Notice: CGC is playing hardball with modern comics. We selected the best of the best of Origin 5, 6 , Captain America, and others  and were unable to find any defects on returned rejected comics. They charge us a fee to reject and return a comic non-certified. Last several months have been brutal such that we are reexamining the submission of modern comics. Our 5 issues of Captain America for example cost us over $40 each after paying for rejected copies. Modern Transformers were rejected 20 to 1 and cost us over $70 per accepted comic.  Anything with black art on the covers like the Ultimates series must be discontinued. The message is clear  to us," Modern comics cannot be marketed profitably for the most part. " Expect fewer offerings from us immediately and possibly a complete abandonment of offering modern comics.

I'll probably discuss this a bit more in the forum and if others have had similar experiences and wish to contribute to the forum on this subject, please write back.     We'll post your feeling here. Thanks.

RJ

INSIDE SCOOP ON ULTIMATES

I've just compared Wolverine: Origin  CGC Data info with Ultimates info and see two very different patterns. Submissions on origin 1-6 run intot he hundreds with over 100 for the #6. 9.8 was most common grade given the series. Ultimates started out with over 400 submissions and 9.8 was the heaviest given grade. The #2 was a very different story with only 10 9.8 and 27 9.6. This killed the submissions as #3 had only 17 submissions that reached 9.6 and 9.8 grades. Data is likely to be out of date, however #4 shows only 3 submissions that reached 9.8 and 9.6.

The figures only scratch the surface with what is going on here. We submitted around 100 #2 Ultimates and none of those reached the data base. If they had been slabbed rather than returned the base would be awash with 9.2- 9.6 grades.

The  Ultimates series has a problem with all the covers except the #1. The predominately black art on the cover is not a good mix for cardstock as it cracks at the spine and leaves a black and white random pattern. This defect is a big "no no" with the CGC grading and 9.8 will not be given to books  that have the problem. The #1 had the art, but not the spine problem. All others seem to have the defect.

We submitted a large number of 3's and the result was nearly the same with just a few being slabbed at 9.8.  As only 9 ea. 9.8 are resting at the data base, we imagine that most of the 9.8's were our submissions. Again, if all of our submissions were slabbed rather than returned, the 9.2 -9.6 range would be swamped.

Returned books are charged a fee and when figures begin to run 10 to 1 against submissions , it quickly becomes cost ineffective to market these comics. The result of this is unfortunate for everyone as any collector who had hoped to collect the series in 9.8 can kiss the whole idea goodbye. 

Reason for this  discussion in not to put down CGC as they grade the comics fairly as they see'm  , but to inform collectors why the price on the 2 up Ultimates must be around $60-$70. Consider that  the books cost much more to get the 9.8 grades and less than a handful have attained this grade. The data base indicates that only one collector could own 1-4 in 9.8 grades. Only 9 could hope to collect 1-3. Consider that 283 collectors are holding #1 in 9.8 and it becomes clear that the 2-4 are not going to be cheap.

I imagine that many collectors expect these rare books to be handed over for $30 , like the #1's are trading at right now and consider an asking price of $60-$70 to be a "rip-off. "

Prices should be considered to be fair as it is unlikely that more 9.8's will enter the market in any quantity. A half dozen collectors will own these rare books. All others will need to sit on the sidelines.

Collectors who collect the series might consider 9.4 and 9.6 as an acceptable grade to trade at $30. It's unlikely this will happen when considering  collecting habits of collectors of the modern comics. Every one loves 9.8 grades and a price of around $30. It's more likely that the idea of collecting this series will just simply wither away as other titles with the 9.8 attainable grade  and the $30 price become available. 

RJ  

Update on last week's discussion on Modern Comics.  Thanks to Harshan who called me from CGC to discuss at length the changes in the market place that led to our (Back Issue Comix) change in plans on modern comics offerings. I assured Harshan that I am delighted with the grading  and would not ever hope for any changes with the fine ( and always improving )  service I receive there.  The changing market place simply makes it imperative that Back Issue Comix change with it in order to survive.

The certification of comics for only $15 is a bargain! Does anyone remember that a plastic frame to enclose a comic sold for $15 before CGC came along?  When CGC announced that they would grade and certify a comic for $12 a few years back, it struck me that the frame was being sold at a discount and the grading was free! Now priced at $15 it is still a great value, especially when the "extra value" added to the comic multiplies its worth many times!

