Last week I got an email from a prospective new customer for All New Comics asking what condition our comics come in. My business partner Peter prides himself on the way he ships stuff, he puts each comic in a bag and board, wraps a bunch of them together in a bag, puts that bag in a layer of bubble wrap, then puts the bundles of bagged, boarded, bagged, and bubbled comics in a box, fills that box with a bunch of packing paper and ships them out. My comics always arrive perfectly, and we’ve only had about three complaints in the five years we’ve been in business (for literally thousands of orders). Not shabby.
This customer however wanted to know what “CGC Grade” our comics were in, because if they were less than a 9.9 he wasn’t interested in our books.
This is a market I’m not interested in at all, so I told him he should probably get his comics from a brick and mortar store where he can go through a stack of comics and find the ones that meet his exact standards as it’s not something we’re very good at. We ship out good comics with no obvious dents or dings, but what we deliver meets the qualifications of “mint to near mint”.
- The Cover has: No creases, no fading, lies flat and has no rolls or curves
- The Spine: is straight, staples exhibit no signs of rust, minor bindery tears are acceptable no more than 1/16th of an inch.
- Inside: pages have no stains, marks, cuts or tears.
- Overall: The comic should look like new.
Comics are meant as a disposable medium. They are mass produced on a printing press, which doesn’t handle them with kid gloves. In the normal wear and tear of printing there are cuts, registration marks, nicks, scratches, and all manner of what have you which does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to diminish your ability to enjoy the comics.
However, if you decide to ship your comics off to a place that will grade, and hermetically seal your comics in an inert package so that you can never touch them again and can pass them around like some precious heirloom…you are looking for the absolute best copies that exist on the planet.
This is an artificial market. These comics go up in value quickly, but next month people see something that…oooh shiny!!! The value promptly plummets in 99.999999% of these cases and you’re left with a $20.00 holder on a $3.00 comic.
Here’s the truth though, above are pictures of the most valuable comics in my home. Oh sure, I have nine or so boxes of beautifully conditioned pieces of paper (every couple of years I do a garage sale, or comic show and try to unload as many as possible for $2.00 each, seriously the next one I do you should come by, there’s good stuff there), but by and large, my comics get read once and forgotten about.
Those ones above? The dog eared, cover torn, devoured and devoured again? The ones that I find on the floor, in the car, and a couple of times floating around in the driveway?
They belong to my 4 year old daughter, and she understands what comics are about. They’re for reading, enjoying, tearing the posters out of, and having fun with.
To her, comics are something she gets a ton of enjoyment out of, not something that should be handled with gloves and carefully opened so as not to disturb the spine.
Did we as comics fans forget this so long ago? Anybody remember “Hey Kids Comics!”, and spinner racks with dog eared copies of Justice League and Amazing Spider-Man? Remember that thrill?
Isn’t that a bit better than worrying if your comic is an arbitrary 9.8 or an arbitrary 9.9?
Comics are supposed to be about escapism and getting lost in the words and pictures that only comics can deliver.
Stop collecting comics and start reading them again.