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Mylites – are they worth it?

March 22, 2010

When a person gets serious about collecting, how one preserves their comics becomes a serious consideration.  You spend money on your comics, and that money adds up quickly and then you’ve outlayed some serious cash on pieces of paper that even in the best of circumstances tend to degrade.  That’s a concern.  But if you use the right products you can protect your comics for years.

Mylar.  There.  I said it.  It’s the only way to go.  Yes, it gets pricey, but this is one of those cases where you get what you pay for.  The standard polybags that are the workhorse of comic storage just don’t cut it.  They wrinkle over time, the turn yellow, and I’m no chemist, but when the bag is turning yellow that can’t be the best thing for the fragile paper product sealed inside.  Mylar doesn’t have those problems.  It’s the stuff the Library of Congress uses.  Lets be frank here – if it’s good enough for protecting letters between the Founding Fathers, then it’s good enough to protect your copy of The Fantastic Four #45.

You’re going to have to bite the bullet a bit.  There’s a degree of sticker shock that comes when you buy any sort of mylar product, and you’re going to be facing prices that are more than double what you’d likely pay for polybags.  If you’re looking for the most economical mylar sleeve for your books, then E. Gerber Products and their house brand, Mylites, are for you.  They’re the least expensive out there.  Period.  End of statement.  Other companies have mylar sleeves.  BCW and Bill Cole Enterprises both sell similar products, but their prices can’t compete.

It’s important to note that Mylites are very similar to polybags in that they have a foldable flap on top that you can seal with tape.  This is important, especially if you’re storing your comics in standard cardboard comic boxes.  The cardboard that’s used usually has acids in it, and while sleeves block the acid, there are other mylar products that are open on top, without that foldable flap.  That flap is like the opposable thumb on a human – it’s vital.  Without the flap the comic is still exposed to the elements surrounding it and you can have acid migration.  That kills comics, making them brown and brittle.  E. Gerber sells flapless sleeves under the name Archives.  I’ve never bought those because of these concerns, and I never will.  Mylites, Mylites+, Mylites2 and Mylites4 comprise the entire line of foldable-flap mylar from E. Gerber.

Back to singing the praises of Mylites.  I stick to buying the Mylites2, which are the intermediate thickness sleeves.  To paraphrase Goldilocks, this sleeve is just right, and strikes the best balance between protection and price.  The Mylites2 line has the largest range of sizes available for comics, from Current size comics up to Super Golden Age and even sleeves for more oddball products like digests.  I generally stick to buying the 725M2 line, which are designed for Standard Comics.   Regular Silver Age sized boards fit nicely in these sleeves and they accomodate comics from the current size back to the early days of the 12 cent books.  For older comics I buy the Super Golden Age (825M2) just so the books have some room in there – those older comics tend to get a little delicate and I like the book to go in and out smoothly.  You may have different preferences – I stick to the 725M2 for most comics just for the sake of consistency.  You may want to tailor your sleeves more closely to the comics inside.  If that’s the case, then go for it.

The bulk discounts that E. Gerber offers are excellent.  When I order the 725M2 size I get a thousand at a time.  That’s a big honking chunk of money but the savings are worth it and that holds me for quite a while.  I’d definitely recommend going the bulk route, but once again, your requirements may be different.  Order according to your own needs.  Even without that bulk discount the prices are still reasonable compared to everyone else that offers analagous products.

There is one thing about ordering from E. Gerber Products that may give some people pause.  They don’t take orders online.  Before I first ordered from them that left me with a raised eyebrow.  In this day and age it seems strange when a mail order business isn’t taking advantage of the internet, but whatever.  I’ve found their customer service for phone orders to be excellent, and the orders are generally shipped via UPS the next day.  I’ve never had a problem.

I hope this review has helped clarify some of the issues with whether or not to start using mylar and, more specifically, Mylites.  It really is the way to go.  If you need one last thing to convince you, consider this: Mylites are crystal clear.  They even make your comics look better, like a coat of wax on your car.  That’s a pretty nice extra.

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26 Comments leave one →
  1. Queso6p4 permalink
    July 10, 2011 9:07 pm

    Many thanks for this clarifying entry. I’m considering having to switch to Mylar for the sake of long term preservation.

  2. joel licoff permalink
    September 23, 2011 2:52 pm

    I agree with everything the poster said except i would not order mylite2 for current books. I originally thought to order mylites for current books, but mylites are only $10 more per 500 bags. EGerber is cheaper than its competitors. Check for yourself. While E. Gerber does does not have online ordering, does have a website with its products and prices listed.

