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Newsstand Edition comics 1992 and newer are heating up

I would be mindful and watchful for any 1992 or newer newsstand edition comic books that feature a UPC bar code on the covers that are high grade.  Specifically, any comics that are in a grade of 9.4 or higher and newsstand edition are selling for significantly more money than regular market value.  Examples include Batman Adventures 12 Newsstand Edition, and any other modern day key issue book.

For earlier titles, there are exceptions to the rule.   Some comics have the bar code on the back, like Marvel Comics Presents #72.  Any books post 2002 would have a UPC barcode on them no matter what now, but the difference is they all state "DIRECT EDITION".  You are looking for 2002 and newer comic books that have UPC Barcodes that do not show the words "DIRECT EDITION" in bold letters above or below the bar code.

Okay I broke down some maths.  Let's look at Image Comics Spawn #1 by Todd McFarlane.  That's a very publicly well known number having a 1.7 million copy print run in 1992.

15% of comics in 1992 were allegedly newsstand. 225,000 (1/4 million copies)  I estimated the newsstand edition to be a 1:1000 ration of rarity.

So 1:1000 is not accurate, that was hand grenade accurate. 32 is more accurate.

I think it's even more accurate to say it's a 3:100.  Or, 30 in 1000, if you will.  That's still a very low number.  Still rare.

But not even a 1:100 LOL

In summary, here's what you need to know about High Grade Newsstand Collecting for Investing:

  • High grade.  9.4 or higher is ideal.  Pressing books helps!
  • 1972-1990 doesn't really matter.  It was a 50/50 ration split in distribution.
  • 1990-2001 with bar codes.
  • 2002-2016 with bar codes that do not say "DIRECT EDITION".
  • Newsstand Edition error or recalled books are also wise investments


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Here's a good one to justify rarity of a recent very modern book.  This happens to be an error cover, as well.

Justice League #51, which accidentally has the cover for issue #52.  It retains the $4.99 price tag, even though there are even more rare books with the $3.99 price tag that are newsstand edition.

If you inspect the UPC bar code, it does not state "DIRECT EDITION".  It also looks different from the comic book store version.   This book has a 1:1000 ratio distribution rate.  The amount that appear on ebay are very slim to none.

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HOW TO: Press Comic Books with a T-Shirt Heat Press for Beginners by KaptainMyke

HOW TO: Press Comic Books with a T-Shirt Heat Press for Beginners by KaptainMyke  

updated on 1/13/2018 at 16:26 PM PST

Shopping List
You will need the following:

  1. A Digital controlled T-Shirt Press. I highly recommend the VEVOR Digital Controller heatpress machine. Model CP230B.
  2. Patience and Time.
  3. Box of 100 pairs of powder free latex gloves. Bookmark that reorder button page, too!
  4. Georgia-Pacific Super Premium Bright Paper, 8.5″ x 11″, 28 lb, 900 sheets .
  5. Conair Clothing steam humidifier gun.
  6. Dental tools, specifically a dental pick and scraper.
  7. Absorene. 
  8. Gum kneaded eraser.
  9. Mr Clean Magic Erasers, orange box, cut your own size, no scent. You will have to use major caution with this item as a last resort (or if you’re cheap).
  10. Lots of used non glossy cardboard comic book backer boards.
  11. A 21″ box fan that uses 3 settings, Hi Med Lo.


One time Adjustment and Preparation Before Pressing
Before we begin,  always use gloves.  Always.  No fingerprints!   Heat is the number one ingredient for a successful press.   Before you start using the press.  Remove the top plastic knob off the rear adjustment screw.  Place 2 washers, one above the nut, and one below the nut.  You will most likely have to search the hardware store for the required washers with a large enough diameter.  Then place your plastic screw knob back on top of that.  This gives you adjustment and a spacer between the plate and the rubber pad.   You will use stacks of copy paper, usually 1/8” thick below your comic book as a spacer between the rubber pad and your book being pressed.  Use one sheet of copy paper on top as a spacer between your book and the very hot pressure plate above it.  Using this trick will also prevent the surface of the rubber pad below to imprint any patterns or surface imprints onto your books being pressed.


Practicing on 5 Basic Types
You will need to practice first on 5 basic types of comic books to learn the process slowly.  Practice on your own books first.  The 5 basic types of comics to practice on are:

1.  Golden Age Books – These books are brittle, require steam, and extra care when handling.
2.  Silver Age Books – These books can also be quite brittle, and have edgewear like crazy.  Watch staples
3.  Bronze Age Books – Many of these books have a different type of paper, semigloss and with inserts.
4.  Modern Age Books with Glossy Magazine Paper – These books can have pages stick together if too hot!  Under 160F
5.  Foil books (Convention exclusives) – These books are more intimidating if anything.  Watch your fingerprints!

