1952 E.C. Publications VAULT OF HORROR #23
(Before and After)
IS COMIC BOOK PRESSING?
Comic book pressing is the process of flattening out
a comic book that has been wrinkled or damaged. Comics
can get bent during shipping or have creaselines from
heavy reading. Good news: Comic Books can be pressed
using a t-shirt heatpress machine, a book press, a
stack of short boxes, or anything heavy and flat.
The idea is simple: to smooth out the waves and bumps
on the cover of a comic book. This makes the overall
grade and eye appeal of the book increase considerably.
Comic book pressing is not restoration, more like
comic book conservation. The difference can sometimes
mean thousands of dollars when discussing high dollar
key comic books. Do NOT press a comic book
with an iron.
THIS BOOK NEED TO BE PRESSED?
The first question you
should ask is: Does this book need to be pressed?
Signs the book would benefit from a press or dry cleaning:
DANGERS OF BAD PRESSING
KaptainMyke takes extra caution of any potential problems
or dangers that could result from improper pressing
of books. As mentioned in my guide on how
to press comics, these topics are discussed in
great detail and how to prevent each incident from
BURNING A BOOK
Use less heat - keep it under 160 F, less duration.
Set a timer on your phone.
FUZZY INKS Ballpoint pen and sharpie
ink will appear fuzzy or blurry. Use minimal moisture
if possible. Use a lower temperature for ballpoint
pen marks on cover.
COVER IS FUZZY OR BLURRY Too much
moisture and humidity (over 14-18 hours). Less time
in the humidity chamber (Under 8-10 hours).
FLARING Causes wavy pages and wavy
cover. Removing book too soon from press or too much
pressure (or both). Place a backer board at centerfold
to protect the rigidness and flatness of pages.
STAPLES ARE CRUSHED OR SUCKED IN
Use less pressure with pressure adjustment knob. Place
a backer board at centerfold to protect staples.
SPINE IS CRUSHED OR FLAT Use less
pressure with pressure adjustment knob. Place a backer
board at centerfold to protect staples and spine.
WARPING AND WRINKLES ON COVER Re-using
SRP paper. Throw away SRP paper after 1 use. Temperature
is set way to high or there is a malfunction with
thermostat on unit. Place a backer board at centerfold
to protect the rigidness and flatness of pages.
DIVOTS OR CRATERS ON COVER (pebbling)
Use SRP paper and magazine sized backer boards above
and below the book as a disposable sterile barrier
from dirt and dust debris. Wipe each book front to
back with a fragrance free, lotion free kleenex. If
you use steel plates be sure to sand and wipe the
plates clean before use. Using a can of compressed
air helps as well. If you blow with your mouth you
can get saliva bubbles on book.
VERTICAL LINE traveling along spine
on covers or interior pages. Too much pressure, backer
board/cardstock/copypaper is not placed right up against
spine as close as possible. Cardstock paper used is
too thick. Try using 65 lb instead.
SHRINKAGE (cover can shrink but rest
of book measures out). Too much heat. Using too thick
of cardstock under front and back cover also can cause
cover to shrink.
STAINING (water stains, moisture
stains) . Use distilled water only. No tap water or
bottled water. The minerals can and will stain your
SPINE ROLLS Books are stacked improperly
over a long period of time or production error.
SPINE SPLITS on an otherwise near
mint book. Production error, or using a backer board
under covers with too much pressure.
STARCHED COMIC BOOK All pages stuck
together. Enture book is starched and stuck together.
Modern glossy page books require a much lower temperature
setting, such as 145 or 150 degrees. Try lifting each
page one at a time.
ADVERTISING COVER Ads from inside
cover inks can be seen through the cover from page
inks underneath. Too much moisture followed by too
much pressure and heat. IE., "overdoing it".
STAPLE PUSH Staple prong pin holes
on cover. Too much pressure when improper inspection
should have notated the staple prongs need to be pushed
down using a plastic putty knife or similar tool.
