Twitter
Facebook
Email
Rss

Author Archive for Mark Seifert

Putting The New CGC Holder To The REAL Test: Is It Social Media Friendly?

cgc-just-numberMost vintage comic book collectors I know have a few stories that go something like this: one day a couple decades ago, I returned from Chicago Comic Con with a special prize, a very nice copy of Marvel Mystery Comics #14 which I’d spent too much money on.  But, you know, I needed it.  Instead of hurrying home and locking it away somewhere out of harm’s way, I wanted to show it off, so I stopped at my local shop to let a friend of mine have a look.

Walking down the crowded sidewalk towards the shop, my prize clutched furtively to my chest in a backpack, I was knocked off course by a large man carrying… something big (A TV? A refrigerator? My memory gets fuzzy at this point).  Recovering my senses, I finally scurried into the shop to check if my fragile comic had a corner ding or a slightly bent spine.

Fortunately, my cherished Marvel Mystery Comics #14 was fine, and is tucked away safely in my collection to this day, but if you’re a collector of fragile old paper like me, you know this problem well: You want to keep you comics safe and out of harm’s way, but you also want to look at them and show them to people. You want to share them.

When William Christensen told me about seeing the new CGC Holder — and was genuinely pretty excited about it, which caught my attention because that guy has been collecting vintage comics since about age 6 and is not an easy person to impress — well, I was intrigued, sure… but I still had questions that only actually seeing the thing could answer.

The preservation and durability aspects of the case which William discussed are of utmost importance, but I expected CGC to do a job in that area. They’ve got a lot of experience at this point, so they’ve got to get that right and it’s what we insist from them. What I’m interested in beyond that is a bit more subtle.

Is it shareable? Will it look good on Instagram, or Facebook, or Twitter? Just as importantly: will it present well on eBay, Heritage, Comic Connect, Comiclink, and so on?  If there’s no link then it didn’t happen, as the saying goes, and if you don’t have good pics to show, then how will anybody ever know that your collection really is that great?

The 2016 version of the 1990s sharing near-mishap with my beloved Marvel Mystery #14 is less harrowing but just as important, and if you’ve ever taken a selfie then you know what I’m talking about: getting a good pic is a lot harder than it looks.  And in the case of getting a pic or scan of a comic inside of the previous CGC Holder, there have always been some particular challenges: various seams and curvatures of inner-well configurations and materials produce shadows and glare, sometimes preventing a good, clear, uncluttered view of the underlying comic. And causing you to endlessly adjust your lighting, camera angles, scanner settings, and… again, if you’re familiar with selfie culture, you know what I’m talking about. There’s a difference between good enough and good.

How does the new case fare in this regard? Here’s our first look:

dan-3-cgc96

 

 

dan-3-cgc96-back

It does look good, but how does it compare to the previous version? It’s a cleaner, more flat look, and it’s much easier to avoid that glare along the top edge of the comic when making a scan.

cgc-compare-front

On the back, again comparing it to my slabbed copy of Detective Comics #199, you can see that the new case prevents areas of glare that can occur due to inner layers of material not laying perfectly flat in the old case.  The minimal text on the back of the label is also nice, and the notation of the comic and grade on the back is handy.

cgc-compare-back

But here’s how I know that someone at CGC has paid due attention to the new design. It’s the kind of little detail I don’t like to call out because it makes people think I’m crazy (a few of you out there know what I’m talking about, I’m guessing), but…  the number grade is printed in a much darker black. Not that weak near-black-actually-kind-of-gray that the old label had that did in fact used to drive me crazy when making scans.

cgc-compare-numbers

Speaking of the label, another nice little detail is the way it actually lays flat inside the case.  This is another thing that always annoyed me a bit about the old case — the label would often curl a little inside the case, leading to weird shadows and warps.

cgc-label-compare

And for completeness, here’s the top edge label and a comparison with the old label.  The new top edge label is inside the case, which will avoid peeling and wear over time.

cgc-top-edge cgc-top-edge-compareAnd I think that about covers it. Overall, it’s a major leap forward, and a much better look in the bargain. Got a good pic of your most recent comic acquisition to show me? I’d love to take a look.

 

Putting The New CGC Holder To The REAL Test: Is It Social Media Friendly?