    While bagging and boarding your books is a labor of love, that doesn’t mean you should do it every 1 or 2 years, which is what you have to do if you use standard bags and boards. Don’t forget the acid free boards.

  3. Rich permalink
    March 2, 2012 2:34 am

    Great piece. I especially like your explanation of the various bags and what they hold. Most helpful!

  4. Tim permalink
    June 23, 2012 4:28 pm

    I am a pre-novice collector and the fist thing I did was buy the Mylites4 from E. Gerber. They are a tight fit and I do not use any boards – the Mylites4 are fairly stiff and very effective at protecting corners. I use cotton gloves when inserting the comics and then gently tap the bag and comic on a flat surface to help the comic settle to the bottom of the bag. The flaps are a little difficult to tuck in – very stiff. so I have been experimenting with folding and creasing the flap prior to inserting a comic. Next I need to being taping the flaps.

  5. Mike permalink
    July 10, 2012 9:25 pm

    I’ve purchased 2 mil Mylar bags from Bill Cole (BCE), Bags Unlimited, and E. Gerber. I’ve decided that the Mylites2 are the best “workhorse” mylar bag on the market. As the previous entry mentioned, I’m able to achieve the cleanest seal on my bags by pre-creasing them, using the top of the Fullback board (already inserted in the bag) as a guide. The E Gerber bags seem to have a much better cut than the other products, which do not crease as cleanly.

  6. August 4, 2012 12:31 pm

    Agreed! I use mylites exclusively and love them. ComicSupply.com does online orders and discounts too.

  7. November 5, 2012 10:41 pm

    Thanks in support of sharing such a good thought, article is
    nice, thats why i have read it fully

  8. November 5, 2012 10:41 pm

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    I’ll bookmark your blog and test again right here frequently. I’m rather certain I’ll learn plenty of new stuff proper here! Good luck for the next!

  9. April 10, 2013 11:20 pm

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  10. William permalink
    April 24, 2013 4:18 pm

    Just read your article on proper comic book storage. You confirmed a lot of things that I am doing. I use the Mylites 2 mils bags and half back acid free backing boards for my Golden Age comics. I like the Mylites 2 bags (8 1/4″ x 10 1/2″) and the 7 7/8″ x 10 1/2″ backing boards. Really looks nice and as one other collector mentioned, gives them some room to “breathe”. Again, I appreciate the article, most informative.

  11. May 6, 2013 5:39 pm

    Highly energetic blog, I liked that bit. Will there
    be a part 2?

  12. September 15, 2013 10:41 am

    Is it necessary to tape the flaps closed? Over the years, the tape degrades and can be a worse mess than yellow bags. So I presume you just fold the flap and let the other comics hold it in place….

  13. January 18, 2014 4:33 am

    obviously like your web-site however you have to take a look at the spelling on quite a few of your posts.
    Several of them are rife with spelling issues and
    I to find it very bothersome to inform the truth however I
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  14. Quinn permalink
    October 21, 2014 1:54 am

    Enjoyed your article on Mylites and the info on how to protect our comic investments. Thanks for sharing.

  15. MKNIGHT X permalink
    January 3, 2015 11:21 am

    Thanks for the information on Mylar and Mylites. Ive considered this as an alternative to poly bags for a while. Also heard that the full backs are the way to go also.

  16. Jeff permalink
    February 18, 2015 2:29 pm

    Good article. I’ve changed everything pre-1975 to mylite2 and full backs, and will continue up through the years as my budget will allow. I’m using 775M2, Silver/Gold for everything so far. Just be careful about the sizing, these don’t always fit in long boxes, so most of my mylars are in short magazine boxes. On the plus side, smaller boxes are easier to handle, and it’s worth it to have that added protection at the corners.

  17. February 26, 2015 1:05 pm

    Hі, just wanted to tell you, I enjoyed this article. Ӏt was helpful.
    Keep on posting!

  18. John Lumsden permalink
    May 11, 2015 11:54 am

    Nice write up. I prefer a different set up utilizing the Full Back with the Mylite 2 into a Golden Age Archive. I place the Full Back into the Mylite 2 then slide the book in upside down, pulling the flap over and then sliding them into the Archive. No tape used. This set up prevents any potential curvature that occurs over time when using just a board and Mylite’s inside boxes which results in spine stress cracks. The Gold Archive’s overall dimensions also prevent the comics corners from being bumped.

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