The effects of storing your Artist’s Editions upright

Continuing the 100th Celebration, which started this fall with the 100th AE format edition to be published, I’m looking at the effects of storing your AE format books upright. It’s a topic that has come up frequently among collectors and one I could address.

For my example, I happen to have two copies of Walter Simonson’s The Mighty Thor Artist’s Edition, one stored in its box and one a bookshelf. It’s the second AE format book to be published, part of my collection since 2011. The boxed copy came first, and a few months after my local comic shop received one without the box as part of a collection so I picked it up cheap and sat it on my shelf. Let’s call them boxed and unboxed. Here are pictures of both books in current storage.

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In case you’re new to my storage scheme, I decided long ago to store my AE format books in their boxes in my library closet. I built three shelves with 2″ x 6″ boards, reinforced on the sides and back. It’s worked very well, especially after I started adding labels.

As you can see the boxed copy has been kept sandwiched amongst others, relatively tightly as space is at a premium. The unboxed copy has floated around my library in various places, sometimes standing on its own on the floor and sometimes on a shelf. The current positioning has been for about four years.

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Here are both books showing page sag: boxed on the left and unboxed on the right. The sag is about the same, which is to be expected since they have both been upright for seven years.

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Here’s a photo from the top, showing the signatures pulling the spine away from the cover. It’s slight, but that corresponds with the paging sagging at the bottom.

It was never in question that storing books upright causes the pages to sag, and based on these books it doesn’t appear exaggerated for larger books. I pulled random hardcover comics from my shelf released in 2011 and they show the same sag.

To keep these books in their best condition store them flat. But that doesn’t work for a lot of people, and greatly depends on available space and personal desire. Do you like to have your books displayed, or are you happy having them stashed away on a bottom shelf or in my case closest? I’ll try stacking them on my closet shelves and see how that works for me.