Storing comic books: ditching a short box for a showier display

March 8 |
BCW short comic book storage box
BCW short comic book storage box
I have to believe that out there somewhere are some offbeat homes with comic book collections that are well-displayed. I would love to see some pictures of what people have done with them, besides shoving them in long or short boxes or stacking them on bookshelves.

I've longed to find a way to honor this part of my husband (because throwing them away or selling them on ebay behind his back would end our marriage). – Liz

Here are some of our ideas…

IKEA Spontan magazine racks holders
IKEA Spontan magazine racks holders
3 pocket wall file starter set, letter, clear
3 pocket wall file starter set, letter, clear
IKEA Expedit shelves and bookcases.
IKEA Expedit shelves and bookcases.
Spinning magazine racks.
Spinning magazine racks.
Alexandria Codex storage drawer: "A dragon punch to the balls of the white cardboard box"
Comic cubes.
Comic cubes.
Acrylic magazine holder by U.S. Acrylic
Acrylic magazine holder by U.S. Acrylic
Modern-style magazine racks.
Modern-style magazine racks.
Decorative ledges.
Decorative ledges.
Make a wall of comics with Safco plastic literature displays
Make a wall of comics with Safco plastic literature displays

Offbeat Homies: What are your best ideas for storing comic books in a way which adds interest to a room? If you've got photos, share a link in the comments!

  1. I don't have any pictures of this, but what about framing some of his favorites or rare/1st edition copies?

    21 agree
    • Hi Brit, thanks for the suggestion! I'm the original asker of this question. Framing is a neat idea. I can see highlighting certain colors in comics with great cover art with the mat, and choosing the right kind of glass to protect it from the sun.

      Unfortunately, even if we hung up 50 around the house, it wouldn't make a dent (and I'm NOT hanging 50 comic books around the house – there are other things!). He would also be sad if he couldn't take them out and read them anymore. In the end, we'd still have piles of boxes lined up in our disaster room.

      You've got me thinking about hanging up magazine racks though… Hmmm…

      7 agree
      • We have been tossing around the idea of taking those stainless steel magazine racks from IKEA (http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/20118174) and hanging several of them in two long vertical strips in a corner area of the reading room. Or some other aesthetically pleasing design. Our main purpose is ease of access for re-re-re-reading them all :)

        6 agree
      • Heya,

        I'm a framer – and just wanted to add my 2 cents – you should be able to ask a framer to make frames so that the comic is completely removable – why not just do a black/white mat and black/otherwise neutral frame and rotate what comics you display whenever you can be bothered?
        MAke sure if you do this they use UV glass (expensive) and make sure the framers are well aware the comics should in no way be taped/attached. :)

        9 agree
  2. I would love an answer to this as well! At the moment all of my boyfriends graphic novels and comics are stacked on the floor beside the bookcase after we ran out of room on the shelves. I'd love some creative ways to store/display them!

    5 agree
    • Our graphic novels & comics are also waiting for a home, and are currently stacked on the floor in our office/guest-room-to-be/general crap depository,

      5 agree
  3. Right now all of ours are in boxes because we are moving in a few weeks, but what we plan on doing is putting them in a file cabinet. They wont necessarily be displayed, but they will be organized and easy to access. Plus, you can find some cool looking file cabinets, or paint one to be totally unique.

    7 agree
    • Yuo could always decorate the file cabinet with decoupaged printouts (or extra copies) from comics.

      A file cabinet painted black with decopauged black and what comics on the doors would be cool…

      9 agree
    • Classier, and water-resistant! Do you have an awesome shelf or are yours just piled on the floor too?

      4 agree
      • Mine are in these boxes, actually, just got them a few weeks ago. Used to just have piles on our Ikea Expedit shelves. These boxes are not a great fit for those shelves. I mean, they fit, but it looks awkward. They should stack up nice in my mancave though when I finally get that organized.

        I don't have an enormous collection, however, probably around 100 books total. I try to buy hardcovers or trade paperback (TPB) collections whenever possible, which look great on normal bookshelves. Avid collectors might be surprised how inexpensively you can find some collections on Amazon. I've been ordering gorgeous, hardcover, oversized, full-bleed printed collections of Invincible (collecting around 12 issues each) for ~$20.

        Depends on how attached the collector is to their books, but one solution might be to see which books are actually valuable or sentimental and worth hanging on to, and which ones you can Ebay and replace with TPB's if you have a huge collection.

