Comic books are illustrated stories, sometimes in a light, cartoony style and sometimes in a darker, more novel-derived style. Comic books have developed quite a collector culture around them, and as a result, many comic books — especially very old ones, or those from limited print runs — can be a strong investment, returning many times over their original value through the course of their lives. Some old and rare comic books can be worth amazing amounts of money — the first comic book in the Action Comics series, for example, which featured the first appearance of Superman, is worth over half a million US dollars (USD).
Given that comic books can be worth such considerable amounts of money, and that a great deal of their worth is based on the condition in which they are kept, it is important to store comic books in such a way that minimal wear and tear occurs. Even for people who aren’t actively pursuing comic books as an investment, but simply as reading matter, it may still be worth learning to store comic books properly, as doing so can help them last longer and remain readable for a greater period of time.
Comic books are usually made of a very flimsy paper, which means that they can easily bend and flex. A large part of setting out to store comic books properly is getting appropriate braces to ensure the least amount of flexing and warping over time. Comic boards are semi-rigid materials that are placed behind the comic book to ensure that the book stays strong. When you store comic books, make sure every book has a board behind it. Also, switch out the boards every few years to minimize the risk of the board’s acidity leeching color from the books.
In addition to a board, it is a good idea to use a container of some sort to individually store comic books. For most comic books, a simple plastic sleeve will do well, and many companies offer sleeves that are specifically made for their comic boards to ensure a snug fit. You may wish to store comic books that are very valuable or rare in a hard plastic case, which offers more protection to your comic books than the less durable plastic sleeves.
A large container in which to store comic books is also a useful addition to your collection. These boxes are specially built for comic books, and usually come in either long or short sizes, depending on your needs. Since some older comic books — those from the Silver and Golden ages, for example — are larger than modern comic books, many companies make specially sized boxes for comics from these eras.
Once you have all the supplies you need to store comic books, you are ready to put them in their sleeves, on their boards, or in their boxes and put them away. It is a good idea to put your boxes on a table or shelf raised off the ground somewhat, to minimize the chances of moisture or mold reaching them. It is also a good idea to check on the books fairly frequently, to make sure that the storage environment is not having an adverse effect on their condition. Of course, to keep your comic books in the best possible condition, you should never remove them from their sleeves, and if you do, you should wear gloves of some sort while reading them to protect them from the oils on your hands.