Putting The New CGC Holder To The REAL Test: Is It Social Media Friendly?

cgc-just-numberMost vintage comic book collectors I know have a few stories that go something like this: one day a couple decades ago, I returned from Chicago Comic Con with a special prize, a very nice copy of Marvel Mystery Comics #14 which I’d spent too much money on.  But, you know, I needed it.  Instead of hurrying home and locking it away somewhere out of harm’s way, I wanted to show it off, so I stopped at my local shop to let a friend of mine have a look.

Walking down the crowded sidewalk towards the shop, my prize clutched furtively to my chest in a backpack, I was knocked off course by a large man carrying… something big (A TV? A refrigerator? My memory gets fuzzy at this point).  Recovering my senses, I finally scurried into the shop to check if my fragile comic had a corner ding or a slightly bent spine.

Fortunately, my cherished Marvel Mystery Comics #14 was fine, and is tucked away safely in my collection to this day, but if you’re a collector of fragile old paper like me, you know this problem well: You want to keep you comics safe and out of harm’s way, but you also want to look at them and show them to people. You want to share them.

When William Christensen told me about seeing the new CGC Holder — and was genuinely pretty excited about it, which caught my attention because that guy has been collecting vintage comics since about age 6 and is not an easy person to impress — well, I was intrigued, sure… but I still had questions that only actually seeing the thing could answer.

The preservation and durability aspects of the case which William discussed are of utmost importance, but I expected CGC to do a job in that area. They’ve got a lot of experience at this point, so they’ve got to get that right and it’s what we insist from them. What I’m interested in beyond that is a bit more subtle.

Is it shareable? Will it look good on Instagram, or Facebook, or Twitter? Just as importantly: will it present well on eBay, Heritage, Comic Connect, Comiclink, and so on?  If there’s no link then it didn’t happen, as the saying goes, and if you don’t have good pics to show, then how will anybody ever know that your collection really is that great?

The 2016 version of the 1990s sharing near-mishap with my beloved Marvel Mystery #14 is less harrowing but just as important, and if you’ve ever taken a selfie then you know what I’m talking about: getting a good pic is a lot harder than it looks.  And in the case of getting a pic or scan of a comic inside of the previous CGC Holder, there have always been some particular challenges: various seams and curvatures of inner-well configurations and materials produce shadows and glare, sometimes preventing a good, clear, uncluttered view of the underlying comic. And causing you to endlessly adjust your lighting, camera angles, scanner settings, and… again, if you’re familiar with selfie culture, you know what I’m talking about. There’s a difference between good enough and good.

How does the new case fare in this regard? Here’s our first look:

dan-3-cgc96

 

 

dan-3-cgc96-back

It does look good, but how does it compare to the previous version? It’s a cleaner, more flat look, and it’s much easier to avoid that glare along the top edge of the comic when making a scan.

cgc-compare-front

On the back, again comparing it to my slabbed copy of Detective Comics #199, you can see that the new case prevents areas of glare that can occur due to inner layers of material not laying perfectly flat in the old case.  The minimal text on the back of the label is also nice, and the notation of the comic and grade on the back is handy.

cgc-compare-back

But here’s how I know that someone at CGC has paid due attention to the new design. It’s the kind of little detail I don’t like to call out because it makes people think I’m crazy (a few of you out there know what I’m talking about, I’m guessing), but…  the number grade is printed in a much darker black. Not that weak near-black-actually-kind-of-gray that the old label had that did in fact used to drive me crazy when making scans.

cgc-compare-numbers

Speaking of the label, another nice little detail is the way it actually lays flat inside the case.  This is another thing that always annoyed me a bit about the old case — the label would often curl a little inside the case, leading to weird shadows and warps.

cgc-label-compare

And for completeness, here’s the top edge label and a comparison with the old label.  The new top edge label is inside the case, which will avoid peeling and wear over time.

cgc-top-edge cgc-top-edge-compareAnd I think that about covers it. Overall, it’s a major leap forward, and a much better look in the bargain. Got a good pic of your most recent comic acquisition to show me? I’d love to take a look.

 

Putting The New CGC Holder To The REAL Test: Is It Social Media Friendly?

