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I'm going to take an opportunity about once a week to post a book from my personal collection.

I'll try to share the when, where, and why each book was chosen.
(this all depends on if I can remember or not...)

My ever-evolving personal collection consists of 49 CGC slabs (38 Signature Series / 11 Universal) and 1 raw book.
Once CGC grades treasury sized books it'll be a solid 50 CGC'd.

Why 50?
It is the number of books that easily fits into two short boxes.
Just enough to grab in case of an emergency or not take up too much room in the car.

Why ever-evolving?
I read a post many moons ago on these boards about ensuring that the handling of your collection was easy on your family when you pass away.
In it, someone mentioned selling 10% of your books per year once turning 40-years-old.
They also stressed to continuously refine your books down to a Top 10 that would be easy for your family to liquidate upon death.

Over the past 5 years I have reduced my collection from 34 short boxes down to 16 boxes through donation, selling, and recycling efforts.
8 short boxes of raw comics to be graded
6 short boxes of CGC'd comics to be sold via eBay
2 short boxes of personal collection

As books are sold throughout the year money gets set aside to reinvest into / 'improve' the personal collection.
If a new book is purchased with the intent to add it to the personal collection (aka not a 'flip') then a book has to be taken out 'to make space'.

To provide a clearer understanding, in 2022 I removed the following comics from my personal collection to allow new books to join:
All-Star Superman #1 German Edition 9.6 signed by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely 
Avengers #4 1.0

That is all to say that at some point some of the books featured in this thread will not make the cut going in to the next year.
(I will edit posts when a book has transitioned out of the collection)



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Alan Moore's Yuggoth Cultures and Other Growths #1 signed by Alan Moore
purchased already signed / graded in 2021

Truth be told, I have no idea what this comic is about.
It was purchased for the sole reason of owning an "Alan Moore Signature Series comic".

Alan Moore comics will be featured multiple times in my collection.
There is a Alan Moore mini-collection within this overall collection.

Yuggoth Cultures 1.jpg

Edited by troy.division
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Amazing Spider-Man #1 signed by Stan Lee - Top 10 Book
purchased raw in 2011

One day in early 2011, I responded to a Craigslist ad about having comics for sale.


I received a reply apologizing for the delay as their internet was cut off, they had moved, and that they still had comics available.
They sent me the address.
Jumped in my red 1993 Ford Ranger with no A/C, manual transmission, and broken tape deck (this part comes back later) to head to the address they provided.

Upon arrival, I discovered it was a consignment shop.
I went inside and was directed to 4 short boxes of comics / magazines.
What I found in the first 2 boxes were complete garage sale drek.
Thinking the drive was a waste of time, I got to the third box and was taken aback by a very familiar cover.
I froze.
Sitting in a bag without backboard, with a handwritten $2 on a blue circle sticker in the upper right-hand corner was The Amazing Spider-Man #1.
My eyes widened and then I looked over both my shoulders to ensure I wasn't being Punk'd.
I slowly took the ASM #1 plus the books that were immediately before and after it out of the short box.
Then I placed the three comic stack directly in front of me.
At this point I should have stopped, but I proceeded to look through the rest of the 3rd box and then the 4th short box 'just in case' another key book was present.
During all this my mind was racing.
I began thinking every person entering or inside the store was there for comics and would take the book from me.
Suddenly, fear gripped me that they may even pull an Overstreet Guide or use their computer to check eBay once I bring the comics to them.

After finishing the last box I asked the clerk if the prices on the comics are the prices they'll charge.
The clerk confirmed that the price on the sticker was the cost of the comic.
I fanned the three issues (top book, ASM #1, bottom book) only showing the stickers in the top right-hand corners.
The total was $7 for the three comics.
I handed the clerk a $10 bill, said to keep the change, and quickly exited the store without another word.
My goal was to reach my truck, place the comics inside, and lock the door in order to prove ownership just in case the police were called.

BUT I don't remember walking to my truck.
It felt like a dream as I floated there.
The truck seemed to pull further from me as I got closer.
The entire time I expected the shop owner to come outside and yell and chase me down to return to the store.

