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n2wdw's comic book room
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WW Philly Con Report - Thursday (Part 2)


Having never done CGC on-site grading or ever submitted comics to CGC at a show, I'd have to say it was incredibly easy. I was about the 50th person to get in the con and went straight to the CGC booth. There were about 5 "lines" of people. In my line, the person in front of me had a stack of about 10 books. It took about 5 minutes for the CGC rep to fill out his form for him. I then gave her my stack of 17 comics. I had pre-filled my on-site grading form. It took less than a minute for me and then I was done.


Okay, that was easy! Towards the end of the evening I went back to the CGC booth. The CGC rep said my books would probably be ready Saturday morning. Wow, talk about immediate gratification! As of the close of the con on Thursday, on-site grading was still open.


This is a picture of the CGC booth about 15 minutes after the con opening.






After the CGC booth, I checked out the schedules of the Walking Dead actors. 5 are here: Maggie, Hershel, Daryl, Shane and Lori. All will be here by Saturday morning, so I have a chance at all 5. But I have to leave by noon Saturday and I expect the lines will be long so we'll see. I should at least get Lauren Cohan as in theory VIPs are supposed to be able to get to the front of the line.






The con floor is big but there aren't many comic dealers. Maybe a third? But there's still alot to go through. I found one dealer who has about 25-30 long boxes of mid-grade non-key silver for $3 each. I ended up buying about 150 comics. At $3 each it came to $440. Without me asking, he called it $400 AND threw in a $5 trade paperback I'd picked out ("Stan Lee Conversations"). How great is that!


One of my collecting goals is to get complete runs of the "secondary" DC silver titles like Atom, Hawkman and Aquaman. If you're willing to take mid-grade, you can do it for less than an average of $5 per book. It just takes time to find mid-grade copies, and comic cons are the best way to find these mid-grade books at inexpensive prices. But for these 3 titles, as well as a bunch of others (Jimmy Olsen, Justice League, Lois Lane, Teen Titans, Flash, etc.) I'm down to the point where finding mid-grade copies is really hard.


Well, these dealer had a bunch! For example, I got 9 Aquamans, 6 Atoms, and 4 Hawkmans. I'm within spitting distance of completing these titles, I'll be concentrating on them the rest of the con and SD to try to finish them off.









This dealer had alot of other fun stuff. Brady Bunch for 3 bucks? I had to get that!






My last buy of the night was these Walking Dead action figures. They weren't cheap -- because nothing WD is cheap -- but they were about half what my LCS sells them for.





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I really like the cover. But why grade it? For example, I collect Dave Stevens covers. Some I have graded. Others I keep in 3 ring binder mylar sleeves. I like the binder because I can easily look at the covers. So what's the point of grading? This is the one I struggle with the most. I really like the CGC case, I think it displays comics really well. But I only have so much space. I can actually display comics better using binders.






When I started collecting Dave Stevens covers I faced a similar conundrum. I enjoyed looking at them, but I also wanted to have fun with the collectiblity aspect, too. Rather than go for high grade slabs, I decided to try and find books that were signed by Dave - as that would present an interesting challenge and a way for me to go look for the covers that I really like. It also kept me from the desire for having them graded, and letting me enjoy them for what they were.

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I love this kind of stuff. You can get some great deals on non-key books if you aren't looking for high grade and you have a wide selection of titles you are interested in.


One of my collecting goals is to get complete runs of the "secondary" DC silver titles like Atom, Hawkman and Aquaman. If you're willing to take mid-grade, you can do it for less than an average of $5 per book. It just takes time to find mid-grade copies, and comic cons are the best way to find these mid-grade books at inexpensive prices. But for these 3 titles, as well as a bunch of others (Jimmy Olsen, Justice League, Lois Lane, Teen Titans, Flash, etc.) I'm down to the point where finding mid-grade copies is really hard.


Well, these dealer had a bunch! For example, I got 9 Aquamans, 6 Atoms, and 4 Hawkmans. I'm within spitting distance of completing these titles, I'll be concentrating on them the rest of the con and SD to try to finish them off.


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Dr. Balls - What a great idea. It certainly results in a unique collection. That's an incredible challenge though.


Hamlet - I agree completely. The key is to have a big selection of wants so you can take advantage of what the dealers happen to bring at any given con.



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WW Philly Con Report - Friday


I had alot of anxiety going into today. I wanted to get CGC to witness some signatures. Having never done this before, the CGC witnessing thing, I was worried about 2 things:


(1) would a witness be available when my turn came up to sign?

(2) I hate imposing on people's time, would the witness have to wait in line with me?


Well, things went pretty smoothly, alot easier than i thought. As for (1), there were alot of CGC witnesses available. It looked like there was an initial run at the CGC booth of on-site submissions, but once passed that the booth looked pretty slow. I didn't have any problem getting a witness for both my signings.


