Pressing Comic Books with Digital Codes or Inserts

All modern age Marvel Comics comic books will feature a digital code sticker for reading your comic book online.

All modern age Marvel Comics comic books will feature a digital code sticker for reading your comic book online.

If you have been studying my guide on “How to Press Comic Books with a T-Shirt Heat Press“, I have mentioned there are some advanced aspects to pressing comic books on your own.  One advanced technique I would like to talk about today is the modern age books from Marvel Comics.  These comic books all have a Marvel Digital Code stamp insert.  You peel the sticker off and unlock the digital code online for your reading enjoyment and for any additional extra content the issue might offer to its reader.  Of course, if the sticker is peeled off one of these comic books you can immediately knock a grade or two off the overall condition with a dreaded “INCOMPLETE” on the label.  Obviously, most collectors (and you included reading this guide) leave the sticker intact and proceed to press the book and have it graded.

You might ask: “But why would I press a brand new book?”.  Brand new comics (variants, store exclusives, limited print runs, virgin covers, etc) worth over $100 should definitely be pressed to smooth out the production and printer bumps/waves. That can make all the difference in the world from a 9.6 to a 9.8 with no spine ticks or splits.

Never giving any thought, if you try to press one of these books, you are in for quite a surprise:  an ugly square shaped imprint glaring at you right in the face on the back cover and the last 4-5 pages as well.  Click to zoom any image in this article for a closer look. 

Look at the back cover of this pressed 2018 Marvel Comics AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #797 Young Guns Variant by Aaron Kuder. Oops! See the square imprint to the left of the "G" on the Young Guns logo? Look closely at the square white bump.  (Click to zoom in for a closer look)

Look at the back cover of this pressed 2018 Marvel Comics AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #797 Young Guns Variant by Aaron Kuder. Oops! See the square imprint to the left of the “G” on the Young Guns logo? Look closely at the square white bump. (Click to zoom in for a closer look)

Look at the back cover of this pressed 2018 Marvel Comics AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #797 Young Guns Variant by Aaron Kuder. Oops! See the square imprint to the right of the Young Guns logo? Look closely at the square white bump.

Look at the back cover of this pressed 2018 Marvel Comics AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #797 Young Guns Variant by Aaron Kuder. Oops! See the square imprint to the left of the “G” on the Young Guns logo? Look closely at the square white bump. (Click to zoom in for a closer look)

As an amateur presser, you must take extra steps to prevent this from happening.  I will write a future article on “How to fix Marvel Digital Code Imprints on Back Covers”.

 

These steps will ensure you don’t cause damage to the back cover, or subsequent pages either.  This technique should also be applied with care when considering any comic book that features a Tattooz insert (such as Amazing Spider-man #238), Image #0 Coupons, etc) or poster pullouts.  There are also comics that feature Mark Jeweler’s Inserts but those aren’t a problem at all.

Depending on the thickness of the book, you will use one of two types of fillers for this method to work.  You are going to use either comic book backer boards, or bright white copy paper.  Thick books with over 60 pages should use copy paper.  Thinner books that are less than 40 pages should use comic book backer boards.

2018 Marvel Comics VENOM #1 Todd McFarlane 1:1000 Incentive Remastered B&W Variant

2018 Marvel Comics VENOM #1 Todd McFarlane 1:1000 Incentive Remastered B&W Variant

Let’s begin with a thinner glossy magazine pages paperstock modern age book.  This is the same book I featured in my blog post entitled, “Dry Cleaning Modern Age Comic Books with a Pencil Eraser“.    The book in question is $500 raw 9.4 copy of 2018 Marvel Comics VENOM #1 Todd McFarlane 1:1000 Incentive Remastered B&W Variant, as seen in this photo:

 

First thing you want to do is clean the book with a common pencil eraser or Absorene Eraser Pad and dust it off with a can of compressed air or a lotion-free tissue.  This is a black spine book, so we must take extra care of the spine and not cause any additional (one spine tick!  Can you believe it?!) spine damage to the book.  There is also a minor spine split at the bottom as well.  You must take absolute care as to not cause the existing spine split to split even more.  That is why we are doing a very light press on this book in this article, just to take out the cover bumps from production.

we are doing a very light press on this book in this article, just to take out the cover bumps from production

We are doing a very light press on this book in this article, just to take out the cover bumps from production and to avoid any damage to spine or cause a bigger spine split at bottom.

