Pressing: The Results Are In

Back in February I wrote about comic book pressing, which would help to improve the look of a comic and ultimately their market value. In the past, I’ve submitted books to companies in the U.S. that most collectors on the CGC boards seem to use but have realized mixed results. In order to justify the expense, the books I submitted were high end keys, already graded 9.0 or above. At this end of the grading spectrum we are essentially dealing with nuances, trying to iron out very subtle flaws and hoping for a higher grade. Half the books I submitted went up a notch, many remained the same and a couple went down in grade. In the end, factoring in the cost of shipping, the exchange rate and the cost of re-grading, I decided that it was all a wash. Not really worth my time and effort. However, when I discovered a local pressing service I decided to give it another shot.

Kevin Polidano calls himself the Comic Doctor. Based out in Oshawa, he offers a comic book pressing and cleaning service. When I first met him I was a little skeptical. At the time, I had never heard of him before and was unfamiliar with who he was. However, he turned out to be very personable, very open and easy to talk with so I decided to give him a try. As well, I had a small pile of wrinkled books that I wasn’t quite sure what to do with. These books were not worth sending down to the U.S. but they still had some value so I didn’t want to just give them away because of some water damage. I offered them to the Doctor and recently got them back and… wow! The results were impressive:

Before: Difficult to see the wrinkles here due to the printing.
Before: Turn the book over the rippling is very noticeable.
After: After a good press, the book lays flat.
After: On the back, only the subtle stain remains.

Adventure into Fear #19 is the 1st appearance of Howard the Duck. I picked up this book under $5 as part of my boxing day haul. After Howard the Duck’s post credit appearance in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, its value popped and was worth saving. However, it had some ripply waves across the top, most noticeable from the back cover. After the pressing, the waves are still visible but much less pronounced. Good enough to be offered up for sale without shame.

Before: Looks okay from the front.
Before: Turn it over and the ripples are much more visible.
After: After the pressing, the cover looks smooth.
After: The back is also smooth.

The Incredible Hulk #141 features the first appearance of Doc Samson. I picked up this book in a trade but was unaware of the moisture damage. I had a bit of money into this book so I couldn’t just ignore the wrinkles. After the pressing, the wrinkles were ironed out.

Before: Difficult to see the bend here since it does not break ink.
Before: The bend is more visible from this angle.
After: After the pressing, the bottom edge is flattened out.
After: The top edge also looks much improved. Too bad there’s no easy way to remove the over spray of distributors ink.

Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #1 is the 1st appearance of Luke Cage, the Power Man. I picked up this book in the same trade deal as the Hulk #141. This book was bent and warped at the bottom but the damage did not break ink. Again, I had some money into this book and with the pending TV series, it was worth trying to save. After the pressing, the bend and warping flattened right out. I can’t even see where the bending had occurred.

Before: My photo’s make the before shots look better than the books actually were.
Before: But this particular book was rough all over.
After: After the pressing, both front and back cover was smooth as a babies bottom. This book sold instantly so I had to ask the buyer to send this pic to me.

Batman #200 is an anniversary issue and Neal Adams’ first work on the series. I found this book in the cheapy bins, all crumpled up for under $5. Due to its low grade, everyone before me seemed to have passed on it. After the pressing, it was flat as a pancake and was the most dramatic transformation out of the bunch. It went from what I would consider to be a 2.0 to a solid 4.0… maybe a 5.0. I showed these books to the friend who I traded the Hulk and Luke Cage books with and he made me a cash offer on the spot. Thanks to the pressing, it sold itself.

In all fairness, these were mid to low grade books. Unlike the high grade books I had submitted previously to the U.S. companies, these books had a lot more room to be improved. So, I’m not suggesting that one presser is better than the other, but simply that Kevin is local, thus cheaper for us Canadians and very capable, so I’m happy to endorse his services. While the books flattened out nicely, there isn’t much that can be done about the stains short of chemical bleaching. While the stains do give away the books former state, the staining is mostly on the back and minimal so they don’t infringe upon the over all aesthetic of the book. I’ve got another small batch of books which could use some love so I hope to pass these off the Doctor the next time I see him. Kevin is a regular the Toronto Comic Book Show (TCBS) and is usually set up near the entrance. Bring your wrinkled books along to the next show on June 14 and enlist Kevin’s services. It may really pay off. If you’re not in the city, Kevin can also be reached through his website. Good luck and save those neglected books.

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Charlie Kim

Charlie Kim is a designer who is currently transitioning into teaching. While working for various companies, he helped develop many international brands such as the Hong Kong Airport identity, Lenovo’s sponsorship program for the Beijing Olympics and Lavasa, a new city being developed in India. Locally, he's also worked on the 1998 campaign for the Canadian Opera Company, the Canadian Innovations stamp for Canada Post and the terrible Grand & Toy re-brand (hey, they can't all be winners). Charlie’s love affair with art and design all began with comics.

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  1. Great Post Charlie and the stamp of approval will be very appreciated by Kevin as well. I have had about the same results as you, wher ethey often come out in the wash with some up , and some down and the rest staying the same.When it’s dramatic it is a beautiful thing and can make a huge difference in the value of the books.
    Thanks for the info.

  2. Hi Charlie – That pressing service does a wonderful job of taking away wrinkles. The results posted are very impressive. I did want to note that no matter how many wrinkles are taken away, and even if the book is flat as a pancake, moisture damage will limit even the best looking book to about a 6.0 grade.

    Charlie I really like the way you have used the service to take low cost – low grade, unattractive minor key books and turn them into the 4.0-6.0 books, and find them a good home!

  3. Thanks guys. I think the word is catching on about the Comic Doctor. Apparently, Kevin is really busy these days. You also make a great point Mike…

    According to Overstreet, books above 5.0 are not allowed to have stains. The Luke Cage book in particular also suffers from an over spray of distribution ink but I use to own an ASM#129 where the back was all messed up from the ink but it still received a 7.0, which I thought was strange. My feeling is that while Overstreet guidelines do help to set a standard, each book has its own character. But having said, why take a lesser option if a better book is available. I don’t think any of my pressed books would grade above a 6.0 but I’m tempted to submit a couple just to see what they come back as. Perhaps a good topic for a future write up…

  4. Kevin is the man! I found him by Googling pressing services in the Greater Toromto Area and he made the first search page. Easy to talk to, you can tell he is a pro. Definitely a guy I could spend hours chatting with. Thanks for pressing my Batman 232 Comic Doc!

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