John Cohen: Hi! This is John Cohen, I am from Beyond Comics in Maryland and I am here to talk to you about how to start a comic book collection. One of the most important things for any future value on your comic books is your condition of your comic books. There are many factors that will play into how your comics can get damaged over time.
If you look closely, at many of the comics that are older, they start to yellow. You can see stains on some of the comics that come through from getting water damage, brittleness from being in too excessive heat, yellowing based on acidic content in the paper or in the area around it, the yellowing on the pages that are result of that as well. You see mildew often appear on comics because it has been stored in the wrong areas and there tends to be slight discoloration but not even. Other things are wrinkles and tears in comics often lower the value dramatically. Missing pieces, chipping, tears, creases, all these are negative effects to the value of the comic book.
So what I want to do next is show you how to protect your comics after you have purchased them. The best way to do it is use bags. Depending upon the comic you buy, there are several different sizes. The main noted sizes of comic, or what we call modern or current, silver age and golden age. Depending upon the time frame of the comic book, you should make your determination of what size bag you want to use. There are several different kinds of bags to choose from. These are polypropylene. There are similar to polyethylene but are clearer and tend to have a nicer feel to the comic and create a glossy cover. Those are the ones we recommend. The other type of way to store comics is in Mylar. These are a lot more expensive but they are better over the long term and are considered to be inert when it comes to acid content and they are archival. Being that they are more expensive and most modern comics don't hold a high value for a long time, people tend to use the more affordable bags.
After you have decided what bag you think will fit your comic the best, it's recommended to use a backing board. Most backing boards are acid free. Some are not. You want to check the acid content and acid free comic board is much better than one that's not. As we mentioned before, the acid content in a comic affects the yellowing of the pages and therefore the acid content in a board can also cause yellowing in the back of your comic book.
The next thing you need to do is put the comic book into the bag. There are safe ways to put comics into bags and ways that are little more haphazard. I recommend putting the board and comic together with a slight edge out for the board, so it slides into the bag first and then everything follows through. You just safely put your comic book into a bag. It's now safe for most of your handling problems.
Once you have put the comic book into the bag, just make sure the flaps are going to fold this way and it doesn't drop out so that you got it going the correct way.
Most collectors like to put extremely valuable comics in the Mylar because of the fact that they are archival and they are inert. Same thing is done with the comic, you put it on the board and you make sure its held flat and that the board comes out a little bit below, Mylar can actually sear off a cover. So be very careful when you are putting the comic book into Mylar. You flip back the top; take the comic and very carefully lifting up on the top, and pushing down on the bottom making sure nothing gets folded or creased, slide it in so it doesn't hit that edge. I usually don't recommend you put comics less than $15-$20 value into a Mylar bag. That's how it is done and it looks really good in Mylar.
Now that I have shown you how to put your comics into the bags, I want to show you how to keep them safely closed.