05th Jul2019

eBuying Comics: Week 22

by Ian Wells


This week I want to talk buying comic supplies and storage online…

Do you know your Mylar bags from your top loaders? Are you using the right backing boards? Do you know the difference between a long box and a short box?

Actually that last one is rather easy. There are as any different brands of bags and boards out there as there are comic books! Personally myself I have never brought any comic supplies from eBay. Bags and boards are something I just tend to pick up at cons or on a visit to a comic shop when I am running low. I am fortunate that all my monthly comics from my LCS come bagged and boarded so rarely do I run low. When I fisrt started collecting comics I didn’t know there were bags and boards in different sizes for different eras. So of course I ended up with the wrong sized boards for the wrong sized bags and had to spend a Saturday cutting my boards to fit the bags!

Short & Long Boxes

These are the quintessential way to store your comic books. If you have ever been to a comic shop or a convention you have seen lines of these things. They are standard boring white coloured cardboard boxes. The card is strong enough for its purpose but not very appealing. They do make your room look like a comic shop, which depending on your marital status is a good or bad thing! The ones you see at comic cons look like they have seen better days. The constant pulling in and out of vans and stacking them up certainly takes it toll. But at the end of the day a short or long box is a good starting point for any comic collector. The first boxes I ever purchased were from Incognito Comics, a shop I had become familair with from attending conventions. They only sell one size and they call it a compact box. It holds 2 ‘American sized’ comics but doesn’t state if that is bagged abd boarded comics. I can’t count mine because I have since changed my storgae method (more on that coming up). At Incognito Comics they sell a bundle of five boxes for £14.17. That is one thing that goes against these types of boxes. They are often sold in bundles and if you are just starting out and want one short box or one long box the value isn’t on offer. The first result for one short box on eBay is £10.99 and one long box is £12.99. I surprised it has taken so long but over the last three years Marvel and DC, as well as some of the indies now offer long boxes plastered with their famous characters. While they do look fantastic they are an added expense to the most basic way of storing your comics. You may be fortunate enough to have a local comic shop that produce their own custom made box either depicting certain characters or with a generic comic book theme. In the standard cardboard box format you can also get larger boxes for comics like Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu which is closer to a magazine in size and boxes for slabbed comics. Once you have you boxes the related comic storage supplies don’t stop there. You can get ‘housing’ units for short/long boxes which make them more easy to stack and prevent some of the damage when stacking. They allow the box to act like big draw and slide easily in and out of the housing unit. This is something that requires  a lot of space. I found when I brought my boxes despite being called compact they weren’t really compatible with any of the furniture I had from Ikea. Then there are comic box divivders. To me these are far from essential but they will give your boxes a professional feel to them, especially with the variety of them on offer. Plain ones, colour coded ones, ones with checklists. To me though they do seem over priced. It is very simple though arguably not as professional to make your own. I have toyed with the idea of making my own dividers for years. I like the checklist idea because I am slightly obessed with lists. I’d like it to be a quick glance reference to what is in the box, with information like creative teams. Alternatively it could just be a collage of all the covers that come after that divider till the next one.

  • 1 Short Box = 150 comics bagged and boarded
  • 1 Standard Box = 200 comics bagged and boarded
  • 1 Long Box = 300 comics bagged and boarded
  • 1 Magazine Storage Box = 100 Magazines bagged and boarded

