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About this journal

Over the last few years I have been dabbling in comic conservation/restoration as a side hobby and finally feel ready to put my skills to use and tackle an actual valuable key book (not just dollar bin comics I've used as sacrificial test subjects). I am by no means anything close to being a professional, but hope that this experiment is of some value (if only to serve as a cautionary tale, or source of amusement for those who know better than I) :D I will be keeping this fairly simple - limited to the skills I'm most confident with (with one exception that I'll discuss later on), so there won't be any techniques I would otherwise consider 'advanced' (such as leaf casting or wet cleaning). Once the entire process is complete I will be submitting it to CGC, as I would love to see how they grade it and note the work done on it. Join me as I try to take its grade up a few notches!

 Project #1: Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 

  • Notes: Canadian edition. Distinguished by the blank white sides on the cover wrap. American ads were omitted from the inside front cover and both sides of the back cover, otherwise it is exactly the same as the US release. These are not reprints or second printings.
  • Initial Grade: 0.5 Incomplete. Book was missing the back cover, with the front cover being taped in place. 
  • Defects to be addressed: Tape along the left edge of front cover, large 2" tear left front cover, small 0.5" tear top front cover, soiling and dirt, missing back cover (to be removed from another low grade Canadian edition donor comic), spine split, many wrinkles and creases.



Unfortunately for this journal I had already begun the process before I took this picture of the pieces involved. Dry cleaning has been done on the donor back cover (These blank Canadian wraps can get very dirty). The Front cover as seen here already has the excess tape removed (and the white areas spruced up with minor dry cleaning), and is now sitting in a case with deodorizing granules that absorb moisture and odours (which will lift any traces of the agent used to help remove the tape). I will touch on these steps below in my first follow up post.

Entries in this journal

The Grade Is In - A conserved winner!

The grade is in and the experiment is now fully complete - I am officially a conservation nerd! CGC correctly flagged the married cover as well as all the work done - and all of that passed the test in order to get a Conserved grade of 3.0! This is honestly slightly higher than I was expecting (my initial estimate was 2.5 at most), and even the White pages is an amazing cherry on top. How it started:  0.5 incomplete, its life is in shambles.  How it's going:  3.0 conserved, ballin' with whi

Job Complete - From rags to riches

Once the adhesive was done drying (48 hours) I have nothing left to do but show off the final product. It is certainly still low grade, but a vast improvement that can now be handled without risk of further damage. The book was originally a grade condition of POOR / INCOMPLETE (0.5) but now is complete and easily looks like it would fall in the GOOD condition range (1.8 - 2.5). As a final test I am going to submit the book to CGC and see how they grade & label the work done on the book. N

Sauce Dog

Sauce Dog in Restoration Project #1

Cover Wrap Re-Attachment - Everything hinges on this moment

The final, and biggest, step for this entire project was the repair and reattaching of the cover wrap to the interior spine. The book as it was no longer had any of the original wrap that covered the spine (as such it was missing the 25 cent price, title, and Marvel Comics Group label that ran down the spine) and even had some spine damage to it, so care had to be made to ensure the interior spine was strong enough to ensure it could hold the new wrap. This requires creating a support that will

Sauce Dog

Sauce Dog in Restoration Project #1

Tear Seals - (Un)Tear it up

Today was a simple task of repairing the two tears on the front cover, one approximately two inches running from the left centre edge and a smaller half inch rip at the top edge. There is notable change in paper transparency in these two regions (Holding the cover up to light has these two areas looking like they were rubbed with grease) which is indicative of a past amateur repair job involving traditional tape that seem to have fallen off with age long before I bought it (which caused the y

Sauce Dog

Sauce Dog in Restoration Project #1

Spine Scrape - Destroy that which binds

Today featured fairly small, but important, prepping work on the donor back cover. Before any mending and reattaching of the cover wrap can be done I needed to clean away any old dried glue and paper that have become attached to the inside spine of the donor back cover. I was able to keep the spine attached to this donor cover, which will make attaching it later easier and more secure. Using my X-Acto knife I carefully scraped away any crusty glue (and foreign paper), taking care to only scra

Sauce Dog

Sauce Dog in Restoration Project #1

Tape Removal - More annoying than spider webbing

First notable work done on the book would be to address the old tape that was used to attach the loose front cover to the interior.  It was clear this book spent a long time taped up, as evident by the yellow staining on the edge of the cover, however only one of the two pieces of tape looked to be from this original repair. The tape at the top front cover shows the typical characteristics of having been applied many, many years ago. The carrier has become hard and brittle, curled, with yello

Dry Cleaning - A brighter future (and back cover)

The first thing I did was begin with dry cleaning the donor back cover. While sourcing a donor comic took patience and time, the cleaning of it was one of the quickest and easiest jobs I've done to date. Since the Canadian editions lack any printed ads on the cover wrap we are left with a solid blank white page to work with. Yellow discolouration from age and foxing is present, but I will not be attempting to correct such defects (as they would require a wet bath to properly remove), I simply
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