Alright, I feel your panic. Christmas is just two weeks away and you still don’t have your shopping done. You’ve probably got a good idea what to get most people in your life, but then there’s that last person, the comic book nerd. You’re totally stumped! You don’t read comics and have no idea what they want!
Now, there are a lot of great lists out there with a lot of great books to buy, but what if they already have those book? What if they hate Marvel? Or DC? Or manga? How can you show you care about their interests, while also not disappointing them Christmas morning?
Well never fear faithful reader, your old pal Uncle Mac is here to save the day with a list of gifts to get even the most discerning of comic nerd. No, not another list of awesome books to buy them, but instead a list of the stuff that all comic nerds need and want, but never think to ask for. Let’s help get them a gift they’ll actually enjoy with some comic book supplies to help support their ever growing collection!
Let’s do this!
#1 Bags and Boards
Every single comic book collector needs bags and boards. Seriously, if you know someone that collects comics at all, they are going to need these, and with recent shortages in global supply lines, they can be surprising difficult to get some times. Because of this, a lot of collectors like to stock up when they can!
But which ones to buy? Standard bags are made of polypropylene, but there are also bags made of Mylar, which themselves come in a variety of different thicknesses and sizes. Golden, Silver, Modern?
And then the boards! Forget the sizes, they come in different thicknesses, colors, and some are even clear now!
Well deep breath everyone. Let’s keep it simple. People who are classic comic collectors are probably going to buy their own bags and boards, and buy them in a quality that fits their needs. Let’s not make this any harder than it needs to be by worrying too much about those now.
For your run of the mill collector, a pack of modern bags and boards from BCW will do just fine. They’ll fit the majority of modern comics, and will fit in the majority of storage containers for comics.
And, if you want to share some fun bonding time along with this, sit down with them later and help them pre board all those bags! Put on some music, grab some comfy chairs, and spend the afternoon together getting things prepped! They appreciate the gifts and the time spent together!
Right now Amazon has a decent price for a set of 200 bags and boards which can be found here. That’s probably the safest way to go, so buy with confidence!
Alright, so I feel ya. Bags and boards are great, but you want to be a little more personal! Well don’t worry, I’ve got you covered there with our next item, the infinitely customizable treasure that is the stor-folio!
If you don’t know what a stor-folio is, it is essentially a sturdy carrying box for comics made out of durable, laminated material that you can fill and not have to worry about your comics getting damaged. They’re perfect for cons, where there is a lot of jostling and a lot bag handling. They’re also great for bringing your weekly pulls home from your LCS, or taking your comics with you to work to read on your free period. They’re versatile, durable, and every single collector I know is always looking for more!
They’re also very customizable. While the basic ones come in black, you can find them in a variety of colors, and many publishers also release ones with licensed artwork of their favorite characters.
They also have a clear plastic sleeve on the front, perfect for sliding in a picture or small print, or you can just cover them with stickers like I do and really make them your own!
These are a great way to personalize a gift while also giving them something practical they can use! You can find the basic model here, but I encourage you to look around online and see if there are other cool ones to buy. They’ll appreciate the effort, and you’ll appreciate that they actually use your gift!
#3 Short Boxes
Alright, now let’s get controversial! If you’re a serious collector, odds are you are surrounded by white cardboard boxes stuffed with comics, and let’s be honest, they kind of look like crap.
Honestly, how white became the default color for boxes that were going to get jostled and handled this much is beyond me, and if you’ve ever gone down to a collector’s basement, odds are you’ve seen a handful (or more) of yellowed, stained boxes rotting in the corner.
It’s even worse if your significant other is a collector, and those gaudy eyesores are filling shelves upon shelves in your home. It’s time to step up their game (and your living space) by upgrading those boxes.
Now, there are a couple of ways you can go here. Most local comic shops, and Amazon, will carry deluxe cardboard boxes, printed with a variety of cool artwork of popular characters, and that is certainly an option. Be warned though, many of these boxes are designed to look nice, but are not always made of the sturdiest of materials. It’s no good having a cool looking box if that box is just going to rot and tear after a few years.
