Dry Heat Pressing Comic Books

I have decided to try and dive into the subculture and rabbit hole known as comic book pressing.   I decided to invest in a  professional grade t-shirt heatpress machine for this adventure. It makes perfect sense because KaptainMyke is already in the business of t-shirt designs and heatpressing silkscreen art.

Where to begin? I’ve read and seen countless examples of bad pressing. Scorched books, waves or ripples appear on the comic book several hours or days later. Many times the comic book returns back to its original shape before pressing – like a memory foam mattress!   I am not here to endorse amateur pressing but I am posting here my findings and experiences so far.   Temperature and moisture levels are key.   So what is one to do when water or moisture is paper product’s worst enemy?

I thought I would try the realm of singular heat/cold exchange on pressing. You press a book for 20 minutes, flip the book over for an additional 20 minutes, and turn off the unit…leaving the book inside the press for 4 hours after. This proved to be wildly successful…so here goes my photo documented results with my very first press.

I used one of my son’s new comic books. It’s a brand new Newsstand Edition copy of Scooby Doo Team-up #27, featuring Plastic Man. This comic book is rough! My son is 10 years old and autistic, so he frankly does not care at all what happens to the book, so long as the book is opened to the page he likes the most, and on the floor for him to look at anytime in any random moment of his choosing to admire.

The first trial comic book pressing: 2017 DC Comics Scooby Doo Team-up ft Plastic Man #27. You can see the wrinkles and creased front corner. Yikes!

The first trial comic book pressing: 2017 DC Comics Scooby Doo Team-up ft Plastic Man #27. You can see the wrinkles and creased front corner. Yikes!

The first trial comic book pressing: 2017 DC Comics Scooby Doo Team-up ft Plastic Man #27. You can see the wrinkles and creased front corner. Yikes!

The first trial comic book pressing: 2017 DC Comics Scooby Doo Team-up ft Plastic Man #27. You can see the wrinkles and creased front corner. Yikes!

I regret I didn’t take enough photos of the back but here are a few good angles for you to inspect:

The first trial comic book pressing: 2017 DC Comics Scooby Doo Team-up ft Plastic Man #27. You can see the wrinkles and waves on the back cover. Yikes!

The first trial comic book pressing: 2017 DC Comics Scooby Doo Team-up ft Plastic Man #27. You can see the wrinkles and waves on the back cover. Yikes!

The first trial comic book pressing: 2017 DC Comics Scooby Doo Team-up ft Plastic Man #27. You can see the wrinkles and waves on the back cover. Yikes!

The first trial comic book pressing: 2017 DC Comics Scooby Doo Team-up ft Plastic Man #27. You can see the wrinkles and waves on the back cover. Yikes!

I used 2 sheets of normal copy paper on top and below the comic book inside the heat press.

I used 2 sheets of normal copy paper on top and below the comic book inside the heat press.

I used 2 sheets of normal copy paper on top and below the comic book inside the heat press.

I used 2 sheets of normal copy paper on top and below the comic book inside the heat press.

I tried an initial temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes on each side. This seems to be the best temperature but today I am trying 170 degrees.

The trick is to turn off the heat press after the second 20 minutes and leave the comic book inside the heat press for an additional 1-4 hours, depending on the severity of the the initial creasing and waviness of of the book. Leaving the book in the press is crucial if you do not wish to use a sinus cold or clothes fabric humidifier. I do not suggest using humidity on the book. It’s called a “dry press” and “dry cleaning” for a reason. Leaving the book in the press for as long as possible will prevent the book from returning to its original “memory foam mattress” condition.

After 4 hours later, here are the results of the first comic book pressing by KaptainMyke:

Results of first press. Back of book. Top down top left side of back cover.

Results of first press. Back of book. Top down top left side of back cover.

Results of 1st comic press. Front of cover. You can see the crease on the bottom right corner to see it's the same book.

Results of 1st comic press. Front of cover. You can see the crease on the bottom right corner to see it’s the same book.

