If you told me a few months ago that the most exciting thing in comics that I have seen for a long time was going to be a new type of backing board I’d have laughed in your face.
Backing boards have been the same for years. Rectangular pieces of card you use to offer some protection to your books when you bag them. Let’s be honest they are boring and pretty unfit for purpose. They offer very little protection other than keeping books rigid. Drop one or a pile of comics slip over in a half full long box and it’s almost guaranteed to be no help at all. You can’t protect both sides of the book with boards or you have to take the comic out every time you want to look at it. Sometimes the best things about older non key issues are the adverts on the back covers showing toys and games from my childhood. Boards stop you being able to see those in the bags.
I was in ComicBookGuys in Belfast over the weekend and the owner Aaron showed me something that literally made my jaw drop.
Crystal Clear Archival Boards.
The are boards made from PETG ( Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol ) a chemically inactive copolymer whose properties include being transparent with a high gloss surface. It’s got a high impact resistance which is similar to polycarbonate and it’s also incredibly ductile meaning it can easily be made into the thickness of 4o mil perfect for the purpose of being used as backing boards.
They come coated in a peelable plastic to stop them getting scratched or damaged in transit and all you do is simply peel away the backing.
Crystal Clear by name and crystal clear by nature. If you set one on the front of a comic you can’t tell it’s there – they are completely and utterly see through. They are also safe to use with old, rare & expensive books as they won’t react with the chemicals in the paper.
If you put one on the back and one of the front of the comic inside a Mylite 2 bag the protection offered is as good as a toploader for a much cheaper price and gives a far higher display quality. They would easily withstand bending damage from slippage inside a longbox and offer far better protection than cardboard in the case of dropping the book.
Where these really come into their own are for books that have wraparound covers or books that have artwork on the back.
They are available in the usual sizes for different period books:
Golden Age:- 194mm x 268mm
Silver Age:- 178mm x 268mm
Modern Age:- 172mm x 268mm
At the moment they cost just £1 each which is cheap as chips for the level of protection they offer along side the display properties. Crystal Clear will also provide a FREE Mylite 2 bag with every board purchased. So you buy ten boards you get ten free Mylite 2 bags. Postage prices from Crystal Clear are as follows:
Orders 20 and under will cost £3 shipping
Orders 50 and under will cost £5 shipping
Orders 99 and under will cost £7 shipping
Orders 100 and over will be free postage
For my money outside of slabbing with CGC there is no safer or sturdier way to protect and DISPLAY your books as they were intended to be seen.
I can’t recommend Crystal Clear Archival Boards enough. If you in any way collect key books or older books these are a must buy upgrade for your collection.
The are available to buy direct from Crystal Clear via their facebook page
They are also available to buy from Comic Book Guys Store @ 130 Great Victoria Street, Belfast. BT2 7BG
Telephone: 028 9008 0169