Comic Book Storage

By | Thursday, April 17, 2008 17 comments
Matt brought up a question the other day about comic book storage. In lieu of having a decent camera to photograph my own collection (and the fact that it's a bit of a mess just now) I thought I'd see if I could dig up some others' pictures of how they store their collections...

What I notice about these images is that they tend to fall into three categories. First, people who use long boxes and try to make them as organized as possible. Second, people who use bookshelves and house their comics like more 'traditional' books. Third, people who prefer to display their comics face-front using the covers as pieces of art.

What's striking about this is that none of these solutions really seems to work terribly well. Long boxes (as can be seen in some photos) aren't that ideally suited to long-term storage. Bookshelves are tricky because of comics' tendency to bend; even using bookends doesn't help much since comics don't have the rigidity of hardcover books. The display approach does solve for those two problems, but it's relatively inefficient in terms of using the space; each single comic takes up a fair amount of room relative to the size of room.

So why is it that no one has come up with a better way of displaying comic collections? Even the best looking of these collections are uniquely designed for the space they're in. And I have to admit that my own solution is essentially a variation on shelving for long boxes, which only looks mildly impressive from the volume standpoint. It's by no means an attractive display.

I'm thinking there should be a way to display covers and give the collection some depth. What about some sturdier, glass-fronted long-boxes? Or some way that shelving can display portions of several issues placed front-to-back -- a kind of stair-stepping effect?

So when somebody does create something good for comic book storage, I'll be happy to sample/review the initial products, and take credit/compensation for the idea!
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17 comments:

Pj Perez said...

I guess this is why my comics have yet to come out of the closet, unlike Ultimate Colossus.

Webcomic fans don't have this issue to deal with. Nice piece.
~Content Digital

Pj Perez said...

Hey! Webcomic fans and printed comic fans are not mutually exclusive!!

Pj Perez said...

AKK!! Sean! Quick! Delete that comment from zolokis! It is nasty spam-virus-evil-popup stuff!!!

Matt K said...

Man, glad that I got around to asking that question! :) Nice to know that I'm not the only person who has gone the magazine file route. Looking at the other photos, that still seems like the best answer, to me.

In terms of what makes a good visual display, though? Honestly I would have to say that the best solution is to have the comics bound into something with a spine. ;) Obviously, this is limited in terms of applicability, even if one is willing/able to replace as many comics as possible with collected editions. Still, my two shelves of squarebound comics are a lot more visually pleasing than the rows of magazine files filled with thin, bagged comics.

Maybe one could find/produce comic book bags with reinforced strips along the side which could be placed into three-hole binders? (If this doesn't already exist it's TOTALLY my idea!) :)

Pj Perez said...

Matt, you have some good ideas, but it occurs to me that -- well, for me at least -- the comics aren't necessarily things to display. Isn't that what comic art is for? Original art, posters, reproductions, statues, figures, etc.? I have a ton of comic memorabilia, but the comics themselves remain hermetically sealed in climate-controlled chambers.

Or a bedroom closet.

Cody Machler said...

I've had very good luck with this product: http://www.collectiondrawer.com/

They're essentially a better long box as they're designed to support the weight of a few boxes on top of each other, and you can pull out the drawers without having to remove the upper boxes.

Jim Roeg said...

Nice piece! I especially like that last image of the swanky comics basement, even if the display is an inefficient use of space. All my boxes are in various closets, under desks, in obscure corners, etc. I have no idea where anything is--which often leads me to buy trades of runs I especially like. Since they sit on the bookshelf, I can at least find and reread those!

Leigh Walton said...

My favorite is the last one, too. The furniture makes it especially welcoming.

The best solution that I've seen so far, honestly, is what my boss Brett Warnock has done with his house: keep almost exclusively paperback and hardcover editions. The two dozen or so single issues that he's especially attached to, he displays in an old-school "HEY KIDS! COMICS!" rack.

Pj Perez said...

That's a good idea -- the Hey! Kids! Comics! rack. Not that I'd get rid of my mags, but it would be cool to have a spinner in my office. Time to hit ebay ...

HeadVoice said...

I have been contemplating a nicer, more asthetically pleasing way to display my comics to get them literally and figuratively 'out of the closet.' I have been searching for years now and I have basically come to the conclusion that I should just build a glass front drawer built in in my home office. The next best thing I have seen is using legal sized file cabinets. Coincidently, they fit two modern age comics side-by-side perfectly. Unfortunately they look like... well... file cabinets. Not redeeming qualities there. I would love to see other solutions for efficiently storing 5-10k books that isn't in a closet but out in the open on display and easily accessible. Still looking.....

Anonymous said...

It's all about the drawerboxes. I've got a 6x6 wall of them and they work great. I'll never go back to stacking long boxes again.

Anonymous said...

Ask a librarian :) Demco is the company we use for library furniture - they have several display options for comics and magazines. (demco.com)

me, personally, i just throw my collection in long boxes in the closet.

Ray

Stephen said...

when i get the bread together, this is the way I plan on storing my books.....

http://www.stanpikedesigns.com/cb3x4.htm

bjahoor@hotmail.com said...

Hi, there is a comic book store in Toronto, Ontario called Silver Snail at 367 Queen Street W that has a good design that I like. Unfortunately no one working in the store seems to know who built it. It has plexiglass fronts like you were saying. I would love to incorporate their design into a wall to wall cabinet system, if I only I could find out who built it!

Anonymous said...

The ideal solution would be a normal bookcase style shelf made of filing cabinet style drawers hidden behind slanted display shelfs that raise to reveal the extras.

clover said...

This is something I've been pondering lately. My fiance and I are in the process of combining our respective comic collections, and trying to figure out the best way to store them. So far he has just kept his in longboxes in the corner, and I have most sitting on a bookshelf (albiet not that pretty) as well as a longbox of my older comics inherited from my dad.

I'd love to find a way to display them, but there really isn't a lot to work with. The dimension is just too unique :/

What I am considering is framing a few of them in float picture frames and displaying them above the bookshelf. Then I will just put the comics into storage boxes (not longboxes but something a bit nicer, even if its not a snug fit).

Perhaps a smaller wall magazine rack just for the current issues... seriously though someone would make a killing finding a good way to do this. Niche market!