Most common with glued squarebound books such as Silver
Surfer 4 or Giant Size X-Men 1.
DIGITAL CODE SQUARES Marvel Digital
Code Insert imprints of 1" square on last 8 pages
of book, including back cover. Improper preparation
for pressing a book with a digital code. The pressure
of the press imprints the digital code into each page
before and after the code. You must use cardstock
paper or copy paper to cushion each page before and
after. (Up to 4 pages before and after to back cover).
SCRATCHES Back cover is scratched.
Make sure you slide a book with board inside a bag.
Do not slide a book inside a pre-assembled bag and
RUST (Iron Oxide) or Mold on cover.
Rust can form on the steel plate of press when pressing
damp books from humidity chamber because moisture
seeps through SRP paper if not using a buffer such
as a backer board. You must also change out all paperstock
and SRP paper after 10 minutes and re-press as normal
before leaving overnight.
WASHED OUT COLORS Faded colors on
cover. Too much humidity. Less time in the humidity
chamber. Using too much pressure with erasers can
also cause color rub faded colors on cover.
COCKLING Wrinkles on cover. Re-using
SRP paper and cardstock or copy paper. Always use
SRP paper once and done. You will imprint wrinkles
from used SRP paper right into the next book you press.
SPINE DENTS Spine ticks. If you spot
new spine dents that weren't there before pressing,
the book was incorrectly handled prior to pressing
or afterwards. Make sure when you flip a book to use
2 assembled bags and boards to create a rigid surface
for flipping and transporting a book.
FINGERPRINTS If you spot new fingerprints
that weren't there before pressing, the book was incorrectly
handled prior to pressing or afterwards. Make sure
when you press a book you always wear cotton or latex
gloves. Use lotion free kleenex tissue and wipe in
COVER LIFTING CURL and/or wavy. If
your front or rear cover starts curling or looks wavy
after pressing, you may have let the book cool down
too fast or it was heated up too fast. Try leaving
the press off until you have the book inside press
machine and clamped down in the closed position. Then
turn press machine on and let it heat up slowly and
cool down slowly. Humidity may be needed to repair
this book's paper fiber memory. While rare, another
reason could be an outer corner crease fold with creaseline
and a middle tear along bottom or top edge. This can
cause the cover to curl as well.
FUSION of some pages stuck together.
Book has been pressed at too hot of temperature. Modern
age glossy modern comic books with glossy interior
pages and cover cannot handle extreme heat temperatures.
Try pressing the book at 150 or 155. To repair this,
be sure to carefully unstick each page one at a time.
Or, you can try slightly bending the comic book vertically
down the middle. You should hear the pages unstick.
Otherwise, the pages have fused to one another and
this book may be ruined with color loss and ink rub
INSIDE COLOR RUB If your inside covers
appear to have missing inks or color rub, scrapes,
or light spots - the cover fused to a sheet of inkjet
copy paper or cardstock paper. Always use inkjet paper
and not laserjet copy paper. The laserjet paper will
stick and pull inks. Otherwise, the book was pressed
too hot and is permanently damaged. Press at 150 degrees
or 155 degrees next time for glossy interior pages
and covers on modern age comic books. Modern age comics
cannot handle temperatures past 160-165 typically.
CANVASING Fine tiny square gridlike
patterns across surface of book cover. This is caused
by using too much pressure and/or re-using teflon
paper sheets. I recommend disposable $0.02 cent sheets
of SRP paper from ULINE to eliminate canvasing, pebbling,
If your book has a spine roll to it, you should consider
spine realignment as well. Adjusting the spine of
a comic book can be risky. Other damage may occur
from staple movement, spine splits, loose pieces becoming
detached, or spine chipping if the book is brittle.
CODES AND INSERTS
New Marvel Comics modern age comic books have digital
code inserts in the last 4th page of every interior
book. Some books also have Tattooz inserts or other
items, such as Image #0 coupons and Mark Jeweler's
Inserts. These books require a different and careful
approach so the digital code does not press or imprint
a 1" square onto the back cover and adjoining
WHAT DOES COMIC BOOK
PRESSING NOT FIX?
