In August of 2018, I finally decided to try my hand at submitting some comics to CGC. I remember drinking a few beers and talking to my daughter about registering and sending in some comics to be graded. She talked me into it. Although I only submitted seven comics during my entire one-year membership, I actually decided to renew my account. While preparing my next submission, I decided to revisit the comics from my first submission. Below is a brief background on each of the comics I submitted:
Amazing Spider-Man 361:
I’m not sure why I actually submitted this comic. I had just signed up, and I was trying to get as close as I could to make sure that my submissions used up all of the $150 credit. I simply couldn’t make up my mind. I knew that it would not come back as a 9.8, and I was actually hoping it would come back at a 9.4. Anyway, I bought this copy off the rack (along with two other copies) when it came out. I sold the other two copies way too early on eBay when I first started selling over five years ago. Anyway, I’m very, very happy with a 9.6.
Captain America Annual #8:
Up next is my copy of Captain America Annual #8. I bought this at a comic shop in Columbia, South Carolina during a Black Friday back issue sales event. I think the original sticker price was $30, but I definitely got it at 50% off because of the sale. Anyway, this is one of my favorite comic book covers. Its a comic that I think every Wolverine, Captain America or Mike Zeck fan should have in their collection. In my opinion, this cover is in the top three greatest Wolverine covers of all time. Only Incredible Hulk #181 and Wolverine #1 (miniseries) top this cover. I actually thought it would come back as a 9.4, so I’m very happy with a 9.6. I’ve since bought another reader copy.
Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #1:
Before I bought this comic, I had a really beat up copy in my collection. This is another one of my favorite covers of all time, and I really wanted a much better copy. I bought this copy on eBay about 4 1/2 years ago. It was around $15 or $16 dollars shipped. The seller had multiple copies and indicated that the comics were from a warehouse find. In their words, not a single one of their CGC submissions came back less than a 9.6. So, I figured why not and ordered a copy. In hindsight, the 9.8 grade really makes me regret not picking up at least two more copies. BTW, I’m very happy with the grade.
I bought this comic the day it came out from a local comic book shop in Miami. I read a preview about it the night before it was released. When I went to the comic shop the next day, they were putting books on the shelf. I asked the owner if he had ordered any copies (I was never any good at pre-ordering comics). He said that there were two extra copies, but one was beat up. The other copies were for the people that pre-ordered it. He let me buy it at cover price. Also, I think it’s important to note that this is the second time that I’ve graded this comic. The first time, I had someone press it for me and I sent it to CBCS. I was very disappointed when it came back as a 9.6. I checked the grader notes, and the only defect was waviness. When I sent it to CGC, I decided to use CCS for a couple reasons. First, I really thought that the comic was genuinely a 9.8 candidate. Secondly, I had read message boards that stated CGC graded more favorably if you used their pressing service. Looks like I made the right choice. I am super happy with the bump in the grade.
I bought this comic when I was getting back into comics, which was after my deployment to Iraq. I missed out the previous Wednesday at the comic shop I was just starting to frequent. The following week, I went to a Barnes and Noble bookstore and two copies of Hulk #1 were sitting on the rack in the comic book section. I remember thinking, why does this comic cost $3.99? I came to find out much later that the newsstand editions from this time period were $1 more than their direct edition counterparts. It’s a variant because the direct edition has a $2.99 cover price. Also, the label identifies it as a “$3.99 Newsstand Edition.” When I originally submitted this comic, there were only two other copies in the census, and now there are five. Anyway, I really thought that this comic should have come in at a much higher grade. That being said, it presents very well and it is for my permanent collection. BTW, I actually bought both copies and sold one way too early on eBay for only 3X cover. One of the other copies in the census is probably the one I sold on eBay.
Up next is my copy of Venom #2 from 2011. I actually bought this from the magazine rack at an Army & Airforce Exchange when I was stationed in Germany. This is the only $3.99 newsstand edition in the entire census! However, CGC couldn’t get their act together and get the label correct. I made repeated phone calls and sent multiple emails with pictures showing the differences between a direct edition and the newsstand. After getting it back the second time, I was so frustrated that I left it as is. Therefore, it shows up on the CGC census as a newsstand variant, instead of $3.99 newsstand edition. Anyway, I’m actually quite surprised that it got a 9.4. I thought it would come back as a 9.0, or maybe a 9.2 because there were two significant color breaking spine tics on the back. Since the cover presented very well, I decided to get it graded anyway. In my opinion, this comic is the absolute best Amazing Spider-Man 300 cover homage. Also, I think it’s actually the first ever cover appearance of Agent Venom. Maybe one day I’ll send it back so they can fix the label.
My final submission, is the very first 9.8 newsstand variant of Venom #1 to be graded by CGC. I’ve actually posted pics of this comic on some speculation sites I follow. There are a few reasons why I decided to submit this comic. When I started speculating on comics, I read that this comic was considered a ghost by the comic collecting and speculating communities I followed. Apparently, Marvel newsstand editions from this time period are a fraction of their direct edition counterparts. Secondly, CGC decided that they would start updating their labels to indicate the differences in direct and newsstand editions from this time period. Finally, I really thought it would come back at a 9.8. At the time there were only two 9.6s on the census. Although it was the first 9.8 to be registered on the CGC census, another copy has since been graded at 9.8. My heart sank a little bit when I checked the census and saw that another copy had received a 9.8. Anyway, it’s not a $3.99 newsstand edition because both the direct and newsstand editions have a cover price of $3.99. Also, I bought this comic at the same Army & Airforce Exchange store as the Venom #2.
Overall, I was very happy with the grades I received. One thing I’ve learned is that I have a slight tendency to under-grade comics. Three submissions graded higher than I expected, with only one coming in a lot lower. Although CCS and CGC wait times are notoriously long, I’m going to stick with them for now. I’m in no real hurry, and if my grading skills are any indication of future success, I hope to be pleasantly surprised with the results.