Results of 1st comic press. Top down left side view of front of book.

Results of 1st comic press. Top down left side view of front of book.

Spine results of first press. You can obviously see the color breaking spine ticks but overall previous damage of spine is nonexistent.

Spine results of first press. You can obviously see the color breaking spine ticks but overall previous damage of spine is nonexistent.

Bottom right front corner of book shows the color breaking corner crease but it is flattened out very smooth and flat.

Bottom right front corner of book shows the color breaking corner crease but it is flattened out very smooth and flat.

Results of first press. Back of book. No damage.

Results of first press. Back of book. No damage.

Results of first press. Back of book. Top down left side of back cover.

Results of first press. Back of book. Top down left side of back cover.

Results of first press. Back of book. Top down top side of back cover.

Results of first press. Back of book. Top down top side of back cover.

Results of first press. Back of book. Top down right side of back cover.

Results of first press. Back of book. Top down right side of back cover.

Results of first press. Back of book. Top down right side of back cover.

Results of first press. Back of book. Top down right side of back cover.

Results of first press. Back of book. Top down top left side of back cover.

Results of first press. Back of book. Top down top left side of back cover.

Results of first press. Back of book. Top down top left side of front cover.

Results of first press. Back of book. Top down top left side of front cover.

Results of first press. Back of book. Top down top right side of front cover.

Results of first press. Back of book. Top down top right side of front cover.

As you can clearly see, for my first trial run of dry heat pressing a comic book, the results are wildly remarkable and astounding.  Total success!  There are a few remaining dings but for my first press this is fantastic.

A few things I’ve learned:
Use copy paper on the top and back of cover for pressing.
Pages with glossy magazine paper will stick together when temp is too hot.
When this happens, wait for book to completely cool down before separating out pages stuck due to modern high gloss paper.
Do not press books with a square bound spine, such as graphic novels like The Dark Knight Returns or The Killing Joke.
Spine rolls are not a problem. The press easily resets spine rolls but you will have color breaks most likely.

The name of the heat press is a VEVOR Digital Controller heatpress machine. Model CP230B. Temperature can be adjusted from 100-400 degrees.  Brand new they can retail for $250-$400.  Used you can buy one for $150 but you will need a new bottom pad most likely.

EDIT:  So CBCS comics suspended my account for 7 days and deleted my post on the forum at forum.cbcscomics.com.  

I guess free information exchange isn’t allowed.   I was also not aware this was against company forum policy since they have not updated their terms of use.  

Amateur pressing should not threaten their business model.  The fascists who operate the discussion forum do, however.   

 

VEVOR Headpress Machine. Swivel stand and pressure screws give this heat press total flexibility for various sizes and shapes of books. The pressure plate screws will help adjust for all different sizes and thickness of books.

VEVOR Headpress Machine. Swivel stand and pressure screws give this heat press total flexibility for various sizes and shapes of books. The pressure plate screws will help adjust for all different sizes and thickness of books.

VEVOR Headpress Machine. Swivel stand and pressure screws give this heat press total flexibility for various sizes and shapes of books. The pressure plate screws will help adjust for all different sizes and thickness of books.

VEVOR Headpress Machine. Swivel stand and pressure screws give this heat press total flexibility for various sizes and shapes of books. The pressure plate screws will help adjust for all different sizes and thickness of books.

VEVOR Headpress Machine. Swivel stand and pressure screws give this heat press total flexibility for various sizes and shapes of books. The pressure plate screws will help adjust for all different sizes and thickness of books.

VEVOR Headpress Machine. Swivel stand and pressure screws give this heat press total flexibility for various sizes and shapes of books. The pressure plate screws will help adjust for all different sizes and thickness of books.

VEVOR Headpress Machine. Swivel stand and pressure screws give this heat press total flexibility for various sizes and shapes of books. The pressure plate screws will help adjust for all different sizes and thickness of books.