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials Trailer Reminds Us The Future Is Not So Bright Again

Mad Max is back and a bigger hit than ever? Check. Logan’s Run reboot back on the table? Check. Our collective vision of the post-apocalypse never goes away, not by a long shot (even if you exclude zombies), but it does ebb and flow with the times. What that says about how we all currently feel about the present, I couldn’t say, but if that live action Akira movie doesn’t get made this time, I’ll be very surprised.

Which brings us to Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, and its fashionably decrepit version of what might be…

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials Trailer Reminds Us The Future Is Not So Bright Again

X-Files New Teaser, Are You Ready For This?

Blink and you’ll this teaser but still good to see X-Files back, even if briefly. The world of sf/horror/genre tv has changed… almost unimaginably since the original debuted in 1993. Is the truth still out there? We’ll see…

X-Files New Teaser, Are You Ready For This?

Fox Fantastic Four – The Character-Focused Teasers

Out of all of the Marvel (Studios/Fox/Sony) properties to hit (or re-hit) since Iron Man I in 2008, Fantastic Four is still the one I’m waiting to see done right. Hard to believe it’s been a decade now since Fox’s 2005 FF release, and that decade of sfx progress has been apparent in the current round of trailers.  I’m still on the fence about the Thing, but I think we need to see more to say for sure. And as an FF fan since birth… very excited about this one.

Fox Fantastic Four – The Character-Focused Teasers

There’s A Brand New Trailer For Ex Machina Ahead Of Its Friday Opening

Ex Machina is available in select theaters right now, and opening nationwide this Friday, on April 24th.

The film spins out of Stephen Hawking’s assertion that “the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race”. And the plot is described by the filmmakers thus:

Upon his arrival, Caleb learns that Nathan has chosen him to be the human component in a Turing Test-charging him with evaluating the capabilities, and ultimately the consciousness, of Nathan’s latest experiment in artificial intelligence. That experiment is Ava (Alicia Vikander), a breathtaking A.I. whose emotional intelligence proves more sophisticated–and more deceptive–than the two men could have imagined.

Here’s our brand new trailer for Ex Machina:

You can find out more about the film at meet-ava.com.

There's A Brand New Trailer For Ex Machina Ahead Of Its Friday Opening

Wonder Woman ’77: A DC Digital Comic Based On The Lynda Carter TV Series

A clever and cool move from DC, breaking out of NYCC: Wonder Woman ’77 will be a DC digital-first series based on the Lynda Carter tv show. Written by Marc Andreyko, covers by Nicola Scott with artists to be announced.

On the heels of the SENSATION COMICS FEATURING WONDER WOMAN launch will be WONDER WOMAN ’77, a new series based on the popular 1970s television show starring Lynda Carter. The series will be written by Marc Andreyko with several covers drawn by Nicola Scott. Additional artists for the project will be named in the coming weeks. WONDER WOMAN ’77 will debut digitally in December with six consecutive weekly chapters. These will be collected in two print issues to be released early in 2015. The series will then resume in the spring and appear periodically throughout the year.

Wonder Woman ’77: A DC Digital Comic Based On The Lynda Carter TV Series

Action Comics #1 CGC 9.0 Sells For Record $3,207,852.00

We have a new record: A copy of Action Comics #1, graded CGC 9.0 with white pages and the best graded copy ever evaluated by grading service Comics Guaranty Corporation, has sold for the highest price ever paid for a comic book.  The auction for the 1938 comic, featuring the first appearance of Superman by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, closed just moments ago at the price of $3,207,852.00.

In a rather fascinating turn of events, the new purchase was made by Metropolis/ComicConnect, themselves well-known dealers of vintage comic books, and auctioneers of the previous record-holder — the Nicolas Cage copy of Action Comics #1 which they auctioned in 2011 for $2.16 million. It is unknown at post time whether or not they have made this new purchase on behalf of a client, whether they intend to keep it for themselves, or intend put it up for sale at a later date.  Notably, Metro/CC owners Vincent Zurzolo and Stephen Fishler are no strangers to making a splash as buyers at major comic auctions, having been the winning bidders on the cover of Amazing Spider-Man #328 for a record $657,250 in 2012 at Heritage Auctions, to name one example.

