The Collector is an Elder of the Universe from the Silver Age of Marvel Comics. He first appeared in Avengers #28 and has been plaguing the superheroes of Earth ever since. His driving ambition is to collect one of everything. Yes, this guy obviously does not collect comics; after all, every comic book fan or collector knows you buy two copies of everything. Expect to see more of this character as he has already appeared in three Marvel movies: Thor The Dark World, Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Infinity War. The Collector has been on the side of good and the side of evil. He was quite possibly Marvel’s go-to character that can fit any situation for a writer’s story. The Collector has had a benign influence on the Marvel Universe and is a great way to throw together an adventure during a situation of possible writer’s block.
All collectors store their comics for safekeeping. The Collector stores his menagerie on board his vast alien spaceship. The cells his collected subjects inhabit are similar to stasis devices as they keep ancient beings alive as long as they stay inside the box. Instead of “thinking outside the box” these creatures better stay in the box. The chambers or boxes aboard his ship sustain the items or beings he collects, he preserves them. What tips can we use to preserve our collections? I have coraled together several collectors tips for the intermediate level investor to consider.
Collecting has been around a long time, back in ancient times only royalty really had such largess to be able to purchase things for the sake of ownership and not utility. Fast forward 1000’s of years and folks are collecting everything from artwork to Zippo lighters. Each item must be maintained, cataloged and cared for in a different way. This is true for comics especially. A comic book or Ephemera as they are technically called is printed on very low-grade newsprint. This newsprint can dry out, become brittle even acidic. Therefore, it is of supreme importance that if you are going to collect comics you know a few preservation tips.
The Collector’s Tips:
Lighting- Light is truly destructive as it triggers chemical changes in the paper. Comics are meant to be read and stored away from light. Yes, there are protective covers that will reduce sun damage. But you simply don’t want the books in the light, even indirectly. Store them in the standard comic boxes (Hint: use short boxes). The picture on the left shows Amazing Spider-Man #129 that has been faded from indirect sunlight. This example clearly shows the damage indirect light can do.
Bags and Boards- Most LCS’s sell polypropylene bags with boards (make sure they are acid-free) that will do the trick. Ask for help as different ages of comics come in different sizes.
Don’t Bind- Do not paper clip, clasp, or rubber band a comic, never! Also, do not put them in binders, the very first collection I ever purchased was all 4.5 to 6.5 mainly due to spine roll. I got it for a steal of a price because of that damage.
Humidity- The humidity in the room for any comic book should be between 30% to 40%. You can purchase an electronic battery-powered humidity clock or even non-powered ones; they are called hygrometers. I use both throughout the storage facility for my books. “Store comic books in a clean storage area where temperature and relative humidity (RH) are moderate and stable: 68°F or less, and between 30 and 40% RH. Moisture and temperature speed decay. Low humidity can crack, peel, or curl pages. Avoid attics and basements and provide good air circulation” (Source: American Library Association-preservation).
This is a key issue for Giant-Man to become Goliath; and the first appearance of the Collector. Since we were talking about collecting and some basics to improve the quality of your books, I figured I might as well drop some of the returns for The Collector’s first appearance in Avengers #28 below. The book is strong long-term and very short-term over the last four months. This is also an under the radar issue that you can probably find at your local comic store or even online at reasonable possibly well below GoCollect prices.
|Title||Grade||Last Sale||CGC Census||% Catalyst||Return|
|Avengers #28 (Long-Term)||9.2||$799||13%||85%||+121.2%|
If you are an intermediate level collector you should find the stats on humidity interesting. Further, this gives you another area to work on your collection. The act of preservation for ephemera is full-time work, as it should be. Remember the basics: bag and board, don’t bind, keep humidity at recommended levels, and store your books in a dark place. Should you follow these basics you will become a more intermediate level comic sage, looking at the quality of the paper. The Collector would be most proud of you, you might not own a stasis chamber but you are keeping your books in pristine condition. Bravo Zulu!