My Back Pages, by Thomas Aylesworth
I’m taking a break from reviewing back issues to review the best new comic collecting supply since the invention of Mylar. I recently purchased a set of DrawerBoxes from the Collection Drawer Company and I couldn’t be happier.
I first ran across these in comic book ads last year and was intrigued by the idea. Even with a modest collection of around 2,500 comics, it’s a real pain to move boxes around in order to find a particular issue. And refiling a set of comics I’ve taken out to read over a month or so can be a project for an entire Sunday afternoon. In fact, until I got the DrawerBoxes, I still hadn’t put back my runs of DC Explosion era Superman, Action Comics, and Superman Family that I had pulled out for my articles last November.
However, I’m not easily swayed by glossy ads in comic books, and I wasn’t convinced I wanted to spend money buying more comic boxes. I wondered whether they are really strong enough to safely stack as shown in the ads? Is the convenience worth the cost? Do they hold enough comics to hold my collection without having even more boxes than I currently have? Can I easily get to the comics in the back of the box?
Having recently purchased another 50 comics on eBay, plus seeing new issues start to pile up in addition to the 50+ books I had pulled out for my My Back Pages reviews, I decided I needed to take a serious look at answering those questions. After finding glowing reviews on a couple of other comic book websites, I decided to take the plunge and order a set of 5 long DrawerBoxes — which is the minimum order due to the relatively high cost of shipping. (The boxes are heavier than normal long boxes because they are so well reinforced to allow stacking.)
So what were the answers to my questions? First, yes, they are absolutely strong enough to safely stack them up to six high. I don’t have to go that high, luckily, since I don’t have that many boxes. And, frankly, I think above four is pushing it if you don’t want to have to stand on a stool to reach the books in the top box. One minor drawback listed in some of the earlier reviews is that you needed to stabilize the top box if you didn’t want it to tip forward when the drawer is extended. That problem has now been fixed thanks to the optional BoxLox anchors the Collection Drawer Company now sells. I definitely recommend going ahead and getting these.
As for the convenience being worth the cost, well, clearly the answer to this is based on how many comics you have. But I think if you have more than 1,000 books in your collection, meaning you probably have 4 or 5 long boxes, it is definitely worth it. Yes, the DrawerBoxes are more expensive than typical long boxes. But it’s a one time cost. The convenience and time you save in organizing your comics more than make up for the cost of the boxes.
As for how many comics they hold, that depends a lot on the comics you have and how tight you want to pack your boxes. The Collection Drawer Company’s website claims each long box holds 235 comics. First of all, my collection consists of primarily silver and bronze age DCs, which means about 10% or more of my books are oversized “80-Page Giants” and 64-page “Dollar Comics”. Also, even with my old long boxes, I don’t like to pack the boxes too tight because I like to be able to easily flip through them when looking for an issue or refiling one I’m done with. And, of course, I am still buying so I want to leave room to easily add more books without having to do a major reshuffle. After a bit of experimentation, I found the perfect amount for me is 200 bagged and boarded comics per box. That makes all of the comics easily accessible without having to fully remove the drawer and leaves a little room for adding new issues throughout the year. In the end, I was able to consolidate 8 of my old long boxes into 10 long DrawerBoxes. While that means I do have more boxes, the fact that these boxes are slightly shorter means I can store them in my bedroom with room to fully extend the drawers. My old long boxes were stored in a walk-in closet.
Finally, can I easily reach the comics in the back of the box? Well, like I said, by storing only 200 comics per box, I could easily reach and remove the comics in the back. If you store more than that, you’ll probably have to fully remove the drawer to reach all of the comics. Of course, it’s easy enough to fully remove the drawer so this isn’t a huge drawback. You just need to keep it in mind when you are deciding how full you want each box and where you want to place them so you can easily remove the drawer if you need to.
A couple other quick comments. First, the boxes are shipped unassembled but are very easy to put together. I used the instructions to put together the first but was able to assemble the remaining boxes without instructions. Second, a wonderful part of the design is that the drawers have a built-in stop to keep them from being accidentally removed which could cause the drawer and contents to spill all over the floor. A good tug will let you fully remove a drawer when you need to but it’s great to have this built-in safety feature. Third, the boxes ship with four dividers per box that are very convenient for organizing the comics in each box. Basically, these guys thought of everything that a comic collector needs in a box.
Last, but by no means least, the customer service at The Collection Drawer Company is outstanding. Unfortunately, my first order was missing one of the drawers. It had 5 shells and 5 reinforcement sleeves but only 4 drawers. I noticed this on a Sunday morning as I was starting to assemble them. I called the phone number listed on the instructions and left a message stating the problem, hoping to hear back from them within the next couple of days. I got a call back just a few hours later. On a Sunday! Rich apologized profusely, made sure he understood exactly what was missing, and shipped out a replacement drawer the next day. In addition to the replacement drawer, he threw in some extra complete DrawerBoxes free of charge to make it up to me. Perhaps I’m too easy when it comes to this kind of thing, but I would have been completely happy with just the missing drawer being sent so promptly. Yes, it’s unfortunate that I had a problem in the first place. But this kind of customer service more than makes up for that problem.
I highly recommend DrawerBoxes to anyone who has more than 1,000 comics. I think once you use them, you’ll never go back to comic boxes with lids. I know I never will. You can order them online from The Collection Drawer Company.