Redartz: Good day, everyone! In the course of your comic buying over the years, have you ever acquired some books that really had been through the wringer? Comics that look as if the dog had spent a good afternoon gnawing on them. Or that had been folded so much you could have made origami from them. The sort of comics not likely to show up on a dealer's display wall.
A recent purchase of a stack of mostly coverless comics did include a few with covers. One was an early issue of Justice League, and it looked like an interesting one. It's cover was detached, center pages loose, and the paper at the staples was shredded.
As the cover was already separated, it made things a bit easier. I applied archival acid-free document repair tape to the inside of the cover at the spine to seal the tears, removed the staples, reinserted them through the cover and back through the pages (which themselves frequently needed a tape repair, see the photo right above). I then took a dry cleaning pad (it is filled with powdered eraser dust, squeezing it produces a powdery coating over the surface, see the photo at left), and squeezed it over the cover I then used a circular motion, moving the pad over the surface of the cover, allowing the eraser dust to remove surface dust and dirt. I then placed the book between some weighted books to help flatten the reconstructed spine. The finished result is a comic, with cover, that now holds together enough to be read.
In some instances, at this point, I will take the pencils and do a bit of color touch-up. Prismacolor pencils work nicely fot this, as they are lightfast, and blendable, and their reflectivity closely matches that of a comic cover.
Here we have an example in which the cover reeeeally had some issues. I found this at a flea market for three dollars, and bought it just as a lark. As it turned out, I found a cover (no interior) for sale on ebay for a few dollars, and bought that. When it arrived, I simply switched the covers. A bit of prismacolor touch up, and voila. A before-and-after illustration. And again, this book is just for my own enjoyment. Both for the mere possession of such a prominent book, but also for the fun and creative challenge of the repair: faced with a ruined, worthless book, to what extent can you save it and make it a bit more presentable?
Of course,some of the books I've accumulated don't even justify this kind of attention, such as these unfortunates. In cases such as these, if it is a book of any interest, I scan the pages onto my laptop. Then I can clean up the images, download a cover, and transfer the whole thing to my tablet. I have a growing file of scanned comics done in just this manner, including some oddities: for instance, a 1957 Lil' Abner issue featuring "Sadie Hawkins Day" and the Shmoo.
Finally, for books that aren't even that complete, I have a stack that I use as 'raw material'. They are great to cut up and use as decoration on boxes, shelves, and ornaments; with the application of a layer of acrylic medium or Mod Podge. In this way, any pile of books can be put to some use.
Finally, here's a look at some of the 'tools of the trade'. Shown is a set of Prismacolor pencils, tweezers (helpful for removing and replacing staples), a sharp blade, dry cleaning pad and archival document repair tape.
Now you know what I do with those dog-eared wonder books. What do you do with yours?