Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Wonderful Cheese

Ok... too much negative lately, so I want to switch gears and focus on the fun of collecting... at least in this post.

I love the wonderfully cheesy sports covers on some of the early DCs, and World's Finest Comics features some of the cheesiest. Here is a copy of World's Finest 24 from my collection. I love it!

Table Scraps Anyone?

What's up with the high grade snobbery in comic collecting? More than ever, it seems like some consider anything below 9.0 a piece of trash. If you truly love comics, would a Fine/Very Fine really be that much less lovable than a 9.2? I can see some collectors wanting the finest examples, but does that mean they have to look down their noses at everything else?

I fear comic collecting has degenerated from a hobby that loved an art medium to a hobby where an influential portion of the collectors love the label and the status it brings more than the book inside.

Like cards, coins and autographs, the affluent have taken over and that leaves most collectors in the humbling position of having to settle for their table scraps.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

CGC Snuffing Out Midgrade Books

There has been some discussion on the grading standard differences between professional comic book grading companies CGC and PGA

In my view, PGA is more accurate and closer to Overstreet Standards than CGC in the 4.0 - 7.0 range. In short, CGC is much too strict on midgrade books which have traditionally allowed for an accumulation of minor flaws or one or two larger flaws. Up until CGC became the "standard", FINE and VG were always fairly wide grades... but now CGC interprets them very narrowly. In some cases, it seems as if CGC goes from 7.5 straight to 4.0!

If I had the first Overstreet Grading Guide handy, I could cite irrefutable cases where midgrade books depicted would be graded at least one full grade lower today by CGC. Interestingly, with the Second Edition of the Overstreet Grading Guide -- which featured many CGC books -- the midgrade books demonstrably "got better."

I have been collecting Silver Age Fines or better as an adult for almost 20 years now. Today's CGC FINES look better than [accurately graded] FINES ever did in the past.

It's a double-edged sword... I like the idea that I can buy a CGC 6.0 - 7.0 for below Guide and the book is sharp as hell with nothing more than minor edge wear, yet, the FINE that I bought in 1988 (and EVERYONE at the time would have agreed it was a FINE) would probably get a 5.0 from CGC today.

IMO, PGA is truer to the traditional acceptance of what midgrade comics should look like.

Moron Scammer of the Day - Conan #3, CGC 9.5

The moron scammers on eBay just get dumber and dumber.

This seller claims,

IM NOT A COMIC EXPERT BUT WHEN I MOVED INTO MY NEW HOUSE THERE WHERE TWO CHESTS FILLED OF COMICS. I HAD NO IDEA HOW MUCH THEY CAN COST SO I TOOK A FEW TO MY LOCAL COMIC CARD STORE AND ASKED HOW MUCH THEY WOULD BE WORTH. THE GUY SAID THAT THIS CONAN CAN COST ARROUND $550.00 IF IT WAS CERTIFIED. BUT IN BROOKLYN COMICS ARE NOT A BIG THING AND I CANT FIND A PLACE WHERE TO GET THEM CERTFIED. I TOOK THEM TO 2 PLACES AND BOTH PLACES SAID THAT THIS BOOK WAS ARROUND A 9.5 OR A 9.6.SO SINCE I DIDNT GET THESE CERTFIED...

In Brooklyn, "comics are not a big thing?" What an idiot.

Further, the scan is clearly stolen as it's a scan of a CGC slabbed book -- the same book he claims is not certified.

What happened to the good old days when scammers at least had to call your house or ring the bell to try to con you? With the advent of eBay, every brain dead, can't-spell-loser skell can set up shop.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Photobucket Problems

My apologies for broken images in the blog. Apparently there are problems with Photobucket, the service that hosts my blog images.

Hopefully, the situation will be corrected soon.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Do I Have To Be An Engineer?!?

I figured I'd try the Google AdSense program on this site. You never know... I could make an extra 13 cents a year... (Well, really 9 cents after taxes.)

So I go through the process and I get the code to paste into my blog template... and that's when the fun starts.

What the heck is it with these blog templates? Why aren't they regular html? I figured out how to do my website myself, why does the blog look like a foreign language to me?

Obviously, the blog template is different than setting up a page in html. I tinkered for a while and finally got the google ads to appear on the right. Not exactly great placement, but that's the only place I could get them to work without screwing up everything.

As for the Google searchbar -- forget it!

Now, in about 87 years I should make enough from the ads to pay for the hour I just wasted trying to set it up! ;-)

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

One More Fantastic Four To Go

With this recent purchase, I have one more Fantastic Four to go to complete the run and I will have Vol. 1 #1 to the current issue. I bought this off eBay and it was advertised as a 6.5. I agree with that grade. The small chip at the bottom left corner isn't actually a chip -- it's a small tear that can be folded down and lays flat.

The missing comic is #13. I'm seeking this issue in the 6.5 range give or take a half a grade. It's more difficult than I anticipated... all that seems to come up are VG or worse copies. It is a difficult issue to find in decent shape and it will kill me to pay the price, because even thought it is the first appearance of The Watcher, #13 is not a very good story and among the weakest of the early Fantastic Fours.

