By adamgonewild 8 Comments
Soon after baseball cards began to succumb to the high dollar siren-song of graded examples, I knew that it was just a short amount of time before comic books followed suit. Unlike ardent opponents of CGC slabbed comics, I think that the whole CGC process serves a useful purpose in today’s collecting marketplace. Many fringe collectors don't want to take the time to put on gloves, grab a pen light and magnifying glass, and go through the painstaking process of grading the brightness, cover wear, and spine integrity of a comic book; especially when they are looking to purchase a book over the Internet. GCG comics save the consumer valuable time by giving a ballpark idea of what condition a comic is in, and encases the item in a veritable gift box. The peace of mind knowing that a comic is genuine, and in officially graded condition, makes the service ideal for someone looking to blindly buy a quality item in an often crowded marketplace. I also believe that CGC has increased collectors’ awareness of what makes a prime example of a comic book truly rare and unique.
I don’t currently buy CGC slabbed comics for several reasons. Primarily, I enjoy the act of actually READING comic books; even doing so with gloves to avoid sweat and acidity on the pages, in some instances. Baseball cards are a front and back item: what you see on each side of the card represents the entire story. Comic books are, mind the pun, a whole other story. A comic can’t be properly graded by simply looking at the cover, and the interior art is a major portion of what makes a comic great. Slabbing a comic eliminates the joy of reading a comic, and places undue temptation on the owner to bust the seal and see what the hero looks like on the supposed white pages of a 9.8 example.
The notion that if I bust a CGC seal, and have to send the book back in and have it re-graded for an additional fee, is about as fiscally sane to me as using dollar bills as toilet paper. Some of my favorite comic purchases have been less than $5, so weighing whether to send my money off to have my submission arbitrarily judged instead of picking up another $5 book always leads me to simply buy another comic. Part of the joy in searching for comic books is the rare NM item that has been graded a VF, or the minor irritation that goes along with a disappointingly over-graded example. The sample hunt encompasses a distinct avenue of thrill associated with comic book collecting. The rare NM book that is actually a Fine example usually gets extra reading attention, and can make a wonderful gift for someone who has never read the title.
The point system associated with CGC comics baffles me, as well. If we were talking about a 100 point standard, where a cover dimple deducted a point, or a bent corner deducted seven points, then average consumers would have a general idea of what their comic’s condition was truly in. But, with that level of knowledge, we wouldn’t need the CGC service; so the 9.4, 9.6, lottery still awaits those who submit their items to the service. I’ve spoken to several collectors who have submitted pristine examples only to have them returned as a 9.2, and visa versa, that it becomes a situation similar to submitting a final exam instead of proudly submitting a beautiful comic book. And personally, I hate taking tests!
I also like the decisive, personal control rules associated with avoiding slabbed comics. Saying no to CGC comics makes me feel old-school; and gives me a rock of composure when I see a mint condition comic going for five times its actual worth because of its slabbed grade. Sure, I’m missing out on bragging rights with CGC collectors who sport elite collections. I don’t mind, one bit. I’m happy with my manual-grading, bargain-hunting comic tendencies, and every time I find a $5 comic that triples in book value I think of what I could have paid someone at CGC to tell me what I already know, and I smile.