With my comic book habit reaching critical mass, I’ve realized that I just can’t keep collecting single issues, especially when trades are just so easy. I made this decision about two months ago and I’m working on canceling all of my regular issues. Now what to do with all the books I’ve already got? They’re all collecting dust in a bunch of long boxes in a corner of my apartment, never to be read again. I could try and sell them and then buy the trades of the ones I’d like to read again, but that seems illogical, especially since I literally just bought some of them.

I think a main reason that I don’t re-read the single issues is accessibility. They’re in their boxes and it’s a pain in the ass to rifle through them, lifting up box after box to get to a story buried in the back. Once it gets filed away, it’s basically out of sight, out of mind. So I set out to find a way for me to make the comics I had readily available like a regular book. I think I found a rather affordable way to do it too.

My first thought on this project was just making a big shelving unit like a giant book case. I could make dividers for each title and just store them like books. That could work, but I don’t have that kind of space right now. Plus I think that something like that would essentially be like moving the boxes to a wall. That’s sort of an idea.

I found a slightly more organized approach. I decided to make my own collections. I picked up a box of office sheets (around $15 for 100 at Staples) and my fiancee Monica had some extra binders leftover from her grad work. I figured I’d put the two together and basically have a collection of comics that would contain several story arcs in one binder. This worked in theory, but when I started putting them together, it didn’t work out. For one, comics are not as wide as regular paper so there was a gap.

As a result, the comics would flop around in their sheet and it just wouldn’t work. I needed to find a way to eliminate the extra space in each sheet. My first thought was tape or a stapler. I could just fold the extra plastic back and fasten it in. That’s a good idea, but it doesn’t work because it bunches up the plastic on one side and just looks sloppy. This is where my Mom comes in to save the day. She had this thing called the Euro Sealer. It’s basically one of those “As Seen On TV” products. It’s made to seal stuff like potato chip bags to hold in the freshness. This particular model has been sitting on the side of the refrigerator for YEARS. I must have seen it millions of times and I just didn’t remember it. With the Euro Sealer in hand, I got to work.

I sealed off the extra plastic on the side. It was hard going at first because I didn’t really know what I was doing. As a result, some of the seals are lopsided or just out there. Some came out really well though and I was actually able to peel off the extra plastic. This was rare though. Mostly I was happy just to get the seal to hold.

I went through and filled up the two giant binders that I had with all of the Green Lantern comics I owned. This included Green Lantern: Rebirth, Green Lantern #1-35, Green Lantern Corps: Recharge, Green Lantern Corps #1-28, Ion, and Guy Gardner: Collateral Damage. That’s almost 100 comics and the contents of at least 12 trades all in two binders! I’ll admit that the trades might take up less room, but honestly, this is perfect for me. Plus, it’s a helluva lot easier than finding a buyer for the books and tracking down the trades. Probably cheaper too.

Now I just have to make some cover art for them. I think I might look up the covers for the trades included in each binder and sort of cut them up, splitting them into segments. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

The next step is to pick up some more binders and make some more collections. I went with Green Lantern for these mostly because of the color of the binders. I was originally going to just package the Green Lantern series only, but I wasn’t able to fit everything in one binder so I decided to throw in the other books to keep it consistent. The binders might be the only expensive part of this project, but I figure I’ll just wait until there’s another Back To School sale and I’ll pick up a few in different sizes. Every collection doesn’t need to hold 50 issues. I can do some for smaller arcs and series too. This is definitely a work in progress, but I’m really happy with how it turned out so far.

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