        6 agree
        • He has been making the transition to trades with some titles, and those are much easier to store and look much nicer on bookshelves (although still really heavy), but its such a personal choice, you know? I can't in good conscience drive him to a trade-only collection for the sake of storage, when he might have a reason for loving his single-issues. Know what I mean?

          4 agree
  4. I don't know if this is exactly what you're looking for, but my boyfriend has about 20 longboxes of comics. Basically a metric fuckton. I was not a fan of the giant stack of longboxes in the corner method that he had used for years before moving in with me, so we bought 3 Ikea Expedit shelves that are 2 cubes by 4 cubes and he stores them in there, 2 issues deep. It keeps them accessible and, while I don't have any photos right now, trust me that it looks pretty neat too. The nice thing about the Expedits is that you can set them on their long sides so that you have this low long surface to put other stuff. We have one like this in our bedroom, full of comics, but the top I have covered with family photos, my hair crap, jewelry, etc. It's multi-functional.

    We also plan on making some insert tabs to mark the titles of all the comics and he has also organized them by publisher because he's a total dork. :)

    6 agree
    • Thanks! The "metric fuckton" piled into the corner method is exactly what I'm attempting to deal with. Not only is it ugly, it makes me feel bad for him because he can't get to what's on the bottom, since he got the cheapest possible boxes the first time around. His are arranged by publisher too. :D I like the idea of turning a shelf on its long-side.

      5 agree
      • Another option that I picked up from another comic collector that we considered but didn't go with was getting a bunch of legal size filing cabinets, so they're a little bit wider than standard filing cabinets. With the extra width, you can file the comic in 2 rows per drawer. I had my eye on some old school metal filing cabinets, and had found some sweet looking ones on craigslist, but the problem was transporting them to our apartment. They can be really heavy and were too wide to fit in our car. My plan, though was to paint them fun colors.

        It didn't work out for us, but I still think it's a neat idea and you can keep them organized really easily that way.

        7 agree
        • The filing cabinet idea is very appealing. Easy store for him, easy on the eyes for me (with the caveat that they be the right look). There's room to grow. Hmmmm….

          5 agree
          • Just a thought, but maybe get a few of those little table stands for paintings (cannot for the life of me think of the actual name for those) also to put on top of the filing cabinet to display two or three of the ones with the coolest looking covers, or the best colors, or his favorites, or whatever. That way, it's not like you're locking them all away in some big drawer.

            7 agree
    • I would love to see photos, if you could get them. I'd love to see everyone's photos and suggestions from this post!

      4 agree
  5. I've weeded out most of my single issue collection for graphic novels, anthologies, and trade paperbacks, which I have displayed on an ikea expedit 4×4 black brown shelf, with a couple of open squares for trinkets and whatnot. I'm down to such a small amount of single issues that they fit in one square of an expedit.

    4 agree
  6. I don't own any comic books, nor does my husband or my brothers, but what about a shelf/cabinet that has doors on the front. Depending on how large the collection is and how crafty you are you could attach glass/photo frames to the doors to display a few favorites then have the inside full of the carefully organized comics. To really make it a showstopper add a light fixture to the top back of the cabinet along with a mirror to make it look really epic when it gets opened. For a simpler approach you can decoupage scrapbook paper to the inside of a cabinet. I lean towards cabinets just because they'd be a little more protected in there. Good luck!

    6 agree
    • we totally sketched out a design for exactly this on the weekend.
      OMG a custom cupboard with a display cabinet in the middle for our figurines, guuuh. I want it so bad!

      8 agree
  7. We have some framed, and some in clear plastic cases that open (think CD jewel cases, but bigger) I got them at AC Moore on clearance for about 50 cents each. I used 3M tape to secure them to the wall, so that if we reeeally need to read a particular comic we can just open the case. Hubs likes that they're protected and I like that they're not stacked everywhere.
    He has hundreds, so only a few are showcased- the rest are on bookshelves from Target in our home office because I couldn't handle looking at the dirty boxes in the corner anymore. I will try to remember to post pictures when I get home tonight.

    4 agree
  8. I'm anxious to see what others have to say! We're struggling with our collection too – right now most of our comics are in the plain white cardboard magazine files from IKEA, but they take up a lot of room, and it's hard to sift through them to find what you're looking for (but easy to arrange on a bookshelf and to organize into different titles). I like how they have them on The Big Bang Theory – nice baskets that are just wide enough to allow them to stand so they're easy to flip through. But, then you'd have a bunch of baskets to put somewhere. Comics take up so much room!

    5 agree
  9. My problem with magazine shelving is it isn't a great use of space, though maybe one shelf like that in a bookcase could work?

