If you’ve amassed a collection of comic books, whether it’s just a few dozen Amazing Spider-man comics or thousands of Marvel & DC comics over the years, you’ll want to implement a long-term storage system that helps you protect and organize your collection. The goal is to preserve the comic books and keep them “comic book store fresh” so you can enjoy them for years to come and to ensure they retain their value, regardless whether you ever intend to sell them.
The great thing about storing and organizing comic books is that you’re dealing with an item that is fairly consistent in size and that doesn’t feature odd angles or curves. You are essentially storing sheets of paper. There are some variances in size depending on the generation of your comics. For instance, comics from about the 1980s to modern day are 6 and 7/8” X 10 1/2”. The Silver Age comics from the 1950s to the 1980s are 7 1/8” X 10 ½”. And the Gold Age comic books prior to the 1950s are 7 ¾” X 10 1/2”.
Despite how simple it is to create an organized system for your comics based on their consistency, you still need to put some thought into your system. Comic books, like all paper, have natural enemies like water and sun damage, so the system you choose first and foremost need to protect from those elements.
Before you invest in a system of Comic Book Protection Boxes, make sure each of your comics is bagged and have backing board. Bags or sleeves protect comics from water and exposure to other things, so each should be encased in a polyethylene, mylar, or polypropylene sleeve/bag. Bags are available to suit all of these sizes, from modern day to Silver and Golden Age comics.
Before bagging your comics, you’ll want to protect them with backing board. Comic book boards prevent comics from creasing. You’ll want to invest in acid-free boards to prevent long-term damage to the paper. If your comic came with a board, be sure to ask if it’s acid-free—never assume your comic is safe unless you took the appropriate measures to make it that way. There are temporary solutions to keeping comics flat, but these can damage the comics over the years, so if you intend to store your comics you’ll want to prevent this damage.
Comic Book Protection Boxes
Once your comics are boarded and bagged, it’s time to find boxes for storing them together. Most collectors use storage boxes in one of two sizes available: Long or short. The boxes are designed so the comics can stand upright. It’s also possible to purchase soft plastic boxes (most comic book boxes are made from cardboard). The plastic boxes cost more, but they add an extra layer of protection for comic collections at risk for getting wet.
It’s important to not stack your comics when storing them. You want them to stand horizontally to avoid pressure from boxes stacked on top of one another. Think of how you would load files into a filing cabinet—that’s how you want to store comics.
It’s also important not to keep your boxes on the floor of a basement or garage where they are at risk for getting wet. You’re also giving rodents access to the boxes. Instead, place the boxes on milk crates or pallets to keep them a safe distance off the floor. It would be a good idea to store comics in a climate-controlled environment. However, not everyone has the space or funds for climate-control, but you’re protecting what could be one of your greatest assets, so it’s important to consider all of the risks.
In general, be smart about your comic book collection. Don’t leave it outside, don’t put it anywhere that could be a fire hazard, and, of course, don’t neglect to protect your comics. Being careless with your collection guarantees its value will plummet.
What are some of the best storage boxes available?
Plastic Comic Book Boxes
These are a great option for a smaller collection or for the books in your collection that are extra special. If you can’t afford to keep your entire collection in plastic at least store your most valuable books in plastic boxes.
One of the best plastic boxes available is the BCW Archival Book Storage
BCW Short Comic Storage Boxes are the highest quality and most competitively priced plastic comic book storage box available today. Constructed of black corrugated plastic, they have a 250 lb test strength. These boxes feature:
- Double thickness handles
- Double thickness bottom
- Acid-free materials
- Anti-static materials
- Corrugated plastic construction
These boxes are able to hold more than 150 comic books and are stackable. Their dimensions are 7 ½” X 10 ¾” X 15 ¾”.
If you’re looking for short boxes that are considered by many easier to move, a great option is the Max Pro Short Cardboard Comic Book Storage Box
These boxes hold holds 150-175 comics and are made from high-quality white corrugated cardboard that has undergone a 200 lb strength test. They feature double thickness handles and bottom and are stackable. Dimensions are 15 ¾” X 7 ½” X 10 ¾” and the boxes are blank with no logos.
Long boxes are great for storing more comics in a single box. The BCW Long Cardboard Comic Book Custom Storage Box holds up to 300 comic books and are constructed of white corrugated cardboard with a test strength of up to 200 lb. The dimensions of the box are 28 ½” X 8 ¼” X 11 ½”.
CGC & CBCS Storage Proection Boxes
Another option for comic book storage is the CGC Graded Comic Book Slab Box These boxes are 15” X 8 ½” X 13” and hold between 28 and 30 CGC or CBCS Graded Comic Book Slabs (sold separately). Slabs used by the Comic Book grading companies offer an added layer of protection for your most valuable comics.
Most boxes are shipped flat and require some assembly. Beware of assembly instructions that encourage you to glue or tape your boxes because these products might not be acid-free and could damage your collection. Most of the higher quality boxes can be assembled without any additional materials.