Upon entering the truck I was overwhelmed with joy and excitement.
I wanted to scream and yell and cheer.
I 'had' to immediately share this joy with someone.
Quickly I called my best friend at work and told them about it.
They were excited for me and couldn't wait to see the book in person the next day.
After hanging up the phone it took me a minute to remember how to drive.

Suddenly, I realized that I didn't want to drive in silence as I felt a once-in-a-lifetime moment like this needed a soundtrack.
I racked my brain as to which song in my tiny music library stored on my Samsung Galaxy 1 would work best to be played through the phone's speaker.
(again, I was driving a 1993 Ford Ranger with no A/C, manual transmission, and broken tape deck at the time)
Somehow the only thing I thought would work best was Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance".
It wasn't the lyrics or the song itself...it was being able to drive home singing along loudly whilst it played from my phone.

Drove home quickly but safely.
Jumped on eBay for current values of 1.8s / 2.0s and was overjoyed.
Immediately opened the comic to check if it was a 'Golden Records'.
It wasn't.
It also wasn't missing any coupons.
Then it dawned on my that there may be missing pages.
Downloaded a cbr file to check.
That is when I noticed that the 1st and last wrap were missing whilst comparing the comic to the digital file.
(CGC lists the centerfold is missing. That is not correct at all. Trust me it is the first and last wrap.)

I hatched a plan to purchase a complete coverless copy and marry it with my $2 copy's cover BUT I figured I would get caught so I placed it in a mylar with fullback and put it away.

A few months later when Desert Wind Comics announced their next Stan Lee signing I realized I could plus up the value of the incomplete book by adding Stan's signature.
Got in contact with DWC.
Sent them my book.
They confirmed it was received.
And then they lost it for the signing I sent it in for.
Yep...lost it.
At one point they were going to send me a check for the value of the book if they couldn't find it before the next signing.
They didn't know it was incomplete so in hindsight it would have worked out better for me if they hadn't found it.
It was eventually found and got Stan to sign where I wanted and with a silver sharpie like I requested.

So that is the story of my Amazing Spider-Man #1 signed by Stan Lee.

I was always a little confused by the store / pricing.
Went back the following week as they had received more comics.
I didn't buy any comics, but I did pick up some Famous Monsters magazines.

Got to speaking with the clerk and they explained what the shop did.
They cleaned out residences of people who were recently deceased on behalf of family members that are not able to come in from out-of-state to handle such things.
Then the shop would determine what to donate and what to consign on behalf of the out-of-state family.
They charged the family 15% of the total sale price for doing this.
They list the high dollar items (purses, jewelry, vintage clothing, etc...) on eBay and the remainder in-store.

Learning this actually made me sad that someone had passed away with no one wanting to handle their comic collection.
That their ASM #1 ended up in my hands for only $2.
I began wondering if they had bought it for that price many moons before it reached me decades later.
The how of it is not something I reflect on often, but when I do it makes me realize that we all need to make a plan for our end of life because often the things we love die along with us.

Oh boy, that got way deeper than I expected...

Amazing Spider-Man 1.jpg

Edited by troy.division
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Amazing Spider-Man #129
purchased raw in 2012

Not much of a story here.
Purchased raw via a VCC as GD/VG (3.0)
I thought it presented well and it was priced below market trend.
Pressed it...back when I was trying my hand with pressing...
Came back a 5.0 (VG/FN) once submitted.
Thought about selling this back when Daredevil Season 2 dropped, but Jon Bernthal did such a great job I couldn't part with it.

Amazing Spider-Man 129.jpg

Edited by troy.division
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Amazing Spider-Man #300 signed by Stan Lee, Todd McFarlane, and David Michelinie - Top 10 Book
purchased raw in 2011

When I got back into collecting comics / discovered CGC in 2010 (after MANY years away) there were two comics that were at the top of my list for getting CGC Signature Series; Amazing Spider-Man #300 & Incredible Hulk #340

I eventually found Spider-Man #300 on Craiglist.
(Yes, it was purchased raw via Craigslist)
It was part of a box of 100 comics for $90.
I honestly didn’t believe it was real as the Amazing Spider-Man #300 was the top comic in the photo.
The seller wanted to meet at a public place so they chose a train station.
Ended up it was an older gentleman that got the comics as part of winning a storage auction.
(Again, 2011, so that was all the rage…)

The book was sent to CCS (this was before they joined CGC) to be pressed and have a grading assessment.
It came back after some time with a certified prescreen of 9.6
At this time I messaged with Desert Wind Comics about getting Todd McFarlane to sign it for Signature Series.
Everything went smoothly and it came back to my possession as a 9.6.