VEVOR Headpress Machine. Swivel stand and pressure screws give this heat press total flexibility for various sizes and shapes of books. The pressure plate screws will help adjust for all different sizes and thickness of books.

Here are the results of some more books I’ve recently worked on. I performed a sort of dry cleaning and dry heat pressing on the following books:

1988 DC Comics BATMAN #428 1st Printing NEWSSTAND EDITION. This one is beat up and has bad spine creasing with color breaks. Before heat pressing.

1988 DC Comics BATMAN #428 1st Printing NEWSSTAND EDITION. This one is beat up and has bad spine creasing with color breaks. Before heat pressing.

1988 DC Comics BATMAN #428 1st Printing NEWSSTAND EDITION. This one is beat up and has bad spine creasing with color breaks. Before heat pressing.

1988 DC Comics BATMAN #428 1st Printing NEWSSTAND EDITION. This one is beat up and has bad spine creasing with color breaks. Before heat pressing.

1988 DC Comics BATMAN #428 1st Printing NEWSSTAND EDITION. After heat pressing and spine realigment.

1988 DC Comics BATMAN #428 1st Printing NEWSSTAND EDITION. After heat pressing and spine realigment.

1988 DC Comics BATMAN #428 1st Printing NEWSSTAND EDITION. After heat pressing and spine realigment.

1988 DC Comics BATMAN #428 1st Printing NEWSSTAND EDITION. After heat pressing and spine realigment.

1988 DC Comics BATMAN #428 1st Printing NEWSSTAND EDITION. After heat pressing and spine realigment.

1988 DC Comics BATMAN #428 1st Printing NEWSSTAND EDITION. After heat pressing and spine realigment.

1988 DC Comics BATMAN #428 1st Printing NEWSSTAND EDITION. After heat pressing and spine realigment.

1988 DC Comics BATMAN #428 1st Printing NEWSSTAND EDITION. After heat pressing and spine realigment.

Next I tried a cheap newsstand edition of Supergirl from 1994. This one had bad wrinkles and wave in it throughout the entire book. Looks like moisture possibly hit the book. Here are the results:

1994 DC Comics SUPERGIRL Vol 3 #1 NEWSSTAND EDITION. Bad waves, wrinles, and appears to be moisture damage. Before dry cleaning and heatpress.

1994 DC Comics SUPERGIRL Vol 3 #1 NEWSSTAND EDITION. Bad waves, wrinles, and appears to be moisture damage. Before dry cleaning and heatpress.

1994 DC Comics SUPERGIRL Vol 3 #1 NEWSSTAND EDITION. Bad waves, wrinles, and appears to be moisture damage. Before dry cleaning and heatpress.

1994 DC Comics SUPERGIRL Vol 3 #1 NEWSSTAND EDITION. Bad waves, wrinles, and appears to be moisture damage. Before dry cleaning and heatpress.

1994 DC Comics SUPERGIRL Vol 3 #1 NEWSSTAND EDITION. Bad waves, wrinles, and appears to be moisture damage. Before dry cleaning and heatpress.

1994 DC Comics SUPERGIRL Vol 3 #1 NEWSSTAND EDITION. Bad waves, wrinles, and appears to be moisture damage. Before dry cleaning and heatpress.

1994 DC Comics SUPERGIRL Vol 3 #1 NEWSSTAND EDITION. Bad waves, wrinles, and appears to be moisture damage. Before dry cleaning and heatpress.

1994 DC Comics SUPERGIRL Vol 3 #1 NEWSSTAND EDITION. Bad waves, wrinles, and appears to be moisture damage. Before dry cleaning and heatpress.

1994 DC Comics SUPERGIRL Vol 3 #1 NEWSSTAND EDITION. After dry cleaning and heatpressing. Waves and wrinkles gone. Interior pages are flat and bright white. Back cover is flat and creases gone but color breaks still evident.

1994 DC Comics SUPERGIRL Vol 3 #1 NEWSSTAND EDITION. After dry cleaning and heatpressing. Waves and wrinkles gone. Interior pages are flat and bright white. Back cover is flat and creases gone but color breaks still evident.