Color breaking creases on covers. Loose or missing
staples. Loose or missing pieces or pages. Staple
indentations. Moisture stains. Color or ink breaking
spine ticks. Scratches. Scratches on black covers.
Books folded in half. Ballpoint pen ink. Marker ink.
Date stamps. Library stamps. Deep indentions along
front spine. Blunted corners. I am not a miracle worker.
Please consider these conditions prior to submitting
a book for pressing.
CONSIDERED RESTORATION BY GRADING COMPANIES?
No. Pressing is a non-invasive method of restoring
the original flatness of a book as if it were just
printed. Heat and steam are used sometimes to restore
spine placement, and helps move creases and fold flaps
back to original placement. No chemicals or inks or
paints or any similar methods are used on any books.
Grading labels will not state "restored"
on the label once a book has been pressed.
Dry pressing and dry cleaning your book does not use
any chemicals or moisture. Only pencil marks and crayon
is safely removed from dry cleaning. The heatpress
machine and the temperature does not lift sharpie
marker or ballpoint pen. Signed or witnessed signature
series books are completely safe from ink being lifted
during pressing. Paint markers used on signatures
cannot be pressed or graded.
Cleaning and looking over
the book during inspection can take over a few hours.
Cleaning alone can take several hours depending on
what is being cleaned and how cleaning should be approached.
Once your book is actually being pressed, it takes
5-7 min under high heat and an additional 24 hours
or more to cool down using a singular heat/cold exchange
method of pressing by allowing the book to completely
cool back down while still pressed. The process itself
can take 25-30 hours total per book. Some books require
pressing to be left over several days and nights while
still inside the comic book press. Spine roll realignments
can take an additional 2 hours or more, depending
on severity of spine condition.
risk and pre-screening
Pressing a book does have
inherent risks. The spine can split. Centerfolds
can become loose from a top or bottom staple (or both).
Cleaning can rub off surface gloss or ink. If a book
is brittle there is risk of chipping and pieces coming
loose or removed completely. Spine splits can become
worse during a press. You must understand these risks
and make an informed decision before chosing to have
a book pressed. In most cases, the risk is minimal.
These risks are mostly associated with Golden Age
and Silver Age comic books. Pre-screening is important
because sometimes a book is best left in its present
condition if the benefits do not outweigh the risks
due to value or rarity of book. Send me photos of your books to email@example.com if you have any questions.
There is a dedicated Facebook Group called "KaptainMyke
Comic Book Pressing" for anyone to join and contribute
ideas open for discussion. Ask questions about this
guide or show off your own books! Anyone is welcome
to join. I firmly believe the spread of accurate free
information will help us all keep books preserved
and conserved. You may find the Facebook Group at
this link here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/kaptainmykecomicpressing
Your books are fully protected and insured up to $100,000
under the Consignment Agreement subsection of Collectibles
Insurance Agency Services LLC which covers the following:
storage of books during services provided, limited
transit protection from storage to carrier services,
and limited carrier protection under USPS, FEDEX,
and UPS shipping, this protection covers you in the
event of theft, loss, or damage to your book while
having cleaning and pressing services performed on
your books. This coverage does NOT protect your books
in the event of damage caused by the actual pressing
or cleaning services to your book. There is always
an inherit risk to pressing a book, due to popped
staples, unforeseen spine splits, brittle pages, or
otherwise unknown variables to the pre-existing condition
of your books. In the event your book is damaged due
to pressing or cleaning, your book will be 100% replaced
according to the listed raw grade given on invoice
prior to services performed. For verification of coverage
on policy #UD0002842, please contact: Collectibles
Insurance Agency Services LLC P.O. Box 1146 Bala
Cynwyd, PA 19004 Phone: 336.550.4813 Fax: 410.876.9233