Two years later I had a chance to add David Michelinie (it had been a while since he did a signing) and decided I wanted to go for it.
Desert Wind then let me know they could roll the book over to their next Stan Lee signing which was the month following.
I’d honestly never thought about adding Stan to this book as he didn’t work on it, but I figured the cost of signing would be offset by the increase in value, as long as it stayed a 9.6.
Everything went smoothly and the book arrived back as a 9.6...after three separate signings.

I’d be lying if I hadn’t thought about purchasing a McFarlane / Michelinie Signature Series 9.6 and then selling this copy with Stan’s signature and spending the difference on another book.
I have two other Stan Lee signatures (one you've already read about...) and after all these years this one just seems odd to have signed by him.

Honestly, the only reason I haven't followed through with that plan is because I like having a ‘Craigslist’ story much more than a ‘bought on eBay' story.  Also, after the latest McFarlane signing opportunity I see how rare it is to sign 'Todd McFarlane' anymore...

Amazing Spider-Man 300.jpg

Edited by troy.division
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Atom Tan #1 - Top 10 Book
purchased raw in 2019
this is the only book in my collection that is not graded

Atom Tan #1 features the first appearance of Tank Girl.
There were only 150 total copies of Atom Tan #1 printed.
Most are long gone...

Below is a quote from Alan Martin (co-creator of Tank Girl) regarding it:
"In June 1987, whilst still studying at Worthing Art College, Jamie Hewlett, Phil Bond, and I launched our first published work.
- Atom Tan issue #1 -
The first print run of around 50 copies was printed on the staff photocopier at Worthing with a cover price of 50p and sold amongst fellow students. We then took the proceeds and went into town to a copy-shop and got a second print run of 100 more printed with a £1 cover price. 
Since then, the comic has become a minor legend, having been the birth place of Tank Girl in her own one-page advert.

Original copies are very rare, fetching high prices when they come up at auctions."

I bought this book the day I realized I no longer held the top spot in the Tank Girl CGC registry.
(after having held the top spot in the registry for 6 years from 2014 - 2019)

This is what happened -
The current top registry holder added a beautiful 9.6 copy of Deadline #1 which awarded them so many registry points that made it mathematically impossible for me to compete...unless...I decided to spend thousands of dollars to try and match / beat their 9.6 copy of Deadline #1.
I already owned an 8.0 of Deadline #1 (you'll find the post further down) and didn't want to start burning through money...

So, I impulsively purchased this copy of Atom Tan #1 via eBay.
My rationale was "I will get it graded and reclaim the top spot.  Heck, I will once again own the top spot!  Most likely in perpetuity due to its scarceness."

Bought it.
Received it.
Shipped it to CGC immediately.
CGC e-mailed to let me know that is doesn't fit into any of the inner wells they possess.
They offered to press and clean it for me, which I accepted.
CGC shipped it back once completed.
Feeling deflated, I deleted my Tank Girl registry.

In all honesty, it has been freeing not having to worry about competing...and...it has turned Atom Tan #1 into a prized possession.
Because it truly is VERY hard to track down.
(None have come up for sale since I purchased this copy in 2019)

This is a 'Life Magazine' top loader, MyLite 4, and MyLite backing board with a sheet of archive paper behind the front cover & before the back cover.

Atom Tan.jpg

Edited by troy.division
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Batman #181
purchased raw in 2012

Purchased raw via a VCC as GD/VG (3.0).
Came back a 4.0 (VG) once submitted.

This was purchased because at the time I was working on a Harley Quinn / Poison Ivy classic covers collection.
Eventually, I sold almost all of them (only kept my Signature Series Harley covers) because I figured Harley would be at her peak with the release of Suicide Squad.
My plan was to repurchase them cheaper after the movie buzz was gone.
I was wrong.