    We just keep our graphic novels/trade paperbacks in their own small bookcase (2 shelf), and we have the Invader ZIM House Box, a few vinyl figures, and a magazine file of individual comics on top of that. We will probably transfer them to a larger 3-shelf book case this year, as we're outgrowing the small.

    Anyway, not super creative, but it works. Magazine files and file boxes on a book case can look attractive and organized, at least. Most comic book types have at least a few toys or objects that will add thematic visual interest to the storage area, even if he can't bear to frame actual comics.

    But you might consider scanning some of his favorites covers–or even a favorite page of a favorite story–and framing nice prints of those scans.

    5 agree
    • We totally have the Invader Zim house box too. :D And we do have one shelf with the magazine rack. I like that look a lot. When we first set it up, he was a bit angry about a new system, so he put the goriest of the Walking Dead issues up to be shocking. I think he'd like framed prints. Thanks for the idea!

      4 agree
    • This is a nice idea too! I might look for some with more of a homey feel – they might not showcase the comics as well, but it would strike a better balance between his hobby and my sense of style.

      5 agree
    • That is EXACTLY what I was going to suggest. You can actually see at least some of the comics (unlike with a filing cabinet or boxes) but they are also organized AND off the floor. I'm a big fan of wall mounted storage. It really maximizes the usable space in a room.

      3 agree
  10. Forgive the astonishingly poor description to follow:

    What about one of those spinning rack things like some libraries have? Its a pole down the middle and then theres circles of wallets round the circumference. Kinda like the spinning shop display units but with wallets for magazines/comics. Not sure what its called or where you'd get one from but it'd look cool.

    Or make your own pole thing! Coat rack for the base and pole bit, put polo shaped MDF circles up the pole (secured with brackets underneath or tensioned with brackets above) and maybe put little dividers in the polos to section it. I'm thinking a coat rack with giant trivial pursuit cheeses up it.

    Can you tell that creative writing was never my strong point?

    4 agree
    • I can see what you're describing, but I don't quite follow your instructions for the DIY way to accomplish it. In any case, it'd be a fun way to display a few popular titles (like the ones he thinks the roommates and I should read) near a seating area.

      3 agree
    • I've found that those spinny things take way too much space. We have a tiny apartment and a huge comic/video game/DVD collection, so we snagged a couple spinning displays from a thrift shop. They were nice and all….if you have tons of space. Otherwise they just look crowded and kind of tacky (our apartment is sooo not cool enough to pull it off in a cool way).

      3 agree
    • Clearly you don't live in Earthquake Country ;) As a native Californian who lived through Loma Prieta but almost lost my brother to a flimsy bookshelf, I would NOT pile those things higher than waist-tall!

      3 agree
      • I understand completely. I too live in the land where we don't put up things that are liable to fall over during an earthquake. That said, the website did suggest bracketing the shelves to the wall.

        One way to accomplish the same thing is pretty easy: get some big boards (the width and length is up to you), some shelf brackets and standards (a la http://www.knapeandvogt.com/Heavy-Duty_Commercial_Grade_Standards__~~~__Brackets.html?page=products.18.311), and you can create customized shelving. Just make sure you screw the boards to the brackets to minimize the risk of them tipping off. You can also get some cool bookends to keep whatever you put on the shelf in place.

        My family did this for both art supplies and books, and we used 1"x12" boards. They successfully survived more than one earthquake.

        4 agree
    • OH MY FREAKING GOODNESS!!!
      You are clearly the love of my life!! This is the most amazing idea IN THE WORLD!!!! Yet so ridiculously simple!!

      GAH!!

      Husband has still not found space for his books as my bookshelves were already full when he moved in. We've been thinking about buying a new bookshelf, but *gah* they're expensive and big and cumbersome. But using BRICKS and BOARDS is the most amazing idea in existence. We live in Perth Australia which has never had an earthquake ever! So they would be totally safe. He's at work today and I'm totally going to keep myself busy by surprising him with NEW BOOKSHELVES OMG SQUEEE!!!