1994 DC Comics SUPERGIRL Vol 3 #1 NEWSSTAND EDITION. After dry cleaning and heatpressing. Waves and wrinkles gone. Interior pages are flat and bright white. Back cover is flat and creases gone but color breaks still evident.

1994 DC Comics SUPERGIRL Vol 3 #1 NEWSSTAND EDITION. After dry cleaning and heatpressing. Waves and wrinkles gone. Interior pages are flat and bright white. Back cover is flat and creases gone but color breaks still evident.

1994 DC Comics SUPERGIRL Vol 3 #1 NEWSSTAND EDITION. After dry cleaning and heatpressing. Waves and wrinkles gone. Interior pages are flat and bright white. Back cover is flat and creases gone but color breaks still evident.

1994 DC Comics SUPERGIRL Vol 3 #1 NEWSSTAND EDITION. After dry cleaning and heatpressing. Waves and wrinkles gone. Interior pages are flat and bright white. Back cover is flat and creases gone but color breaks still evident.

1994 DC Comics SUPERGIRL Vol 3 #1 NEWSSTAND EDITION. After dry cleaning and heatpressing. Waves and wrinkles gone. Interior pages are flat and bright white. Back cover is flat and creases gone but color breaks still evident.

1994 DC Comics SUPERGIRL Vol 3 #1 NEWSSTAND EDITION. After dry cleaning and heatpressing. Waves and wrinkles gone. Interior pages are flat and bright white. Back cover is flat and creases gone but color breaks still evident.

1994 DC Comics SUPERGIRL Vol 3 #1 NEWSSTAND EDITION. After dry cleaning and heatpressing. Waves and wrinkles gone. Interior pages are flat and bright white. Back cover is flat and creases gone but color breaks still evident.

1994 DC Comics SUPERGIRL Vol 3 #1 NEWSSTAND EDITION. After dry cleaning and heatpressing. Waves and wrinkles gone. Interior pages are flat and bright white. Back cover is flat and creases gone but color breaks still evident.

1966 Marvel Comics AVENGERS #32. BEFORE dry cleaning and heatpress and total spine realignment.

1966 Marvel Comics AVENGERS #32. BEFORE dry cleaning and heatpress and total spine realignment.

1966 Marvel Comics AVENGERS #32. BEFORE dry cleaning and heatpress and total spine realignment.

1966 Marvel Comics AVENGERS #32. BEFORE dry cleaning and heatpress and total spine realignment.

1966 Marvel Comics AVENGERS #32. BEFORE dry cleaning and heatpress and total spine realignment.

1966 Marvel Comics AVENGERS #32. BEFORE dry cleaning and heatpress and total spine realignment.

1966 Marvel Comics AVENGERS #32. BEFORE dry cleaning and heatpress and total spine realignment.

1966 Marvel Comics AVENGERS #32. BEFORE dry cleaning and heatpress and total spine realignment.

1966 Marvel Comics AVENGERS #32. AFTER dry cleaning and heatpress and total spine realignment.

1966 Marvel Comics AVENGERS #32. AFTER dry cleaning and heatpress and total spine realignment.

1966 Marvel Comics AVENGERS #32. AFTER dry cleaning and heatpress and total spine realignment.

1966 Marvel Comics AVENGERS #32. AFTER dry cleaning and heatpress and total spine realignment.

1966 Marvel Comics AVENGERS #32. AFTER dry cleaning and heatpress and total spine realignment.

1966 Marvel Comics AVENGERS #32. AFTER dry cleaning and heatpress and total spine realignment.

1966 Marvel Comics AVENGERS #32. AFTER dry cleaning and heatpress and total spine realignment.

1966 Marvel Comics AVENGERS #32. AFTER dry cleaning and heatpress and total spine realignment.

1966 Marvel Comics AVENGERS #32. AFTER dry cleaning and heatpress and total spine realignment.

1966 Marvel Comics AVENGERS #32. AFTER dry cleaning and heatpress and total spine realignment.

How to Window Bag/Prep Comic Books for Comic Conventions! A Step by Step Guide.

