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How to set up a file cabinet to store comics

During the 1980s and 90s, the average age of comic book owners transitioned from the early teenage years to the late twenties. This has not only changed comic book content, but has influenced readers' attitudes toward the publications. Many readers no longer pile up comics in a corner because they feel they have outgrown them. Instead, they become collectors in need of preservation methods and storage solutions for their collections.

Protect each comic with a clear plastic sleeve. Some collectors advocate the use of uncoated polyester film (known as Mylar) which is devoid of ingredients that will degrade the paper. Comics printed before the 1990s' on newsprint become discoloured and degrade quickly because of acidity in the paper. The sleeve also protects it from dirt and tearing.

Insert a piece of cardboard behind the comic to keep it flat. Ensure the treated (white) side is facing the cardboard.

Choose whether to store the comics upright or lying flat. Some collectors recommend placing comics upright; however, if the drawer is loosely packed, the comics may curl over time.

Choose the size of the filing cabinet based on the number of comics that you have. A six-drawer legal size cabinet can hold approximately 150 comics.

Choose a filing cabinet that makes the best use of the storage space. Many collectors chose legal size file cabinets. Some comic book stores use three-foot-wide lateral 2 or 4 drawer models. Extra deep drawers are more sturdy but are also more expensive.

Use a sturdy, heavy-duty file cabinet. Comics are heavy, especially if they have glossy paper.

Put the filing cabinet in a dark place and away from humidity and light. Sunlight bleaches paper over time.

Choose the features of your filing cabinet that will best suit your needs. Consider getting a fireproof cabinet if your comics are valuable.

Tip

Check with a comic book store or other collectors to find out what filing cabinets are suitable for your collection and where they are available in your area.

Warning

Comics are fragile and should be handled with care. The material is flammable and should not be near any source of fire. Polythene and polypropylene are popular choices as sleeves for comics, but they contain additives and solvents that degrade over time. If a filing cabinet drawer is flimsy, it may constantly derail, eventually causing the runners to bend. This will make it difficult to get the drawer back on the runners.

Things You'll Need

  • Comics
  • Filing cabinet
  • Polyester film
  • Cardboard
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About the Author

Carola Finch began freelancing for newspapers and magazines in 1976. She specializes in writing about people with disabilities, business, Christianity and social issues. Finch studied journalism and communications at Red River Community College.