Monday, July 25, 2011

How to grade comics

I got no stone tablets from the mountain to impart absolute wisdom to you on this topic. Nor does anyone else; or they are selling you something. (see my CGC rant)

Comic grading is a learned art. Its a highly subjective skill that's a perpetually moving target. Ultimately, its in the eye of the beholder. There are plenty of online resources to help identify a given books grade. Here is one I found doing a quick google search. There many others, from ebay, and various comic sellers. They are all pretty close.. There are even inconsistencies within CGC.

Corner here, spine nic there, someone is fishing for a deal. And why shouldn't they? It is just a comic after all. It cant take you to a store, keep you warm and dry or stop your stomach from rumbling when its empty or tell you it loves you when you skin your knee - It isn't one of life's necessities is the point. Its just another commodity.

Don't believe me, take your favorite books in their best grade from your collection and try to sell them. Someone is going to try and beat you up over grade to get a better deal on price point. Nature of the beast. Retailers know what its worth, what they can get for it, and what price range they need to buy it at to make money to flip it. The history and sentiment are stripped away.

Grading is the great equalizer to make everything "more negotiable".

I am of the belief there is no "true" Mint condition. Only shades of grey as to what you will accept for your collection.

To me it boils down to: "What kind of condition issues are present and the number of defects you can live with versus the asking price."

For my personal tastes - I hate date stamps. That always knocks them down a few notches in my book.  However, I can live with a subscription crease. For key books, I can live with more condition issues. I'm OK with restored books, UK copies, some tape here and there - IF it gets a book at a price point I can afford. I recently bought a JIM 83. A book I've always wanted from my bucket list. Its not perfect. It has flaws, but it was affordable enough given the going rate for this book. Unfortunately, I'm not in a position to pay a used car price for something I cannot drive. Its is after all just paper.

So to me, its a matter of taste and allowable budget. 

Wouldn't ya know it, I have more thoughts on how to buy within a budget.

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