Comics are not only pieces of entertainment, but over the decades have become keepsakes and have accrued in value as they got older. Comics, instead of going out of fashion, became collectable antiques that are being collected as pricey antiques.
Items can be said to be antiques when they are up to 80 years in existence, and the existence of comics dates as far back as the 1930s, over 80 years ago. Some really popular comics that are also valuable keepsakes now, are not necessarily up to 80 years, but fall in a class of antiques and are usually referred to as vintage comics.
The idea of Comics first emerged in America in the 1920s as comic pieces that were part of the content of a local newspaper. It had different comic stories that later on evolved into comic books, one of such was Katzenjammer Kids. Some of those comics are still quite appreciated today as antique comics. The early comics were made of hardcovers, and then changed to soft covers many years after. In 1933, “The Funnies” was printed for Proctor and Gamble, and from then on, comics were printed and sold from newsstands. By 1938, Action Comics emerged and started trending, with that came Superman, the all-time favourite, and other action comics that flooded the stores.
Ages of Antique Comics
All antique comics are not in the same category but are classified by the dates and the periods that they started. Some of the comic characters have lasted over the years in reprints until recently, and may be mistaken for the older antique copies; however, to verify if you have the original antique copy or a reprint, you would need to check the copyright date if it is in the present or past dates. You can also tell the different ages of comics by their different textures and different cover prices. The different ages of antique comics are:
- The Golden Age Comics:
These are comics that were first produced between the first times comic books came out at about the 1930s to the 1950s. They also have cover prices of 10c, and they were made of thicker paper. Batman, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman comics fall under this category; however, you need to know that if you have any of these pieces it may not necessarily be an antique copy, you can confirm by checking the date of copyright.
- The Silver Age Comics:
The silver age comics date from the end of the 1950s up until the 1970s and their cover prices are usually from 15c to 20c, although some go as low as 10c to 12c. Most of the comics that are 20c spilled into the next era after the 1970s. Spiderman, Superman, Green Lantern 2, Incredible Hulk, Iron man, Fantastic Four, X-Men, and some others were the major comic characters of the Silver Age of comics. The comics in this age were made of flimsy paper that was more delicate than the previous age of comics.
- The Bronze Age Comics:
Bronze age comics dated from the 1970s to the 1980s and is said to have ended in 1986. They had cover prices of 20c to 75c. Some major comics in this age were Ghost Rider, Conan the Barbarian, Black Panther, Star Wars, and many others.
All comics after this age were said to be modern comics, even though there is said to be a Copper Age. Some of the comics that were produced from this time are X-factor, Wolverine, The Punisher, The New Mutants, and others.
Reasons for Collecting Antique Comics
There are various reasons people collect antique comics, from collecting to complete a series, to just having them as keepsake or nostalgia, to making money out of auctioning them to antique collectors.
There are comics whose authors have passed on, but their memories are still kept alive by preserving their comics. Preservation of legends and their memories and their works is a milestone achieved by preserving the comics.
Displaying of antique comics could depreciate their value since exposing them to sunlight may cause the books to fade wear and tear, especially those books that have more flimsy cover pages; besides, things of such value are not usually left displayed as others are. However, if the comics must be kept out, they are kept in archival glass frames that are treated to guard against ultraviolet rays.
These antique comics are kept, stored and preserved in dedicated boxes that are ridged, to prevent moisture, acid, and insects, that can be bought at comic stores, which are specially meant to store comic books. Comics are also kept with hard cardboard backers that are free of acid (which could spoil the comic), to prevent them from bending out of shape. Other ways of preserving them are keeping them in Mylar Sleeves and sealing them with the Comics Guaranty Corporation (CGC).
One way that an antique comic is considered valuable is when it is in high demand, then it is seen as a collectable. All-time favourites that are in high demand and more of collectables are the Superman collections, the Batman, Spiderman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, and some others. These antique comics are best located and purchased at auction houses.
People are passionate collectors of these antique comics just as they are passionate collectors of other antiques. Their uniqueness is preserved as a species going extinct, but in this case, it has been well preserved and here to stay.