As for (2), the witnesses were both really laid back and easy going. Both times the witnesses ended up waiting about 30 minutes, but they didn't seem to mind. It wasn't awkward at all.


Still, the con hasn't been too crowded so far. The 2 witnesses I talked to said they hadn't had many requests for witnessing so far. So getting a CGC witness at a crowded show might be a different story. On the other hand, my views of witnessing are based on reading these boards, where it seems like alot of people get signatures witnessed. It may be the witnessing population is mostly limited to people on these boards. In which case overall there's not a big demand for witnessing.


Of the 7 hours the con was open yesterday, I probably spent 5 hours waiting in line for signatures. This is a difference experience for me, usually at cons I'm going through long boxes all day long. The good news, I'm not spending as much money. I'll probably spend my budget though (I just won't go over my budget, as I usually do). I'm spending alot on CGC grading and on celebrity signatures (each signature costs from $30 for Sarah Wayne Callies to $80 for Normal Reedus -- Lori and Daryl on WD).


The comic dealers don't look very busy. There are a few high end dealers and I saw little traffic at their booths. Saturday might be different but I doubt it. This show doesn't have the vibe of a comic show. Most people seem to be here for the toys, anime and actors.


I had a view of Neal Adams from a line I was in, and his booth was slow for most of the day. If I'd thought ahead I would have gotten CGC to witness a couple Neal signatures on comics from my collection. This would have been the show for it, there are no lines. I have to say, his prices for art is really high. $1000 for a sketch of Batman? $2500 for a Green Arrow and Black Canary? This will come across as heresy as Neal is the man, but his stuff is too expensive.


As of early afternoon CGC was still open for on-site submissions. They finally closed on-site later in the afternoon (not sure exactly when). I was told they will take some on-site Saturday morning because they want to give Saturday only attendees a chance at on-site. Seems very fair to me. I've been very impressed with CGC at this show.


Jen Broomall is one of my favorite new artists ("new" being a relative term; certainly way new compared to Neal Adams). She's not here but BDI is. Jen is done a series of trades where the cover has the character covering the front and back covers. This is certainly not new, but her covers are striking. On eBay the trades go for $75 each, but here at the con BDI was selling them for cover at $25 each. I bought all 4 they had for sale.


I have 2 other Broomall trades in my collection. Last year I called CGC and asked if they coud grade these trades. They're pretty thick, more than twice the thickness of the old Marvel graphic novels. On the phone the CGC rep told me they probably couldn't grade them.


So I took the 4 I just bought to the CGC booth. I asked if on-site was still available. I was told yes (this must have been around 130 or so). I showed the Broomwall trades to the rep and asked if CGC could grade them. After looking at them, she thought CGC could grade them because they have thick wells they use for Playboy magazines. But she didn't know if they could grade them on-site, because she didn't know if they had brought any of those wells to the show. She said she would try to do them on-site, but if not they would go regular Modern. How great is that! I mostly just wanted to get them graded. On-site would be a major bonus but I'd be okay if it went regular. Here's a pic of the Broomall trades as the CGC rep fills out the form.






By the way, here's a list of CGC's services at the con. I wish I'd known they were doing on-site pressing, I would have brought a few more to get graded.






Given this is mostly a pop culture show, you'd think there would be more cosplayers. They are alot around, but not as much as I thought they'd be (or maybe I've just gotten used to taking my daughters to anime shows where everyone is in costume). Here's probably the best costume I saw, from Attack on Titan. My kids love this show.






The last thing I did before leaving the show was check the CGC booth to see if my on-site submission from yesterday was done. Here she is checking. There were a few lucky souls, but mine were not yet ready.




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I just got back my on-sites and I was blown away by the grades. 14 9.8s and two 9.9s. One 9.6. Was surprise by a few of the 9.8s (a couple shocked me) and ecstatic of course with the 9.9s. Disappointed by the 9.6 but it'll still be a nice add to my Dave Stevens set. I'll post a few picks when I get home.


I'm definitely liking this on-site thing. I'll have to make time for Baltimore if only to submit some books.

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WW Philly Con Report - Saturday (And losing out on Daryl but getting Michonne instead)


I spent 4 hours at the con today, the entire time either at the CGC booth or waiting in lines. The first thing I did was go to the CGC booth to pick up my on-sites, and also coordinate witnesses. I was one of the 1st at their booth.


Did I mention how important it is to get a VIP ticket at WW cons? You always get in first, and on weekends you also get in 30 minutes early. That's important for on-site grading and to get into celebrity lines, if you're into that. Even if you're not, you waste alot of time in general admission. Of course, VIP tickets cost alot more. Even WW general admission tickets cost alot. Frankly, if you're not into the celebrity lineup WW isn't a good value (except for Chicago maybe where there are so many more comic dealers).