Since this is a thinner book, I am choosing to use the comic book backer board method to prevent a digital code imprint transfer during the pressing process phase.  You can use any size of backer board, such as modern age, silver age, or even magazine size.  In the following example I have chosen to use modern age size backer boards for in between the pages.  This book unfortunately already has a tiny spine split at the bottom, as seen in this photo:

Tiny 1/16" spine split at bottom of a spine on a 1:1000 inventive variant valued at $500.

Tiny 1/16″ spine split at bottom of a spine on a 1:1000 inventive variant valued at $500.

Find the centerfold of your book.

Set the black spine down on a sheet of Silicone Release Paper.  Find the centerfold of your book.

Take great care of the spine of your book and set the book down on a sheet of Silicone Release Paper. Find the centerfold of your book.  Place a backer board at the centerfold.  Do not snuggle the magazine size comic book backer board underneath the staples or on top of the staples.  Just up against the staples.

Place a backer board at the centerfold, against the staples. Not above or below the staples. Against the staples.

Place a backer board at the centerfold, against the staples. Not above or below the staples. Against the staples.

Next you will carefully close the book. Flip the book over, back cover side up. Find your digital code page.

Next you will carefully close the book. Flip the book over, back cover side up. Find your digital code page.

Next you will carefully close the book. Flip the book over, back cover side up. Find your digital code page.

Place a magazine size comic book backer board at the page where your digital code sticker page is resided.

Next you will carefully close the book. Flip the book over, back cover side up. Find your digital code page.

Next you will carefully close the book. Flip the book over, back cover side up. Find your digital code page.

Flip to the back cover. Place a magazine size comic book backer board at the last page between where your back cover and last page reside.

Place a backer board at the last page and back cover.

Place a backer board at the last page and back cover.

Be sure to place a third and final magazine size comic book backer board (or copy paper if it’s a thicker book) between the digital code sticker page and the page before it. This makes a total of three backer boards inside this book.

Be sure to place a final and third comic book backer board between the digital code sticker page and the page before it. This makes a total of three backer boards inside this book.

Be sure to place a final and third comic book backer board between the digital code sticker page and the page before it. This makes a total of three backer boards inside this book.

Be sure prior to pressing the book you back off the pressure adjustment screw on your press and lighten the pressure for the book’s thickness. You are pressing lightly so you do not need to worry about a vertical line traveling along the spine from the inconsistent size of the magazine size comic book backer boards against the inside spine of book.

You are pressing lightly so you do not need to worry about a vertical line traveling along the spine from the inconsistent size of the backer boards against the inside spine of book.

You are pressing lightly so you do not need to worry about a vertical line traveling along the spine from the inconsistent size of the backer boards against the inside spine of book.

Place 2 magazine size comic book backer boards on your press mat. Set 1 sheet of Silicone Release Paper on those 2 magazine size comic book backer boards.

Place 2 magazine size backer boards on your press mat. Set 1 sheet of Silicone Release Paper on those 2 magazine size backer boards.

Place 2 magazine size backer boards on your press mat. Set 1 sheet of Silicone Release Paper on those 2 magazine size backer boards.

Set the book down on the press carefully with SRP Paper and Magazine sized comic book backer boards.

Set the book down on the press carefully with SRP Paper and Magazine sized comic book backer boards.

Set the book down carefully and apply light pressure with your fingers to bump the cardstock up against the staples and spine. Place another sheet of Silicone Release Paper down on the book. Set a final pair of two magazine size comic book backer boards down on press.

Set the book down carefully and apply light pressure with your fingers to bump the cardstock up against the staples and spine. Place another sheet of Silicone Release Paper down on the book. Set a final pair of two magazine sized comic book backer boards down on press.

Set the book down carefully and apply light pressure with your fingers to bump the cardstock up against the staples and spine. Place another sheet of Silicone Release Paper down on the book. Set a final pair of two magazine sized comic book backer boards down on press.

Turn the press on and set your temperature to 150 degrees. Set your time to 500 seconds. Turn the pressure adjustment screw down to compensate for the thicker book and to prevent spine split.

Turn the press on and set your temperature to 150 degrees. Set your time to 500 seconds. Turn the pressure adjustment screw down to compensate for the thicker book and to prevent spine split.

Turn the press on and set your temperature to 150 degrees. Set your time to 500 seconds. Turn the pressure adjustment screw down to compensate for the thicker book and to prevent spine split.

After 500 seconds is up, you will flip the book over front side up and repeat the pressing for another 500 seconds. When the 500 seconds is up, turn off the press machine and leave the book inside machine for 24 hours.

