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Superman #16: Conserve or restore?

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Not unlike this book itself, I'm torn! Recently acquired this seriously chewed copy with intention of doing one or the other, but not sure which way to go, though I do know that I will submit this afterwards for grading. At a minimum, I intend to leaf-cast the cover and every interior wrap to fill out the missing paper. That, along with a dry-cleaning of the cover, would hopefully come in just under the wire with a conserved grade. But it's also tempting to go further and restore the missing art/graphics inside and out, and give it a more thorough cleaning. Luckily, whatever rodent feasted on this didn't chew significantly into the interior art past the first several wraps. And, chew aside, the inside pages are fairly nice and bright.

So....what to do? Granted, this is hardly a major book investment-wise (it qualifies as a key, sorta, in that it's the first cover appearance of Lois Lane for this title). But I'm genuinely curious how others feel about the issues at play -- financial return, historical value etc -- when deciding on restoration versus conservation. Meanwhile, I'm gonna start dry-cleaning and leaf-casting and continue to mull it over...







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Still not sure whether to just go for "conserved," but decided to start the rescue mission anyway. Dry-cleaned the cover to a reasonable degree without risking color loss (great scot, what a lot of grime!), and then leaf-cast it. Will need a pressing before any next steps. And still need to do the interior wraps, which will take some time...






Edited by Grottu
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Cool project! I think you should feel free to restore/conserve/what-have-you without regret. The book was a straight-up .5 to begin with -- any degree of conservation work can only improve it.


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Recreating missing interior text, advertisements, graphics and photos is very challenging. Here, it took awhile to even find a suitable reference copy (in the early days of DC/National, the lineup of titles and their publishing schedule was changing all the time, so the details of inside-front cover house ads differed issue to issue). Also had to contend with reddish staining that was already in the area of the missing text, so the restored material was sympathetic to that, but perhaps too much so -- will need to try to improve the color match there before we're finished...


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Well, that escalated quickly! Let me start by acknowledging this has turned into a rather extreme restoration, and I realize there are differing opinions on such things. I started out wondering, myself, whether to just conserve it. But, honestly, this was a completely trashed .5, so in the end it wasn’t a close call for me. I decided to just go for it. The cover is not finished, but I’m focusing now on leafcasting every interior wrap to fill missing paper and inpaint any lost art. 







Edited by Grottu
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