Comic books have been capturing enthusiasts’ attention for almost 100 years. When the Humor section of the Sunday newspaper wasn’t enough, writers and artists began narrating their stories in comics.
Comics are meant to be a source of timeless entertainment. There’s no equipment or electricity involved. The timelessness and nostalgia of comics has led many people to collect comic books.
What Is Slabbing?
Slabbing is the process of having a comic book encased in plastic after being graded by a professional. Layers of hard plastic keep air and moisture away from the paper of the comic book, leading it to live a much longer life.
Books that are exposed to air and moisture warp and decompose over time. Keeping signs of aging at bay are crucial when you are collecting comics that can potentially be older than you.
The condition of a comic greatly determines its price on the market, and if you’re interested in collecting for profit, you will want your comic book slabbed.
Where Can I Buy Slabbed Comic Books?
Slabbed comic books are often sold alongside their raw versions. Raw is the word used to describe a comic book that does not have a protective casing.
In-person retail locations are a fantastic place to purchase comics. You can view the comic up close and see if any flaws exist. You may even find a comic aside from the one you’re looking for. If you’re just browsing or new to the collecting world, in-person retail is the way to go.
Many comic book stores offer slabbing services. You could even bring in a comic you purchased elsewhere to have it professionally graded and encased in protection. The employees of the comic book store are often very knowledgeable of the industry. If you’re just starting out, you can seek their advice and guidance. You may even make a new friend.
Online purchasing is also an option for buying comic books. Looking for comics through the internet will supply you with more options than you know how to choose from.
There are mass retailers of comics online. These warehouses contain many copies of the same comics. This is perfect for anyone looking to stock up on comics. You can quickly amass a collection. Infrequently, these retailers will have highly graded slabbed comics. You will need to purchase them quickly, as they will sell as fast as they were stocked.
Keep in mind that already slabbed and graded comics will cost you a pretty penny more than comic books that are not slabbed. The increase in price is not only for the value of the comic, but the convenience fee of slabbing already being completed.
If you don’t live near a comic book store that can slab the comic for you, or you don’t have the means to do it yourself, purchasing an already slabbed comic is a smart choice.
You can also purchase slabbed comic books from other comic book collectors. You can connect with other collectors through online forums. Almost every social media site has a corner where the comic book kids hang out. Share your passions with the world, and like-minded people will find you.
Person-to-person sales are often the only way to purchase rare or mint condition comic books. If you’re interested in quality over quantity in your collection, direct purchases are the way to go.
Proceed with caution when purchasing from a stranger. Experienced comic book collectors can smell a new fish in the water from miles away. When someone knows you are inexperienced and ignorant, they can often take advantage of you.
Scams happen all the time in the comic book collecting world. Juvenile collectors spot a rare comic being sold online, and having no idea of the real market value, end up paying way more than the comic is worth. They could turn around to sell it, only to find they’ll lose money on the transaction because they purchased the comic for a price that no one else will bid for.
As with any big purchase, do your research beforehand. Find similar listings online to compare, call up your local comic expert, and gain knowledge about the industry as a whole. Until you appreciate comic books and the value they can bring to one’s life, you can’t begin to understand why someone would pay as much as they would for a well graded and slabbed comic book.
You can even get a second opinion on the comic’s grading. Third-party grading is a re-grading process that involves evaluating an already slabbed comic. These third-party opinions are unbiased and extremely helpful. If you’re purchasing a comic that would add significant monetary value to your collection, it’s advised to have a third party inspect the comic.
This inspection should happen prior to the purchase or within the warranty period if a warranty is offered.
Can You Slab Comics Yourself?
The purpose of slabbing comics is to protect their integrity, which is vital for determining their grade and value.
There are two highly accredited comic grading companies in America. When you can’t make it down to a comic book store with accredited graders on staff, you can mail your comic in.
To protect your comic during the mailing process, you can purchase special comic book cases, or you can slip the comic book into an extra-large page protector. Then, head down to your preferred shipping location. This could be a UPS store or your local post office. There, they can package the item for you, ensuring its safety during its travel.
In the meantime, you’ll need to purchase slabbing cases to house your comics in once they return from being graded. These cases are made of hardy, UV resistant plastic that will allow you to view the comic’s cover art without light and moisture damaging the work of art.
When your comic returns back home after grading, it will come with a slip of paper or sticker detailing the grade given to the comic.
If the comic books receive lower grades than you were hoping for, you could be faced with a tough decision. Is it really worth it to slab this comic? When a particular comic book is important to you, you may relish in the thought of your future children and grandchildren reading the same comic.
Pulp paper materials can last decades before they begin to decompose on their own. If you want to ensure future generations are reading comics that are in mint condition, you can slab them. Children often don’t notice when something has a little wear and tear. If it brings them joy, it’s good enough.
When your interest in collecting is based solely in monetary gain, slabbing a comic with a less than stellar grade may not be worth the money or trouble. Comic books are graded on a scale of 0.5 to 10. A comic in horrid condition is designated as 0.5. Comics that didn’t have any market value to begin with and have fallen apart over time often get this rating.
A grade of 10 is rare and is reserved for rare editions of comic books in absolutely perfect condition. If you happen across a vintage comic book in mint condition, snatch it up. From the moment you obtain that copy, handle it as little as possible and with the utmost caution. Take it some place where you can get it professionally graded and slabbed all at once to avoid any damage during transit.
If you’re slabbing the comics on your own, you can purchase slabs online or from a comic book store. These plastic cases are often top loading, where the comic slips in between the plastic barriers from above before being sealed within.
Many comic book slabs resemble a DVD case that doubles as a shadow box.
What Do You Do with Slabbed Comics?
Once you’ve determined a comic book is worthy of the time and money spent slabbing it, you’re now faced with the choice of what to do with your comic book.
Many collectors love to show off their collections. You can showcase your slabbed comics by displaying them on a shelf, or you can purchase hanging slabs that are meant to be displayed on walls.
Wherever you decide to display your slab, make sure it is far away from any threats. If there are small children in the home, you’ll want to place your comics far out of their reach.
Thick, plastic slabs are less likely to be damaged from a fall than glass display cases, but they are not invincible. Slabs that have lost their airtight seal serve virtually no purpose for your comic. If your slab falls from its shelf and becomes damaged, you may not notice the effects for several years or even decades.
When your intention of slabbing a comic is to preserve its retail value, you may think about storage options instead of displaying the comics. You can keep your valuable slabbed comics in a fireproof safe, or if you have a big collection, you may think about using a storage facility to house your valuables.