Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Graded Comics make news… finally

The LA Times has an interesting article on slabbed comics by CGC.

The Captain Marvel and Donald Duck comic books that arrive at the offices of the Certified Guaranty Co. are treated like archival treasures of the highest order -- armed sentries guard the lobby, technicians and appraisers wear latex gloves as they carefully examine each page and a sophisticated sonic device is used to seal the books up in the sturdy plastic containers that some collectors call "coffins."

Depending on the age and pedigree of the book being appraised and "slabbed," CGC charges from $12 to $1,000 for its services and, in upcoming months, the 7-year-old company will slab its 1 millionth comic book. That book may be a 60-year-old issue of Detective Comics that costs as much as a Porsche but it could also be the latest $3 issue of World War Hulk -- about half of the books that come to CGC now are fresh from the printer and probably 80% of them have never been read.

All of this seems like heresy to many old-line comic book purists.

"It's changed the nature of the hobby, it's turned comic books into a medium of exchange instead of a medium of entertainment," groaned James Friel, who works at Comic Relief, the longtime landmark store in Berkeley. To Friel, who has been collecting comics since 1958, "it makes these books a sealed-up commodity. You can't read them. It makes me sad. Some of these books will be sealed up forever."

But As the article goes on to say it is nice bit of protection from fraud

Now, "doctored" books get a purple label in their CGC slabs, the funny-book equivalent to a scarlet letter to a significant number of collectors.

There’s good and bad about slabbed comics. The bad being that people aren’t reading comics and it brings back the investor quacks that only want to make money. The Good is that it keeps sellers honest as fraud and doctoring can be detected. Me I actually don’t care. I couldn’t afford the high priced comics before and I can’t afford to get them CGC-ed now. What I really want is to read the stories. With the trade paperbacks collecting old adventures I’m satisfied.



Don Snabulus said...

This blog is always in mint condition, no matter how badly I treat it.

Arkonbey said...

It bugs me that, in this day and age, someone still uses the term 'funny-books'.

Swinebread said...

snab - ahhh :)

arkonbey - amen