1946 Sensation Comics: Restore, conserve?
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I know restoration is frowned upon in these precincts, but I’m genuinely curious if people here would consider it, or conservation, with something like this. It’s not an especially valuable issue, but has some intrinsic worth as an early GA copy of an important title. Picked it up cheap because it’s obviously a total mess. My feeling is, as long as the cost-benefit works, there’s nowhere to go but up with it…

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Edited by Grottu
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It's an interesting one. 

Part of what you want to ask yourself is,  what could restoration realistically solve? You can't fix the missing pieces and chew. So that means you are probably looking at a restored .5 / 1.0 vs a blue label .5 in the best case scenario. From $$ perspective you won't see a return on your investment. 

 

Now,  as a collector interested in preserving the book, there are things you could do. A cleaning, a press, tear seal.. and it would improve the appearance. But do you want to invest a few hundred dollars to do that? 

 

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On 10/3/2021 at 10:31 AM, KCOComics said:

It's an interesting one. 

Part of what you want to ask yourself is,  what could restoration realistically solve? You can't fix the missing pieces and chew. So that means you are probably looking at a restored .5 / 1.0 vs a blue label .5 in the best case scenario. From $$ perspective you won't see a return on your investment. 

 

Now,  as a collector interested in preserving the book, there are things you could do. A cleaning, a press, tear seal.. and it would improve the appearance. But do you want to invest a few hundred dollars to do that? 

 

All good points. I should mention I do some restoration/conservation for my own collection purely as a hobby, have a leaf-casting setup, etc. Not a pro by any means, and I guess that’s the rub, because I’d want it done the best it could be. The missing pieces could be filled with leaf-cast and in-painted, but to your larger point, it would probably be cost prohibitive to pay someone to do it (now, if it were SC #1, that would be a different story!)

Edited by Grottu
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On 10/3/2021 at 11:23 AM, Grottu said:

All good points. I should mention I do some restoration/conservation for my own collection purely as a hobby, have a leaf-casting setup, etc. Not a pro by any means, and I guess that’s the rub, because I’d want it done the best it could be. The missing pieces could be filled with leaf-cast and in-painted, but to your larger point, it would probably be cost prohibitive to pay someone to do it (now, if it were SC #1, that would be a different story!)

Honestly if you have the skills, it might be a good project for you to take on. There really isn't a scenario where this will be a terribly expensive book, because your either talking low grade or low grade with extensive resto.  

So it might be a restoration project that would make it very personal to you.  The only reason I'm suggesting you take it on vs a pro is because I think it would be fairly expensive to pay a pro to do this level of work. But you could do the work cheaper and really enjoy the process. 

The only thing I can compare it to is, I showed up at the end of tag sale where they were throwing out a 1936 Philco radio counsel. It was dented and chipped, with paint peeling off and torn speaker cloth, so naturally I asked if I could take it. I spent weeks sanding and stripping off old paint.  I stained it and it's beautiful, but not properly restored.  So it's probably not worth anything,  but it means something to me. 

 I put a blue tooth speaker in it and it's hooked up to my Alexa. So it got a second life and it's used regularly.  I figure it was heading for the dumpster so whatever I did with it was better than that. 

 

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On 10/3/2021 at 11:59 AM, KCOComics said:

Honestly if you have the skills, it might be a good project for you to take on. There really isn't a scenario where this will be a terribly expensive book, because your either talking low grade or low grade with extensive resto.  

So it might be a restoration project that would make it very personal to you.  The only reason I'm suggesting you take it on vs a pro is because I think it would be fairly expensive to pay a pro to do this level of work. But you could do the work cheaper and really enjoy the process. 

The only thing I can compare it to is, I showed up at the end of tag sale where they were throwing out a 1936 Philco radio counsel. It was dented and chipped, with paint peeling off and torn speaker cloth, so naturally I asked if I could take it. I spent weeks sanding and stripping off old paint.  I stained it and it's beautiful, but not properly restored.  So it's probably not worth anything,  but it means something to me. 

 I put a blue tooth speaker in it and it's hooked up to my Alexa. So it got a second life and it's used regularly.  I figure it was heading for the dumpster so whatever I did with it was better than that. 

