Comic restoration and archiving are practices that have been carried for years; since the introduction of the world’s first comic. As soon as a comic is published and released to the public, environmental forces start working immediately to alter the original look of the comic. Environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity, as well as human and manmade pollutants begin to destroy the ink and the paper. As such, many serious comic book collectors have to find ways to maintain and restore comic books that they have had for a long time.
The process of restoration requires the use of specialized techniques and equipment to make it possible. Not only will the repair supplies protect comics for personal enjoyment but they help to maintain the comic’s value for re-sale purposes. Luckily, most of the repair supplies are found readily in many local comic shops. Here are 5 Necessary Tools for Comic Book Restoration and Archiving:
Invest In Some Acid Papers – No, Not The Kind Jerry Garcia Likes
Paper deteriorates over an extended period to become brittle and yellow through a process of acidification. De-acidification paper, when interlocked into the comic book pages, prevents harmful pollutants from acting on the comic book. It also helps to neutralize the process of acidification, keeping your comics fresher for longer.
In the absence of de-acidification paper, one can also use a spray that delays the acidification process. The spray soaks into the paper and quickly evaporates leaving an alkaline buffer that protects the pages.
Bag It Up In Storage Bags
Storage bags are essential because they protect the cover of the comic book, keeping it safe away from the harmful elements. Most people prefer to use polymer storage bags because they are cheap and widely available. However, the best protection is given by Mylar bags that can protect the comic book for as long as 100 years.
Straighten Them Out With Boards
Backboards are used to prevent your comics from bending, cracking or folding. You must ensure that your backboard is sturdy enough and free from contamination otherwise, it will do the opposite of what it is supposed to do. Most primary boards are layered with a calcium carbonate buffer that offers protection to the comic book.
Keep It Dry
A desiccant is a material that absorbs moisture in a contained space. Desiccants are usually placed inside the storage boxes to absorb any moisture that may be trapped inside. They are available in small sachets and can be found readily in most chemistry shops. You may also look into investing in air compressors from Porter Cable and Campbell Hausfeld – to keep dust away from your archives regardless of where you store them.
Box ‘Em Up In Your Inner Sanctum
Any collection that you have must be stored in a box that is free of contamination. The box will not only help with the organization of the comic books, but it will also protect the books from physical harm.
There are plenty more things to learn in the realm of comic book restoration and archival – many of which you only learn after decades in the art.
Fantasy role playing games have come a long way since the very first edition of Dungeons and Dragons came out in 1974. Since then, thousands of role playing games have come and gone, some in the same vein, and some that have redefined the genre altogether – but much like in video games, there’s plenty of good ones, and there’s been stinkers in its over 40 year existence.
We pay homage to the games that are just as skillfully made, but never got the limelight its other, more famous peers did in pop culture and in the fantasy RPG gaming community in general – these table top games will definitely be a must-play for the newer generation of fantasy gamers, in the same vein that retro video games should be part of a gamer’s diet, or at least fundamentals.
If you’re a dabbler into this wormhole and want to increase the fun, you can make your own gaming table to complete the whole gaming experience. It’s not rocket science. You just need basic level shop skills. Drills and Drivers will be a great resource for you to do so if you decide that you want to do it – check their feature out on http://www.drillsanddrivers.com/combo-kits/. Now that’s a bad-ass gaming table for ya!
So now that you’re set up correctly, we’ve compiled a short list, in no particular order, of five fantasy tabletop RPG titles that were great in their own right, and have gone on to enjoy a dedicated, albeit smaller cult fanbase to this very day. Let’s get to the meat of the matter, shall we?
1. Ars Magica (1987)
Ars Magica came out in 1987 to great plaudit due to its highly innovative and well-designed gameplay structure, ahead of its time then, and still innovative today. It was one of the first RPGs that featured pros and cons of major and minor characters, without simply focusing on character attributes. Plus, the storyline is so awesome – who would’ve thought medieval Europe in the Dark Ages would’ve made a great setting for one of the seminal, if not more popular RPGs in history? Fulfill your wildest fantasies of being a medieval wizard or crusader with this title – you won’t regret it.
2. Earthdawn (1993)
This 90s title was famed for its excellent narrative – which bled through and was very well reflected in its gameplay. It’s worth playing just to follow the very interesting narrative that the game is set in. Truly a cult classic whose storyline was just really well-designed. Regardless of whether you are a fan of the game’s step-based mechanics or its relative lack of equipment and gear, you’ll find a lot of interesting things that will keep you into it.
