Some of you might know that yesterday was the annual Free Comic Book day, a day where comic shops across the world give out a selection of free comics to anyone who walks in through the door. If that, or the large number of comic-based properties hitting TV and cinema screens, has got you interested in starting your own collection, here are the things you'll need to make it happen.
Just a note before we start. I take about different comic 'ages' in here, since comics from different points in history were published in different sizes. If you're brand new to comic collecting you probably won't need to worry about that, since the modern age started back in 1985 and very few shops will have a large back catalogue of older comics. You can find more information on that here.
The first thing you need for any collection is somewhere to keep it, and comics are no exception. You could store them in any old box, but it's well worth getting yourself a comic-specific box instead. If only because they're the perfect shape to keep any collection safe. You've got a choice of short boxes that hold around 150 comics, and long boxes that hold around 300.
Just don't be surprised to find that the box gets delivered inside a slightly larger box. It can feel a little bit silly.
Once you have the storage sorted, you'll probably want to keep your fledgling collection same from the elements. Slap one of these bags around your comic and it's going to fair a lot better against dents and scuffs. Just make sure you get the right size. Modern American-style comics are all standardised, but if you get anything older (or magazines like 2000AD) you'll need something better. Check out the bags for comics from the Golden, Silver, Bronze, and Modern age, as well as the larger ones needed to protect magazines.
The final piece of protection every comic deserves is a backing board, which will provide some support to all the bagged comics you own. Again sizes vary based on the 'age' your comics came from. Modern age comics are the most common, but you sometimes come across stuff from the Golden, and Silver ages as well. Once again, magazines have their own larger boards to fit the relevant bags.
If bagging and boarding isn't enough, and you want some more solid protection, Toploaders are probably the thing you need. They're rigid clear plastic cases that each hold a single comic. I can't say just how much torture they'd stand up against, but there's a lot more than bags and cardboard can offer. Once again, make sure you get the right size incase you have any Magazines or comics from Golden, Silver, and Bronze age.
Some comics are too nice to stick in a box and forget about, so make sure to display them on your wall with pride. You've got a lot of options here, but if you want something relatively cheap and hassle free, give these modular frames a try. They snap together in any configuration you might want, meaning you can easily add and remove comics from your walls as you see fit. This is a pack of 12, to get you going. [Buy it here]
There are some things that just don't belong with the rest of your collection. Special comics that have a place in your heart. Maybe it's the first comic you ever bought, or that one signed by Stan Lee. Perhaps it sold out quickly and is growing in value. Whatever the reason, check out one of these 'Stor-Folio' boxes to keep them separate - and safe. It's a hard plastic box that can store about 10-15 comics for safe-keeping. They're also useful for transporting stuff to and from comic cons safely.
This one also comes bundled with 10 random comics. [Buy it here]
This is another option if you plan on transporting comics, or just want a collection you can show off easily without any risks. Whatever your reasons, an album might be your best bet. It's quite a self-explanatory piece of kit, and functions much like the album you used to show off your Pokémon card collection. It stores comics just like any other ring binder - just in the right dimensions and offering more support than the kind of thing you had at school. [Browse here]
So your collection is growing, and finding things is starting to get a bit tricky. Time to add some organisation to your collection. Dividers are your best bet, and they come in many different forms. First up are the dry-erase dividers, that are basically mini white boards and can be wiped clean whenever you rearrange things. More the more anal amongst you, there are the indexing dividers, that lets you keep tabs on which comics are in which sections (up to 498 per divider). Finally we have the very basic cardboard dividers. They're just like the plastic ones, aside from the fact that you can't wipe them clean.
Comic Collection Starter Kit, £29
If all that feels a little bit overwhelming (there is a lot of stuff out there for comic storage), go for the easy route and get yourself a starter kit. This comes with a bunch of stuff for up to 20 modern-sized comics, including an album, album pages, bags, boards, and a single toploader case with a stand. [Buy it here]
After all that, if physical comics just aren't your thing, make sure to check out our list of the best digital comic apps.
Featured image Nick Quaranto/Flickr (Modified)