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Comic Art Collecting Frequently Asked Questions

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As with most things in this hobby we owe a debt of gratitude to those collectors and comic art enthusiasts who came before us. Much of what follows in this Original Comic Art FAQ was started by collectors in the late 1990's - on sites like,,, and - who wanted to help others understand the hobby better. Credit is given where possible. This FAQ will continue to evolve and has been edited to be more in line with this website and today's collecting trends. If you'd like to contribute please let us know.

Caring for, Displaying and Shipping Original Comic Art

Preserving Comic Art

Comic Art Bags and Mylars

Most collectors keep their original comic art is some sort of sleeve or bag. Mylar sleeves provide the highest level of protection but are more expensive than traditional plastic bags. Bags Unlimited is a familiar source for mylar and poly bags, and BCW also sells on Amazon.

Portfolios and Display Cases

Most collectors store their pieces in portfolios or display cases when they are not framed. Describing the difference between a portfolio and a display case can be tricky because different manufacturers use the names in different ways. No matter what it is called, there is a difference between a portfolio that contains pockets and one that has pages (like a school binder). A visit to a local art supply store is a good start at better understanding what is available.

Take the time to be sure of what you are getting. Terry Whitier writes:.

When storing art in a presentation portfolio, be careful to find out what the clear covering is made of. Some clear coverings will stick to copier toner or any other plastics, like shading overlays. Be sure to get a portfolio that announces that it is made entirely of archival materials. Even check the backer sheets. Some can be highly acidic. When in doubt, ask the salesperson for help. If they can't produce documentation (or worse yet, they give you a blank expression when you mention archival materials), such as a brochure or a catalog listing for the portfolio that shows the archival characteristics of the portfolio and all of its parts, then pass it by.

When in doubt, test paper materials with your handy pH testing pen, available from Light Impressions or other sources. Ask before marking up materials in the store, unless you have purchased them. A tiny dot in a corner is sufficient to gauge dangerous acidity or lack thereof.

Size is also an important consideration when deciding on a storage case. If you are going to be storing twice-up art, the case needs to be larger. Unfortunately, larger cases are harder to maneuver, especially at crowded comic conventions.

Pieces should be stored flat whenever possible, preferably in a stack of no more than 2 inches with archival paper between pieces. Some listers use map cabinets to store their pieces as an alternative to cases.

Recommendations for products of this type include Light Impressions and Itoya Art Portfolios.

Restoring Comic Art

Opinions differ as to what it means to restore comic art. For example, Some collectors believe that it makes sense to preserve the piece as it was used to create the production comic book. To this end, they will re-attach logos, word balloons, etc. when they begin to fall off. Other collectors think that any paste-ups detract from the creator's original intention and try to remove them. In either case, it is good to remember that, unlike comic books, original comic art is more-or-less unique and there is less of a concern about the condition of the piece than there is about its content.

Re-attaching Logos, Word Balloons and Paste-Ups

It's not uncommon for items glued on to comic art to come off over time. If you're lucky enough to have the attachment, you can reattach it using a archival quality glue. Rob Stolzer found the following adhesives from the University Products archival catalog:

  • Wheat paste (for hinging artwork to mats)
  • Ethulose
  • Polyvinyl Alcohol Adhesive
  • White Neutral pH Adhesive

It is also thought that good old Elmer's Glue is archival quality but, so far, no one is willing to say definitively.

During the discussion "Paste-up process (was Cartoon Art Museum auctions--Why I won't bid on these! :-)" (message #30759), list member Scott Rosema providing the following step-by-step instructions:

First step, check the area where the paste-up fell off. If you see a residue of adhesive, (usually [1] a light, brownish color in a speckle pattern which is caused by a spray adhesive or [2] small, shiny streaks which is caused by brushed on rubber cement or [3] just a slight discoloration of the paper which could be staining caused by wax) you should try to clean the area CAREFULLY. If it's [1] then take a gray, kneaded eraser and gently dab at the area. DO NOT RUB. The dabbing should lift off the residue. If it's [2] then take a rubber cement cleaning pad, which can be bought at any good art supply store or exceptionally well stocked office supply/arts/crafts store, and gently dab at the area. DO NOT RUB. Again, the dabbing should lift off the residue. If it's [3] there's very little that can done with a wax stain, especially on paper. But it shouldn't interfere with reattaching the paste-ups.

Second step, Take your paste-up pieces and lay them upside down on a LARGE sheet of paper, several open newspaper pages should be fine. You will be spraying so do this in a well ventilated area and not on a good surface like the living room carpet. The garage or back porch or cement basement with the windows open should do. Get a can of spray adhesive, preferably Krylon Spray Mount or any spray adhesive that allows you to reposition before it finally adheres. I wouldn't recommend ones like 3M Super 77; (cripes, I'm still peeling the neighbor's kids off my garage after using that stuff.)

Follow the directions on the can for spraying, don't spray on too heavy of a coat but don't be too light either. A few practice paste-ups with dummy pages and dummy pieces is a good idea. Do one piece at a time, (using new sheets of newspaper for each piece so you don't get adhesive on the front side of the next paste-up) and lay them down in their position on the page. Cover them with a clean, white sheet of paper and firmly press them down in place.

Latest Updates


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2/24/2018 11:07:00 PM


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Original Art Astonishing X Men 5 Page 2 by John Cassaday

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Cardona, Josep Maria - Original published page (p.2) - Rasmus Klump - The Christmas Star

Hakes Auctions


Commission an Artist

For Sale Updates

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Dealer Updates

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