3. Legend of the Five Rings (1997)
Legend of the Five Rings was not just a great CCG, but it was also a very underrated fantasy RPG especially for those who are big fans of the Samurai narrative. The gameplay in physical combats or the scheming and plotting elements of this game are also what makes its replay value so high. Imagine getting a rival to commit seppuku after browbeating him in court….how’s that for detail?
4. Feng Shui (1996)
If beating people up in the great tradition of Shaolin movies from Shaw Brothers interests you, then this is the game that you have overlooked. Fast-paced action and system will keep you on your toes, with just the right amount of camp thrown in for good measure. It’s your own personal Shaw Brothers movie, I’ll tell you that much!
5. Anima: Beyond Fantasy (2005)
When you go 10 years in the fantasy RPG world, it seems like you’re vintage already. This game takes many of the elements we all loved about the games of the past and repackages them into with its own interesting brand of gameplay – which will allow you to do some pretty neat stuff with it.
I was fixing my pipes this morning until the strains of otherworldly keyboards started wafting across the room. Well, I decided that fixing a clogged faucet was the last thing I wanted to do on such a beautiful Saturday morning – nothing beats the looks and functionality of a Kraus KPF, but boy, it sure is a bummer to have to fix (but thanks for the great advice, faucetassistant.com).
Going back, the strains reminded me of the sci-fi inspired albums I was really back into my youth – the keyboards were none other than Ash Ra Tempel’s. So I decided to dig up my old vinyl! lp records and withdraw myself in the comfort of my basement and come up with a carefully curated list of science fiction inspired rock music for you all.
Thing is, we aren’t going to list down concept albums that most of us already know – we’re talking about digging deep down and dirty for the choicest cuts known to man.
We’re digging slightly deeper than usual this time. Get those speakers ready and cranked up to 11 – we’re about to take you on a trip of massive proportions.
1. Paul Kantner and Jefferson Starship, “Blows Against the Empire” (1970)
The quintessential sci-fi concept album is probably the one that is most overlooked – but then again, in 1970, maybe it was too far out. However, that does not denigrate from Jefferson Airplane mastermind Paul Kantner’s impressive 1970 opus, “Blows Against the Empire”. Its lofty, freeform and idealistic lyrical content set to the San Francisco sound may all just be a hippie dream, but its message resounds in these trying times.
Kantner truly was one of music’s forgotten greats – it’s such a loss that he is no longer with us.
2. Gary Numan and Tubeway, “Replicas” (1979)
Before Gary Numan hit it big with the ubiquitous and infectious groove of his 1979 hit “Cars”, he was first the enigmatic frontman of proto-New Wave group Tubeway Army. And their final album, “Replicas”, was a fitting bookend to one of the most futuristic bands of the late 70s British scene – one that was based on a futuristic, Philip K. Dick-inspired plot that served as a central musical theme.
3. A Flock of Seagulls, “A Flock of Seagulls” (1982)
A Flock of Seagulls first eponymous LP was indeed a gem full of sci-fi inspired, hooky, and catchy rock songs – although the massive hits “I Ran (So Far Away)” and “Space Age Love Song” were the ones best remembered, the album itself is wrapped up in its own sci-fi inspired narrative.
4. Nektar, “Journey to the Center of the Eye” (1971)
Now we’re getting REAL deep with these cuts. Nektar is a German-American space rock group, which, off the bat, should tell you that their works will be littered with references to science fiction, space, and the future. Their abovementioned debut album consists of a continuous, gapless piece of music following an astronaut encountering aliens in Jupiter, who then grant him knowledge that will save the world. Intense, huh? For an album made in 1971, it sure is heavy – its narrative also serves as an indictment on nuclear war – a very real possibility when the album was released.
5. Jon Anderson, “Olias of Sunhillow” (1976)
Jon Anderson may already be known for his prolific, award-winning, and memorable work with British prog supergroup Yes, but his solo work also demands just as recognition – one only need to look at the abovementioned 1976 work as proof. Anderson painstakingly worked on the album for over eight months, with two years just for conceptualizing the narrative itself – one you have to listen to appreciate in full.
Well, that’s five of the best hidden treasures of the sci-fi world – track them down on YouTube, Spotify, or better yet, on vinyl, and enjoy. Now back to my faucet!