      4 agree
  11. I'm thinking something like this:

    http://www.argos.co.uk/static/Product/partNumber/8329817.htm

    but with the shelves going all the way round the pole, and on a freestanding pole

    for the DIY option, get a coat rack and then make polo shaped shelves like this:

    http://cocomale.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/italian-dip-dish-the-pier.jpg

    ok so i know its a plate but imagine the centre is where the pole is and the edges of the individual containers are little dividers to break up the mags/comics. You get get maybe three or four on a pole, dependant on comic height

    4 agree
  12. I did a quick Google search on magazine storage, and these look like good options for a bookshelf, maybe mixed with a "showier" display:

    http://www.organizeit-online.com/p/302/yearly-subscription-magazine-holder

    http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/ny/inspiration/magazine-storage-inspiration-030786

    http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/boston/organizing/10-magazine-storage-solutions–106963 (I really like the first idea shown)

    If he's like most comic book collectors I've known, he wants to keep them in as good a condition as possible. These might make that possible while being a bit more "showy" than a stack on a shelf, or a dusty box in the closet.

    5 agree
  13. I'm a huge fan of storage cubes, and am in the process of making some to run up and across our study walls to store my books, games, figurines, CDs and DVDs, and home decor magazine collection. I currently have a magazine bookcase for the latter, built to store them flat, to a depth of 20 deep per section, but it's run out of space and the top's become a storage house for crap.

    Really keen on the filing cabinet idea, too! That might be an option for my mags, if not my books …

    2 agree
    • Wow!! I do have a big wall currently covered in collectible hockey figures that could be used for this purpose… I like how light the effect is too – overfilled bookshelves make me feel a tad claustrophobic. I sort of had hoped someone out there would respond with a full-blown comic book nook. I know that would be expensive to change a room into, but the more I dream about it, the more I think how awesome it would be. I love this so much, thank you!

      2 agree
  14. My man has some magazine racks like this (http://www.hayneedle.com/home/accent-furniture/commercial-magazine-racks_12pocketacrylicmagazinewallrack.cfm) that he got when his favorite comic shop closed and we have them hanging in our disaster room full of comics. The rest are bagged and boarded and stored at his Dad's house for the time being. Thank you so much for posting this question because we're kind of struggling with finding a better way to store our comics as well.

    2 agree
  15. Like Ashlie, I keep mine in the plain white cardboard magazine files from IKEA – stored on a Billy bookshelf. It makes them *very* easy to get to – I can pull down the box containing a particular title in under 30 seconds. (I file alphabetically because I can never remember the publisher, but obviously you can arrange them however you want.)

    Protips:
    – The comics are a bit shorter than the magazine files. If you trim off about the top two inches of the magazine file, then you can get an exactly-integer number of shelves of comics into the 72" Billy. (I think it's 6, but I'm not home to check.)

    – The white magazine boxes can be decorated to provide more than a blank white spine. (I like the white, so I left 'em.)

    – If you are not collecting comics for posterity (don't care as much about condition), then you can get 8 modern comics into one Silver-Age comics bag (and I think 12 into a Golden-Age bag) with no board needed. It makes a nice little package that's perfectly sized for story arcs, and it stands up on its own, and you don't have to open a different bag for each issue when you want to read them, and you can fit ever so many more comics onto the shelves!

    I can update with photos / capacity counts when I get home in a few days, if anyone wants.

    2 agree
  16. I hope no one has already posted this, and it's a pretty pricey idea, but http://comiccubes.com/index.html
    These are basically wooden file cabinets.

    I wonder if you could DIY a small dresser into one of these? If you found one with pretty tall but slim drawers (just wide enough for the comics) I bet it could work out.It would look better than a bunch of boxes everywhere and not as cold as a filing cabinet.

    2 agree
  17. These are all such great ideas! I don't have a home yet, but I know this will be an issue as soon as we move out of our dorms. My fiance mostly has trade paperbacks and hardcovers, but he has so many of them (and I have so many books!) that finding something to do with them will be hard!
    The only thing is going to be finding something as nice as these suggestions that we can use for an apartment – since we will probably still move several times before settling down.

    2 agree
    • I have a pic of the shelf I made to display comic books n action figures if wanted. (I dont know how to post pic on here) Email me for pic n prices. Thanks John jkar65@yahoo.com

      0 agree
  18. As a fiance of a comic book lover, you have no idea how freaking giddy I was when I saw this post. Right now my comic loving hunny has about 11 LONG boxes full and they are in my guest room closet. I want to use that closet for storage of items NOT comic book related. This has given me hope. I have a fantastic idea to spruce up him comic book room and give me back my closet.

    1 agrees
  19. I collected comic-books for a long time, and while I had to give up "the habit" for finance reasons, I still love the books I have.

    One thing I did to make my comments more accessible, but ditch those pesky boxes, is get huge-heavy duty three ring binders. I then slid my comics in to sheet protectors and placed them in the binder.

