BASIC BAGS for Comic Dealers

We created Basic Bags & Boards first and foremost for Comic Book Dealers. They need to protect their comics only until they are sold, but they need their supplies to be decent quality at discounted prices. The Basic Line of Bags and Boards are available for purchase by anyone of course, as long as the minimum quantities are met.

HOW “BASIC BAGS BEGAN”. Everything and everyone has a story. This is the story of the humble comic bag and it's evolution.

Bags Unlimited began its long history of making comic bags in the early 1970s. Many of you probably remember Mark Macaluso from Fantasyland Comics. Mark regularly went to the cons in New York City, not only as a comic dealer, but with the first comic bags to grace the halls of NYC Comic Book Conventions (they’ve come a long way baby). He made the bags on a small hand heat sealer in his basement. (This is not quite a Bill Gates story.) The other dealers quickly realized the benefits of having the comics they had for sale protected from eager customers riffling through their comic boxes, bending the comic book corners, crinkling covers and leaving fingerprints and grease throughout the pages. When Mark’s father asked him if he bought an automatic bag making machine “how many could he sell”? Mark’s reply was “How many can you make”?

From the very beginning, Bags Unlimited set themselves a high standard for manufacturing comic bags. We insisted on making them from 100% virgin, high clarity polyethylene. The mil thickness had to remain true to the tolerances set by the industry (+/- 5 %), the width of the bags could be no more than +/- 1/16”, they should have identifiable packing bags for the different sizes of comics. Nearly fifty years later we are still doing business with these strict guidelines for making comic bags.

As the comics industry grew Diamond Distribution started offering close-to-free bags to comic book stores if they also purchased their comics from them. By then many comic dealers were pinching pennies, as the expense of running physical stores was much higher than just selling at comic book conventions. Many store owners took Diamond up on their offer. But soon they realized that Diamonds bags were improperly sized, shoddily made and were hardly ever in stock. The pendulum swung back.

Soon Polypropylene bags came along. The crystal-clear, shiny material these bags are manufactured from made the colors in comic book covers pop, and the reseal tape on the bags made a much better presentation than using scotch tape to keep the bags closed. Once again the comic dealer's interest in polyethylene bags drifted away. Why use the less shiny polyethylene bags? They had no resealable tape and were more expensive. We went back to the drawing board and designed our version of the Polypropylene Comic Bag (images of Polypropylene Regular Comic Bags are shown). Bags Unlimited personally raised the expectations of dealers using Polypropylene comic bags. We were unhappy with the look of the PolyPro bags that were available in the marketplace. Over time the material rippled and what started as a super clear bag became a puckered mess. We searched for a polypropylene material that would retain its clarity. Eventually, we found it! It is called Bio-Oriented Polypropylene. At the time of manufacturing the material is stretched both ways so that once converted into bags it retains its shape instead of shrinking.

Our new Polypropylene bags were eagerly purchased by all, but due to the extra expense of utilizing the Bi-Oriented material, the comic dealers were still looking for a better deal. That’s when we decided to manufacture bags just for the comic book dealers. Comic Book Dealers don’t plan on keeping the comics they have in their stores. They hope they are quick sale items. The bags dealers need are simply for protection for the comics until the comics are sold to a customer. We made slightly thinner bags (1.25 mil vs. 2 mil) and eliminated the reseal tape to save money. The “BASIC BAGS” were born and immediately embraced! Dealers love the price, and the quality is there to suit their needs (shiny and high clarity). We stock them, here, in New Comic, Regular Comic, and Dell/Silver Age Comic.

BASIC BACKINGS for Comic Dealers

“BASIC BACKINGS” definition: Comic backings for people and places that sell large quantities of comic books and need a backing board that works well and the price is cut-rate.

Why do Comic Dealers need their own backing boards anyway? Comic Dealers do not like spending money on “Supplies” for comic books for sale in their stores. The idea that the comics are quick sell items for them (hopefully) means that the bags and backings they use on their comics only have to serve as protection for a short time. They figure if the customer wants higher quality bags and boards they can invest in them. Dealers are also always looking for “deals”. Even our most affordable comic backers were out of the price range they were willing to spend. It took us time, but we found a manufacturing plant that made sheets of .024” thick board. Our thinnest stock board was .028” thick and was acid-free which made it too costly for the dealers.

The Basic Board besides being thinner (less costly) is double white (quite attractive) and coated on one side (a finish they prefer). It is pH neutral material (on a scale of 0-14 it is 7), but as previously stated, dealers plan on selling their merchandise quickly. The “Basic Boards” were an instant success and sized to fit in our “Basic Bags.” See them here. The Basic Line of Bags and Boards are available for purchase by anyone of course, as long as the minimum quantities are met.

Below is a list of the backing materials we have always stocked. We carry three distinctly different types of materials for Short-term, Long-term and Indefinite storage. There is a brief write-up on each category below to help you choose the right backing board for your collection. Find all of our options here.

Short-term Backings Boards are not acid-free. The thickness is .030”, white on one side and very economical. However, acid is transferable from one item to the next, and you do not want to keep your comics stored with these backings for long. Use these backings for “quick sell” comics in which you have no investment. The sooner this type of backing is replaced, the more protected the stored comic will be

Long-term Backings Boards are acid-free all the way through. They are white on both sides and .028” thick. The purpose of acid-free boards is to absorb the acids in the comic as well as migrating acids in the atmosphere. Eventually, the board will have absorbed all the acid possible and become ineffective as an acid neutralizer. Fifty years is considered the standard length of time for “long-term” storage.

Indefinite Backing Boards are .040” thick, pure white, 100% alpha cellulose board (no wood pulp) and buffered with calcium carbonate. Buffering keeps the board from breaking down (indefinitely). The material is acid-free (alkaline 8.0-9.0), lignin-free, contaminant-free. Buffering is the key to the longevity of these boards (100's of years). It blocks migrating acids from contaminating the stored comic. This board is generally used by museums, curators of substantial or valuable collections and comic collectors that have prized collections. It is suitable for conservation and meets the Library of Congress Archival Standards.