The ComiQuad: Some Assembly Required

By Jon Erik Christianson • April 4, 2012 at 2:00 pm


Boom! Wham! Pow! The ComiQuad is a column dedicated to the spandex-laden world of comics and superheroes. It goes up each Tuesday and will alternate between comic book reviews and other comic book news. Reviews shall try to be spoiler-free. Zam!

The world is a big ol’ scary place sometimes. It’s full of hardened criminals, financial crises, and children armed with Skittles.

That’s why we humans turn to protection. Afraid of a robbery? Invest in a security system. Blustery weather on BU campus? Haul around a beach umbrella Put on a durable jacket and trudge on. Bitter about dating life? Get a Twitter account.

Comic books are no different. Protect them and reap the nostalgic and financial rewards in years to come. Leave them defenseless, however, and risk seeing a friend use Action Comics #1 as a coaster for his Mountain Dew.

Board It

Comic books are delicate, fussy little rascals and require delicate care to keep them from turning into origami. A dirty look risks crumpling them. That’s why the comic book industry invented comic book boards.

Comic book boards are the shiny rectangular contraptions that act to support comic books when they’re inside a comic book bag. They provide strength, support, and durability that manages to both protect and stabilize the superhero story it’s paired with. It also makes organizing much easier for those of us who must catalogue and alphabetize everything.

Also, no one likes a limp Superman comic.

When purchasing comic book boards, people experienced in ordering at Starbucks have a distinct advantage over those who don’t. They know how to negotiate weird size names.

An example of a funky, Golden Age comic | Cover courtesy of Wikimedia Commons user Chordboard

Comic book boards come in a vast array of sizes, but the most popular tend to be “Current,” “Silver,” and “Golden.” These sizes, although odd at first, refer to different comic book eras. The Silver Age spanned from 1956-1970, the Golden Age lasted from the late 1930s to the mid 1950s, and “Current” refers to modern times.

With different sized comic books, there are different sized boards. They same applies for…

Bag It

Animals like shiny things. Small children like shiny things. Over-stressed college students love shiny things. So why not make even more shiny things by using comic book bags? Not to mention comic book boards are pretty useless without them.

Like the boards, comic book bags come in multiple sizes all according to the epoch in which they were produced.

Treat them carefully, because they have a habit of bending, folding, dimpling, and getting full of fingerprints if you aren’t careful. Luckily enough, their glossy sheen makes it easy to wipe off any food substance you may accidentally get on the comic. Because it will happen.

Box It

Arguably the most integral yet most singularly frustrating element of the comic book preservation process is the storage box. Without it, a comic book collection is a disheveled mess filled with shame, disappointment and sadness.

When purchasing a standard storage box, which houses roughly 100 current comics, ask the store clerk to fold the flat contraption into a box. Unless you’re well-versed in origami, first aid and post-traumatic stress disorder counseling, you should not be trying to assemble the box alone. No amount of written instructions or YouTube tutorials will guide you through this Saw-inspired cardboard death trap.

This is How You One-Two Step

Now that you’ve amassed your supplies, follow these instructions for guaranteed success.

  1. Identify the glossy side of the comic book board.
  2. Identify the side of the comic book bag with a longer flap.
  3. Slide the board into the bag with the glossy side facing out through the flap side of the bag.
  4. Slide comic book into bag with cover facing out through flap side of bag.
  5. Repeat until all comics are bagged and sealed with tape.
  6. Organize in storage box alphabetically, by rarity, in a color code, etc.
  7. Decorate storage box with stickers.
  8. Reward self with hours of immobility.

Congratulations! With these new-found superpowers, you’ve now ascended to a higher plane of being in the comic book universe. The next installment of the CQ will feature lessons in levitation and X-ray vision.


Jon Christianson (COM/CAS '14) is the zany, misunderstood cousin of The Quad family. His superpowers include talking at the speed of light, tripping over walls, and defying ComiQuad deadlines with the greatest of ease. His lovely copyeditors don't appreciate that last one. If for some reason you hunger for more of his nonsense, follow him at @HonestlyJon on Twitter or contact him at jchristianson@buquad.com!



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