Batman 181.jpg

Edited by troy.division
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Batman #404 signed by Frank Miller
purchased already signed / graded in 2021

I'd initially 'read' / 'discovered' this series whilst in high school when I was gifted The Complete Frank Miller leather bound hard cover (along with a copy of The Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told) for my birthday.

I am happy I did not 'rediscover' this story until I was an adult.
The writing / artwork is top notch and was not appreciated by me fully when it was originally released whilst I was in high school.

Now...if only Mazzucchelli would do a SS opportunity...

Batman 404.jpg

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Batman #423
purchased already graded in 2022

I purchased this book to add another Todd McFarlane signature whenever the next opportunity was announced.
Then an opportunity was announced, BUT CGC could not provide a definitive return date.
The problem was that I was in the process of moving and didn't know where I'd be moving to.
So, it is still unsigned...

Batman 423.jpg

Edited by troy.division
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On 3/22/2023 at 7:50 PM, 1950's war comics said:

dream come true on the ASM #1 !

I know, right?!
Honestly, it is what drives me to visit flea markets, garage sales, and thrift shops whenever I can.
I have not had a 'score' like that ever again though.
On occasion I have toyed with the idea of selling it for various reasons.
(It isn't on my list of comics that will be with me until the end, but it'll be one of the last to sell...hence it being one of my Top 10...)
I could never pull the trigger due to the novelty of not only showing people an ASM #1 signed by Stan Lee, but MY story of how I got it that keeps it with me.

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Batman #608 Second Print signed by Jim Lee
purchased raw in 2012

I truly miss when these were bountiful back in the day when stores used Overstreet instead of eBay to price comics.

This copy is 1 of 3 that I purchased for the purpose of being signed by Jim Lee.
At the time, I scooped them up locally for about $35 each.

Funnily enough, back in 2012, the 2nd print of #612 (the sketch version of Superman choking Batman) was hotter.
Presumably it had to do with plot speculation for The Man of Steel...idk...

Anyway, two copies were sent in for the Jim Lee signing at SDCC.
The third copy was sold via eBay as VF/NM in the lead up to the signing.
Both signed copies came back 9.8s
Sold one of them immediately to offset the total cost of purchasing the raw books / signing / shipping charges.
In essence, this copy is / was 'free'.

An interesting observation from tracking its value over time is that the value of this book fluctuates depending whether or not there is a #608 RRP available at auction at the same time.

I think the pose is great BUT the cape is too 'big' and 'billowy'.

Batman 608.jpg

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Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #1 signed by Frank Miller
purchased already signed / graded in 2015

This series was originally released whilst I was in elementary school.
I knew it loomed large in the comic / DC / Batman space, yet it didn't enter my life until high school.
(although...I do remember seeing copies as wall books at local comic stores...)

I was gifted a leather bound copy of The Complete Frank Miller Batman for my 16th birthday.
My mind was blown!
It was the Batman I never knew I wanted to read / see in comics.

Fast forward MANY years and I have not only reunited with comics, but also discovered CGC.
Around this point in time (early 2011) I started making a list of my most wanted Signature Series creators.
Frank Miller was in the top ten.
I began researching and noticed that there hadn't been a signing / appearance in some time.
Rumors, on these boards / in the comic fandom, kept circling back to Frank Miller being ill.
Eventually, I resigned myself that I wouldn't get a signing opportunity and would have to purchase a Signature Series copy via eBay.

Then suddenly there was an international signing.
I began checking eBay once-a-day waiting for Signature Series copies to be posted.
(there always are after signings)
I jumped at the first book that was posted as soon as I saw it.

Eventually, there would be multiple signing / remarque / sketch opportunities that drove the scarcity and value down.
In hindsight, being overzealous ended up with me 'overpaying'.
Am I upset about it? No.
This is my favorite print version of Batman signed by a legend of a writer / artist / creator.

Dark Knight Returns 1.jpg

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Batman: Harley Quinn signed by Alex Ross
purchased raw in 2013

For a LONG time, this was the more desired 'first' Harley appearance.

When composing my top ten signature series wish list back in 2011, Alex Ross was on it.
I then had to set about determining which cover to have signed.

This book was chosen because it is an all-time classic!

Two copies were purchased for submitting for the Alex Ross signing.
One had a production cut on the spine and was withheld.
(I should have sent it in anyway...)