The real problem for Back Issue Comix is that we must order modern comics 3 months before they are distributed making the whole thing a big crap shoot. Comics ordered could be big hits in the market place and big duds with certification because of printing and distribution defects ( Ultimates 2 up). At this point , we plan to use caution and not stick our necks out on any one issue. In retrospect we were lucky with Ultimates #1.

 RJ

UNCANNY X-MEN Sept report
We also note that most offerings 117-149 are 9.0-9.2. A 9.6 -up is very scarce. 2002 update on this popular title with whiteness level noted for all.  oww = off-white to white. If no mention of whiteness is noted, it is white. Nice batch of all these to arrive at any moment. Many SOLD signs here as we plan to have these soon and can remove sold signs.
Violet print are new lower eBay based prices.  We note that 9.8 issues are almost non existent at eBay and an ever widening gap between 9.6 and 9.8 for this series. 9.6 issues down 30%-40%  while the 9.8's held their ground and many moved up. Prices reflect "the "Heavily Traded" syndrome. Big Key issues seem to trade slightly above Overstreet prices in 9.6 rather than the multiples of 7 with lightly traded items.  #138 and 139 big Key issues have dropped the most.  

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN : Report Sept 15. ASM seem to have held their ground over the summer. I've just looked over the old list to up-date and only very slight changes on a few books.  9.8 issues before #300 are gathering strength and many are moving upward.  300 up are steady and unchanging. They never were expensive and remain as a nice run to collect as they are about the least expensive  CGC comics on the market.  

 

WHAT IF? ALERT.

We are begining to receive our 1st batch of What IF?  and it is clear these are the best in the world.

Special What' If? certificates will be included with all of these. If you have been around awhile you will remember that we were very discouraged with some that we had sent in 2 years ago and gave up. We gave it one last try as our  customers want these. Most are coming in at 9.6 and 9.8 white!  With the Hulk movie on the horizon, HOT issues are going to be 2, 12 and 31. If you want to be on the WHAT IF ?  alert bulletin, write and you'll have 1st opp to make purchases. Warning : these are not cheap!

September 25 : 2002  We have called CGC and canceled BATTLE OF THE PLANETS and other modern titles. Recent market activity  in Modern CGC comics is waning and some titles would be unprofitable for us.  Instead expect runs of modern comics to be available as uncertified and combo deals. Ultimates 1 for example 9.8 with limited  certificate and 1-6 run for $49.95 is a hit. Expect BATTLE OF THE PLANETS to be offered as a run in the near future.

     We see that some Transformers issues remain above the break even level  and will be adding the ARMADA chrome issue to our offerings in 3 months. Transformers Preview and holochrome issue #1 remain fairly strong and we are nearly out of stock.

Not much interest in  THUNDERCATS has been shown and plans to offer that title are on hold.

It is hoped that some of these modern exciting titles will come to life next year  and we would offer them at that time. It's interesting to see various collectors and dealers routinely offering  some of these titles at big losses( $19 for Battle 9.8 chrome? ) If you are a buyer, pick'm up , nothing wrong with these issues at all !Their loss is your gain. It would cost you more to send-m in yourself!

The unfortunate part of all this is that any dealer or collector with price integrity would not need to take a loss. It's simple enough to set a fair price and simply refuse to sell it until a real buyer steps forward. This is harmful to all as several hundred collectors could collect these @ $32.50 each. What will happen in this environment is that a dozen or two comics will be sold unprofitably and the source will simply dry up. Everyone looses. 

SEPT 2003

OUR VACUUM MYLAR ENCASED COLLECTION  is proving to be very exciting. Activity at eBay  is demonstrating the the concept was not as silly as originally thought! When I bought the collection, I can tell you I didn't think it was silly at all. In fact I was so impressed with the packaging that I began mylar encasing comics  that I was purchasing  directly from distributors and publishers back in 1986.

While my own mylar collection is quite organized, the original collection is very much "random."  The plan is to open a few boxes at a time and simply sell whatever is inside. This should make it exciting for collectors as various gems become available. Issues after 1986 are from our own collection and for the most part will not be available until 2006 as we like to wait 20 years before actively selling these gems.

RJ