Greetings!

I’m here to tell you how to prep your comic books for comicons like San Diego Comicon or MegaCon or even the big New York Comicon as well!  Here we go:

Today we will window prep an Amazing Spider-man #1 for Stan Lee to sign! You will need: Mylite2 and Fullback, 1 exacto knife, 1 sharpie black marker, skinny blue painter's tape from the hardware store, and a small cutting board from a kitchen department store area like at Target or Walmart.

Today we will window prep an Amazing Spider-man #1 for Stan Lee to sign! You will need: Mylite2 and Fullback, 1 exacto knife, 1 sharpie black marker, skinny blue painter’s tape from the hardware store, and a small cutting board from a kitchen department store area like at Target or Walmart.

First you need a few tools:

Mylites2 and Fullbacks are recommended for absolute protection of your 9.8s and 9.9s. Ultro Pro works, but I suggest otherwise.

Mylites2 and Fullbacks are recommended for absolute protection of your 9.8s and 9.9s. BCW works, but I suggest otherwise. Do not use Ultro Pro.

An alternative to Mylites2 and Fullbacks, I would use BCW bags and BCW boards. No ultra pro. No way.

An alternative to Mylites2 and Fullbacks, I would use BCW bags and BCW boards. I do not personally like Ultra Pro because they bubble and wrinkle a lot.  This can cause problems possibly during the handling of your book.  This is only a personal preference however, do not let me scare you away from Ultra Pro.

 

Now you will need to place the fullback inside the mylite2 and slide the cutting board inside the bag/board:

Cut a hole where you want the signature to go:

Slide the cutting board out of the bag/board. Place skinny blue painter’s tape around the window you cut.

Double wrap the corners with 1″ pieces of skinny blue painter’s tape:

When placing blue painter’s tape at the top corners, be sure to place the tape below the flap line so it doesn’t get stuck when the grader is trying to remove the comic!

Write on the window box who you want to sign the comic book. In this example, Stan “The man” Lee:

When you slide the comic book in the bag/board, be sure to watch the bottom of the window against the bottom edge of your comic book:

On the opposite side, type or write on the backer board your name, address, phone number, email address. Seal the bag/board with only 1 peice of skinny blue painters tape for easy removal for the grader.  Tape or write your details sheet to the backer board that is slid inside the mylite2.

In the space provided below, write the year, title, publisher, and name of the comic book along with issue number. Write who you want to sign the book, and instruct what services you want provide. This includes any additional instructions, and fast pass, yellow label authorized signature witness, pressing, etc.

You have now finished prepping your book.
Good luck!

Of course, there are other artists, and other creators. Sometimes I feel the placement is just as important. This is how I prep all my J Scott Campbell books for his sweet Amazing Spider-man variants:

How I prep a J Scott Campbell book for his signature.

How I prep a J Scott Campbell book for his signature.

Stan Lee is getting older, and I’ve been told by some he needs more room to see where he signs. I frequently have asked for Stan Lee’s signature right on top of the THOR or SPIDER-MAN logos here:

Alternative method for prepping a Stan Lee signed comic book. Right across the top logo, plenty of space for him to sign. Good eye appeal, too.

Alternative method for prepping a Stan Lee signed comic book. Right across the top logo, plenty of space for him to sign. Good eye appeal, too.

One thing to mind is if you have tape overlapping the sides, protect the book behind it! It might not even be your book!

Do not allow tape to overlap the sides of your book! It will harm the book behind it possibly.

Do not allow tape to overlap the sides of your book! It will harm the book behind it possibly.

So use an extra piece of tape and wrap that bad boy all the way around the sides so there is NO TAPE STICKINESS on the opposite site of your book:

Double wrap any tape hanging off the sides!

Double wrap any tape hanging off the sides!

