You’re told in grade school: do what makes you happy. Cameron Hacault listened.
The 40 year old runs Freshly Pressed Comics, a bespoke service that revives – not restores – comic books.
“The reason this service is so great, is that it can help a comic look as good as possible without having it restored,” Hacault said. “Restoring comics will always lower its value.”
“Dry-cleaning and pressing will not lower a comic’s value, and in most cases, will increase its value.”
Freshly Pressed charges $12 to clean a comic; $10 to press it. A clean and press is $20. Hacault will reimburse the owner at fair market value if any comics are damaged during this process.
His passion for reviving comics comes from a very personal loss.
“I had decided to sell my entire, beloved comic collection and knew that if I sold it in a big group that I’d get the least amount of money for it,” he recalled. “As I researched various options for selling, I learned about a new or new-ish niche business where companies will clean – remove smudges, pencil marks etc. and press – to remove moisture and wrinkles from comics.”
Using a cleaning and pressing service seemed like a great way to maximize the sale of his most expensive comics, Hacault said.
But when he discovered how many comics needed revival, he started to research how to do it himself.
“One thing led to another and I got myself set up to provide professional comic cleaning and pressing services. I’m also at a point in my [other] established career that a break is well-timed.”
A self-confessed “comic geek,” his favourite projects involve eliminating or minimizing “spine rolls” in comics.
He explains the process using a ‘before’ photo: “This is where the back of the comic has ‘rolled’ over towards the front of the comic. The after picture shows the spine roll greatly decreased,” he said. “Less spine roll equals happy collector.”
Another inspiring project was a Daredevil comic. Some comic books are assigned a grade from a third party company, measuring its value, Haucault explained. Graded comics are often referred to as “slabs” because they get encased in a hard plastic “slab.”
“The Daredevil comic shown used to be [graded] a 1.8. I cracked it out of the slab and cleaned and pressed it. The comic looked much better than before, and when I got it graded, it came back as a 2.5. [I thought] this is pretty sweet,” he said. “A grade ‘bump’ doesn’t always happen, but it’s great when it does.”
Freshly Pressed Comics gained some profile locally by exhibiting at the recent Capital City Comic Con.
While his newly chosen vocation makes him very happy, he hasn’t lost sight of the fact it’s also a business.
“Work hard. Really hard,” he advised those who want to pursue their passion. “Practice being creative. Creativity is essential in business. Fail fast and learn from your mistakes.”