How do I preserve my comic books?

Comic books are modern publications, the earliest of which are from the 19th century industrial era when machine-made, wood pulp paper had already become the dominant paper product. Due to the inherent chemical instabilities of wood pulp papers and the late development of U.S. paper standards (in the 1980s), many comic book collections contain acidic books. The most effective and economical preservation measures are preventive: proper storage, storage environment, and handling.

Take proper care when handling comic books by:

  • Having clean hands and a clean area to use the comic book
  • Keeping food and drink away
  • Not opening the book more than 180 degrees; never folding the book back on itself
  • Not using paper clips, "dog ear" folding, or acidic inserts to bookmark pages
  • Not using rubber bands, self-adhesive tape, and/or glue on comic books

Good storage is especially critical to the preservation of acidic paper materials. Guidelines for good storage:

  • A cool (room temperature or below), relatively dry (about 35% relative humidity), clean, and stable environment (avoid attics, basements, and other locations with high risk of leaks and environmental extremes)
  • Minimal exposure to all kinds of light; no exposure to direct or intense light
  • Distance from radiators and vents
  • Supportive protective enclosures

Last Updated: Mar 02, 2021
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Send written correspondence to:

Preservation Directorate
Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave. SE
Washington, D.C.  20540-4530

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We cannot provide: conservation (including review, examination, treatment), digitization/reformatting, access to/use of Library of Congress equipment, project funding, appraisals, recommendations for products or vendors, materials testing or analysis, preservation courses or classes, and/or responses to vendors seeking to sell or promote commercial products.