After 24 hours, the book has been carefully removed from press to admire our handiwork.

After 24 hours, the book has been carefully removed from press to admire our handiwork.

We then flip through the book and examine the back cover to make sure the digital code has not imprinted onto the back cover or subsequent pages.

We flip through the book to examine each page to make sure the digital code sticker has not imprinted itself onto any pages or back cover of book.

We flip through the book to examine each page to make sure the digital code sticker has not imprinted itself onto any pages or back cover of book.

We flip through the book to examine each page to make sure the digital code sticker has not imprinted itself onto any pages or back cover of book.

We flip through the book to examine each page to make sure the digital code sticker has not imprinted itself onto any pages or back cover of book.

We flip through the book to examine each page to make sure the digital code sticker has not imprinted itself onto any pages or back cover of book.

We flip through the book to examine each page to make sure the digital code sticker has not imprinted itself onto any pages or back cover of book.

We flip through the book to examine each page to make sure the digital code sticker has not imprinted itself onto any pages or back cover of book.

We flip through the book to examine each page to make sure the digital code sticker has not imprinted itself onto any pages or back cover of book.

There will be trial and error through experience and doing more of these books over time, trust me. If you still see bumps, try applying slightly more pressure and try again. Always better to do light pressure and not enough, than to overdo it and ruin a valuable book!

Press on

Dry Cleaning Comic Books with a Pencil Eraser

2018 Marvel Comics VENOM #1 Todd McFarlane 1:1000 Incentive Remastered B&W Variant

2018 Marvel Comics VENOM #1 Todd McFarlane 1:1000 Incentive Remastered B&W Variant

Greetings!  Today I want to talk to you about basic cleaning of a brand new modern age comic book, fresh from Diamond off the rack at your local comic book store.  These books get dirty!  Production flaws and rollers can cause dirt and debris to collect on your thin magazine glossy paperstock quality comic books, especially from Marvel.  This method can be used on older books, too!

So this is a pretty big secret, even if you don’t press comics.  You can clean most comic book covers in this manner, regardless if you are pressing the book or not!  You don’t need a press in order to perform this method.  

Let’s take a look at this 2018 Marvel Comics VENOM #1 Todd McFarlane 1:1000 Incentive Remastered B&W Variant.  This is a $500 book in 9.8 grade, but thanks to Marvel and Diamond, somebody thought, “Hey, let’s put a black border around the spine and front cover!” to destroy any chances of a 9.8 grade.  This one is likely a 9.4.  You can see all the dirt and roller debris on the white areas of the cover:

2018 Marvel Comics VENOM #1 Todd McFarlane 1:1000 Incentive Remastered B&W Variant

2018 Marvel Comics VENOM #1 Todd McFarlane 1:1000 Incentive Remastered B&W Variant

2018 Marvel Comics VENOM #1 Todd McFarlane 1:1000 Incentive Remastered B&W Variant

2018 Marvel Comics VENOM #1 Todd McFarlane 1:1000 Incentive Remastered B&W Variant

2018 Marvel Comics VENOM #1 Todd McFarlane 1:1000 Incentive Remastered B&W Variant

2018 Marvel Comics VENOM #1 Todd McFarlane 1:1000 Incentive Remastered B&W Variant

If you remember in my guide on “How to Press Comic Books with a T-Shirt Heat Press“, I suggested using Number 2 pencils and an Absorense Eraser Pad. It’s always best to start non-invasively so start small with just a clean eraser from a Number 2 pencil.  I also use eraser tops as well.  You will need to clean your pencil eraser often as you lift the dirt and oils from your comic book.  Use the Absorense Eraser Pad.  to clean your pencil eraser like so:

If you remember in my guide on "How to Press Comic Books with a T-Shirt Heat Press", I suggested using Number 2 pencils and an Absorense Eraser Pad. It's always best to start non-invasively so start small with just a clean eraser from a Number 2 pencil.  I also use eraser tops as well.  You will need to clean your pencil eraser often as you lift the dirt and oils from your comic book.  Use the Absorense Eraser Pad.  to clean your pencil eraser like so:

Using Number 2 pencils and an Absorene Eraser Pad. For dry cleaning it’s always best to start non-invasively so start small with just a clean eraser from a Number 2 pencil.  I also use eraser tops as well.  You will need to clean your pencil eraser often as you lift the dirt and oils from your comic book so use the Absorene Eraser Pad to clean the eraser top.

