How Bad Is It for a Comic Book to be Completely Sealed Up/Airtight
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15 posts in this topic

So, when I was growing up, all I knew was that "air" was bad for your comics, which is why you want to put them in a plastic/mylar bag.  After recently re-acquiring my collection, and seeing what I thought were the results of the comics not being tightly sealed enough (slight yellowing of pages/covers), I got a little obsessive trying to seal every opening/gap with tape.

Now I understand that comics produce gasses and if they are in a completely airtight environment, it can actually be bad for the comic.  How bad though?  

Are CGC cases supposed to be airtight?  Or is that wrong?  Is it okay there because they put the special paper in to absorb the off gassing?  

Wondering how important it is to go "free" some of my comics and leave some kind of "air" gap.  Is the seal you get with regular scotch tape even "airtight" enough to worry about gasses being trapped?

Thanks for any insights.  

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To keep it basic (and I'm not the expect in this) yes it's bad. Yes comics decay over time, if they are locked into an airtight case that decay intensifies. Last I checked, CGC does include that special paper to absorb the decay and recommends that the sealed/slabbed books be re slabbed every 7 years.

Sadly, many people don't do this there are going to some formerly pristine books that might be in worse condition in 20-30 years time in slab than if they were in a Mylar bag and acid free board. That's assuming the bag and board were changed when they were supposed to be. I suspect many collectors aren't doing that either, but at least there is some room for the decaying gasses to escape if it's not sealed up tight. 

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I do not believe CGC  recommends you switch slabs every seven years.  As far as I know, they simply say the chamber paper is inert after seven years.  If they were to recommend you to switch the slabs, they would ,in effect, say that you shouldn't buy a slab more than seven years old

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I've had certain books slabbed for many years now. I keep them in the proper environment---no exposure to light, low relative humidity and a temperature between 60 and 70 degrees. I've also cracked out a few of them from time to time, and I've seen no evidence of any degradation with the covers, staples or pages. I suspect if I keep them stored this way they'll last a long time. I also keep a number of raw books in mylar sleeves with acid free boards and I've had the same results with those. 

I hope this helps...

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8 hours ago, Axelrod said:

Are CGC cases supposed to be airtight?  Or is that wrong?  Is it okay there because they put the special paper in to absorb the off gassing?  

No, the cases are not supposed to be airtight, and keeping a book in an airtight container is not the best storage solution. To answer your second question, the microchamber paper can only absorb so much and will not provide a permanent fix for an airtight book. The books need some air to help "dilute" off gassing. airborne acids etc. However, the halfbacks and fullbacks also work because they are buffered with a 3% alkaline buffer that also helps neutralize acids. So the slabs are cool and mylar with a buffered backing board is also cool.

Edited by PovertyRow
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On 4/4/2021 at 3:18 PM, William-James88 said:

Cgc cases are  not air tight, fyi

Hi, but the inner well holder? That looks like its sealed pretty good. Airtight I'm not sure but they look pretty thoroughly sealed, at least the few I've seen. I wonder if you put a cgc holder under water if the book inside would eventually, sooner or later, become wet. 

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3 hours ago, Professor Chaos said:

Hi, but the inner well holder? That looks like its sealed pretty good. Airtight I'm not sure but they look pretty thoroughly sealed, at least the few I've seen. I wonder if you put a cgc holder under water if the book inside would eventually, sooner or later, become wet. 

They're not airtight - you have your answer...

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3 hours ago, Professor Chaos said:

Hi, but the inner well holder? That looks like its sealed pretty good. Airtight I'm not sure but they look pretty thoroughly sealed, at least the few I've seen. I wonder if you put a cgc holder under water if the book inside would eventually, sooner or later, become wet. 

Interesting question. Here's my question: are you willing to try it out and let us know the result?

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1 hour ago, William-James88 said:

Interesting question. Here's my question: are you willing to try it out and let us know the result?

Yes, and I'll use an Aquaman book just in case. I do doubt they are completely waterproof or airtight. I'm only saying those inner sleeves look pretty well sealed around the edges. I think they may use a heat sealer to melt the edges together. 

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How about slabbed books in mylar?

They are pretty airtight when you seal them.

No, no ...or okay?

I always assumed they were okay or there wouldn't be a market for them.

 

 

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On 4/7/2021 at 1:28 AM, Professor Chaos said:

Yes, and I'll use an Aquaman book just in case. I do doubt they are completely waterproof or airtight. I'm only saying those inner sleeves look pretty well sealed around the edges. I think they may use a heat sealer to melt the edges together. 

You don't need to do this.  It was tested many years ago and the results were as expected.  The book got soaked.  There have also been board members that had floods in their homes and, of course, the books got damaged.  It doesn't mean that it's impossible to submerge a CGC slab and have the book inside stay dry.  It just means it wasn't designed to do so.

I've spoken with the people that designed the original case and they were quite clear that it was designed to prevent being airtight for the reasons listed above.

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On 4/6/2021 at 11:28 PM, Professor Chaos said:

Yes, and I'll use an Aquaman book just in case. I do doubt they are completely waterproof or airtight. I'm only saying those inner sleeves look pretty well sealed around the edges. I think they may use a heat sealer to melt the edges together. 

No, use Iron Man and Sub-Mariner #1. If Iron Man starts rusting and gasping for air and Subby is all frisky then you have the answer!

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