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n2wdw's comic book room
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890 posts in this topic

Dave Stevens (and why did I do that?)



I picked up a couple of comics with Dave Stevens covers recently on eBay. This one, Shadow and Doc Savage #1, I already had in 9.6 that I got on eBay about a year ago for $35. It's a classic Stevens cover, but why I bought this 9.8 I don't know. The seller had it for $100 BIN, which is about the going price I think. I put in a best offer of $65, thinking he would counter. But he accepted! That's when I started thinking, why did I do this?










I felt a little better when I shopped the seller's other offerings. He had this Crossfire Dave Stevens cover on sale. I wanted this because I've always loved the Marilyn Monroe cover and didn't have it even in raw. We finally agreed on $41. So the average price of the 2 comics is about $50 and that makes me feel better about the pair. Still not sure what I'm going to do with the 9.6 Shadow comic. (And I won't be upgrading the Crossfire 9.6 ... I think ...)





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Olivia De Berardinis


One of my favorite pin-up artists is Olivia De Berardinis. Here's a bio from the internet:


Recognized as the most famous living female pin-up artist, Olivia De Berardinis has been celebrated as the greatest since Alberto Vargas. De Berardinis — or “Olivia,” as fans call her — modestly describes herself as a “painter of women” in her biography. But she’s been creating art for decades, from her early-’70s life as a New York City loft-dwelling waitress/artist to her current post as Playboy’s artist in residence. Olivia has captured some of pop culture’s notable (and at times controversial) muses, including burlesque performer Dita Von Teese, comedian Margaret Cho, and rocker Courtney Love. However, her most iconic covergirl is ‘50s pin-up icon Bettie Page, who Olivia transformed into a sensual teacher, French maid, and mermaid, among others. Olivia continues to publish books and calendars, all paying tribute to the legions of women inspiring her.



A few years ago I met Oliva at the SDCC and was lucky enough to pick up a few pieces. This one is by far my favorite, a period piece Olivia painted based on a photograph taken at the time. A little risque but not too over the top, it's the first thing you see when you walk into my comic book room.





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I won 2 SS sketch covers recently on eBay. Having shopped for a while, I know there's a minimum on these graded sketch covers. After all, you’ve got to add the artist’s fee, the cost of grading, the faciliator’s fee and the seller’s profit. And the minimum is around $150 IMHO.


I got these books for about $80 each, and I’ve gotten others for well under $150. I think that shows that it’s tough to make money on the SS sketch covers, except for well-known and high demand artists. That’s not to say it’s not worth it to get commissions for your own collection (especially if the artist is flexible with what you’re looking for), but the resale market is tough. As a seller I think you’re lucky to get your money back


Having said all of that, I think I got lucky on these 2 books. These are nice looking renditions of Emma Frost. My favorite is Bill Dinh’s, but Fleecs’s is really nice too. I think they should have gone for at least $100-$125. Sometimes it’s a matter of you’re shopping on eBay when others aren’t .


On another topic, I’m dying to get the grades of my last CGC invoice! It seems like the Status has been stuck on Graded forever (it’s been about 2 weeks). Maybe Monday …










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One win on this Sunday, this Manhunt #1 that I bought today from a boardie for a fair price. I ALWAYS check out the Marketplace on the left side of the screen. I've gotten so many good buys from there.


What a great cover! Can't wait to read it. Then it's off to CGC in my next invoice. I have a few eBay and Heritage auctions going on tonight but don't expect to win any of them (although there's one book in particular I'd love to win).


Sunday's a great night! Good for auctions, and Walking Dead in an hour!





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That's a crazy cover (Manhunt 1) and one I've never seen until now... congratulations on that one! Also, I have to say that the Granov- Scarlet Witch cover is absolutely stunning!

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Won one more last night on eBay, this Mopsy. I've been slowly buying this St. John GGA humor title. The prices are all over the place, sometimes the hammer prices are really high (although high for this title is over $100, not thousands). I got this one for $56, a little less than my max of $60.


The comic I really wanted was Richie Rich #1 PGX 3.5. I hoped to steal it since it was PGX. I had $375 on Bidnapper but it finished at around $550. Probably still a good buy for the winner. I had planned to send it to CGC, from the front cover it looked to be at least 3.5.





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Submitting My Next CGC Invoice (and the purpose of grading)


I'm packing up my next CGC invoice to send out on Monday. I've been acquiring and picking the comics for the last 3 or 4 months. It always comes down to, which comics should you grade and which should you leave raw? And the the more fundamental question, what's the purpose of grading anyway?


For me there's 3 reasons:


(1) I grade for the purpose of increasing my comics' value and making it easier to sell them. I don't plan on selling my collection, but you never know when you'll need cash. And when you need it, you might not have time to submit to CGC. So by grading, it's kind of like putting something aside for a rainy day.