“Dark star crashes
pouring its light
the forces tear loose
from the axis
for faults in the
clouds of delusion”
– Grateful Dead, “Dark Star”
There’s nothing like blasting fine space rock music through some good speakers or headphones – hearing the layered instrumentation, voices, guitars and percussion can literally be a personal trip of your own that you can listen for yourself.
If you know Pink Floyd and Hawkwind, then it is safe to assume that you know what space rock is. Space rock is a genre of music derivative of progressive psychedelic rock. The stylistic character of progressive rock, which allowed musicians to stretch the genre’s musical boundaries, is what paved the way for the growth and success of space rock music. The rock music that you enjoy today has its roots in the psychedelic artistic trends that characterized most of the mid-1960s. During this period, folk and British bands were busy attempting to change the face of music by abandoning traditional tenets of songwriting and adopting a fluid song structure to write their music. As a result, the songs created did not follow the natural convention of writing where singers would write a verse then chorus then verse again. Additionally, these new age artists of the period also started incorporating elements of Eastern music such as Indian voices and instrumentation.
The Basic Formulation of Space Rock
Space rock music contained certain principles of jazz, which when incorporated into the psychedelic sound (think of the late 60’s heyday of the Grateful Dead) created aggressive and distinct expressions of rock music that you know today. Space rock also makes use of lyrics that are very cosmic-like, as well as loud reverberating electric guitars that made it addictive. Among the many changes brought along with the movement also includes the use of electronic devices that could alter the way a musician’s voice sounded, which you could say provided a platform for the development of new studio technology such as the auto tune that is predominant in modern music. You’re welcome, Kanye West!
The Link to Krautrock and Psychedelia
Space rock musicians incorporated krautrock elements that included recurring rhythmic beats that almost made the listener feel like they were on a musical high. The musicians tended to use synthesizers that supplied bubbling soothing tones and spacey progressions that provoked a smooth flow, making you feel like you were up in space. If you are ever at a live psychedelic or space rock concert today, you will notice artist incorporate cosmic elements such as light beams that may appear trippy but actually amplify the show.
Although the space rock movement only lasted for a short time, the influence it had on the face of music can still be felt today. An example of a song that accurately describes the movement is the late Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity.’ Bands that identified with the movement include Pink Floyd and Gong while popular contemporary bands that still produce space rock music today include Ozric Tentacles and Monkey 3. While the future of space rock music remains unpredictable, it is evident that its contribution can still be felt years after its inception. If you are lucky, the movement will revive itself, but only if the galaxy wishes it so.
Now that you’ve grounded yourself in the basics of the genre, you will be in a better place to relisten to your Captain Beyond and Wishbone Ash albums, they should be back in your list of tracks to enjoy – they deserve a second spin, don’t they? Cheers!
A lot of people love that different kind of adrenaline rush that spooky, creepy books, movies, or even comic books bring. If you are one of them, who likes a good scare once in a while, you have to find the time to watch the following horror movies that have earned many high praises (as well as criticisms) from hardcore fans of this genre. As a side tip (since your muscles might get tense when watching horror), a relaxing massage from a massage chair with good reviews at shiatsuchairs.net will ensure that your back and shoulders won’t get into problems. If you’re not prone to tension, just get comfortable on the couch with the popcorn ready.
Released in 1980, The Shining is based on Stephen King’s 1977 book of the same title. It starred Jack Nicholson (as the primary antagonist named Jack Torrance), Shelley Duvall (as Jack’s wife, Wendy), and Danny Lloyd (as the Torrance’s son, Danny). It is about a haunted hotel, the Overlook Hotel, and its terrifying secrets and mysteries. It was directed and produced by iconic filmmaker Stanley Kubrick, who was also the man behind the critically-acclaimed 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and A Clockwork Orange (1971).
A Nightmare on Elm Street
A suspense thriller about a serial killer known as Freddie Krueger, A Nightmare on Elm Street was released in 1984 and starred Heather Langenkamp, Ronee Blakley, Jsu Garcia, John Saxon, Robert Englund, Amanda Wyss, and Johnny Depp. It was so successful, earning more than 25 million dollars in the United States alone, that it got a number of sequels, a remake, and a television series. It was directed by Wes Craven, who also directed all the Scream movies.
