November 5, 2013 by Kevin M. Duvall
Collections are an important part of many man caves.
There are many reasons people collect, from simply being a big fan of something to fulfilling a variety of psychological needs.
In addition to being great places to relax and read, listen to music, or play a game of pool, man caves and other private areas can be ideal for storing one’s collection due to their secluded nature.
Comics are one of many commonly collected items, and many of their enthusiasts are serious about the art.
Being thin and, in the old days, rather cheaply produced, comics require protection from bending, tearing, yellowing, heat warping, and other damage.
ComiCase is an upstart company based in north central West Virginia devoted to giving collectors a greater opportunity to protect their comic book issues by creating affordable protective cases for them.
The company is using Kickstarter to fund the molds for the cases and the first two runs of production.
Comic fans often store their issues in plastic bags with cardboard backing boards, but those who own autographed or rare issues, like ComiCase CEO Jim Smith II, might want something more substantial.
Smith said he wanted to create the case because existing protective cases for comics were too expensive, did not offer satisfactory protection or made it difficult for the owner to remove the comic from its case because the cases were sealed with adhesives.
Rather than adhesives, screws, or other potentially limiting mechanisms, ComiCase uses interlocking rails to seal the cases. The cases also interlock into stacks for easy storage of multiple issues.
The cases are made from archival grade Mylar plastic, have UV protection, seal to be moisture resistant, and are designed to keep the corners of issues from being bent, as well as other protective qualities.
The ComiCase project also includes items for displaying comics, such as frames and stands made for the cases.
Preserving one’s collection is an inherent part of collecting for many people, but for a few, it could also be a matter of protecting valuable property.
Some old comics are worth quite a bit of money. In many cases, the difference is notable but not bank-shattering. A copy of Jack Kirby’s 1976 comic adaptation of 2001: A Space Odyssey, for example, can be bought for $40—a substantial increase over its original price of $1.50, but not something that will show up in the news.
Extremely rare comics, on the other hand, can be worth great sums. In 2011, a copy of Action Comics no. 1 (the issue the features the first appearance of Superman) owned by Nicolas Cage, was sold at auction for $2.1 million, making it the most expensive comic ever purchased.
The issue was graded 9.0 (out of 10) Comics Guranty Corporation, a company that assesses comics’ condition.
A copy of the same issue graded 1.5 was sold for $175,000 in June.
Action Comics no. 1 is a highly unusual example of why protecting a comic can yield rewards.
In most cases, comics are not sound investments. The comic speculator market (thankfully) crashed 20 years ago and never recovered.
Comics provide some excellent reading material, and every now and then, readers might come across one that is uncommon. In those instances, extra protection is nice.
The ComiCase campaign ends on November 23. Backers can get one case for $12, with per-unit discounts offered for buying multiple cases at higher pledge levels.
Some discounts involve a common Kickstarter feature—early bird specials. With this feature, creators can allow a certain number of backers to have a reward for a reduced price, encouraging pledges early in the campaign.
Rewards for this campaign also include bumper stickers and t-shirts, for backers who like the idea but do not need the cases for their own collections.