I plan on leaving my collection to my kids (hopefully that will be decades in the future). They don't collect comics. I've told them it's 100% okay with me if they sell the collection. I want my kids to be able to easily sell the higher value comics for FMV, and grading them will help them do that.


(2) I grade keys and great covers because the CGC holder is an attractive and impressive frame. I'm mostly a collector of runs, but I collect keys and covers too. These comics are great art, and I like having them out on display. To me, the CGC holder is the best frame for comics.


(3) I grade comics that mean something to me. There are some comics that aren't worth anything, that might not have the best covers, but their stories had an impact on me.


Anyway, here are the comics in my next CGC submission:



1. All Flash 25 (jitterbug cover)

2. Flash Comics 92 (Black Canary cover)

3. Superboy 10 (1st Lana Lang)

4. Strange Tales 135 (1st Shield & Hydra)

5. DC Superstars 17 (1st Huntress)

6. Amazing Spider-Man 6 (1st Lizard)

7. Amazing Spider-Man 7

8. Amazing Spider-Man 11

9. Amazing Spider-Man 15 (1st Kraven)

10. Amazing Spider-Man 300

11. Batman 232 (1st Ra’s Al Ghul)

12. Action Comics 267 (1st appearance of Chameleon Boy, Colossal Boy, Invisible Kid)

13. Action Comics 276 (a bonanza of Legion firsts: 1st appearance of Phantom Girl, Triplicate Girl, Bouncing Boy, Sun Boy, Brainiac 5 and Shrinking Violet)

14. Action Comics 285 (great Superman & Supergirl cover)

15. Fantastic Four 18 (1st Super-Skrull)




Latest CGC Invoice #1



Almost 2 months later the status finally changed to Shipped! (Yeah, I get it, 2 months is nothing, but I'm old and delayed gratification is so 1990s.) How were the grades? Some winners and losers and lessons learned. Ah well. I'll post details once I get them.


On a related topic, c-connect never got my paypal payment for last month. We worked it out, but now it'll take longer to get the comics, which means my next CGC invoice will be delayed. Ah well ... 1st world problems ...


Anyway, in one bit of good news, I won this one on eBay last night -- for only $18! For a Matt Baker cover from 1962!


At the moment I'm eating sushi and watching Frozen with my wife and kids, AND I'm posting here. How's that for multi-tasking?





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Buyer's Remorse


I won this on eBay recently and just received it, Amazing Spider-Man #6 the first appearance and origin of the Lizard. The seller advertised the grade as "Grade: Apparent NM- 9.2 (Color Touch on the Cover, Trimmed)"


I think the seller over graded. I think it would be lucky to get 8.5, 7.5 is more likely. But I don't hold that against the seller, I could tell that from the picture, and I'd be happy frankly with 7.0. The seller also disclosed the restoration. So, I think it was a fair listing.


But after getting the book I'm having buyer's remorse. The trimming is more extensive than I thought, about a quarter inch along the bottom and right side.


I bought it for $435. My highest bid was actually higher (I think around $500). The rule of thumb I use on restored comics is to try not to pay more than the raw unrestored VG for a restored book. The Overstreet VG price for ASM #6 is $358, but I think that's low. So at the time I thought my bid was fair; not a steal but fair.


But now a couple weeks later I think I overpaid. It's so hard to tell with restored books. You can get a better looking comic, but it's so hard to guessimate the FMV.


Oh well. I plan on submitting to CGC, maybe I'll feel better if I see it with a 7.0 or better grade (even with a purple label).


I'm kinda bummed right now for another reason too. I won an auction for Lady Mechanika Long Beach #0 CGC 9.8 for a great price, a book I need for my set, and the USPS sent it into the abyss. It looks like the seller sent it to the right address, but it did not arrive (even though the tracking says it was delivered -- but the idiotic USPS website only says it was delivered, it doesn't identify the address it was delivered to!). Hopefully it will turn up Monday, but right now I'm anxious about getting it.







Latest CGC Invoice #2: More buyer's remorse



So I haven't received the books from my latest CGC shipment yet, but I've looked at the grades. The grade on this one reminded me of how bad a deal I made on this book. I like the book but I paid way too much.


CGC gave this one 5.5 SA, with the note: Restoration includes: small amount of color touch on cover. (ALL 3 EDGES TRIMMED.)


I few points on this:


* The amount of restoration didn't surprise me, the seller gave me notice. What surprised me is the SA rating. I'm surprised with some much restoration (especially the trimmed pages) you can still get a "slight" rating.


* I was hoping for at least 7.0 but I based that solely on the nice looking cover. I didn't study the inside. Also, there are stress marks on the spine that don't show up well in the picture. So I'm not too surprised by the 5.5.