There are more to practice on, but this is a great head start for the learning process.  Different books require different angles of approach.

Pressure Settings
Use the adjustment screw and washer to adjust for pressure sensitivity against thickness of book.  It takes time and practice to master this through experience.  Basically, only make sure when the plate is going down on the book that it clamps down with little resistance.  You are not wanting to press so hard that it takes great feats of human strength to get the press to clamp down on it.  If you are doing this, then you are creating razor blade spines to shave with.  Do not create razor blade spines.  Use caution and self control when pressing the plate down on the book being pressed.

Temperature Settings
Most books can be safely pressed at 175 degrees but not any higher.  I typically run at 160 degrees.  Brand new modern age books, foil books, glossy paper books, magazines, and books with inserts should be at a lower temperature, at 150 degrees but left in the press a lot longer to compensate for the lower temperature.

Glossy Cover Modern Age Books – 160 degrees for 25 minutes on each side
Dull Thin Cover Modern Age Books – 170 degrees for 10 minutes on each side
Foil Books  –  175 degrees for corners pinched, 5 minutes on each side before flipping once.  Then cool down press to 150 degrees for 25 minutes x 2 on each side before flipping TWICE then cool down.
Glossy Cover Bronze Age Books  –  160 degrees for 25 minutes on each side before flipping once.
Dull Thick Cover Bronze Age Books  –  165 degrees for 20 minutes on each side before flipping once.
Silver Age Books  –  165 degrees for 20-25 minutes on each side before flipping once.
Golden Age Books  –  165 degrees for 20 minutes on each side before flipping once.

Cool Down Settings
In order to maintain the pressing, and not have “muscle memory” of creases and spine bumps, you have to let the book be completely cold inside the press before removing it.  Heat is the number one ingredient for a successful press.  This is crucial to the pressing process.  Most books can be cooled down quicker than naturally.  If you just simply use a standard $20 box fan at the store,  this will cut your cooling down time to 2-3 hours instead of 4-5 hours.   You can also buy a second identical press and use that one as a “cooling press” as the other cools down.  Alternate for 2-step pressing to save time and maximize your time constraints.

Be sure you feel the top of the plate with your hands before removing any book from the press.  You are making sure the press plate is COLD.  Not even warm or room temperature.  Make sure the press plate is cold to the touch.  If you have a second press, place the book inside the press that has a completely cold press plate for faster cooling.

Cleaning Tips
Starting with latex rubber gloves, use a dental pick for lifting up folds and creases.  Do this first.  Use Absorene first to delicately lift dirt and oils.  You roll lightly and gently across the surface to remove and clean the paper at its fibers.  If you do not have Absorene, try using a gum kneaded eraser.  You will have to knead and work in the eraser until it becomes soft like the Absorene.  Never rub the kneaded eraser, always blot or push downwards then lift upwards with straight up and down motions.  Never use the kneaded gum eraser sideways or against the paper grain.  Most of the time, 90% of the time, the super bright white copy paper will naturally lift up most stains or dirt and debris.  The heat exchange process and the lifting of dirt happens naturally during the pressing process.

Absorene is recommended.  Use other products at your own risk!
If the Absorene or kneaded eraser is ineffective, or you’re cheap – you can try to use a Mr. Clean magic eraser very carefully.  Always cut fresh 1” cubes with scissors.   If you try to keep re-using the same magic eraser, you will start rubbing dirt into all the crease lines of comics, which creates new dark crease lines and makes the visual appeal start to drop significantly, so be warned about the magic eraser!  Use this product with light pressure.  Never use circular swirls when trying to lift up staining with a magic eraser.  Make swift light strokes in one direction, never back and forth, and never in swirls.  This will take time.  Do not wax on and wax off.  You only wax one way.  You do not want to send the very same dirt lifted up from the magic eraser into a crease line crevice or crack on cover.  It takes time to figure this one out.  The magic eraser is very forgiving on white or light covers.  However, use extreme caution using this technique on all black covers or very dark covers.  The magic eraser does lift ink!  Because of this, most professionals do not advise using a Mr Clean Magic Eraser.  Most will suggest to use Absorene, because it is actually made for cleaning historical documents and archival paper such as the Library of Congress.  If you are just starting out and learning the whole process, try using these products on some cheap books first to get a feel of the process.  Remember, this is just a guide for beginners!

