamber interleaving paper between the front and back covers. Mylar does not breath very much, like standard backings which absorb toxins. So another very interesting product from a innovative company. Did I mention they really look cool.
Note: E. Gerber’s 914R 9 x 14 1/2 Legal Size bag will still fit under the Slab Pro, sort of, if your concerned about dust.
Archival Quality Envelopes: These envelopes let you get to your comic without touching it too much. They are made of 10 point tan, acid/lignin-free buffered (pH 8.5) envelope stock with a crystal clear, archival quality polyester window according to the proct website.
CGC Protective Cases ideas. These products may help protect your valued CGC cases from being scratched
Comic Encapsulation Support Materials Overview
Micro Chamber Interleaving Paper
Micro Chamber Interleaving Paper has actually a few aspects. The terms of Micro Chamber paper: in this context we are refering to a line of trademarked items that are lignin and sulfur-free, that also have alkaline level. It is also made partly of zeolites. Such paper reduces that effects of pollutants that are usually associated with paper document degradation. Interleaving are acid free sheets of paper or thin cloth rag put between sheets of a document to prevent the ink transfer from one page to another and reduce the effects of other agents that are pollutants to paper.
Note: There seems to be a bit of a debate whether Micro Chamber Interleaving Paper should be replaced and if so when. For a further notes on this I suggust at least start to form your thoughts by looking at these sites to to at lease get a idea of the issues at hand.
Acid Free Backing Boards link
These stiff boards are made of cloth/rags or wood/paper. They are usually a little bigger than the size comic These stiff boards are made of cloth/rags or wood/paper. They are usually a little bigger than the size comic book, they are made to support. These boards are inserted in a mylar sleeve usually in back of a comic book. The board helps supports the comic, to preventing bending the book and also getting creases in it or color breaks on its cover. The acid free nature of these board helps protect the comic book from acid migration found in the aging process of paper. Some boards come with a 3% to 4% calcium carbonate buffer at a ph of about 8.00 added to the acid free backing. The idea is to help reduce the amount of environmental pollutes from getting into the comic. Backing boards fall under the area of archival board in the field of document preservation and in art presentation as a support product such as mattes.
Comic Book Storage Boxes
The day of keeping your comic collection in just some nice clean cardboard box are over. It is now a known fact that such simple storage opinion are straight forward, but damaging to comics over time. The reason for the is the cardboard itself. Acid in the wood pulp of cardboard can migrate into first the cover of a comic and over time the inside pages discoloring and aiding in breaking down their physical structure over time. Lucky there are quick a few vendors who make varying types of fairly acid free comic storage boxes.
Things to look out for when choosing the right storage box for your consideration
• Check to see that your are getting the right size boxes for your collection. A box the is a maybe a little big, like putting modern size book in a box made for silver and golden maybe a waste of space, but is better than the reverse situation.
• Seams on storage boxes can break if the container is over loaded or with weather condition that can effect the chemical bound of the adhesive.
• Make sure the height of the storage box with its lid is high enough it fit the type of Comic Encapsulation you are using. For example, make sure it you use mylar with vertical flaps that the height is not higher than the top of your box, if it is you may have problem with closing the lid on the boxes you have.
The most under rated comic encapsulation support material is tape. It is used to keep the flap on mylar sleeves closed. Before acid free tape, comics could and did get damaged by tape getting old and releasing acids
Click here for the main type of acid tape to use, in general. TIP: remove tape from mylar before taking a comic out of sleeve, then put it back on when finished. A little piece of tape is not worth damaging your comic book.
Paper Conservation Associations and Education
Educational information about the conservation of paper, including comics.
- American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic: Paper Conservation Catalog
- Bleeding Cool-CGC Insider: Here you will find issues that may influnce the grading of a comic book by the CGC. Good information to know in terms of comic book care and what to submut to the CGC other comic book grading companies.
Northeast Document Conservation Center: The Northeast Document Conservation Center has a free Online textbook called:
Preservation 101 Preservation Basics For Paper And Media Collections.
See Session 4: Caring For Paper Collections
Also see the Additional Resources page: Section 4
- Conservation Online has shared the back issues of Book and Paper Group Annual of the The American Institute for Conservation.
Do a search: "Paper Conservation", "Paper Care" or "Comic", to find many interesting and some useful resources.
The Institute of Conservation has brief guide to "Care and conservation of books."
Collectibles Shop has page called the Overstreet Comic Book Grading Scale & Definitions
Cleaning Antique Books Shows how to clean old books [video].
Articles and Videos of Interest
Note: Before looking at the various vendors below you may want to review the analysis and opinions presented at the Comic Book Collecting Association. On the pull down menu look for called: About Collecting Comics, then see the item called "Informative."
Please also note the only vendors listed here are ones I trust or others have had good experiences with over the years. There are other vendors.
Item: Protective Mylar Sleeves, and Boards
Note: First Vendor Name Listing are web clinks
E. Gerber Products, LLC : are the makers the famous Mylites mylar sleeves. Mylites are mylar sleeves that have a bendable flaps much like a ploy bag, but are make of one and two mil mylar. Mylites are one mil thick and Mylites 2 are two mils. E. Gerber Products also makes 4 mil open top sleeves. E. Gerber's prices are some of the most in inexpensive on the market.
