Monday, June 13, 2011

The Other Side

Just as there is more than one way to skin a cat (though if you ask the 2000 year old man...there is only one way), there are many ways to seal the back of your comic book with tape. Excluding the bags that come with their own adhesive strip, the below pictures will help define some of the most popular ways people tape their plastic flaps down. Great band name, by the way: Taped Plastic Flaps.

The Horizontal Single and The Vertical Single
The Horizontal Single isn't just my nickname, it also refers to a non-collectors way of taping a comic book. To the guy on the street, we'll say a hobo or bum, it may seem like a good way to tape a comic book's plastic down since it appears to cover more space: more plastic is being taped down for extra security. Unfortunately, there are a few downsides.
  • The corners are not secured. This means the corners could eventually flap-up and make for an aesthetically unpleasant look to the back of your book. That rhymed.
  • The biggie here is the tearing of the tape odds. Often times when one tries to open their horizontal single tape job, they end up tearing the tape. The comic is left with one part of the tape attached to the plastic flap and the other tape-half attached to the back plastic.
The Vertical Single also has the same corners flapping-up problem but the VS carries another unexpected problem: tape stretching. What is tape stretching? Tape stretching occurs when you are trying to unseal the comic and the tape does not un-stick right away. (This next part gets vulgar, so feel free to get out the lotion and tissues.) You end up sliding your fingers under the flap at an angle to get the tape to begin peeling back. The tape stretches a bit making it not perfectly flat for when you tape the comic down. Now your tape has slight tenting to it and is no longer smooth and crisp looking.

The Power of Pairs or Double Trouble?

The Double Vert
The Double Vert is a very recognizable comic shop taping. Mike Wellman, of the Comic Bug in Manhattan Beach, CA, mentioned that comic shops tape their back-issues this way so that the corners do not flip up when the comics are slid into their bins, where they stand vertically. The smooth presentation can help sell a comic and make an older book look fresh and new.

The Double Vert is almost perfect except for the potential tape stretching, which was covered above. Wellman, did also comment that if collectors want to avoid tape stretching they should get soft-stick tape. This type of type is most recognizable as a blurry looking tape. If you can see through the tape you might as well just burn the comic book because you've sentenced the back plastic to a life of stretched piece of shit. Sorry. Tape gets me worked up.

My Recommendations

The Single Slant
The single slant is how I tape my books. I make sure to lay my comic books flat, so I don't worry about double tape jobs for the corners. Plus, after spending all of my money on comics, I just can't afford 5 yards of scotch tape for $1. My goals are to hold down the plastic and avoid stretching. The angled tape makes it possible to un-stick the tape with a smooth motion. This is the way to go for a careful collector on a budget.

The Double Slant
If you have cash just coming through your air vents, then try the Double Slant. It solves the corner and stretching issues. The DS isn't right for everyone, so consult a comic shop owner before subscribing to this technique. It's like the last chapter of the Karma Sutra. This isn't something you just start doing without some consultation and Single Slant testing.

It's Just the Back - Go Fucking Crazy

The Crazy Bastard - Show the flap who's boss!

Feel free to take the poll on the right regarding your taping style. Plus, leave me a message if you have other ways to tape down your plastics. The world, and I, need to know.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Can't Miss Title: Thunderbolts

Thunderbolts #144 - 365 Days of Comics
Leaders always have ripped shirts...always.
For comic book readers who are not into the indie scene, and would prefer to read from the big boy's published pile, I would recommend picking-up Marvel's Thunderbolts. Warren Ellis had a nice run on it for awhile (several years ago), but since then it has lost some readers...which is understandable. I'm here to tell you that since Jeff Parker and Kev Walker have combined forces on Thunderbolts #144, and created a new team, the comic book has been consistently one of Marvel's best titles. With Juggernaut and Crossbones (for awhile) on the team, how can you not be interested in Thunderbolts?

Click onward to my article and read my complete thoughts on Comics You Should Be Reading: Thunderbolts.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Spare Time With Dom: Reed Gunther's Creative Team

Shane and Chris Houghton, plus Dom Gazzuolo - 365 Days of Comics
Shane and Chris Houghton, with Dom...drinking a beer.
I recently spent a night bowling with the creative team behind Reed Gunther, Shane and Chris Houghton. I learned a bit about the books origins and a lot about the bowling styling of each brother. I felt bad for Chris's wife because she had to see his destruction. Shane's girlfriend didn't have it so bad, but I'm sure she felt like she was with the wrong man once Shane came-up one pin short against the BK (Bowling King), Dom (me!). My girlfriend, on the other hand, carried me off into the night on her shoulders shouting, "Dom is number one! Dom is number one!" Yeah, she's buff.

Get the whole scoop in the first post ever for "Spare Time With Dom."