* I paid way too much at $435. With grading, the total cost was about $460. GPA has this in 5.5 (no restoration) at $550. There's a 5.5 (SA - trimming) at $213. The only way this would have been a good buy if it had graded higher. At 7.0 I would have broken even. Above 7.0 I would have come out ahead. Of course, there are other metrics I can use to make myself feel better. I like the comic, it's more than good enough to check this issue off my want list. But I'll regret this buy for a while.

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Latest CGC Invoice #3: Flash "jitterbug" cover



Received my CGC shipment today. It always seems to take forever to get graded, and then things happen fast.


I submitted 15 comics and of the group this is my favorite, All Flash Quarterly 25. I won this on ComicConnect in the September 2013 auction. It was one of those comics that as soon as I saw it I had to have it. I ended up paying $440; more than I wanted, but I'm very happy to have it.


Comic Connect advertised it as no restoration and VF 8.0. It came back at 7.5 (no restoration) so I'm really happy with both the comic and ComicConnect.





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Latest CGC Invoice #4 - First Black Canary cover



I also got this one from Comic Connect in November, Flash 92. I'm a collector of keys. This is the first cover and solo story of Black Canary. (Also on my list are All Star 38 and 41, her first appearance and when she joins JSA.) This is one of those books that if I'm ever gonna get it, it'd have to be a low grade book -- otherwise it'd be too expensive and I'm not so into the book I'd be willing to spend serious FF#1 type money. I decided to go for this one, because it shows pretty well and with the restoration and low grade I'd a chance at getting it for what I was willing to pay.


The bidding was pretty active. I was hoping to get it for around $400. When the bidding went higher -- and I have a love/hate relationship with CConnect's extra time feature (where they add time to the auction if bids come in late) -- I had to decide whether to go over my budget. I finally decided to go for it, because I didn't know when I'd see a low grade nice looking copy again.


I finally won it for $595. Ouch!


Sometimes when I look back at a purchase and I think about whether I paid too much, I ask myself if I would've paid that much if I'd found the book at a con. Here, I think I would have. I paid alot, but if I saw this on Harley's wall at SDCC or Chicago (or wherever) I probably would have been willing to go $595.


About C-Connect's grade. They advertised it at 6.0 with the following restoration note: "Taken from a bound volume, moderate resoration, spine and staple replacement, color touch f/c"


You can tell just by looking at the cover this is no 6.0! So I'm not sure what C-Connect was thinking. Still, I'm okay with the grade. I was hoping it'd come in a little higher than 1.8, but honestly this book's been though alot. Good- seems fair. At most I'd give it GD+ (2.5). Whatever, I'm okay with the grade.






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Latest CGC Invoice #5 - Amazing Spider-Man 300


I struggled over whether to submit this one. One reason was because I read somewhere it's the most CGC'd book. The census says there's 8423 graded copies at this moment.


I also hesitated because of the condition. I bought it off the stands when it came out. Since then it's been stored in either a plastic bag or mylite, but with no board. There are some stress lines along the spine (non color breaking) and I was concerned about getting a grade in the low 9s.


But I needed another comic to make the 15 comic minimum for the Value tier, so I went ahead and graded it.


I was very happy and surprised wihen it came back 9.6! There are 1742 copies in this grade so definitely not rare. Still, it's cool to have a high grade copy. Also, the price difference on this book between 9.6 and, say, 9.2 can be hundreds of dollars. GPA shows 9.6 at around $350 and 9.2 at $180. But a check on the web shows 9.6s being offered for more, over $500. I haven't been watching this book (since I already had it) so I don't know the actual FMV. Anyway, it's always fun to see your books worth something, even if you have no intention to ever sell.





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Latest CGC Invoice #6 - 1st Lana Lang



As a keys collector I love 1st appearances. Serious key collections need the 1st apperances of major characters (i.e., the major keys). That can vary by the age you collect, genre, etc. Oftentimes, at least for me, it's the keys of supporting characters I like the most, like Tales of Suspense 45 that has Pepper and Happy.


I'm really proud of this one, Superboy 10 with the 1st appearance of Lana Lang. Lana's not a major character like Lois, but alot of the Superboy/Superman mythos depends on Lana. So is this a major or minor key? There's no definitive list. I think most would call it a minor key, which is a good thing as that makes it possible to get it for a reasonable price. (On the other hand, TOS 45 is pretty expensive now because of Pepper's and Happy's major roles in the Iron Man movies.)


I don't remember how much I bought this comic for. I got it a few years ago at the SDCC. Usually I'm pretty good at recording that information but I just checked my database AND I DIDN'T EVEN CHECK OFF I HAD IT!!!


As an aside, I don't know what's going on with my scanner. I have the old HP legal size scanner, I bought it used off eBay last summer. Lately the exposure has been out of whack. I think I need to search around for better scanner software.