Short/Long Box Alternatives

If the standard short or long box isn’t for you, maybe you want something more aesthetically pleasing or something that lends itself better to the decor of your home then there are plenty of alternatives out there. Of course you have to step out the eBay bubble to find them and pay a bit extra. I once attended a local convention which was next door to a newly opened Ikea, so surprisingly they had a stall at the con. They weren’t selling there directly but they had a few choice products along with them that they thought would be suitbale to comic collecting as well as catalogues. They had frames and boxes they were now caling comic frames and comic boxes. I stupidly thought they had a new range in to make money off the new geek craze, but when I looked online none of the products had the word comic infront of them. So I would advise if you to a regualr furniture store or DIY store looking for storage solutions take a measuring tape and a couple of comics. Bagged and boarded ones and a few different ones if your back issues are in a mixutre of sizes like mine. Last year I found some suitable boxes in Homebase. The brand i went with was ‘Really Useful Box’ and the name is a pretty honest assessment. The are solid plastic boxes, with clip on lids. They are very sturdy and well amde. What I found good about them compared to other generic storage boxes is that they don’t taper inwards from top to bottom. I brought two different sizes as I had to fit them Tetris style under a bed. I would highly reccomend the 64 litre and the 42 litre. Because of the sturdiness of the these boxes you can fill them to suit your own strengths essentially. In my 64L box I have 332 comics. That is every Wolverine comic from his first mini series up till his deat in his fifth volume. In the 42L box I would say you can get 200 comics. I can’t give an exact number because I have three of them on the go, nither are full as I keep rotating stuff around. I find them OK to lift at the moment and the 42L ones stack well if needed. They slid easily on a wooden floor and I never feel the handle will give way. These boxes are available on eBay but I reccomend shopping around as prices vary from seller to seller. I got mine in Homebase but have also seen them in Hobby Craft as well. They do a range of sizes and different lid designs so it would be better to see them in the flesh to see how they could fit your needs. The dream if you really want to treat yourself is to find a carpenter and go wild design your own storage system!

Bags & Boards

Again there are plenty of options when it comes to bags and boards and again stepping outside of eBay may lead to better deals. Like I said I tend to pick them up when I’m running low at cons if I can be bothered to carry them or if I’m making a specific shop to comic shop. Comic Care is probably the most recognised manufactuer of bags and boards. They are readily available in comic shops and at conventions in the UK.

  • Golden Age Boards (7 1/2″ x 10 1/2″) – Green Packet
  • Silver Age Boards (7″ x 10 1/2″) – Black Packet
  • Bronze/Current Age Boards (6 3/4″ x 10 1/2″) – Blue Packet

The corresponding bags are then in the same coloured packaging to avoid any confusion like I had early in my collecting days. These bags and boards are available in packs of 100. Comic bags are commonly made from polypropylene. There is a comic shop based in Croydon called A Place In Space who run a well stocked eBay shop. All of the Comic Care products can be purchased there. 100 Silver or Current Age bags are £5.49 and 100 Silver or Current Age boards are £8.95. They do offer the economical option of buying 100 bags and 100 boards either Silver or Current Age for £13.99, a 45p saving than if you brought them seperate. The Golden Age bags are more expensive coming in at £6.99 for 100. They do only sell boards in packs of fifty though (£8.95) and do not offer a option of buying both together. I am currently looking into getting something more sturdy for my older Daredevil issues and would also like to get my complete run of Wolverine comics into uniform bags and boards. Although it is fun to look back through them at the original price stickers and where I brought them. A company called BCW produce what they call a top loader. It is a more rigid product and fits a comic in a bag and board. Be aware though BCW produce a Mylar comic bag which is more popular and regarded as stronger than a polypropelene bag. So if you have Mylar bags and want to put them in the top loaders you need to put Current Age comics in a Silver Age top loader and a Silver Age comic in a Golden Age top loader. I have a few bags which came with some older Daredevil issues I brought at a convention. I can never seem to find them online so am going to have to do some digging as they are somewhere between a regualr bag and a rigid top loader. The best innovation in the field of comic boards has been the clear board. Now most comics only have adverts on the back so they would only really be for wrap around covers or series like Classic X-Men which have a pin up on the back cover. Slab Pro is the first company I heard making clear boards They also specialize in accessories for slabbed comics, like frames and clear bags. On eBay I found some from a company called Comic Pro Line. Though clear boards seem not have caught on in the UK. You can purchase five clear boards for £7.85 but have to add on over £20 of P+P. The clear boards tend to come in smaller batches as opposed to the one hundred packs. So think about how many you need and if you really need them before splashing the cash.

Not exactly eBay centric this week but I hope it was of some help.


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