If you want to keep your comic book collection in tiptop shape, comic book supplies will become part of your collecting life. As soon as a magazine is printed there are natural environmental forces going to work to try and destroy the ink and the paper. You have put in a lot of time, effort and enjoyment in acquiring all your comics. You don't want them to turn back to the dust and elements from which they came do you?
Elements such as humidity, temperature, pollutants, human skin oils and even the chemicals of the printed materials themselves, will start to deteriorate and discolor your comic books from day one. Tools that have been developed over the years to help us combat these natural forces are de-acidification paper, polymer type storage bags, stiff backing material, storage boxes and desiccants (dehumidification materials). Not only will these comic book supplies protect your comics for your own enjoyment, they will add to reinforce the future value of each comic book.
Most all of these supplies can typically be located down at your local comic book shop. But as I have discovered lately, there can be a world of difference in preservation abilities depending on what materials are used in the manufacture of comic book supplies. Quite typically what you may find downtown will be of sufficient protective quality to protect your comics for quite a while. Although, polybags, to put your comics into, are quite common and fairly cheap, Mylar bags are definitely the way to go. They will protect for 100 years (that may be a little overboard) as opposed to 2 or 3 years for poly.
There has been a lot of elaborate science, particularly chemistry, which has gone into preservation material manufacturing the last several years. MicroChamber material has been developed that will increase preservation from de-acidification and environmental breakdown for a vastly superior time period as opposed to typical materials available today. Beware though, comic book supplies manufactured with this new material can become quite costly. But if you have some serious collector's items, which you feel are worth a significant amount of cash, isn't the investment worth it? It is also no secret that CGC uses these materials in every comic book they grade.
I have created a page at my comic book site, which incorporates links to some rather technical scientific articles on preservation and using MicroChamber materials. You can read an in-depth discussion at comic book supplies. Be forewarned though, You may need a moderate understanding of chemistry and physics to completely follow some of the discussions. But the articles will open your eyes to what is available in the comic book industry for preservation supplies these days.
Now if you have a rather rare back issue that may well have a high dollar value, here is a process worth considering. De-acidification products are usually used to neutralize acids in the paper prior to storage of most paper products of a pulp nature. This is not to be taken lightly, as it is considered by most to be an extensive form of restoration. The current understanding of the process is that the staples are removed and the sheets are submerged, film developer style, in a bath of de-acidification material. Then the entire book is rebuilt with new staples. This process can cost around $50 per comic book, when done by a professional, but will restore and increase the life expectancy of your comic book by many years. This process, in my opinion, should only be considered for already deteriorated comics that may have a considerable future worth if restored.
One final item to consider, especially if you live in a high humidity area is the use of descants within your storage boxes. A desiccant is a chemical sieve for water, and is available for industry use in small packets or in buckets. For our purposes an 8 oz can (that looks like you'd keep a grasshopper in) can be simply put inside the box to absorb moisture and indicates when it is full by changing from crystal colored to pink. These same cans can then be reused by baking them for 3-4 hours in an oven at about 350 F. Each canister can cost around $9-$10 from one supplier called GAYLORDMART. 1 canister per short box and 2 per long box should be sufficient. Another consideration is the little packets typically found in a box of shoes. These are even more inexpensive, but would require further research to insure no harm would come to each comic book.
So as you build your valuable comic book collection, you will want to put some serious consideration into the comic book supplies that you will need. Materials and supplier source will become important variables in your overall decisions. I will have more interesting topics and sources from time to time so you may even want to bookmark this site.
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