This may not be the topic you think of when you consider getting into the hobby of comic book collecting, but trust me, it’s an important one. Any long time reader will attest to that. You probably never thought about comics taking up that much room. Well, let me tell you, if you plan on taking care of them properly, they definitely take up their fair share of space.
So, I figured I’d share some of the things I’ve learned throughout my years of collecting comics that might help you with your growing collection. No, most of this stuff I’m going to talk about isn’t really groundbreaking—especially to readers who’ve been around for awhile. But I like to think this could help out some newcomers. Anyway, let’s make like Deadpool and jump right into things.
1. Invest In Comic Book Boxes
As I was just talking about the amount of space you’ll need for a decent sized collection, let’s do the math real quick. If you bag and board your comics to keep them nice, you’ll need to put them in boxes for easy and more cost efficient storage. The short boxes hold roughly a 150-200 comics and the long boxes double that.
If you buy at least 10 books a week, that’s going to be 40 a month—and that’s not even counting if you’re trying to get back issues to fill up runs or anything like that. So, just with a low 40 comics a month habit, you’ll start filling up more of those boxes then you ever thought possible.
2. Dump Unwanted Books And Invest In Better Storage Equipment
My top suggestion for maintaining a good collection is something I’m currently working on; go through your collection and figure out what you actually want, and get rid of the rest. Do you really need a 50 issue run of a series you didn’t like that much? Doubtful. Instead of keeping books that aren’t worth anything and that you’ll never read again, trade them in. You might not get too much for them, but the money you do get can go towards something better. No point in hoarding junk.
I’ve been trying to keep my collection to runs of the characters I really like, such as The Flash, Green Lantern, and Spider Man. Another thing you can do if you don’t mind spending a little more is to buy drawer boxes. These boxes are made of sturdier cardboard and pull out like a file cabinet. You can also stack these higher to save space and won’t need to worry about moving them to get to the comics. Or you could just buy a filing cabinet big enough for comics. But those can get expensive.
3. Invest In Trade Paper Backs
Another solution for keeping your collection at a reasonable volume is to avoid buying comics all together. No, I’m not saying give up on comics! I’m saying that instead of buying huge runs of individual issues, you could wait a little longer and buy the series in trade paper backs.
Trades (or TPB) collect multiple issues of a series in convenient single books. These books are thicker and more stable than comics, cheaper versus buying individual issues, and usually come with extra art and introductions from the creators. Best of all, they look much nicer as they fit neatly on a bookshelf. No comic boxes needed!
4. Bag And Board Your Comics For Protection
Of course, many of you prefer to collect individual issues, and that’s fine. But before you get around to storing those comics in boxes, they need to be bagged and boarded. This can be a very time consuming activity. Most sets of bags and boards have a hundred of each. You must put each board in their bag, then the comic inside of the boarded bag. It can be very tedious and boring if you’re bagging a lot of comics at once.
I normally don’t have too much trouble with this because I’ll just turn on a TV show and watch that as I’m doing it. for me, the real pain is after you’ve gotten everything bagged and boarded you need to tape the back flap of the bag down. For some reason I find this to be the most time-consuming and annoying part.
5. Prioritize Your Reading List
Now, once you have all that taken care of, it’s time to actually try to organize your books. You could either go with alphabetically, like you’ll find in most comic shops, or what I do is just have the books broken up into specific characters (Flash series, Hulk series, etc…). I’ll also tuck old boxes under new ones. For instance, let’s say if I have a run of a series and it’s completely over and I’m not doing anything else with it, I’ll put that in the back or have another box of something that’s still collecting comics sit on top of it. This way I won’t always have to dig out a box to put some of my new stuff in. Depending on how you have your setup, this can be a little bit more time consuming. On the bright side, you can get a decent workout moving some full long boxes around.
A lot of this article has to deal with having a separate room to put all your stuff in. I have heard stories about how people will keep their boxes stowed away in the closet or something like that so they’re not out in the open. This is more frequent when the person has a significant other or children who might not be into the comics or could ruin them (as is the case with toddlers running amok).
6. Rent Storage Space
The last thing I might suggest is if you can find a good climate control storage unit near you that’s not too expensive, you could try that out as well. It’s not ideal to have your comics in a separate building, but depending on living situations in might be safer.
Hopefully this article answers any questions you had about organizing your comic books. These are some of the things that I have learned in all my years of collecting comics. If there’s a tip or some other suggestion on this topic I didn’t cover, please let us know in the comments. I’m always looking for a way to make things easier before my collection gets too out of control.
If you found this helpful, let us know. Then check out these other great comic book articles.