What is it about a graded comic book?

Ten Years ago I was unable to collect comic books. Those same ten years CGC came onto the scene willing to tell you what condition your book is in, for a price. Six years ago I started to collect comic books again and when I found out about this process I wondered who in their right mind would ever give their comic book over to a company to grade and slab it away never to be read again. It was akin to Han Solo being frozen in carbonite. Then in 2007 I stood at a dealers table and was transfixed by a shiny pristine comic book entrusted inside a piece of plastic. I was still in awe why anyone would ever do such a thing. I became even more surprised when I parted with my $25 for the book, and I didn’t even read it yet.

I picked up two graded comic books that year, brought them home and realized I really had no place to put them. Was I afraid that my raw pieces of paper stapled at the center would get upset at the highly graded comics, one being a 9.8 and the other a 9.0. Would my well read back issues be afraid they weren’t good enough to read anymore? Would my collecting habits change from collecting four color art to trinkets of plastic? I mean after all they were already competing against my shot glass collection. I decided that the best place would be on the book shelf next to my Star Wars books and away from my collection, if only because I didn’t have the proper boxes at the time.

ASM #129 9.4 SS

ASM #129 9.4 SS, I Have One Just Like It

In 2008, not only did I purchase more, I gave some over to this mysterious company I previously wanted nothing to do with.  I submitted a few well read books in the hopes of a high grade, but what was wrong with me?  Did I not care to read them anymore? Did I feel that Mylar bags and boards were just not good enough, and where was I going to put them? Then, as there always is a then, at a local comic shin dig during a mild April in 2009 I found a copy of New Mutants #1 sitting on a shelf just out of my reach. It was graded a 9.8 with “white” pages.  I NEEDED to have it and bargained, begged, and pleaded with the dealer to allow this book to be mine. I didn’t need to do any of that he said he would take cash and with a few other purchases he would lower the book from 60 to 45 dollars.

That was preposterous. $45.00 for a book that only guided for six in a near mint condition, and I would have to purchase something else as well. I felt like I went into a store and was told I had to buy something if I wanted to use the bathroom.  Politely, l said I would think about it and walked away. There was no way I would ever spend that kind of money on a book that I couldn’t read. I walked around trying to find books I needed to fill the holes in my collection but something drew me back over.  Some gravitational anomaly pulled me closer and closer to that shiny plastic covered book. I skimmed the other books, bought three more for about $5 a piece and now had the mentality that I bought one book at $60 and getting three for free, three that I could read.

From there it was all over. I was a member of the CGC registry (I joined when I bought my first three) but now I utilized it. It has been almost two years since I purchased the New Mutants book which has since been upgraded to a 9.9.  Currently I reign in second place on the CGC Registry for the New Mutants set, and have somewhere over 115 journals written, yet I still cannot completely tell you what it is about a graded comic book that appeals to me. Sure, the book is safe in its carbonite prison. Sure the book is beautifully preserved. Sure they are labeled and registered, but I can’t read them. I guess then it is a good thing I bought the book to read in the first place. Of course 188 encapsulated books later I realized who in their right mind wouldn’t send their books into get graded.

Thanks for reading