Night of the Living Dead
Directed by renowned filmmaker George A. Romero, Night of the Living Dead is a zombie apocalypse movie released in 1968. It starred Duane Jones and Judith Smith, and grossed about 30 million dollars in the box office, with only a budget of 114,000 dollars. It spawned a few remakes, including 1990’s Night of the Living Dead, 2004’s Dawn of the Dead, and 2008’s Day of the Dead.
A horror movie from Japan, The Ring (or Ringu in Japanese) is about a cursed video tape that kills anyone who watches it. It was based on Koji Suzuki’s novel with the same title, and was directed by Hideo Nakata. It starred Rie Ino (as the antagonist, Sadako, a long-haired monster dressed in a white gown and crawls out of a television) and Nanako Matsushima (as the reporter who conducts an investigation on the cursed video tape after a series of deaths). It had a number of sequels and prequels, including an American remake released in 2002, which starred Naomi Watts and was directed by Gore Verbinski.
Hardcore gamers expose themselves to potentially life-changing bad habits such as lack of sleep, lack of proper nutrition, and lack of exercise. Now, I’m not saying that we all do, but the risks we expose ourselves to as gamers are real. So are the hazards. Inasmuch as every individual’s mileage may vary when it come to questions of the effects that a hardcore gamer’s lifestyle has, the fact remains that action must be done to correct a lifetime of bad habits.
Luckily, there are a multitude of options out there for all of us. There obviously isn’t a lack of options; only a lack of willpower and a lack of effort, as well as plenty of excuses. Exercising has been made such an easy thing to do even for the laziest, unhealthiest slob out there; there really isn’t a reason you and I can’t take a 15-minute break in the day, or even as you play video games, to get a bit of exercise worked into the routine.
We’ll show you just how easy you can incorporate workouts to your gaming schedule.
Walk, Don’t Run
The ever-present treadmill has made it easy for people of all walks of life to exercise in the comfort of their own homes; you could too in front of your TV screen. Research from the Mayo Clinic shows that even just 10-minute intervals of regular brisk walking already reduces your risk of diabetes and high blood pressure, as well as improve your mood, balance, and coordination. Furthermore, treadmills are no longer the expensive investment they once were when they first came out in the market; second hand models of top-quality treadmills can be had for pennies on the dollar, but when reading some of the best reviews on walking treadmills, you’ll see the same is true when investing in a new one. Think of using your treadmill during pauses; sprint while you wait on a load screen, walk on a cinematic trailer…there’s a whole load of things you can incorporate walking and running into.
I’ve Got a Bike, You Can Ride It If You Like
Excuse the Pink Floyd reference. What is true for the treadmill is true for the bike; stationary bikes are an excellent way of getting your 10-minute workout while you slay demons and conquer new worlds. Furthermore, they are so easy to use as you play that you can use them INDEFINITELY as you play. Think about going 100% of your capability as you play your favorite first-person shooter; it’s so easy to incorporate a stationary bike to your gaming. In fact, it could enhance your gaming experience to a whole new level.
Resistance Training? Yes, of Course!
You just read that right; you CAN do your resistance training as you game. In the same way you would take pauses to stand up, you can fill that dead air out with some quality reps. From push-ups, which don’t need machines at all, to a simple chin-up bar, to a full-fledged exercise machine, there exists a solution for any budget. Do 10 reps when your in-game character respawns!
Gaming doesn’t have to be an unhealthy passion; the possibilities are endless if you just put your mind to it. There is a solution for every budget out there; there isn’t any remedy for laziness. Get off the couch, drop, and give me ten!
Ah, comic books. The collection of graphics with text that have made many a childhood the world over.
Where do old comic books go to rest?
Do they end up stashed up in your basement, consigned to a life of clutter and dust in a box?
Far too often, emotions get in the way of how we treat our old comics.
But the thing is, not all of us are rabid collectors, and not all of us have the time nor living space to accommodate our beloved literature.
To say that you will eventually get rid of them by selling them for their perceived “market value” is a cop-out; not all of our comics anyway are worth the mylar they are bagged into, for most of us.
Only a select few comics will actually be of any interest to most collectors, and if you expect that your comics will be flying off their dusty boxes and bins, you’re deluding yourself.
The reality of adulthood most of the time demands us to let go of these things.
The comic books we have read have served their purpose in providing us hours and hours of entertainment as children, as teens, as adults. Many times, repurposing them is a better investment than have them collect dust and attract vermin.