 

Nice work! (and I think you talked me into it too)

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On 10/5/2021 at 2:02 PM, Grottu said:

@KCOComics  @theCapraAegagrus Decided to leaf-cast it. Just for chuckles, here’s the result if anyone’s curious. Gonna keep going with it and see what happens…

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Looks great! I can't wait to see the CT added

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On 10/5/2021 at 5:54 PM, KCOComics said:

Looks great! I can't wait to see the CT added

Work in progress, still long way to go, but just posting in case the process interests anyone. Differences in color texture will be somewhat ironed out after reglossing and pressing. That darned little DC logo always needs to be done with image transfer, not free hand. Color match with these old dirty covers is always a challenge. A lot of grime and staining came out in cleaning, but not all of it, so in-painting has to take into account the residual discoloration from age and wear…

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On 10/10/2021 at 10:26 PM, Grottu said:

Final pic to close this out. She came out good enough to stick on the wall for awhile at least (especially considering where we started)...

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Honestly, it looks amazing! Much better than I thought it would turn out.

Nice work! 

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On 10/10/2021 at 9:26 PM, Grottu said:

Final pic to close this out. She came out good enough to stick on the wall for awhile at least (especially considering where we started)...

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I feel that you did a remarkable job. It is far better than what I expected.

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I would be curious to see what you did with fixing the missing art from the ad on the interior cover.  Leaf casting is fairly complex, right?  How do you just pick that skill up as a hobby?  Now rice paper I understand can be fairly easy to learn, but leaf casting?  Did you learn cleaning also?  I hear that can also be very complex. 

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On 10/22/2021 at 1:07 PM, TC33 said:

I would be curious to see what you did with fixing the missing art from the ad on the interior cover.  Leaf casting is fairly complex, right?  How do you just pick that skill up as a hobby?  Now rice paper I understand can be fairly easy to learn, but leaf casting?  Did you learn cleaning also?  I hear that can also be very complex. 

Taught myself leaf casting through conservation and archival websites and books I picked up over the years. The handful of people who do comic restoration/cleaning for a living tend to guard their secrets, and apprenticeship isn’t really an option, so you’re kinda on your own if you’re just pursuing it as a hobby. A LOT of trial and error, and it helps to have artistic skills to begin with. As for the interior art, that’s tricky because you can’t recreate dense, tiny text or photos by hand. Restorers usually use some form of image transfer. Also, rice paper, to do it seamlessly, requires great talent and I actually find leaf casting to be easier.

Edited by Grottu
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On 10/23/2021 at 8:59 AM, Grottu said:

Taught myself leaf casting through conservation and archival websites and books I picked up over the years. The handful of people who do comic restoration/cleaning for a living tend to guard their secrets, and apprenticeship isn’t really an option, so you’re kinda on your own if you’re just pursuing it as a hobby. A LOT of trial and error, and it helps to have artistic skills to begin with. As for the interior art, that’s tricky because you can’t recreate dense, tiny text or photos by hand. Restorers usually use some form of image transfer. Also, rice paper, to do it seamlessly, requires great talent and I actually find leaf casting to be easier.

So when you fill in the areas you leaf casted, are you drawing and coloring in the art yourself? It looks really good. 

Also, did you bother to fix the inside front cover? Or just leave it white? 

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On 10/23/2021 at 7:51 PM, KCOComics said:

So when you fill in the areas you leaf casted, are you drawing and coloring in the art yourself? It looks really good. 

Also, did you bother to fix the inside front cover? Or just leave it white? 

All hand painted with acrylics (which is required for a CGC “A” grade). The only image transfer, as mentioned earlier, was to replicate the DC logo. I didn’t bother reproducing anything on the inside at this point, and not sure if I will.This book had too many problems to invest a ton of time into it, just wanted to make it presentable for my personal collection. Here’s a photo of it midway thru the resto, showing the in-painting in progress…

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Well Grutto, as someone who also studied comic book restoration for many years I have to applaud your work here! As has been sad, that book was doomed to the dust heap but you actually made it something attractive and worth a wall hanging! I envy you the pleasure you must have gotten to tackle such a book freely, knowing it was just for the love of the book! Well done! ^^

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