Facilitated by Branget
The signature placement and gold pen color are magical...

Harley Quinn.jpg

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Batman: The Killing Joke signed by Brian Bolland
purchased already signed / graded in 2021

As mentioned in the first post, I began a mini Alan Moore collection within my overall collection.

I initially read The Killing Joke whilst in high school.
There are two distinct memories I have from it -
1. The 'joke' at the end made me laugh.
2. My dad said I couldn't pull off a young, pre chemical bath 'Joker' haircut.

It wasn't until years later that I read online about the Joker's sexual assault of Barbara and the debate about whether or not Batman kills Joker.
(both of those flew over my head when I first read it)

I'm now of the camp that there was a sexual assault on Barbara AND Commissioner Gordon.
I also believe Batman kills Joker at the end because Batman realized that keeping Joker alive just means more people will be harmed / die.

Killing Joke.jpg

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Batman Adventures: Mad Love signed by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm
Remarque by Paul Dini

purchased raw in 2013

Batman: The Animated Series began airing on television whilst I was in high school.
I was instantly enthralled.
It was new and fresh and SO much better than any 'cartoon' I had ever seen outside of bootleg Japanese anime on VHS.
The series expanded upon different villains and added new depth to their stories.
It also introduced / featured new characters.
One of the most popular being Harley Quinn.

Presently, I prefer HBO Max's Harley Quinn Animated Series version of her character.
It removes her from being "Joker's girlfriend" and allows her to be a separate, almost independent person.

As mentioned in my Batman #181 write-up, I was actively working on a Harley Quinn / Poison Ivy classic covers collection at one point.
Personally speaking, this is the absolute best book to have signed and graded; more than Batman Adventures #12.
As it was written / drawn by Harley Quinn's creators, Paul Dini and Bruce Timm.

DScott helped facilitate the signing by Bruce Timm in 2013.
The book came back a 9.4

(Paul Dini was originally scheduled to appear at the same convention, but ended up dropping out.)

Flash-forward to August of 2022 when CGC offered a private Paul Dini signing with remarques.
It was being promoted as Paul Dini's last ever signing.
I shipped my signed Mad Love the day after the announcement.
It came back looking awesome BUT the label was messed up / missing Bruce Timm's info.
So it had to be sent back as a mechanical error.

In addition to the comic getting signed in 2013, I also had the base of my Black & White Harley Quinn statue signed by Bruce Timm.

Mad Love.jpg


Edited by troy.division
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Black Hole #1 signed by Charles Burns
purchased already signed / graded in 2021

Black Hole was the first graphic novel cbr I downloaded / read on my computer when I got back into comics in 2010.
From there I started downloading at least two graphic novels a week to read.
Over the years my comic reading has dropped to zero.

Black Hole 1.jpg

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Catwoman #51 signed by Adam Hughes
purchased raw in 2013

How I could I pass up an Adam Hughes cover that references 'LOST'?
This is my favorite Adam Hughes Catwoman cover.
Whilst I initially appreciated his Audrey Hepburn inspired covers more, I slowly changed my tune once he established a 'different' look.

This was the second Adam Hughes Signature Series book I owned.
The first was a 9.8 of The Legion of Super-Heroes #23 (Supergirl) Variant.
I sold that book when the Supergirl TV Show was premiering on CBS.
Not a single year has gone by that I don't regret that very dumb decision...

Catwoman 51.jpg

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Chamber of Chills #19 - Top 10 Book
purchased raw in 2013

This cover is a stone-cold classic!

Purchased raw via a VCC as an incomplete reader copy.
For the longest time it was stored in a MyLite with a fullback placed inside a magazine top loader.
Prices kept climbing on eBay and I realized it was time to get it graded.

Chamber of Chills 19.jpg

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Conan #24 'Nude' Variant signed by Kurt Busiek, Tony Harris, Cary Nord, and Dave Stewart
purchased already (halfway) signed / graded in 2012

Purchased below market value via a VCC.
It was already graded a 9.8 with Cary Nord and Tony Harris signatures.
Sent it to Emerald City Comic Con to add more signatures in hopes of adding additional 'value' to the book.
(not something I'd attempt to do now with an already graded 9.8 Signature Series book)

Conan 24.jpg

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