It is the first comic book to break the $3 million barrier, and the sixth comic book to sell for over $1 million.  The previous record holder, the Nicolas Cage copy (also a CGC 9.0, but with a Cream to Off-White page quality designation), sold for $2.16 million in November 2011 from ComicConnect. ComicConnect also sold an Action Comics #1 CGC 8.5 for $1.5 million in March 2010, an Action Comics #1 8.0 for $1 million in February 2010, and an Amazing Fantasy #15 (first appearance of Spider-Man) CGC 9.6 for $1.1 million in March 2011.  Heritage Auctions sold a copy of Detective Comics #27 CGC 8.0 for $1,075,000 in February 2010.

Remarkably, the record sale for a comic book has jumped by nearly a factor of ten in the past five years.  Before the million dollar barrier was broken in early 2010, the record sale for a comic book stood at $350,000 for seven years — set by the Marvel Comics #1 CGC 9.0 Pay Copy in 2003, a mark later equaled by the Flash Comics #1 CGC 9.6 Edgar Church copy the next year.  Then, on February 22, 2010, the Action Comics #1 CGC 8.0 Kansas City copy sold for $1,000,000.  High end record sales of many key Golden Age and Silver Age comics have climbed sharply since that time.

Many serious collectors like to know the backstory of their prized possessions, and high grade copies of Action Comics #1 have had their share of interesting histories. The Nicolas Cage copy was stolen from Cage’s home, and was missing for a decade before being recovered by police from a man who found it in a storage locker.  The Edgar Church copy, part of a treasure trove of high grade comics purchased in 1977 by Mile High Comics owner Chuck Rozanski, has been sitting ungraded and virtually unseen in the hands of a private collector for decades.  No decent scan or photo of the Church copy — widely considered the most valuable comic in existence —  has ever been made public on the internet, though the few knowledgeable individuals who have seen it claim it is undoubtedly the best copy known to exist.

The new record-holding Action Comics #1 CGC 9.0 was purchased from the family of the original owner in the late-70s by longtime vintage comics and collectibles dealer Joe Mannarino.  As Mannarino tells it:

 I decided to take the leap of faith and fly down to West Virginia where the books were located. I should also state that the owners had a full knowledge of the value of comic books because they were looking for thousands of dollars. I now believe what had prompted their call may have been the announcement or rumor of a Superman movie in 1976 or 1977.

I rented a car and drove seemingly straight up to a small town at the top of what was probably the Blue Ridge Mountain range. After the normal amenities, I was shown a hope chest, which is a cedar lined chest that normally sits at the foot of a bed and contains linens and such. When I had the opportunity to see the books, I was surprised that there were so few, only about thirty five and that they were very eclectic. A Planet 2, Action 2, Disneys, Fox books, Dells, Westerns, War, no real rhyme or reason. The books were not in plastic bags just stacked but sure enough, there was the Action 1.

I was immediately struck by how flat the book was. It seemed smaller that any golden age book I had seen from that period. I thought that it was perhaps a modern reprint that I was unfamiliar with as compared to the Famous First Editions or the 1976 non-glossy reprint. I opened the book to count the pages and was immediately struck by how white the pages were. As I probed a bit more, I learned that the book had been in the same chest for as long as anyone in the family could remember and that it had belonged to their father who had since passed. I compared it in size to the other books and everything checked. Just a remarkably conserved book.

In more recent years, the book was purchased by Darren Adams of Pristine Comics, who was the seller in this ebay auction. Like most vintage comics sales of this magnitude, there’s been some extensive discussions among high-level collectors, dealers, and experts regarding exactly where this book falls in the pecking order of, well… best comic book ever.

Addressing some extensive debate and controversy as to its ultimate designation as a CGC 9.0, how it compares to the Nicolas Cage and Edgar Church copies, and its place in the history of the vintage comic market, Adams has noted:

Over the past few decades the rumor of this possible existence of a newsstand fresh copy of Action Comics #1 would surface. A NM copy with perfect White pages that everyone always dreamed of stumbling upon. Well, as announced last month one such book does exist. Well, this is THE BOOK.

Joe gave it a NM- grade back then and CGC gives it a grade of 9.0 with Perfect White Pages today. One thing I think everyone can agreed upon is that it is significantly nicer than the Cage copy. Not to take away from the Cage copy, this copy just happens to be a very strong 9.0.