Using Steam
All books require a light steaming.  The reason for this is the fibers of the paper must be relaxed for the process of pressing to actually take hold and remain.    You can do this with a simple humidifier or clothes fabric steamer.  Use the steamer for a few seconds to only make the pages curl.  As soon as paper movement is seen, move to a different area or stop using steam.   When creating new centerfolds, fixing spine denting, and working with golden age books – you are required to use steam.  This is a very delicate process and should be used with moderation.   Always used distilled water.  Always empty the water chamber when not in use either, or you will get mold.   Mold and water are paper’s worst nightmare, so this is not an easy process to learn.  Time and patience will guide you.  Always better to use not enough steam with a slightly disappointing press with no damage to the book and do it again than to use TOO MUCH steam and ruin the book, right?!  As soon as the paper starts to curl, is when you stop steaming in that area.  Do not over steam the same area!  Also,  steam from a safe 1-2 foot distance so droplets of water don’t splash on the book.  This can create light circle spots when dry.   Also do not over steam staples or they will rust.

Spine Alignment
Spine alignments can be fun.  I mean that sincerely.  They can be real fun and rewarding to work with.  One trick I’ve seen now in the pressing world is to adjust that spine so all the spine creases and dents move to the back of the book for a better eye appeal when in a graded case.  This does not trick the graders nor are you trying to pull “a fast one” but you are making the book have a better curb appeal when considering reselling or displaying the book.

When aligning the spine, the first step is to flatten the entire book at the centerfold.  This can be very stressful on the outside spine, and the staples inside.  You can crush the staples right through the book if you are not careful!  You can also create new stress lines on the outside of the book.  Here is how to prevent all of this:

  1. Set the press to 170 degrees. This part of the process does not matter if golden age/silver/modern/foil.
  2. Get a 1/8” stack of backer boards, gloss free, or at least put the gloss away from the covers. Place them down the center of the rubber pad on press.
  3. Get the book in question. Find the staples.  Find the center.
  4. Flatten the book from the inside face down, staples down. Set the book carefully onto the stack of backer boards 90 degrees perpendicular to the pad.  You will have an overhang obviously.  That’s fine.  You’re going to rotate in 5 minutes anyway to do the overhang side.
  5. Stick one backer board on top of your spine. Carefully and slowly lower the press onto the comic and make sure the spine flattens out.
  6. Keep the book this way for 5 minutes.
  7. Now swivel everything around and press the overhang portion of the comic book spine. Press for 5 minutes.
  8. Now remove the book, keep the boards there. Maybe take the bottom backer board and put on top in case there was a staple indent.  Flip the book over on its opposite side, with the staples now facing up.
  9. Set the book carefully onto the stack of backer boards with the staples facing up – 90 degrees perpendicular to the pad. You will have an overhang obviously.  That’s fine.  You’re going to rotate in 5 minutes anyway to do the overhang side.
  10. Stick one backer board on top of your spine with the staples facing up. Carefully and slowly lower the press onto the comic and make sure the spine flattens out.
  11. Keep the book this way for 5 minutes.
  12. Now swivel everything around and press the overhang portion of the comic book spine. Press for 5 minutes.
  13. The book should now be completely flattened out.
  14. You are going to make your own new centerfold now. Remove all backer boards and anything left in the press.  Only should have a rubber pad and a metal plate above, nothing else.
  15. Using latex gloves, you are going to fold the book carefully in half. Stand the book up on its bottom edge when doing so.  Pinch the middle center with your index finger and thumb TIGHT so no movement happens between pages.
  16. Stick the pinched comic with your fingers in sideways, allowing 7/8 of the comic’s surface on top of the rubber pad. Bring the metal plate down onto the comic and press down .   You want your fingers so close to the plate that it will almost press your thumb down.  Do not let the book move or travel with the press.  You get only one shot at this!  The reason you are using 7/8 of the surface is to minimize travel of the book when the press goes down on the book.  If you barely place the comic in at just it’s spine, the entire book will travel and move on you as its being pressed!   This step will take you time and practice to get the hang of it.  Start small on simple dollar books!

A Word on Spine Adjustments
You can actually do the spine realignment on any book, even a brand new modern book!  I recommend this for blunted corners and deep spine indents.  This method is preferred instead of just shoving backer boards into your centerfolds and interior covers.  If you only use backer boards or stacks of paper, you risk imprinting edges of the paper or backer boards into your books.  Evidence of this is a simple vertical line that travels the length of the spine.


Final Word
160 degrees or lower seems to be the “sweet spot” on most books to play it safe.  Always keep a timer with you and don’t forger to set your timer!  These steps are some of the things that can be done to successfully press a comic book, magazine, or poster with minimal to no damage to the item being pressed.  These tips will hopefully save you money, and guide you along the way as YOU learn and pick up new ideas and better ways to accomplish things.  I am not a professional presser, and I’m not a professional grader.  However, these are the methods I use when I press comic books.  All of this is a learning process.  I encourage you all to share your ideas among everyone so that we can all prevent damage to one another’s books.  Thank you!


I have a facebook pressing group found here at this link:







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