Monday, October 5, 2009

CGC Comics - Comics Under Glass?

Sorry for the lack of posts lately, but real world has been overwhelming lately with work, school, and a week-long survival training camp (just for fun). Anyway, I'm back and let's talk.

What's so fun about a comic book? Why, reading it, of course! When I was a kid, I couldn't wait to get to the car and start reading that new book. Most of the time I had already read several in the supermarket (these were the days before comic shops) and clutched my colorful treasure carefully all the way to my room, where I would study each action-packed panel with joy. I had no idea of the value that comic might one day fetch if I kept it in pristine condition. My concern was mostly just enjoying the book at that moment.

Flash forward to today, and I still look with glee as I open the mailbox to pull out my latest comic acquisition. They may have boards and bags, but I can still pull them out and read them.

Then along comes the CGC...

After saying I would never own a CGC comic, I broke down and purchased one on Ebay a couple of months ago just so I could say I had one. I have to admit it was cool because it seemed like I had a museum piece or something, even though it was just an old Batman comic. Here was this treasure forever captured in time. It had a grade, and it would stay this perfect forever.

Then I realized I had never read this particular issue before, so I had no idea what the story was about. This prompted another trip to Ebay to find a used copy of the book as a reader copy so I could find out if the story lived up to the cover (it did).

And this brings me to my argument: Are CGC comics really worth it? Is a serious comic book collector one who spends hundreds of dollars on a comic he can never read, or is he the person who is fine with a bag-and-board dented copy of a book he can lovingly recall from memory?

This is where it gets sticky. I can see the point of having CGC comics, and have about a dozen now for various reasons. They might be an issue of a hero I really liked, or they might be a particular issue that was special to me (my very first comic book, graded and on the bookshelf in my bedroom). But at the same time I realize I'll never be able to read these books. For all I know, it's just the covers and some other comic is inside!

Baseball cards don't have this problem. They are slabbed, but you can still read both sides with no problem. Only comic books and magazines have this problem. Does this make us seem really dumb to people who aren't collectors?

So what do you think? Are you willing to pay inflated prices for a book just so you can have it "under glass" and never be able to read it? Or is it all just a big scam to you?


Mike-El said...

Personally, I can't see myself ever buying a CGC Graded comic, but I've always been way out on the "buy to read" side of this... to a point where there are some issues that might have been worth some money in my collection if I hadn't read them until the cover fell off! However, I DO own some issues in good condition that I bought just to own the special edition cover or something, and I've considered sending those variants of to be graded since I already own a reading copy. But part of the fun in that lies in the fact that I found something special at my local comic book store, and I want to showcase my find. Buying it already pre-graded... that, to me, seems more of a "look how much I was willing to spend!" mentality than "look what my dedicated comic book store visits have yielded!"

Booksteve said...

I gave up on comics as an actual "hobby" when P-G-VG-NM-M expanded to two dozen or so more variations. By the time we got to the CGC thing, it just made no sense to me anymore. I once owned the first 400 issues of FANTASTIC FOUR and I liked to take them out of their bags, sniff that lovely rotting pulp paper smell and roll around on the floor with them like Scrooge McDuck in his money bin! Then I would--gasp--read a bunch as I rebagged them for the rest of the afternoon. THAT to me is the reason to collect comics! BTW--I was in my thirties at the time!

lilbaggie said...

i'm generally against slabbed books as i agree that the best part about a comic is reading it (or at least flipping through the pages and smelling ink on newsprint). and i think it's even worse to pay extra for them. you might as well collect stamps.

i will admit to owning two slabbed books, an 8.0 Flash 219, which i bought on ebay for the princely sum of $4.51 and a 7.5 copy of the holy grail of Silver Age DC, Flash 123 which i bought for quite a bit more. this was also off of eBay and having bought NM comics that looked like they had been folded in half with writing on them before, i wanted some assurance that the comic was in the condition described. i definitely would not have paid what seems to be the premium others are paying for a CGC graded book (the price seemed to be inline with what other non CGC'd copies were going for.

OHara said...

"Is a serious comic book collector one who spends hundreds of dollars on a comic he can never read?"

Yes, a serious collector is that sort of guy. Although you can be both, a serious comic book lover might not be that sort of guy or girl.

Would I? Very unlikely - one mint purchase or several purchases? Not a tough choice for me.

Rick said...

I have never bought a cgc comic book. Mostly cause I can't affod it. If I ever did then you can be sure I would crack open that plastic and read it. If I can afford to buy it I can afford to send it back to be cgc again.
However, buying a cheaper readable version is good too.
I do think that to others who don't collect comic books we do look dumb to buy an expensive book that we can't read. To many we have looked dumb for keeping them after we read them the first time.

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