    If you were able to get some really great binders, in nice striking colors with, say, linen covers (I know they have these at Staples) I can see them looking really nice on a shelf, sort of Urban/Mod/Semi-Industrial if you did it the right way.

    1 agrees
  20. I'm sure my husband would love to display some of his comics, but we too, are short on ideas.

    However, for storage purposes, we've managed to come up with a solution to give us more room.

    I picked up a set of "bed risers" that the legs of the bed sit on. It raises our bed an extra 6 inches off the floor, which is the perfect height to slide the long boxes under with clearance.
    Slide the long boxes under & close together and you can get a dozen or so underneath a queen sized bed.
    Get a king size bed skirt/dust ruffle, and it'll give you extra length to reach the floor with the added height.
    All your long boxes are hidden and stored safely out of the way…unless your husband is like mine and has enough to hide under 3 or 4 beds!

    0 agree
  21. Hey y'all,

    I just came across this site via offbeatmama.com and am truly in love with these sites already! I too am a big dreamer for how I'd love to honor my belongings.

    One of my favorite solutions of displaying periodicals was at my college, PNCA. They have these fabulous magazine display shelves that lift from the bottom to reveal back stock!
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/pnca/4644747437/in/photostream/

    Sorry this image doesn't display the shelf in all it's glory… but I could imagine it making a really neat room divider if you have the space. Especially back-to-back.
    Also, I don't have the name of the manufacturer, but I was coming across some close to it when I searched for magazine display shelves in google. They're metal. I'm pretty sure they're floor mounted, perhaps they have some ceiling anchors too, can't recall.

    0 agree
  22. With the idea to have all of my Comic Book/Graphic Novel/Action Figure collection in one area, and make is somewhat pleasing to the eyes….I chose to stick with the book shelf look, but change it so it wasn't just a "generic" book shelf appearance.

    I purchased various bookends to spread out my Graphic Novel collection, bought magazine racks to hold my monthly issues, and spread out my action figures/statues across the top and on some of the shelves. I already have framed posters on the walls, so I wanted to stay away from a generic wall-hanging magazine rack (which; btw, any comic book collector will tell you damages the books over time and makes them worthless).

    I think the parent or significant other who may not be interested in Comic Books, but respects their loved ones love for the genre, can appreciate a nice-looking, space-confining idea like this for the bedroom or spare room.

    My total cost for 2 book-shelves/racks/bookends….$150. Do it with one book shelf for half that and take up less space. If you want to see a pic of my work, go to:

    http://superheroreviews.blogspot.com/2012/01/my-comic-book-corner.html

    Hope this idea is inspiring for some of you!

    0 agree
  23. I've been searching for an answer to this for quite sometime. As a daughter of a furniture manufacturer I'm a bit snobby about furniture, (even though I could never afford what he makes) so most comic storage solutions are not my taste. Since my husband's and my collection are fairly small I've resorted to clear 3 ring comic sleeves to store each comic in clean binders on my shelf. My fav binders are Russell and hazel. Though I was thinking of making my own similar binder from raw cardboard and creating a "binding" from a vinyl sticker of the artwork from the comics enclosed in each binder. (Russell and hazel uses vinyl stickers as some of the binding on their folders so u get the idea).
    Problem is I bought mine for their art not the story and would like to display some without going crazy framing them all or destroying their integrity.

    0 agree
  24. I'm currently looking for a new way to showcase my comics that I have and I remember when I was a kid my mom got me this plastic sheet that you hang up on your wall with pockets in them for your comics (similar to way you store baseball cards). I have been looking for something like that again because it does exactly what I want, display them, access to read them and not to have to buy plastic bags and backing for them and they take up zero space. Anyone know where i can get them?

    0 agree
  25. Pricey, but Comic Cubes or Comic Condos. I am looking at them now for my collection.

    1 agrees
  26. I have been trying to find something that can help me organize better while looking good as my wife probably doesn't want the boxes around. The comics need to be stored right or then what is the point of keeping them. I came across this and I think this might be a great thing to do if you or your husband has any woodworking skills or even know someone that does.

    http://www.thewoodwhisperer.com/viewer-projects/rays-comic-book-storage-cabinet/

    0 agree
  27. BCW Supplies offers Comic Book Snap-It.

    The BCW Snap-It is a modular display system designed to create an attractive display for your comic books. The Snap-It tiles together to create a sharp array of comics you can hang on a wall. The panels are also designed to fit in any standard 3-ring binder and functions as a collector's page.

    http://www.bcwsupplies.com/1-BCW-SI-CB-BLK

    0 agree

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