While comic books have been around since the late 19th century, it wasn’t until the late 1930s that they really started to take off and become part of the mainstream thanks to heroes like Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man. Ever since then, there have been countless characters introduced into the comic book world, thus creating an opportunity to amass large collections of books for avid readers.
Right up there with baseball cards, stamps, and coins, comic books are one of the most common hobbies when it comes to collectibles. While a majority of them are barely worth the paper that they’re printed on, some can still maintain high sentimental value. Also, some of them have incredible monetary value. After all, around 10 comic book issues have sold for more than $1 million, including a $5.3 million Superman comic and a $3.6 million Spider-Man comic.
For those who collect comic books, it can be quite difficult to figure out how to organize and catalog them. Whether you’ve just picked up your first issue and want to start a collection or are wondering how you can organize the hundreds that you already have, we have some ways to make your collection really shine.
Figure Out the Order
There are a few different ways in which you can catalog your comic book collection. One of the more unique ones is to sort them by issue number. Of course, if you do that, you could end up with a #1 issue of a comic book released in 2015 while the next comic is a #2 for a different series released in the 1960s. This obviously is the least-preferred way of doing things, but it is a way if you’re so inclined.
Instead, most people prefer to catalog their comic books in order of main character alphabetically. If you were to list all of your comic books in alphabetical order going by their title, you could end up with some mismatches. For instance, “The Amazing Spider-Man” would be toward the front of the collection while “Spider-Man 2099” and “Ultimate Spider-Man” would be closer to the end.
That’s why it’s easier to list the main characters in alphabetical order, starting with Ant-Man and Aquaman, and going all the way to the X-Men and Zatara. Once you have your sections with each superhero, you can get a bit creative with each of those sections. Try to divide them into subsections of series, sorting them by release date. This is the easiest way to find exactly what you need right away, especially if you place a divider (even as simple as an index card) in between each character and series run.
There’s another way to organize your collection, and that’s via sorting by release date. While it could end up being a bit scrambled due to the alphabet being all over the place (which could drive some people batty), it’s not the worst way to find which ones could possibly hold more value. However, that’s better reserved for our next suggestion.
Digitize Your Catalog
Comic book collecting is such a common hobby that there are several popular apps that allow you to organize your entire collection. You can either manually enter which ones you own, or even scan the UPC codes so that they’re automatically added. This will allow you to quickly see any gaps that you may have.
Also, some people may prefer to have their comics in a digital format so they don’t have to find room for a physical collection. Buying digital comics will instantly allow you to sort by name, date, and more with a couple of taps. You also don’t have to worry about keeping the comics in good condition, though there is something special about having the physical copy.
Displaying Your Comics
Now that we’ve figured out how to arrange the comic books and catalog them, there’s the issue of displaying the physical copies that you own. The first thing that you’ll want to do is to determine which ones are the most valuable in your collection. These ones should instantly be placed into a protective sleeve so that they don’t get wear and tear, as even some of the rarest comics have lost millions in value because of poor condition.
What most avid comic book collectors do is take these valuable ones, place them in protective sleeves, and remove them from the rest of the bunch. They also tend to put them on the very top shelf as a form of display, showing that these comics are truly the crown jewel of the bunch. As for the other comics, a shelf is usually the way to go, especially if there are ends on the shelves to prevent the issues from flopping over the sides.
When doing this, it’s best to pack in the comics on each shelf so that they are snugly in place. If it’s too tight, the pages can fold or rip easily. If it’s too loose, the comics will droop over and cause a bend that’s impossible to get rid of. The most important thing, though, is to have fun with it and come up with a way of displaying that pleases you aesthetically.