Whomever wins this book on Sunday will be the envy of the hobby for many years to come. While it will be interesting to see what the book sells for tomorrow, perhaps the bigger question is what will it be worth in the future? When it turns 100 years old and has retained Perfect White Pages, what will this copy be worth then? For any of us over 40, and I’m 52, you know how fast 24 years passes. Even today, three decades after the sale, Mr. Anderson’s infamous purchase [Mark's note: he's referring to collector Dave Anderson's purchase of the Edgar Church copy, and its nearly-iconic longtime status as the most valuable comic in the world] back in the 1980′s is still discussed as one of the most important moments in vintage comic book history, and rightfully so. I feel that years from now, this Sunday will someday be looked upon with such regard as it pertains to this comic book..

Envy of the hobby for many years to come?  I think there’s no doubt about it.  Congrats to Vincent Zurzolo and Stephen Fishler — this is quite a coup no matter what they ultimately intend to do with the comic.  I for one am envious indeed.

Action Comics #1 CGC 9.0 Sells For Record $3,207,852.00

Action Comics #1 CGC 9.0 Hits Record $2.19 Million With Two Days To Go In Auction

There continues to be a great deal of debate over where this comic auction will end up when it closes on Sunday night, but one thing’s for sure — it will be a new all time record price.

The Action Comics #1 CGC 9.0 now up for auction on ebay has just hit $2,193,919.38, a new all time record which surpasses the $2.16 million mark that the Nicolas Cage Action Comics #1 9.0 copy set in 2011.

And showing that even the most serious comic book collectors have a sense of humor, a couple bidders have made a point of slipping the number sequence “1938″ (the year that Action Comics #1 was published) in their bid amounts, such as the currently-leading $2,193,919.38 bid.

Ten pre-qualified bidders have bid in the auction so far, with several well-known dealers and collectors among them.  Four bidders have pushed past the $2 million mark so far, which should make Sunday night very interesting indeed.

Action Comics #1 CGC 9.0 Hits Record $2.19 Million With Two Days To Go In Auction

Here We Go: Action Comics 1 CGC 9.0 Hits $1.6 Million And Counting In Opening Hours Of Bidding

I suspect some of you are going to get tired of me posting about this one between now and August 24.  Apologies in advance, but trust me, I’ve shown great restraint in saving up my Action Comics #1-related post count until the auction opening.

As Bleeding Cool told you last month, the best CGC-graded copy of Action Comics #1 has just gone up for auction on ebay.  Of course, the sale of a high grade Action Comics #1 is never a dull event. The saga of the Nic Cage copy, which sold in 2011 for $2.16 million, is a textbook example of that.

The run-up to the auction for this other CGC 9.0 copy of Action Comics #1 has not disappointed in that regard.  There has been some spirited discussion regarding the book’s history. There have been some pointed comparisons between this copy and the Nic Cage copy.  There were eyebrows raised about ebay as the choice of venue, when auction houses with extensive high-end comic experience such as Heritage, ComicConnect, and Comiclink have been the go-to choices for sellers at this level.

Eyebrows were further raised when ebay initially required prospective buyers to pre-qualify by providing proof of $3 million of available assets, and then dropped that requirement to $2 million, according to reports of collectors who went through the qualifying process.  Ebay has stated that 75 people applied for bidding, but it’s unclear how many qualified under those requirements.

But the book is technically the best-graded copy inside a CGC slab (though both this copy and the Cage copy are CGC 9.0, this copy has a white pages designation), it has rather astonishing eye-appeal, and watching the auction rocket from 99 cents to $1.6 million in two hours of spirited bidding among five of those pre-qualified well-heeled collectors has gone a long ways towards setting the stage for where this auction might be heading.

A strong opening does not assure a record-breaking auction, but it does make it difficult to bet against this copy surpassing the $2.16 million mark that the Cage copy set in 2011.  As for the final hammer price…  I’m going to guess I’ll have at least a couple posts to make on this auction between now and August 24.

 

Here We Go: Action Comics 1 CGC 9.0 Hits $1.6 Million And Counting In Opening Hours Of Bidding