Solving A Sticky Situation!

A couple of weeks ago I purchased a near complete run of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. The below pic was all I had to go on…

Photo of Collection

The first thing that drew my eye was the top two issues in the pic. They were news-stand editions. Awesome! The instant question in my head: are these all news-stand? At this point I had no idea, and I was reluctant to ask the seller in case he didn’t know what he had and upon finding out would hike up the price (happened to me before) or simply remove the lot from sale. Not that I wanted to cheat the seller or anything (I ain’t that guy!), but he was already asking a fair bit of dosh. I wanted them, but they also came with issues.

Which leads us into the main plotline of this story. Three of the four books pictured had the dreaded price stickers on the covers. And they’d been attached for a long time! Since 2006, to be exact. Consequently, removal of said annoyances would not be easy. Unfortunately the seller confirmed in a quick correspondence that 98% of them had price stickers. Bummer! But I still went for it … after haggling a bit of a deal.

Skip forward a week. The collection arrived, and after a quick perusal, my fears regarding the stickers were confirmed. Stuck fast is an understatement. But on the plus side every single issue was news-stand. Woohoo!

I must admit I’ve never attempted to remove really old stickers. Doing so is fraught with danger. Many, many things could go wrong. I was so nervous about bolloxing the whole affair that I considered just leaving them be. But I couldn’t. Every time I tried to admire the cover art my eye immediately went to that gross square of ugliness in the top corner. Why do newsagents insist on subjecting our poor comic books to this barbaric practice?

No. The stickers had to go.

But how to do it safely? To the internet! After some searching, I was quite shocked to discover there wasn’t really a lot of info out there. Did this mean that most just didn’t do it? That stickers were generally just left in place? This possibility made me even more nervous! But my mind was made up. I had to push through the fear. Those blasted stickers were on borrowed time. They had to go. No backsies!!

The consensus of opinion of those who did remove stickers was to use a hairdryer. Sure. I could do that. I watched a couple of YouTube videos illustrating the technique. Simple enough. With the hairdryer on low, place it really close to the offending sticker, and blast away for about three minutes. With nervous anticipation, I grabbed the hairdryer and the guineapig comic, which happened to have a damaged cover, anyway, so all wouldn’t be lost if I messed it up.

Thank goodness the cover was already rooted, because mess it up I did! Royally! As you can see below, a chunk of the cover came away with the sticker.

The screw up!

What caused this? The best I could figure is while I held the hairdryer to the cover it was getting ridiculously hot and was starting to wrinkle. I felt that I was holding the hairdryer way too close. I don’t know if the hairdryers in the tutorials were weaker on the low setting than mine, but whatever the case, I needed to adjust how I executed the task. Problem was, I had no more damaged covers with which to practice! I needed to just go for it! I grabbed the next comic, and fired up the hairdryer. But this time I held the hairdryer about 30cm above the sticker. I also moved the hairdryer around in mini-figure-8s. The moment of truth.

I started peeling …

… and

… success!

It actually worked! No sticky residue. Emboldened, I did another. And another. Pretty soon (well, a after a few hours) I had the majority of thee stickers off. All were a success, but some I did have to put a little extra work into to remove a bit of glue residue. I did this by reheating the glue for about 30 seconds, then, with the side of my thumb, I gently massaged away the small areas of glue.

As you may know, this comic series has two major keys. Issue #9 and Issue #42. I left these till last. Even though I had done over 40 comics successfully, I was still “shaking in my boots!” I grabbed Issue #9, first appearance of Revan. A stunning cover. Apologies for the blurry pic! I didn’t realize this till after I’d removed the sticker.

Issue #9 with sticker

Seeing this beautiful cover in front of me made me even more anxious. I was literally shaking (could’ve been the Red Bull I’d just chugged, I guess!). Taking a deep breath, I had at it.

It worked!

Sticker removed

And boy does the cover look sooo much better! Epic!

Next I grabbed Issue #42, first appearance of Malak. Another sweet cover. I don’t have a before shot of this cover, but suffice to say, it looked ugly. And now it doesn’t!

Issue #42

To conclude this rather long-winded story (apologies), always test whatever you see on YouTube first. Never assume that your results will be the same. We live in a chaotic world, guys. There are so many variables. We must, if we hope to succeed, devise our own methods through trial and error. But all in all, I have to say I really enjoyed this process, and I’ve learned a new skill. Cool! Comment below if you’ve tried doing this. Did it work or flop? Or do you just leave price stickers on cover?

Until next time, guys …

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