My goal today was to get autographs of Lauren Cohan and Norman Reedus (Maggie and Daryl on WD). Both were scheduled to sign at 1030. But that's not how it worked out. Norman's plane from Atlanta arrived about 90 minutes late. WW had Lauren scheduled for 1030, then they shifted it to 1230 after we were in line for the 1030 signing (none of the staffers could explain why), and then Lauren arrived at 1130.


As I waited in line for Lauren I went though the 17 comics I just got back from CGC. Let me just step back for a minute. I turned these books in on Thursday at 3pm, and I had them back on Saturday at 930am. Less than 2 days! Maybe people who are used to on-site think this is no big deal, but I'm still blown away by it. On top of that, as I mentioned above, I got fourteen 9.8s, two 9.9s and one 9.6, exceeding my expectations. The on-site experience alone made the con a success for me.


I want to thank Bob and Michael, the two CGC witnesses who helped me this weekend. I texted and called Bob thoughout the morning to update him on Lauren's ETA, and when Lauren arrived he was there immediately. I got my 3 items signed, and then we went back to the CGC booth to finish up the paperwork (that's not me in this picture).






I gave up on Norman. They were only letting Norman VIPs line up, and there had to be at least 300 in line (I would not be surprised if it was more like 500). I was a Lauren VIP so I'd have to wait hours, and I needed to leave by early afternoon.


This is just part of Norman's line (and he didn't arrive until over an hour after I took this).






The problem was, I'd bought 2 Reedus signature tickets yesterday at $80 each. Would WW give me a refund? Well, they did, and without much hassle. But they made it clear I was lucky, they normally didn't refund autograph tickets based on my reason (that I had to leave). I think what convinced the WW rep was when I said "If I don't leave my wife will kill me."


(By the way, I understand WW's policy. They look at it like a concert, if you leave early you don't get a refund. Somewhat draconian IMHO because a 4 day con is not the same as a 2 hour concert and people plan based on the schedules they published, but hey it's their party they can make whatever rules they want. In the future, I just won't buy autograph tickets in advance.)


So now after the refund I had $160 in my pocket. This was discovered money! As it happens, Tibex82 had offered a Walking Dead #19 (1st Michonne) in the Comic Market that morning. Before the con opened I PM'd an offer and Tibex82 politely declined. But now I had an unexpected $160 burning a hole in my pocket. And Tibex82's book looked really nice. So as soon as I got the refund I jumped onto the boards (via my iPad mini) and dropped a flag.


So, I lost out on Daryl but got Michonne instead!






As I was leaving the con to drive home I ran into Gwen Stacy. A great end to a fun con!





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WW Philly On-Site Comics #1 (Frank Miller & Sin City)


As I mentioned, I submitted 17 modern comics for on-site grading at WW Philadelphia. (I also submitted 4 trades, 1 double signed comic and 3 photos during the course of the con.) Here are a few I got back.


I'm a big Frank Miller and Sin City fan. (I like the comic much better than the movie.) I have all the Sin City comics in raw, but I wanted a few graded comics.


I've never seen the ones I want on sale. That's no surprise when you check out the census:


Sex & Violence: 6 in 9.8, a total of 15 graded

Hell & Back 4: 4 in 9.8, 6 total

Hell & Back 5: 3 in 9.8, 5 total

Hell & Back 6: 2 in 9.8, 3 total

Hell & Back 8: 4 in 9.8, 4 total



So I decided to try to find nice copies on eBay and take my chances with submitting myself (my own copies are well read and have stress marks along the spines). It was actually not too hard to find 9.8 possible copies. For some I only needed to buy 1 comic. At worse it took 3 copies.


I was still surprised when all came back 9.8. I thought they were 9.8 candidates, but I judged them based solely on the front and back covers, not the insides. There are a few other Sin City comics I'd like to get graded, but these allow me to cross alot off my want list.









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WW Philly On-Site Comics #2 (Joe Benitez and Lady Mechanika)


My Lady Mechanika set is almost complete, Before Philly I needed just 2 more issues. The hardest to get has been #2 3rd print. This comic has the same cover as 2A dated July 2011, but it has a cover date of April 2012. It's not rare, and I've bought 7 copies (at $10+ each, plus shipping) trying to find a 9.8 candidate. With Philly coming up I picked my best one. I always find flaws in my own comics and so I wasn't optimistic about getting 9.8, but I would have taken a lower grade just to fill in that hole. Anyway, I was obviously very happy it graded out at 9.8.






I also graded 2 additional comics with Lady Mechanika covers. The Worlds of Aspen was impossible to find in high grade. I must have bought 7-9 copies. Fortunately they're cheap (although not so much when you add shipping). Again, I picked the best one for WW Philly and was lucky enough to get 9.8.


