Well technically it was done a couple weeks ago, but finally got all the boxes of comics back into the room of life on hold. It was a mammoth task that did take a few weeks as I had to sort, catalog, re-bag the ones I could re-bag, and then place them all in proper comic book storage boxes. Some still need new bags though and soon, but right now as I am still on the hunt for a new job, I cannot afford a whole bunch of storage bags. I’m sure if I went nonstop every day I could have knocked this project of mine out within a week but, as much as I love my collections, it’s a tedious process that would have been much easier if I had started doing it from day 1 of my collecting, which I sort of started off and on but then with all the moving, trying to keep track of it all fell by the wayside as did my actual collecting eventually though the latter was due to me getting laid off the first time and had no funds for it.
Surprised the bags lasted as long as they have though since it is suggested that bags be changed every 5 to 10 years depending on the quality of the bag. Some have been in their bags for 20+ years. No, comic book and card collecting is not a very environmentally friendly hobby as archival bags, boards, and sheets must be changed out every so many years. The reason for this is that papers contain acids and other reactive elements, hence the reason paper gets yellow and brown with age when left unprotected. Specially made acid free archival pages, sleeves, boards, etc. are needed to preserve the papers being collected. Depending on the quality of these archival materials, they can last a few years and sometimes up to a decade before they start to react with the materials they are meant to protect and if left for too long they can begin to fail in protecting the items inside. Case in point, a couple of my comics started to get a bit of yellowing even though they were in bags. The majority of mine are still in near mint to very fine grades making them still potentially valuable if I decided to sell them, but a couple here and there have shown signs of some yellowing and maybe a bit of reacting to the storage bags and the fact that I haven’t been in a house with proper climate control for 12 years. They would still be desirable to collectors, but nothing near the price they would fetch if their pages were still crisp and white. Climate control is also very important when collecting and that is why I was worried and had to get into them and inspect them. My prized Uncanny X-Men #266 I got for a steal on Ebay suffered ever so slightly but still looks good:
Wolverine #1 however still pretty much near-mint:
All in all though I was surprised that most of them are in great shape. I think what helped a bit though was the fact that the majority of my comics are from the 1990s on up when they started using a better quality paper. Got them all into comic storage boxes. Had ended up with 9 boxes in total:
Those boxes then went into 3 big storage tubs able to hold 3 of the comic boxes. You never realize how much you accumulate until you go through your collection after so many years. Each and every comic book is individually listed as well except for a batch of books that were given to me back when I first started collecting. A long time neighbor had comic books and offered them to me. They had been in a cardboard box in his attic for ages and were already aged and well worn so there was no need to protect them as damage had already been done. It was sad really. I took them anyways and kept them.
I do miss regularly collecting comics, though I originally didn’t plan on collecting at all. It all started back in high school. The class I was in at the time was going by a bit slow. I think we had a substitute that day which usually meant no learning was going on. One of the few kids in class that would have anything to do with me (I could count on 2 hands the amount of actual friends I had) was reading a comic book. This boy was a major science fiction and fantasy geek and always reading. Anyways, I asked him about what he was reading and he began to share with me his love of the X-Men. I was intrigued and so after school I walked to the corner shop where I usually bought my munchies and picked up the latest issue of Uncanny X-Men and got hooked.
After that I became a fan too and made it a point to buy each and every X-book that came out monthly. Not having a lot of money, I had to stick with one family of books so didn’t collect any other titles unless they had crossover events or they were special one-offs. I had fallen down the rabbit hole of comic collecting though, which also led to card collecting as well. Unfortunately around the late 1990s, the uninterrupted streak of issues got a bit disrupted due to frequent moving but I still managed to keep up somewhat with the exploits of my chosen heroes. That is of course until around 2004 when the television station I was working for decided to lay me off as part of their annual round of layoffs they like to do ever since they bought the company I originally worked for. Gotta love corporate takeovers and restructurings. So naturally I could not be spending money willy nilly on comic books and other non-essentials. So many good story lines missed. When I was re-hired a couple years later, I did not continue with my collecting since for me, the chain was a bit broken with the line I once read. Some heroes died or moved on, new ones introduced. It’s like coming into a soap opera after missing a couple years. And of course I was laid off yet again so still cannot bother with collecting with the frequency I once did, but I do try to get trade paperbacks and graphic novels that pique my interest when I can.
Comic books are works of art that I hope they continue to print. I know many magazines of other sorts have been joining the digital world and leaving traditional print behind and comic books can be read online these days as well, but there is just nothing quite like holding literature and art in your hands to enjoy even when you’re not connected to some digital device. Yeah some are better than others, but you know the old saying about junk and treasure. Long live comic books, a most underappreciated art form.