Storing a casual comic book collection

My 10-year-old has taken to comic books in a big way. I never had more than a passing interest as a kid, but my son is a fan. What was once a very small collection of a few issues on his dresser has become a full-on collection that needs organizing attention.

One note before I get too heavily into this topic: my son’s comic book collection bears no resemblance to the investment libraries that many older collectors have amassed over a longer period of time. For those folks, specialty materials and practices are required. In this article, I’m talking about a casual collection that’s maintained for fun. I’m not talking about a super rare Batman comic that’s worth a pile of dough. In my case, these are low-cost comic books that a kid wants to read and show off to friends. A few steps will keep them enjoyable for years to come.

Bags and boards

Even for casual collections, I recommend keeping your comics in protective bags. These thin, plastic coverings will keep books safe from spills, dirt, and grimy “kid hands.” The three most common materials for bags are mylar, polyethylene, and polypropylene. For my uses, polyethylene bags are fine. Reserve mylar bags for your more costly comics ($30+).

Boards slip into a bag with the comics themselves and help prevent bending and corner wear. Just like with the bags, there are several types of boards. For a casual collection, I’d recommend .24 millimeter basic boards. They’re inexpensive and will do the job. Again, if the comic is more valuable, use a better grade of cardboard.

Boxes for storage

Find some good, acid-free storage boxes and be careful about where you store them. A damp basement is a bad idea for storing cardboard. If you can find a storage spot that’s a moderate temperature with low humidity, you’ll be good. Also, make sure the box does not rest directly on the floor. Put it on a shelf, but not a high one. And don’t forget to mark the exterior of the box to list what’s inside.

Organizing systems

How the comics are organized inside the box is up to the user, but instilling a system will definitely save its user time retrieving and returning comics to the storage box. A trip to a few comic book stores might provide ideas for how to organize the issues. Could easily organize by publisher and then subdivide by series and issue number. If the collection is small, could organize by year or series only. And, in addition to bags and boxes, you can also buy dividers and label them to make the organizing system obvious.


If you or your kid likes to haul a handful of favorite comics around to enjoy or share with friends, you might wish to invest in a comic notebook. The harder cover helps to protect the comics inside of it. This is also a great option for people who only have a few comics and wish to store them on a bookshelf.

2 Comments for “Storing a casual comic book collection”

  1. posted by Jason on

    My wife is a big comic book collector (over 1300 issues so far). She originally had them in a variety of places and states of storage. I made a big push where I bagged and boarded every issue, the stored using a 36″ wide legal filing cabinet (each drawer becomes equivalent to 4 short boxes). I then added a magazine rack on the side in order to store new unread/unfiled comics for easy access. Also the filing cabinet has 4 drawers and a 5th top shelf that is perfect for larger trade paperbacks.

    Has been working great for the last year. The metal filing cabinet looks a lot sleeker/more professional than stacked cardboard boxes in the closet.

  2. posted by Tom on

    Even after you bag, board, and box them you need a way to keep track of what you have and what you want. One good app is from CLZ – Comic Collector. It lets you scan new issues to the collection or manually search its database for older issues. There’s a phone app that allows you to take your collection with you to avoid buying doubles and an option to upload it all to their cloud for access from any web browser. Highly recommended for all collectors.

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