The Las Vegas program I got off eBay. The last one is the Gwen Stacy sketch cover by Benitez modelmaker generously got for me at ECCC (I talked about this above). It graded out as 9.8 as well, although obviously Green. Someday I hope to get Joe to sign the case using a black permanent ink Sharpie.








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WW Philly On-Site Comics #3


I picked up World of Wood #2 for its Dave Stevens cover a couple years ago for $33 on eBay. It's a nice copy but has a ding along the left bottom corner. That's held me back from grading it. I decided to take a chance and submit it for on-site grading. Well, as expected it came back at less than 9.8. Ah well ... it's hard to complain about 9.6. Definitely a nice book to add to my Stevens set.






I also collect J. Scott Campbell GGA covers. Superior Spider-man 29 La Mole Con goes for about $100 in CGC 9.8. I don't like the cover enough to pay that. So I took a chance and won this copy on Ebay for $21. I crossed my fingers and it came back 9.8 (so all in at $46, including the $25 on-site grading cost). So on this one I came out ahead -- doesn't always work out that way!






I bought this one raw from a boardie, Giroux. He advertised it as 9.8, and it came back as 9.8. Thanks Giroux!






Finally, this is the comic I'm most happy / surprised by. I'm a big Cerebus fan. I think I've bought 5 or 6 copies of this issue trying to get a 9.8 candidate. This is the best one, but to my eye it's flawed (look along the right edge, for example). I decided to go for it and submit it ... and it came back 9.8! This one really made by day.




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So cool. Love seeing all the books you got graded! Cant wait to see the rest. So do you sell the extra raws you buy to find a 9.8 or just keep them?




Hi Kystix - so far I'm keeping all the dups. Someday I might open an eBay store, but not enough time right now.

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I also collect JSC GGA. Nice pickup on a ebay raw to get a 9.8! Yours doesnt have any of the blue ink transfer Ive seen on alot does it? And again love reading about your collection.



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I love that Stevens cover! I would also love it in a 9.8!


I'd love it in 9.8, but I've never seen it in that grade. There's a 9.4 on sale right now on eBay for $50. A few raw copies, but nothing advertised as high grade. That's why I decided to grade my own raw copy. For a couple months before Philly I searched for a better copy but I struck out.

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WW Philadelphia -- Star Trek the Next Generation


The past couple years I've gotten into photos and comics signed by actors. I think they're great momentos of shows and movies I really like. The ability to authenticate signatures using CGC has put an additional spin on that, but more on that in a future post.


My big buy at Philly was this STTNG 8x10 photo signed by the cast. Whenever you buy things like this you have to worry about fakes. Certificates of Authenticy mean little since they're usually issued by the people you're buying it from (unless it's a reputable third party like CGC, which of course makes things certain). I've found the best way to gauge authenticity is to ask the dealer how he got the signatures, and then do a gut check of whether it sounds real. Also notice if the dealer is a regular at cons. Not scientific but not sure what else can be done at cons. Anyway, I've also bought from this dealer before so I'm pretty confident the sigs are real.






I got this Voyager cast photo from the same dealer last year at WW Chicago:






What's kind of cool is I use Shutterfly to blow the 8x10 photos to 20x30. I frame those big poster size photos and put them into my office. People I work with always stop by to look at them.

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WW Philadelphia: On-Site Grading


On-site grading = Immediate gratification.


Okay, I get it now.


I've read posts here about people who go to cons solely to submit books for on-site grading. I never understood that until now.


At WW Philly I submitted 17 modern books when the con opened on Thursday. By Saturday morning I had the books back. Yes, it costs a little more ($25 versus $18) but you don't have to pay shipping either way. I got back fourteen 9.8s, two 9.9s and one 9.6.


During the con I got 2 signatures for my Walking Dead #10. I got the 2nd signature on Saturday, right before I had to leave the con. But it still qualified for on-site grading (because I opened the invoice on Friday while on-site grading was still open). So CGC expedited the grading and shipped it to me. I just received it today, just 10 days after my submission, and I only had to pay for return shipping (instead of both ways).


Also during the con, I bought 4 trade paperbacks. I wasn't sure if the TPBs were too thick for submitting. The CGC rep said they could grade them, but they might not have brought the right holders to Philly. She'd try on-site grading but if they didn't have the holders they'd do regular modern. Well, they must have brought the right holders because I also got those 4 books today. Three 9.8s and one 9.9!


So on-site rocks! I'm planning to go to the Baltimore con if only to submit books for on-site grading.


Here are pictures of the 4 TPBs. They're wraparound covers by Jen Broomall, so I've shown both the front and back covers.







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