My comics are cluttering up my house.
July 30, 2009 4:12 AM   Subscribe

Casual comics readers: What do you do with your old issues?

I'm trying to clean my damn house, and I keep running into piles of old comics. I don't read many monthly titles, but they accumulate over the years. I'm a pack rat, and am loath to throw them away, on the grounds that I may want or need to read them at some point in the indefinable future (yes, this is a psychological matter, but right now I'm concerned with the practical). Cutting them up for art projects also strikes me as horrible. On the other hand, though, I don't need to preserve them for investment purposes. I just want to keep them without letting them take over my house and infuriate my wife.

So what do you do with your old comic books? The whole bag-and-board thing? Stick them in any old box and put them in the basement? Do you just *choke* throw them in the garbage? Give me some good ideas, please.
posted by Faint of Butt to Home & Garden (21 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Uh, just put'em in a comic book box, call it a day. If you want to get fancy, put two boxes together, cover them with a nice dining cloth and boom, you've got a cheap coffee table. Bagging and boarding sounds like too much work and I've never done it 'cept for some early Sandman comics.

You can also look into getting individual issues bound together.

If the comics are really shitty, you can throw them away.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:22 AM on July 30, 2009

Response by poster: Oh, yeah-- I forgot to mention that I'd like to spend as little money as possible. Preferably none. Thanks.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:25 AM on July 30, 2009

Do you just *choke* throw them in the garbage?
They're just comic books.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:27 AM on July 30, 2009

Well, assuming you're an adult (on account of you having a wife), what use would you have for comic books? There are plenty of other ways to remember your childhood. Throw them out (in the paper recycling bin). Your kids, if you decide to have any, will enjoy collecting their own.
posted by magic curl at 4:49 AM on July 30, 2009

I took some off of a friend, and I use them as wrapping paper. He had a garage sale and gave some away. But in the end, he recycled the rest.
posted by bluefly at 5:04 AM on July 30, 2009

Bag and board. And, very very choosy about which ones to buy in the first place.
posted by jbickers at 5:07 AM on July 30, 2009

I recycle mine mercilessly, but then, I live in Japan where they are printed on low-grade pulp and people buy the equivalent of the trade if they want a bookshelf filler. Still, I hear the US comics industry is moving towards the same sort of model...
posted by No-sword at 5:08 AM on July 30, 2009

could you donate them somewhere? I dunno, a library?

Go to storage for us is the good old stackable action-packer rip off... this however has lead to one room being "the box room" and we really are craving some kind of "built-in" storage (like a seat that has room for stuff underneath.) ymmv, obviously.

Waterproof whatever you put them in and stash them- under the house (if you have a stump-construction house) in the roof space, or even waterproof them really well and bury them under the lawn. They'll still be there, but out of the way. (cons- digging, extra dirt)
posted by titanium_geek at 5:08 AM on July 30, 2009

No need to throw them away. At least donate them to a homeless shelter, to entertain the kids.

But for myself, I only buy collected graphic novels. You get a whole story in one go, and they don't look out of place sitting on a bookshelf.
posted by mad bomber what bombs at midnight at 5:11 AM on July 30, 2009

I check them for content (no gratuitous boobage or gore) and give them to the neighborhood kids. I consider it an investment in my future as they grow into slack-jawed, egg-hurling teens.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:18 AM on July 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

If you want to keep them, you don't need to spend money on comic boxes - just snag the empty printer paper boxes from your (or someone else's) workplace. They're the right size and stack up nicely, especially on shelves.

If you're going to donate them, go through them and make sure you're donating appropriate material. The last thing you want to see on the local news is a story about how little Timmy Homeless was reading donated comic books and found Preacher or XXXenophile or whatever.

(Not that I'm implying you own those. I'm just thinking about my own collection and going "Oh god, no!")
posted by Katemonkey at 5:25 AM on July 30, 2009

I forgot to mention that I'd like to spend as little money as possible. Preferably none. Thanks.

Uh, then why ask about bagging and boarding, which costs money? If you don't want to spend money, then clear out an area in the basement, put the comics in any old box you want (you can get'em for free from grocery stores and then stack the boxes in the storage space you made in the basedment.

Well, assuming you're an adult (on account of you having a wife), what use would you have for comic books?