So how should you dispose of your comic books? Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to recycle them at no cost – let’s take a look at how we can repurpose the pieces of our childhood again.
And perhaps, in one way or another, be of similar purpose for someone out there.
The best way to repurpose your old comic collections cluttering your house is to donate them. Many establishments are only too willing to accept your donations; from public libraries, dental clinics (remember those Archie comics you read while waiting in the dentist’s office?), children’s hospitals, homeless shelters, barbershops, hairdressers, and orphanages throughout your area. This way, you could give the gift of countless hours of being immersed in Gotham City to a child somewhere waiting for the dreaded dentist’s appointment. Also check out charities that have literacy and education as their advocacy; this will ensure that your prized comic books will have been used for a noble purpose. Contact them and see if they will accept your donation; chances are, they will only be too happy to take those boxes out of your hands.
Use them in Art Projects
Feeling creative? There are countless applications for your comic books in the realm of art. Did you know you could use them to design footwear, such as comic inspired flats? Did you know you could repurpose their pages as wallpaper? The possibilities of using comic books for art projects are just endless; comics are a perfect piece for any design project involving snazzy design.
If All Else Fails, Ditch Them….Responsibly
Sometimes, neither donation nor design will provide a good way to repurpose your comics. Sometimes, people just don’t want them, and sometimes, you will need the space right away. Fortunately, you have plenty of options as to how you can dispose of the paper they are printed on. Simply send them over to your preferred waste disposal method; if you don’t already own a waste disposal machine, Down the Sink will have plenty of options for you that are
obviously explained on the website. Regardless of your preferred method, disposing old comic books will have the paper they are printed onto repurposed into new paper products, and in turn saving more trees.
Letting go is never easy; but sometimes you have to do what you have to do. Take solace in the fact that there are many ways you can repurpose your old comics, and give someone else the gift of the fun that the same comics have given you.
How can you prepare your most prized tomes for the inevitability of storage in your garage? How can your collection of relics from eons past stand up to the test of time? How can you keep them in pristine condition within the excesses of that busy, dank, and grimy corner of your home, despite bagging and boarding them to the best of your abilities?
These are all questions that we want to help you answer.
The Problems of Storing Comics in Your Garage
The reason that storing comics in a garage is not advisable anywhere is one or a combination of the following things: humidity, temperature, security, and the possibility of pests making a safe haven out of your most valued, prized, and cherished graphic novels.
Humidity and Temperature Considerations
Another important consideration you need to keep in mind is that using your garage as storage is that it will pose a host of uncontrollable environmental variables that you are exposing to your comic books. Using Mylar or polyester bags will not completely protect your graphic novels from the ever-present threat that is humidity and heat. Although Mylar itself is impermeable, you need to ensure that they are fully air-tight.
Security from Burglary and Pests
Another key consideration to keep in mind is that of physical security. Generally speaking, garages are very easy to break into; and the fact that some garages are shared make them even pose more of a risk. Garages are also very prone to being completely forgotten about – how many times have you forgotten to shut the door on your garage (admit it; it happens to the best of us)? Furthermore, it’s not only the humanoids you have to worry about; you also have to worry about the varmints that get into said bags and boards. Ever have to purchase a box of rare comics only to find out that a family of mice has been calling it their home for 20 odd years? Yes, that happens. More often than you think.
If You Must…
Though nothing in this world can ever be completely safe, there will always be plenty of ways to mitigate your risks. Although storing your graphic novels in the garage is not the optimal choice of storage, sometimes there isn’t just a choice. If you have to do this, make sure that the temperature and humidity play around 70 degrees Fahrenheit and 50% relative humidity, respectively. You can invest in a garage dehumidifier and a garage thermostat to ensure that you achieve these levels. Then, discourage pests from frequenting your storage unit with mousetraps and insect bait in and around it. Finally, improve your physical security – this is important not just for your high-valued collection, but also for your own safety. Granted, there are a number of “smart” garage doors that are automated and notify you if it’s been closed or opened (Garage Automatics has a great number of suggestions for this, if you’re the type – just login to http://www.garageautomatics.com/buyers-guide/).
After all, to a real collector, protecting that extremely rare Action Comics No. 1 issue is worth a king’s ransom. Even if you don’t own the rarest comic book of all time, the sentimental value that comes with your personal collection is worth the protecting just as much.