Nancy Silberkleit On The Lasting Superpowers of Comic Book Collecting

Nancy Silberkleit, co-CEO of Archie Comics, writes for Bleeding Cool: As Co-CEO of Archie Comics, I hear from people around the world how they had massive collections of comics as a child but, like Mr. Lodge kicking Archie out of the mansion, those boxes got unceremoniously tossed out. If only everyone understood the importance and dignity (not to mention value) of collecting comic books, there would be far less regret over throwing away a gold mine or selling off their boxes of comic books at the yard sale for a dollar or two!

Nancy Silberkleit On The Lasting Superpowers of Comic Book Collecting
Nancy Silberkleit On The Lasting Superpowers of Comic Book Collecting

At the moment, a comic book's value is very tangible. Comic Books + Children = Reading, and comics provide a wonderful gateway to imagination. An eight-year-old wrapped in the latest issue of their favorite character adventure is not as likely to be connected to collector culture. But it's a good idea to help kids understand the importance of buying one copy to read and a second copy to carefully protect for decades.

Today, there is a conversation going around about whether the digital age and digital content will impact the value or importance of the printed comic. My short answer is NO — a Zam, Wham, Wow NO! As the publisher of Archie Comics — one of the first comic books, a child may pick up — I often have the pleasure of meeting our fans. Many of those fans evolved from childhood readers into avid collectors.

I recently connected with a couple of people whose lives were impacted by their connection to Archie Comics as children. It was the nostalgia that had them holding on to issue after issue. They didn't realize at the time they were collecting! One person shared that Archie characters helped her through a lot of transitions during her formative years. Her dad was in the army. The family often moved, making lasting friendships more difficult, but she had those characters to connect to week after week!

Another woman, who experienced literacy challenges as a child, turned the pages of Archie and learned how to read. Her childhood collecting eventually inspired her to a career with a major greeting card company. Later, she became an adjunct professor of Management and Preservation of Archival Material — all sparked by her childhood passion for collecting comics.

In truth, the comic book has not been challenged by the digital era — only expanded. As long as there are children, there will be comic books in both digital and print. There is nothing like turning a page of a comic book. No matter how much access the digital world gives us at the touch of the button, people still like a tactile experience. They love holding that comic in their hands and turning the page.

Comic book store owners have a unique opportunity to help inspire young readers into a collector mindset. Collecting is an investment that teaches children the value of long-range planning and saving for their futures. Starting out young with a focus on the concept of "saving" is one of the most basic bits of financial advice. Comic books can provide very big returns — just like buying stocks! Libraries are another great resource for children to learn about archiving, including choosing the right storage methods — such as acid-free storage boxes — to help protect their collections. I have also worked with many universities that have designated spaces to archived comic materials. Accessing the content requires white-gloved handling, under careful and caring professional supervision. Universities are aware of the value of comics and always seek to build their collections! I am shedding light on the art of collecting comics books! Parents who understand the power of future value, and the relevance of collecting, may be more apt than others to encourage their children to take on collecting and organizing their comic book stacks!

Whether you have been collecting for years or are new to the idea, your local comic book stores are a great resource! They can help you find comics that engage your interests. Owners, who are collecting mavens themselves, will be more than happy to get you started on your way toward building a valuable collection. They not only have the comics you want but can help you learn how to catalog and preserve your comics to last for generations to come. When it comes to collecting, there's no time like the present. Connect to your local comic book store today and get started on your way! Tell them Nancy Silberkleit, the Co-CEO of Archie Comics sent you!

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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