Plenty of adults read comic books for this thing called stories.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:44 AM on July 30, 2009

These days, the majority of my "comic book" collection is in graphic novels, which makes it easy to shelve them. I've purged my collection a few times, because it became unmanageable. If you have a whole lot, eBay is a good solution. I got something like $1/issue for long runs of X-men comics (nothing rare or expensive, but a good 7-years continuous run).

If you have the entire run of a favorite comic, and don't feel like re-buying it in bound form, just put them in a box and put that box on the shelf. I've saved Lucifer and re-read it many times, but I'm not going to shell out over $100 to have it in a different format.

There's nothing wrong with just throwing the trashy ones in the recycling. We don't keep old issues of Cosmo or Sports Illustrated, we shouldn't keep old copies of crap comics either.

Finally, of course, if there's decent comics that won't completely rot the mind of the youth, but you feel like you've outgrown them, donate them somewhere. They'll definitely get into the hands of someone interested.
posted by explosion at 5:57 AM on July 30, 2009

I kept the ones I thought I might want to re-read (about 10%, maybe), and gave the rest to my college library. Apparently, they've become a tremendously useful tool for procrastination there!
posted by Greg Nog at 6:12 AM on July 30, 2009

I got some good answers to a similar question here.

(People who contacted me: I owe you me-mails, but I am still gathering/sorting. I have not forgotten you!)
posted by JoanArkham at 6:28 AM on July 30, 2009

Response by poster: Uh, then why ask about bagging and boarding, which costs money?

Well, I don't want to spend any money, but I'd still like to know what other people do, even if it costs money. Information-gathering, as distinct from specific suggestions. Sorry for the confusion.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:45 AM on July 30, 2009

I don't read comics, but I do buy other magazines. I have a row of 8 largish magazine files in my bedroom/study, which hold the last 6-12 inches of each of my favourite publications (in chronological order), as well as any particular issues I'm likely to want to refer to.

Older issues that get pushed out of the files are moved to an old glass-fronted bookcase in the garage. Periodically, these get purged.

For serious archival products, Gaylord Brothers seems the best source.
posted by James Scott-Brown at 7:19 AM on July 30, 2009

I keep them in boxes in the basement and talk about how I should cull them and donate a lot to the children's hospital.
posted by Zed at 7:24 AM on July 30, 2009

Mylar and box, but I am very choosy about my comics and have culled. I had not thought of giving my culls to the homeless shelter but then again, like KateMonkey, maybe those comics should not be given to the donation pile.

Heh...I should matter of fact, cull the Japanese comics that I use in courses as examples thought it is always good to show Shonen Jump in comparison to an American comic.
posted by jadepearl at 7:38 AM on July 30, 2009

When I had a pull, I bagged and boarded, and when I moved cross-country, I sold them for store credit to my friendly local comics/game shop and got a few things I really wanted. Mind you, I had a full run of Sandman, so this is probably not going to do you much good.

Now, knowing that unless I have something like a full run of Sandman I'm not going to get anything, I'd recycle either by giving to kids or by putting them in the recycling bin. The physical clutter of comics, as much as the expense, is a big reason I'm glad I don't get a pull any more.

The back issue market for stuff that's out now isn't likely to be big deal unless it's a small-press comic that every comics geek and her dog isn't bagging and boarding, so you're not going to be preserving something that nobody else remembers if you give away or recycle mainstream comics (many of which will be published as graphic novels). Nor will you be missing out on a financial bonanza since everyone else is bagging and boarding these stories.

/retired comics nerd, used to work in a comics store
posted by immlass at 8:19 AM on July 30, 2009

I bag and board them and put them in boxes. (I use Drawer Boxes [1], but your standard short or long box is fine, too, depending on where you're going to stick the boxes.) Every few months I go through and pull out anything I'm not going to want to read again, so that I only end up keeping stories with staying power. I'd sort of recommend not bagging and boarding, though, if you're not going to be going through them that often. Comics are flimsy and won't hold up over time, but in general they really don't appreciate in value, so letting them get beat up isn't a terrible sin, and everything's collected in nice paperbacks now, anyway.

As for the stuff you don't want, find somewhere/one to give them away to. Kids, Goodwill, etc. Operation Comix Relief [2] will send them to troops overseas. In general hospitals won't take used things, but ask around.

posted by davextreme at 11:32 AM on July 30, 2009

« Older Can anyone recommend a good primary care physician...   |   Organising a stag do near London Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.