The company also makes Acid Free Backing Boards called Half (24-mil) and (42-mil) Full Backs. All these These boards have a 3% calcium carbonate buffer throughout, maintains ph of 8.0+ add to the acid free backing board. The company also make other products like CGC comic boxes. Full Backs are also perhaps the thickest and stiffest backing boards on the market.
NOTES: In the pass, some have commented on the quality of the seams on E Gerber's sleeves, we have not had such problems to date. The seam issue may have a bad production run or a problem that may occur from time to time.
Another note to mention, as of the summer of 2010 they do not have an auotmated online ordering system. You have to call or e-mail your order in to them. I suggest you at least e-mail your order in to them to confirm what you have requested. Confusion in ordering can equal wasted time and money in reorder, returns and repacking fees.
Mylites 2 and 4 mil are a cost effective way to protecting large collects, for comics have to be opened from time to time.
Bill Cole Enterprises: is the maker of the Super Mylars sleeves called TIME-LOKS®. These 4 mil mylar sleeves have pre-folded flap. TIME-LOKS use Ultraweld™ technology seams to try make their sleeves strong. Bill Cole Enterprises also makes 2 and 4 mil mylar with open flaps. Bill Coles mylars products are prices expensive, because of the increase in international oil prices. Mylar has elements that come from oil products we were told by the company.
The company also makes Acid Free Backing Boards called THIN-X-TENDERS™ (24 mil thick) , TIME-X-TENDERS™ (42 mil thick), and LIFE-X-TENDERS™ have 3 layers: one is acid free backing board, 2. is 3% calcium carbonate buffer throughout, maintains ph of 8.0-8.5 3. another acid free backing board. Only LIFE-X-TENDERS™ have the 3% calcium carbonate buffer at time of press of this article in the Bill Cole line. The company also make other products like CGC comic boxes.
NOTES: The use of TIME-LOKS is best for rare or important comic items that need more protection from dropping, weather, or general handling within encapsulation. There is some skill involved in putting in and removing comics from these stiffer sleeves. Time-loks are usually rather expensive. Although, they are perhaps one of the best polyester film encapsulation products in the market, for items that are not opened and handled regularly after encapsulation.
BCW: Another company that has Archival Polyester (Mylar®) comic products. They make 2 and 4 mil comic sleeves and also other sizes. They also offer FREE shipping with some types of orders, which saves lots of money on large orders and is very rare.
Item: Comic Book Storage Boxes (Standard)
Note: First Vendor Name Listing are web clinks
Bill Cole Enterprises: Vendor has a wide selection of acid free comic book storage boxes and CGC size comics sleeves. (Some of his other products are listed in more detail in other sections of this site)
E. Gerber Products, LLC : Vendor has CGC size comics boxes. (Some of his other products are listed in more detail in other sections of this site)
BCW: This company also sells the card board boxes, but also plastic comic boxes as well. Both type boxes are offered in short (L 15.75 X W 7.5 X H 10.75) and long (L 28 X W 8 X H 11.5) lengths. The plastic boxes may seem better for damp or wet conditions, possible storage problems or moving conditions. The plastic boxes seem to be able to store a heavier weight load.
Item: Special Comic Boxes
Conservation Resources International: Make very serious paper conservation products for museums and government archives. One of these products is small selection of comic related items, such as the .060 Gray/white and .060.
Their Micro Chamber rated comic book boxes are interesting. These boxes are best for small collections of very special items, that will be stored for long periods of time. Please note these are not budget items, but very high quality materials. Also note: Don't overload these boxes seams may become a issue.
Collection Armor This is a newer concept comic book preservation method in which your comic book box storage box is protected from the elements.
Hollingermetaledge.com Another site offering very high qualify storage box option for your comics using tan acid/lignin free buffered (ph8.5) materials. Note: you may for what you get.
Item: Micro Chamber Interleaving Paper
Note: First Vendor Name Listing are web clinks
Bill Cole Enterprises: item is called Life-X-Tenders Plus™
9 Mil Anti-Aging Preservation Sheets.
BCW: There product is called Comic Book Extenders and sold in 10 mil thick sheets
Conservationresources.com: Very serious art and document conservation company click the following link for the right site location (it is very easy to get lost on their site) Click Here Please. From this company also you can buy your own roll of these materials and cut and design to your own needs. This company is in the UK.
Conservation-by-Design: From this company also you can buy your own roll of these materials and cut and design to your own needs. Company is in the UK.
Vendors: Restoration and Conservation While we are listing the following vendors, we can not endorse their products or services. The following information is just being presented for reference purposes.
Comics Ina Flash (Pressing Services, mostly) PO Box 3611 Evansville, IN 47735-3611
CFP Comics and Services, Inc. (Pressing Services, mostly) CFP Comics and Services, Inc.
638 Whittingham Place
Lake Mary, FL 32746
Classics Incorporated (Various paper restoration services)
PO Box 4780
Sarasota, FL 34230
Eclipse Paper Conservation (Various paper restoration services) WWW.Eclipsepaper.com
email at: email@example.com
Susan Cicconi does restoration, pressing /cleaning, and other services
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (617) 974-1125 cell phone
P.O. Box 632
Newton, MA 02456
Mike is a Collectors Society member and does restoration, pressing /cleaning and CGC submissions. Mike@HeroRestoration.net ), 541-632-9392
4899 48th loop
Item: Paper Restoration and Convervation Products
Always test these products first, before using them on your comics.
Site Manager: email@example.com
Site managed by Nathan Chukueke [East Coast-USA] and Kevin Sims [West Coast-USA]
So mote it be.