Sketch covers. What if you want a sketch? Or, better yet: What if you have like 5 people you want to sign your book? Make a BIG WINDOW!

Large window bag prep for a sketch cover book or multiple signatures. This is a good method if you absolutely don't care where your signatures go.

Large window bag prep for a sketch cover book or multiple signatures. This is a good method if you absolutely don’t care where your signatures go.

There are drawbacks, however. If you make the window too big it can bend outwards and defeat the purpose of protecting the edges of your book. Try not to make it too big. If so, double tape it with overlapping strips:

A window bag that is too big can bend outwards so double tape if this happens.

A window bag that is too big can bend outwards so double tape if this happens.

Example of a sketch cover in progress inside a large window bag prepped comic book.

Example of a sketch cover in progress inside a large window bag prepped comic book.

 

I’ve been given some sneak peeks at some books from my convention facilitator, Matt Saltzman from Trinity Comics Convention Facilitator Services. Check them out, look! This gives you an idea what they look like before getting sent off for grading with CBCS and CGC:

1991 DC Comics BATMAN #563 High Grade Newsstand Edition Early cover art by J Scott Campbell. Probably the only Batman cover before DKIII

1991 DC Comics BATMAN #563 Early cover art by J Scott Campbell. Probably the only Batman cover before DKIII

Mirage Studios Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #7 Second Printing, very rare Ultrom cover art by Kevin Eastman.

Mirage Studios Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #7 Second Printing, very rare Utrom cover art by Kevin Eastman.

Amazing Spider-man #607 J Scott Campbell Variant Cover art of Black Cat

Amazing Spider-man #607 J Scott Campbell Variant Cover art of Black Cat

Marvel Comics Thor #109 So this can happen too. Fair warning. Stan doesn't always read where he should sign.

Marvel Comics Thor #109 So this can happen too. Fair warning. Stan doesn’t always read where he should sign.

Marvel Comics AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #601 Mary Jane cover art by J Scott Campbell, beautifully signed in gold sideways. This is a high grade Newsstand Edition, by the way.

Marvel Comics AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #601 Mary Jane cover art by J Scott Campbell, beautifully signed in gold sideways. This is a high grade Newsstand Edition, by the way.

 

Amazing Spider-man Mary Jane cover by Adi Granov

Amazing Spider-man Mary Jane cover by Adi Granov

New Mutants 100 signed by Fabian Nicezca and Rob Liefeld

New Mutants 100 signed by Fabian Nicezca and Rob Liefeld

Jennifer Blood Risque Topless Virgin Variant Edition, Signed by Tim Bradstreet and soon Garth Ennis

Jennifer Blood Risque Topless Virgin Variant Edition, Signed by Tim Bradstreet and soon Garth Ennis

Amazing Spider-man signed by Joe Jusko

Amazing Spider-man signed by Joe Jusko

Marvel Punisher Action Figure Variant Cover - Signed by Vincent D'Onofrio and Jon Bernthal

Marvel Punisher Action Figure Variant Cover – Signed by Vincent D’Onofrio and Jon Bernthal

Commission by Chad Hardin, artist of Harley Quinn

Commission by Chad Hardin, artist of Harley Quinn

Amazing Spider-man Mary Jane as the Iron Spider, signed by Stan Lee, Alex Ross, and Dan Slott

Amazing Spider-man Mary Jane as the Iron Spider, signed by Stan Lee, Alex Ross, and Dan Slott

Machete movie poster photo variant cover, signed and sketched by Danny Trejo

Machete movie poster photo variant cover, signed and sketched by Danny Trejo

Back to the Future - Signed by Biff Tannen, Tomas F Wilson

Back to the Future – Signed by Biff Tannen, Tomas F Wilson

Star Wars 1 Luke Action Figure Variant Cover - Signed by Mark Hamill

Star Wars 1 Luke Action Figure Variant Cover – Signed by Mark Hamill

That should cover it! If you have any questions email me and I can refine the guide!

Thank you

KaptainMyke