Friday, January 11, 2013

I did something I never thought I'd do.

I don't tend to talk too much about comic books on here.  When I started the blog so many years ago, I wasn't going to limit myself to just sport cards.  I had ideas of talking about all things collectible.  I've been collecting comics since before I was collecting baseball cards. I think I picked up my first few Justice League of America comics from flea markets in the Summer of 1985 or so for a quarter.  What a great investment that was.  Most of those quarter comics are now worth quite a bit, even if they all aren't in the best of condition.  That being said I use to really be into comics up until about 5 years ago.  I would get the new Previews fromo Diamond Distributors and go through it looking for new #1's to try and reading up on new story lines.  Now I've paired down what I buy.  A lot. One because I don't have as much disposable income and two I just don't have time to read that many comics.  Don't get me wrong I still love the medium. And there is still some great stuff being put out.  Now I'd rather just pick up the collected issues in a graphic novel. As was my practice I'd show up to Bosco's on Wednesdays after the new stuff was put out and look to see if there were any new #1's I had missed or not preordered.  It was my way of prospecting.  I always tried to pick up the #1 and sometimes the #2 of any new series I could.  Sometimes I'd read the series and really like it and make it part of my permanent reading list, but most often it would just go in my box reserved for #1 issues I had no intention of buying another issue of.  This doesn't always mean that the comic will be worth money down the road.  But most comics at least are worth their cover price and every so often you hit a home run.

That happened to me 9 years ago when I picked up the first issue of a then unknown writer and series called the Walking Dead.  I figure I'd give it a try.  I liked it, but at the time was working in the field quite a bit and didn't add it to my pull list right away.  Well the Walking Dead took off in popularity and I was lucky enough to get a few earlier back issues cheap before prices skyrocketed.

So here we are 2013 and the Walking Dead TV is super hot so is the comic series and issue #1 is worth over $800!  This isn't just the book value. I'd been following lots of auctions on ebay and issue #1 ungraded consistently sells for right around $800. The print run for the first print was only a little over 7000 books. If you know anything about the comic industry that is an insanely small print run.  I had a choice to make.  I'm a realist.  If I'm going to make money on this comic I need to sell it now.  Not next year, not in 10 years.  This book is hot and being pulled along by the popularity the TV show.  And while I like the comic the money I could get for it could be put to good use and prices can't hold this high forever.

So my choice was to just list this book raw on ebay and take my $797 profit or maybe send it in to CGC get it graded and make who knows how much.  A graded 9.9 copy recently went for over 10 grand. I looked close at my book.  To my untrained eye I could see absolutely nothing wrong with the book.  I'd had it bagged and boarded and well stored since I bought it way back in 2003.  I think my choice was clear.  I really don't like the idea of grading comics.  Mainly because encasing a comic like you do a graded baseball card takes away every thing that comic was suppose to be, read. As a matter of fact the second post ever on this blog was about why grading comics is bad. But I knew that even if my comic didn't get 9.9 it should still grade very high and 9.8's are going for about $2,500. So I could bite the bullet get it graded, cross my fingers and then triple my money.    So I did.  I ended up buying a premium membership to the CGC Collector's Society.  I was hesitant, but with the $125 price tag you get 4 free standard comic gradings, which are $60 a piece normally.  Well I sent my issue #1 off as well as issues #19 and #27 two other key issues in the series and since I couldn't find another comic in my collection I deemed worthy of getting grade I sent off my next lowest numbered issue, issue #7.

So now in my comic book collection I have four very high grade comics.  This is the first time I've ever gotten to see a CGC graded comic up close.  The case is nice and rigid. Each comic comes with it's own plastic sleeve.  I figure that these cases probably have the same problem sportscard screwdowns have and can get scratched pretty easily.  The case makes for a nice display, but again this comic will never ever be opened and read again.

Issue #1 of the Walking Dead has reached mythic proportions with it's insanely small print run and popular TV adaptation.
Issue #7 isn't a key issue, but when I submitted my free graded comics I had to pick 4 to ship all at once.  So I figured I'd pick my lowest numbered Walking Dead that was in mint shape.

I was lucky enough in my sporadic ability to collect the Walking dead to pick up two other key issues almost by mistake.  #19 here is the first appearance of Michonne.

And if your a fan of the comic or TV series issue #27 is the first appearance of the Governor.

Over all I'm happy that all 4 got 9.8's.  I would have been beside myself if one graded higher  at 9.9 or the mythical 10.0 as it would have exponentially increase the comics value.  But while I would love to keep them I really don't have room or a good place to store them, so they'll all be going up on ebay this weekend.  I have a feeling this might be the start of slowly selling off my collection or at least paring it down.

cb out.


  1. Indeed, I'm a big fan of the show, didn't realize the comic had been around this long. Please let us know how your auctions make out.