Have questions? Frequently I have some answers:
Let's get one fact out of the way... each frame is custom made right here IN THE USA.
Is it safe to frame comics?
It is now. The reason I designed these frames was because I didn't think any of the frames on the market were safe enough for my comics. Most frames have something about them that will damage books like using products that aren't acid-free, exposing comics to the open air, using mat boards that will crease the edges of a comic, pressing comics against glass will flatten books, unsupported comics will sag and curl.
What is the new concept?
- To display comics safely
- Affordable quality frames designed for the average collector
- Top loading - Comics load from the top not the back
- Strong frames for handling and changing out often
- Frames that are not just easy but fun to change out
How long have you been making frames?
I invented the easy-change design in 2004 and have been making frames ever since. We make anywhere from 50 to 100 frames a week depending on the size, and ship them to collectors all over the world. Let us build some for you, today!
What is a CGC encased comic?
CGC and PGX are companies that professionally grade a comics condition. Comics are generally graded on a scale of 1-10. Condition is very important to collectors in determining a comics value. Grades will be assigned anywhere from 1-3 being poor, and 9.0-9.8 being excellent. Anyone can grade a comic, but these companies act as a non-biased reviewer and their grading is considered to be something of a gold standard. So, to preserve the grade that they have assigned they seal the comic in an air tight hard tamper-proof plastic case. These are also known as slabbed comics.
The hullabaloo over your CGC frames has been compared to the Beatles craze?
I hadn't heard that one, but going coo coo for cocoa puffs is probably a more accurate way to describe the reaction to the CGC frames. The Beatles craze was a little before my time. Frame It Again, Sam! has pioneered the way to framing comic books and original comic art while keeping them preserved, and at prices the average collector can afford.
What inspired you to reinvent the frame?
Nostalgia for those great silver age covers, and the insane art talent for new comics. I appreciate art. I like to draw and write and I'm working on several comic ideas/projects at the moment. I love thumbing through my collection and pulling out my favorite covers. But having comics all over the place, and not wanting to put them away right away presents a challenge with living space. “Wow, this is a great cover,” I would say. I wanted to find some way of displaying them, but also being able to change them out the next time I dig through my collection, and without damaging them of coarse. What would be the point?
How is the design different from a regular frame?
It doesn't open from the back. The backing is permanent to give the frame incredible strength, and the comics load from the top. It's more like a thin compartment with just enough room to hold comics perfectly vertical without mashing them. The back is permanently attached to all 4 sides and all 4 corners to give the frame durability for handling and long-life. The top opens and the comics slide in effortlessly. The frame rests square against the wall, so your comics stand perfectly straight.
How does the top loading part work?
The top is the most unique part of the frame. That's the true invention. You have to buy one to find out. I will tell you there are no screws, hinges, or any small pieces to look after. You can hold the frame upside down, and carry it around with you and your comics will be secure.
Why do you use Plexiglas and not glass?
Several reasons. Plexiglas is safer and lighter than glass. Heavy frames are expensive to ship. Making them lightweight and affordable is part of the design. If glass should break it could cut or puncture your comics. My frames are designed for handling and changing out often, and the more handling, the more opportunity for glass to break. I use high quality plexiglas that is nearly impossible to chip or break, so using it is just another protective feature. Plus, I wanted them to be safe for kids to use.
Do the graded comic frames use plexiglas?
CGC PGX cases already have 2 layers of plastic, one flexible inner plastic sealed about 8 mil or so thick that holds the comic in a tight seal, and the hard outer casing that protects and suspends the inner case. I experimented with using plexiglas when I designed these and they definately look better without. We decided adding a third layer really wasn't necessary when you factor in the additional cost and extra weight of the glass for what amounts to protecting the case from scratches when scratches usually occur during handling anyway. You don't see other frames like this because no one else has thought of a way to do it. It might seem a little unorthodox, but then again, so are comics that come in hard plastic cases.
How long after I place an order do you ship my frames?
Every order is an order for custom frames. I build the frames to your size and color specifications. There are too many types and sizes and colors of frames to keep an inventory. Also, orders are filled on a first come first serve basis. Ideally, turnaround time is 7-10 days, but it can take longer.
Ok, here's how it works: I cut the frames in batches of about 30-50 frames, then put them together and ship them in the order they were placed. When all the frames are shipped I start cutting all the new orders I received since the last batch. How long it takes me to get a new order out depends on how big the previous batch was, and how far along I am in processing the old batch when you happen to place your order, and finally the size of the new batch and your position in it. The ancient Chinese secret is I have no idea how long it's going to take, and if Tremors I, II, III, or IV comes on the TV machine again I usually get sucked in to watching it for the 100th time. Just know that I'm working as hard as I can as fast as I can. Sometimes 12 hours a day, sometimes 12 days a week.
What is your return policy?
You can return frames for a refund of the frames basically anytime for any reason. If there is damage or some other problem with the frames I will also refund the shipping charges or simply replace the frame, whichever you prefer. You can also cancel your order before it has shipped and get a full refund. I don't have any sneaky policies or make any money off shipping charges.
Do you offer refunds if my order fits in a flat rate box?
Yes. 2 regular comic frames will fit in a flat rate box. If flat rate is cheaper than what the shopping cart charges you then I will refund the difference. Unfortunately cgc frames do not fit in flat rate box.
Does the free shipping for 10 frames offer count for international orders too?
Free shipping for 10 frames to the continental US only. For Hawaii and Alaska the offer is half-off parcel post shipping with purchase of ten frames. (The discounted amount can be applied to other shipping means)
International orders have to be approved by me, and are done through special Paypal invoice. CANADA gets $1.00 off shipping for every frame ordered over 5 frames which is auto calculated. Double frames and original art frames are the largest frames I ship overseas.