For me personally, there are only two ways to go (yes, I know there are some super high end comic drawers you can have custom built but come on, I’m just a poor public school teacher).
The first choice is the BCW Heavy Duty short box. These have a lot of advantages in terms of storage. Let’s break it down:
- They are pretty darn sturdy. You can stack them 5-6” high with no worries of collapse, and the molded nubs on the top make sure they lock together. They also have molded supports on the side to keep them sturdy. If you’re collector friend just stacks and doesn’t put his comics on shelves, this is the way to go.
- They’re attractive. Made of a sleek and shiny black plastic they look good in the glow of a nerd cave lamp, and the design on the side is eye catching. Plus, because the lid is build in and smooth, you can stack them pretty close to each other and they look very pleasing. Carboard leaves gaps between because of the bulky lids.
- They’re not too pricy. You can get a 5-pack of the short boxes for around $100 on Amazon, or just pick up a single one for under $30.
- Right off the bat, while they are not too pricy, compared to cardboard boxes that usually go for about a 1/3 as much, it can be hard to replace your entire collection with these beauties. Makes them good as a gift, but unless you have a long term plan to help them replace, they might not be the best choice.
- They are not as sturdy as they should be. The plastic is stiff, which means it can be brittle sometimes, especially on the supports. I’ve had pieces snap off before on mine.
- The long boxes are an issue. While the short box versions are usually pretty sturdy, because of the extra weight the long box, stability for these can be an issue. The plastic can break or come apart, and more often then I’d like the front panel can pop off if you pull too hard.
- Storage: A broken down cardboard box is pretty easy to store, and keep together in 2 pieces. These boxes break down into 5 pieces, and don’t really store well. They also weigh more, so depending on how much you want to be picking stuff up, that might be an issue
So, is there a happy middle between the cardboard and the plastic? Surprisingly, the answer for me is cloth!
A number of companies such as Leffis started making their own version of the short box a few years back out of cardboard reinforced cloth, and honestly, I love them. The have a single flap lid that secures with pretty solid Velcro, two handles that are stitched on, and even a little card slot to write what is in them like BCW’s have, only unlike BCW’s this card slot doesn’t provide a big opening for moisture and light to get in.
Most of them will look similar to these, with minor variations. Neat, tidy, and less bulky than other options.
They’re definitely not as sturdy as the BCW boxes and cannot be stacked as high, and they only come in short box size, but they’re sturdy enough for me, a guy who has his books up on shelves. Plus they break down thinner that either cardboard or plastic, and only cost a fraction of what BCW charges! Plus, since they are cloth, not plastic, they have not run into a lot of the supply line issues that have held up and raised the prices of BCW in the last few years.
You can check out a 3 pack of them here for around $30. Classy, sturdy, and definitely needed, I 100% recommend these for the collector who is looking to class up their collection.
#4 Spinner racks
Alright, this is a big one, so proceed with caution. Most collectors of a certain age probably began collecting comics off of spinner racks at drug stores. These twirling spirals of light and color are a deeply ingrained memory in a lot of our minds, and recently a number of companies have come out with modern versions of these classic gems to help us scratch that nostalgic itch.
Now, you could try to find actual, vintage spinner racks online, but you’ll pay a pretty penny for them. Even these modern reproductions are not cheap, but if you really want to win Christmas for that special someone, this is the way to go.
Be warned, these are best given to older collectors that have the space to display them, so plan accordingly! If this seems like something your bestie would like, there are a number of online shops to chose from. Amazon offers a pretty basic model here, but shop around before you pull the trigger.
#5 Local Comic Shop Gift Cards
If you’re still feeling overwhelmed, never fear. Hands down the easiest and best way to go is our old friend the gift card. Now, sure, it’s easy to snag an Amazon card or a prepaid visa, but why not go that extra mile and help support a small business by reaching out to local comic shops and purchasing gift cards directly from them? These purchases give your comic loving friends the chance to explore somewhere new, and give small businesses a much needed boost around the holidays!
Helping the community and making your friends happy. Seems like a win/ win to me!
Alright folks, that’s it for me this week. Hopefully this list helps you all find those last minute gifts for those comic reading nerds in your life!
Until next week, stay safe!