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I first saw this book in WW Chicago back in the summer. I loved the cover but the raw price was $20-$25. I decided to wait and forgot about it.


Then a couple of weeks ago I found this one on ebay. I put in a low bid and won it for $22, less than the raw price in Chicago. So the lesson is, you can get a lot more for the same money if you're patient. Easier said than done, but certainly something to strive to.




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Gwen Stacy by Tim Sale


So I'm really envious about all the posts on Megacon. Sounds like it was a great con. I went to 2 or 3 Megacons but that was a while ago. I thought about taking my 14 yo daughter to Megacon this year, as she's into anime and manga and Megacon from what I hear has a good mix of both comics and Japanese stuff. But couldn't do it this year, too many conflicts with school and kid activities.


My convention schedule this year is probably 2: WW Philadelphia and SDCC. I'm really excited about Philly. I'm hoping to do a photo op with Lauren Cohan as I've become a big Walking Dead fan. I'm not sure what I'm doing about SDCC. I was lucky enough to get 4 day tickets (no preview night unfortunately) but I might only be able to go a couple days.


Anyway, despite my con-challenged schedule, my comic quest continues! I picked up this original art this weekend, from a boardie who was offering it on eBay. I'm a big Gwen Stacy fan, and Tim Sale does a very elegant Gwen.


Sale really captures the Stan Lee Gwen -- what Gwen would look like in her 20s if she'd survived the fall. So much better than all the busty Gwens on eBay, where the artists feel the need to add a spider web someplace in the drawing because, duh, otherwise it wouldn't be Gwen. Really? For Gwen all you need is the headband.





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Carnegie Deli NYC


I'm in NYC on business, and yesterday I had lunch at the famous Carnegie Deli just south of Central Park. I had to share some pictures. This is their Woody Allen, a sandwich piled high with corned beef and pastrami.







Not realizing how big the sandwich was, I also ordered these onion rings. This is their regular order and they're big enough to feed my family! But I was there by myself so as you can imagine I did not come close to eating everything.




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More Gwen Stacy and Not Going to ECCC


I picked this Aaron Lopresti sketch cover from a boardie this week, a really nice book to add to my Gwen Stacy collection. Okay, the artist included a spider-web (see my Tim Sale entry above for my pet peeve on this), but here it seems to work.


It was a pleasure working with boardie modelmaker on this book. His original post actually required pickup at ECCC. I noticed that only the next morning, well after I dropped the flag. We PM'd each other and he very kindly agreed to ship it to me. I offered to pay extra for his trouble, but he wouldn't take it. On top of that, he offered to help me out if I need anything done at ECCC. What a great guy, thanks modelmaker!


The reason modelmaker wanted pickup only is because he lives in Canada, and shipping is so incredibly expensive shipping from Canada. I don't get Canada on this. It seems like it really hurts Canadian businesses.


But, modelmaker agreed to ship the book to me once he's in Seattle, saving me big on shipping. Again, thanks modelmaker!


I've never been to ECCC. I definitely want to go. It sounds like a great con from all the posts I've read here, and I really like Seatte. Maybe next year ...



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ComicLink March 2014 Auction


I won a few comics at this month's CLink auction. First is Logan's Run #1. This was one of my favorite movies growing up. I also found it disturbing, the whole idea of an age limit when you had to die. (It didn't hurt the lead actress Jenny Agutter was pretty hot to a teenage boy!) I won it for $71. Kinda cool to have a 1977 comic in 9.8 with white pages.







I was surprised to win this one, New Mutants #1. I put in a low bid and won it for $35, not much higher than the cost of grading.






A couple of fun GA GGA books, $54 and $67 respectively. I'm surprised by the 7.0 on the First Love 12 given the ding in the upper right corner. Sometimes I wonder if there are different standards for grading GA (or SA) versus modern. I ended up winning 7 CGC books. CLink is really fair, only $20 for all 7 for insured shipping.







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Lily Renée Planet Comics


I bought a couple of Planet Comics from a boardie recently, and not just any Planets. I got a couple of my grails, covers by Lily Renée! Here's some background on Lily from an article on the web:


Renée, whose birth name is Lily Renée Wilhelm (now Philips), answered an ad for artists at Fiction House and got a job. Apparently she took to it very well, despite having never looked at a comic book. Her stories are as well illustrated and her storytelling as good as any by the male artists of Fiction House. She was raised to a star position, drawing features like "Señorita Rio" for Fight Comics and "Lost World" for Planet Comics. She was also given "the dog," as she put it, the feature no one wanted, "Werewolf Hunter," which she turned into a sumptuous strip full of her fine art influences.


I really love this #33. A classic cover that shows way better than 3.5. There's so much going on in this cover!








This #35 is going in my next CGC invoice. A beautiful book except for dings at the top and bottom left corners. I'm very interested to see how those dings will affect the grade.





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