What size frame should I pick? Did the standard comic size change through the different ages / eras?
The older the comic is, the wider it gets. The frame sizes are based on bag sizes, so in general you can order based on your bag preference. When you get into the crossover zone between ages you might have comics that don't fit. For strickly new comics some people prefer 7", but 7 1/4" works just fine. You just have a little backing board showing, which you can cut down to the size of the comic if you don't like it. Plus, 7 1/4" will fit a larger variety of sizes than a 7" will, including some silver age.
Around 1969 to 1975 is a zone where comics get wider and before 1969 you probably want to move up to the 7 3/4" bags. It's kind of a one size fits all. You don't have to worry about cramming your books into a smaller size bag and you can always cut down the backing board to any size you like. The backing material is the same color you choose for the frame. This is a new feature and some of the pics on the website are outdated.
I'm pretty new at this comic-book framing, what size I should get for The Amazing Spiderman #583?
First of all comics purchased in the last 10 years or so are generally considered "new comics" because of their width and fit snugly inside a 7" wide bag for storage. Guess what? They also fit inside a 7 1/4" wide bag, which is what I use. Comics started out in the 50's and 60's a lot wider than they are today, anywhere from 6 3/4" to 8" wide, and consistantly shrunk to 6 5/8", today's standard.
So, bag sizes are really a matter of personal preference, and it's hard to tell someone which they should choose. Both 7" and 7 1/4" frames will fit. The difference is just 1/4" or 1/8" on both sides of the comic where the backing board would be visible. For storing comics the backing board is wider than the comic to protect the sides, but you can simply cut it to the same width of the comic if you don't like it visible in the frame, however it does create a border effect making the comic stand out. The compartment space behind the comic is stained the same color as the frame. Technically, the 7" width bags are designed for new comics, but the frame uses 2 mil thick Mylar-D bags which are semi-rigid allowing less space inside the bag for comics. I usually recommend the 7 1/4" because of that and the slightly wider frame will be usefull in displaying a larger variety of comics. Hope that helps.
Is UV a concern? Do I need special UV glass?
Nope. There is a myth about UV protection implying that mysterious UV rays exist in all light and need to be filtered out. The truth is that there is no UV light inside your house unless you have flouescent bulbs without a UV shield. And that should be a worry for you, not your comics. Remeber that UV causes sun burns and skin cancer, and you are protected from UV rays in your home and so are your comics.
That being said, Mylar-D Bags have substantial UV-Protection built-in. The reason I use Mylar bags with the frames, however is not so much for their UV protection, but for their preservation qualities, incredible clarity and their longevity. The frames are designed to display comics in their bags as a condition preservation feature. Comics do not sag or bend while on display, and no part of the frame ever touches the comic. You can view more about the bags and purchase extra bags in full packs or in smaller increments in the Mylar bag section or when ordering frames.
What you should know about UV rays is...
they are line-of-sight from the sun (direct sunlight). Not just any light as seems to be the myth. It has to be a straight line from the sun to your comics to have any UV rays in it. Even with UV protection you should still avoid putting your comics in the path of direct sunlight because infrared, another component of direct sunlight, is harmful to the inks in comics. Humidity, changes in temperature and exposure to fresh oxygen are the dangers you should worry about for your collection. Avoid hanging near doors and windows and under bright lights or rooms. And keep comics out of the path of DIRECT sunlight with or without UV protection!
What is Microchamber technology?
SPZ zeolite absorbing paper protects your comics from the inside out by actively removing acids and other pollutants from your comics.
Even with Mylar Bags and Lignin-free boards your comics will still suffer from acid damage. No matter what you do to protect your comics from the elements, a bag and board won't stop damage from inside the comic itself. That's where Microchamber paper comes in.
What should I know about the acid in my comics?
Lignin is the organic molecule that holds plants together. To give you an idea of how much lignin there is in a tree, if you used all the material from a tree you would turn 95% of it into paper. If you removed all the acid-causing lignin, the yield turns to only 35%. That's a lot of lignin, and comics printed on newspaper quality paper are full of it. As Paper age naturally the lignin deteriorates and turns into by-products like acidic acid.
That's not all. Although lignin is the main culprit, there are also other impurities like hemicellulose and hydrolyzed cellulose. These components degrade and produce substantial quantities of acidic products. Removing lignin and other cellulose is what makes lignin-free backing boards more expensive, that and having less material to make paper from.
If that's not bad enough paper manufacturers add components like Alum-rosin sizing, which is a prime acid producer. Alum stands for potassium aluminum sulphate, and is sometimes called aluminum sulfate or papermaker's alum.
Mylar boards are made from vigin wood cellular fibers, and are 100% acid-free with a 3% calcium carbonate buffer. It's the highest quality backing board available anywhere.
Needless to say that exposure to the open air, and fresh oxygen will greatly speed the degredation process. Some common air pollutants are acidic gases like nitrogen and sulfur dioxides that form sulfuric and nitric acids. Ozone, various peroxides, peroxyacl nitrates and cupric, and ferric ions promote carbohydrate acid.
This is why you want to be using Mylar-D bags! Mylar resists penetration by gases 300 times more than standard poly bags, and can keep the same level of protection for over 100 years! There's not even a comparison that can be made to poly bags. Basically, if you're not using Mylars, then you're not keeping your books protected. Mylites (1 mil Mylars) are more affordable than you think.
Next time you see some silver and golden age books that are falling apart, you'll know what has turned them brown and yellow, and caused the paper to be so thin and fragile that little pieces fall off. Long since been detached at the staples, right?
How do I use the microchamber paper?
One sheet on the inside front and back covers. You can also spread some every 4 to 6 pages, especially if you have a mold or mildew smell.