Collecting and Caring for Comics

Comic books are a big part of popular culture as it combines art and writing. A comic book, also known as a comic strip or comic, is defined as a booklet of words and pictures that are integrated into a printed format. It is both a unique art form and a literary standard that originated in the United States in the late 1800s. The most basic definition is that a comic is a series of words and pictures presented in a sequence and forms a narrative. In comic books, the author uses everyday language placed in dialogue boxes and with a series of pictures portrays a thought quickly and directly. Unlike novels or short stories, the comic books' pictures control the reader's interpretation of the words and they are forced to see the writer's point of view. Comic books allow the reader to examine the minds of the characters through dialogue balloons thus inviting the reader into the make believe world of the writer. These visual sequences of art are mass-produced inexpensively.

Being an immensely influential part of popular culture, comic books are very good collectible items. Collecting comic books is a fun hobby and, if done right, can be very lucrative. The majority of comic book titles center on superhero characters but there are also comic books on comedy, drama, horror, fantasy, science fiction, mystery, for adults, for children, in foreign languages and adaptations. So as you can see, there is a wide variety to choose from, which can result in a huge comic book collection. All well kept comic books will either maintain or grow in value over time. The trick is to choose titles with the highest growth potential.

The very first step in collecting comic books is to buy them. The first step in purchasing a good comic book is to choose a good local comic or specialty store. Most stores have a saver programs or subscriptions that allow you to have the comics of your preferred title set aside for you. Most of the titles are either under Marvel Comics, DC Comics or Image Comics. The minority are under independent titles. Browse the store of choice and look for comic books with solid story lines and excellent illustrations. It will be to your advantage if you can get the earliest release of the issue. Also, because this is primarily a hobby, buy those that interest you and maybe these will increase in value.

For a collector's item to increase in value over the years, it should be in crisp condition. This is true of all collections, but comics call for special treatment. To keep them in mint condition, they must be carefully flipped through while reading. Please refrain from dog-earing and folding the pages. Afterwards place in a Mylar Sleeve. This is like a clear envelope with a pressed-board backing. This sleeve prevents moisture from damping the comic and the board ensures that the comic isn't folded or crumpled. Slide the comic into the sleeve against the treated side (the white side) and the comic cover facing front. If you plan on storing the comic books for more than five years, make sure to use premium quality acid-free backing board and paper. After this, the comics should be stored in a long or short comic box with the comics standing up. Make sure the box has the right fit and it is always helpful to include a list of the comic books stored inside the box in an organized manner according to title, date of release and issue number, to avoid unnecessary skimming and flipping through the comics. These supplies are common in specialty shops because they are really a necessity in comic storage.

Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Comic Books.
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