I have reached a disturbing milestone in my life as a comic reader. I have done something — something that I once deemed TOO TERRIBLE TO EVER DO…
I sent comics to the CGC for grading.
For those of you who are unfamiliar, the CGC, or Certified Guarantee Company (not Comic Grading Company, which I’ve always stupidly thought), is one of the largest (THE largest?) comic grading companies out there. What they essentially do is take your comic, use a standardized method of describing the condition of your book, give a score of 0.5 (poor) to 10.0 (gem mint), and then (here’s the scary part for me) encapsulate the book in a clear container (to quote their website) “through a combination of compression and ultrasonic vibration”.
Anyway, my big problem with the whole CGC grading/slabbing is that the comic becomes no longer readable. To me, collecting comics has always (for the most part) been intricately tied to reading. I like having my runs of titles, going back into the long boxes, and rereading old stuff, discovering interesting things that I may have missed. I get that we live in the surging digital age of comics, where finding a book is as simple as going onto Comixology and downloading it to the iPad, but — call me an old man — there’s something about holding the book.
So why this time? I came across two comics that I have relatively no interest in reading but — I’m no dummy — I understand their importance in comics history —
Incredible Hulk #180 and #181 are the cameo and first full appearance (respectively) of the future X-Man, Wolverine. Granted I am a HUGE X-Men fan and, therefore, having these issues are fun for me, but I am NOT a Wolverine fan. These issues, while I love the original whiskered-Wolvie, are not special to me. I don’t know if I’d ever sell them — and I’m convinced that people who slab their books are primarily interested in resale value — but I could part with these (over most of my collection) and be fine with it.
I will give the CGC this — I’m really excited to find out what grade they get.