Press very lightly and use the pencil eraser in circular swirls on the white areas only of the comic book cover. I would not risk using the eraser over solid black inks or colors. You really don’t want to lose any of the cover’s glossiness or it can become quite evident. Remember, you are only trying to lightly clean off the surface of the book. Try not to make it obvious someone attempted to clean the cover.

Press very lightly and use the pencil eraser in circular swirls on the white areas only of the comic book cover.

Press very lightly and use the pencil eraser in circular swirls on the white areas only of the comic book cover.

Press very lightly and use the pencil eraser in circular swirls on the white areas only of the comic book cover.

Press very lightly and use the pencil eraser in circular swirls on the white areas only of the comic book cover.

Finally, you will try to use the Absorene Eraser Pad very lightly across the entire surface of the book to remove and lift off any traces of remaining rubber from your eraser top.    You are now ready to press the book.  Be careful as many modern Marvel books like this one have a digital code in the back that can imprint through the rear cover and surrounding pages.  I will discuss this very technique in my next post.

Finally, you will try to use the Absorene Eraser Pad very lightly across the entire surface of the book to remove and lift off any traces of remaining rubber from your eraser top.

Finally, you will try to use the Absorene Eraser Pad very lightly across the entire surface of the book to remove and lift off any traces of remaining rubber from your eraser top.  You are now ready to press the book.  Be careful as many modern Marvel books like this one have a digital code in the back that can imprint through the rear cover and surrounding pages.  I will discuss this very technique in my next post.

When all else fails, you can also use your latex gloves as well for cleaning.  Same prinicple, same concept, just lightly rub over the white or light areas of the book and use the Absorene Eraser Pad to clean your fingers.

When all else fails, you can also use your latex gloves as well for cleaning.  Same prinicple, same concept, just lightly rub over the white or light areas of the book and use the Absorene Eraser Pad to clean your fingers.

When all else fails, you can also use your latex gloves as well for cleaning.  Same prinicple, same concept, just lightly rub over the white or light areas of the book and use the Absorene Eraser Pad to clean your fingers.

Here is the same comic book, after an hour under a normal regular common household pencil eraser. No photoshop filters or edits were made to this image, either. This is in my opinion the best non-evasive way to clean a modern age comic book.

Here is the same comic book, after an hour under a normal regular common household pencil eraser. No photoshop filters or edits were made to this image, either. This is in my opinion the best non-evasive way to clean a modern age comic book.

Here is the same comic book, after an hour under a normal regular common household pencil eraser. No photoshop filters or edits were made to this image, either. This is in my opinion the best non-evasive way to clean a modern age comic book.

Tips for Selling Items on Ebay Auctions

 

1. Schedule to end on a Sunday night
2. Schedule to end at 6pm PST or 9pm EST
3. Schedule to end around the 1st of the month for maximum payday profit
4. Space multiple auctions end times out over 3-5 minute intervals apart
5. Start at 99 cents
6. Use a reserve but only if the item is too rare or hard to find that people don’t know of its existence
7. Free shipping inside US, global shipping program outside US
8. Clear concise well lit photos, not blurry or cropped out
9. No reflections of faces, naked body parts, or evidence of a crime
10. Use sensationalism words like: “WOW!”, “RARE”, “HTF”, “LOOK!”, “SEXY”, “AMAZING” in your description and titles (it works for fruit and vegetables)

Selling on ebay can be fun and rewarding as a buyer and a seller.  Want to sell comic books or toys on ebay?  First of all, buy all shipping supplies on ebay:

You will also need boxes and cardboard gemini media mailers. For comics you can use 12x12x4 boxes which are cheaper via USPS because they are under 12″. Graded books should be shipped the same way but inside a 14x14x4 box instead.

You should know that from January to March it is a buyers market and not a good time to sell.  From April through the summertime, it is a great time to be a seller and not so much as a buyer.  Keep this in mind when selling collectibles or luxury purchase items on ebay.

Learn how to properly mail your ebay packages through the US Postal Service System at this link.

And, if you sell comic books on ebay, it should be required by law to purchase this book:

There are far too many sellers on ebay who overgrade their books on auction items. This causes people to overbid or bid aggressively on a FINE copy of a golden age horror book but ends up being a VERY GOOD condition comic book due to a tear or piece of tape. The Overstreet Guide to Grading Comic Books is written by Robert M. Overstreet. This book will greatly detail and cite examples with images on each grade of the ten point comic book grading system. This book is incredibly valuable to any buyer or seller on ebay of comics. You also can use this book to argue with a seller on why you justify that a book is graded less than advertised by a seller.