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Classification, Care, Handling and Storage of Comic Books

Classification of Comic Books

Comics as a print medium have existed in America since the printing of The Adventures of Mr. Obadiah Oldbuck in 1842 in hardcover, making it the first known American prototype comic book. Comic books as we know them today, came into existence during the Modern Age of comics in February of 1934 with the release of Eastern Color Printing's Famous Funnies #1, Series 1. The introduction of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's Superman in 1938 turned comic books into a major industry and ushered the Golden Age of Comics. Comics are classified into 4 sub-categories, Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze Age, and Current. Bronze age comics don't feature their own size because they fell in between the Silver and Current ages. Early Bronze comics are sized like Silver, while late Bronze comics are Current sized.

  • Golden Age: 1934 to 1955
  • Silver Age: 1956 to 1969
  • Bronze Age: 1970 to 1979
  • Current: 1980 to Present

Click Here to view a very cool timeline of comic books in images.

Proper care, handling and storage of comic books

Most comic books & magazines have been printed on newsprint which includes all distributed prior to Modern Age, as well as some Modern Age books. The newsprint used for most comic books has been bleached with acid prior to printing. Some of the acid from the bleach remains in the paper. To mitigate this deterioration, you will want to store your comic collection away from sunlight and in a cool dry place because sunlight, heat, and moisture can accelerate the acid migration process.

  • Having clean hands and a clean area to use the comic book
  • Keeping food and drink away
  • Not opening the book more than 180 degrees; never folding the book back on itself
  • Not using paper clips, "dog ear" folding, or acidic inserts to bookmark pages
  • Not using rubber bands, self-adhesive tape, and/or glue on comic books
  • A cool (room temperature or below), relatively dry (about 35% relative humidity)
  • Clean, and stable environment (avoid attics, basements, and other locations with high risk of leaks and environmental extremes)
  • Minimal exposure to all kinds of light; no exposure to direct or intense light
  • Distance from radiators and vents
  • Supportive protective enclosures

For questions or more information about comic preservation, please contact us.