Another eBayer Who Sucks: Pluckybuyer

Pluckybuyer won a book from me and then proceeded to ignore my emails for a few days... shortly thereafter, the emails started bouncing back. Pluckybuyer was listed from Canada with the email address of gramwheatley@mac.com

I reported him to eBay for the nonworking email, so eBay suspended his membership (NARU) and issued me a credit for the auction.

Unfortunately, I cannot leave a negative for this bum now because eBay will not allow you to leave a feedback for a NARU'ed user. Very frustrating.

You can bet I will be monitoring suckybuyer, and he becomes active again, he will get a fat, juicy negative from me.

Interestingly, I had a major dust-up with a CGC Board member -- who happens to be from Canada -- days before this bum bid on my auction. Coincidence? Probably, but you never know...

eBayersThatSuck.com

Here's a neat site that catalogs bad eBayers. I'm tempted to go through the site and add all the losers, psychos and deadbeats to my blocked bidder list. Unfortunately, online vermin typically have multiple shill accounts, so when one account gets blocked, they'll just use another.

Monday, September 20, 2004

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN # 19 CGC 9.6 NM+

Wow, this is a gorgeous book. And unlike many Silver Age 9.6s, it look like it actually deserves the grade.

I think it's funny how CGC denies there is a "grading curve" for older books, when the evidence is so obvious and most collectors admit that the curve is "part of the game."

I have modern books I thought might be 9.6 or 9.8s with perfect corners, perfect spines and no visible flaws, yet they came back 9.4. I consistently see Bronze, Silver and Gold 9.4s or better with visible corner scuffs, spine creases, color loss and soft corners. If anyone really believes there isn't a curve, I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

The Punisher: My Take

No real spoilers here...

Watched The Punisher the other day on DVD.

It was okay, but not great or even very good. Just okay.

My issue with the movie is that it was a watered down Hollywood-ization replete with the romantic subplot and goofy comedic supporting characters.

Castle himself was somewhat bland and I never got the "gritty engine of destruction" that the Punisher should be. The movie told us that he was an expert in arms, combat, etc, but they never showed it... his character was more of a punching bag than anything else. He wasn't as mentally tough as I thought the Punisher should be.

I didn't like the drinking in the film. I thought that was untrue to who the Punisher would be. The "real" Punisher probably would only drink as a cover and never let himself lose mental focus by drinking to excess to "escape."

The use of weaponry was pedestrian and could have been a lot more imaginative. The only cool thing was the car with the roll down metal windows, but they didn't even use that to full effect.

In all, it was a decent 2004 take on Deathwish, but the film ignored various key character traits that make the Punisher unique.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

WTC: So Damn Hard Getting It Out

As some of you know, I worked at the WTC and was there on September 11, 2001. I made a point of avoiding media coverage, emails and any other 9/11 exposure yesterday and chose to work around the yard, enjoying the sun. My parents came over for dinner, and it went unsaid, but we all knew why we were gathering yesterday and how lucky we were to still be together.

The past 3 years has been a series of peaks and valleys for me. But life is much better now, although there will always be dark shadows that come to me in the night... but I've accepted that is a small price to pay compared to many.

I've marveled at how far I've come in 3 years. I met the woman of my dreams and we're engaged to be married. We bought a house together, so another dream of mine has been fulfilled. And I now live closer to my family again and I can regularly enjoy the company of my parents and extended family.

In a way, at 9:04 am on September 11, 2001, I began the journey of the rest of my life and for the first time in my life, I was more than simply living, I was alive and realized what a gift it was.

It has been a struggle though, and for a while, I feared nothing would ever be normal again. But, I kept repeating my mantra in my lowest moments, "If I made it out of there, I can make it through this." There are still bumps, but the worst stretch of bad road is behind me.

In ebbs and flows, the World Trade Center still comes to me. Once in a while it's a tingle in my fingers and toes, an anxious twisting in my stomach or short temper for no apparent reason, or the gut feeling that I want to run when I'm in a crowded shopping mall. The flesh raises on my arms whenever I watch a movie and someone falls from a building.... just another souvenir from Al Qaeda.

Most often, the planes come to me in the night. And the screams. And the gore. I can't remember the last time I slept through the night, but I know someday I'll sleep like normal folks do and the restless nights will fade into memory.

The World Trade Center is deep in my bones, which is infinitely better than my bones being in the World Trade Center.

It is amazing how 20 minutes of your life can sink in and not want to let go. It was so easy for the World Trade Center to get in, but it's so damn hard getting it out.

Friday, September 10, 2004

ComicsPriceGuide.com - PGA Name Thread

ComicsPriceGuide.com - Comic Grading Group changes their name to PGA

This is a fairly interesting thread -- replete with the requisite flaming -- regarding the future direction of PGA (CGG). Daniel from PGA weights in, and you can see my "expert opinion" of what their advertising should accomplish. ;-)

That said, I suspect all the armchair marketing directors will have a different opinion.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

FANTASTIC FOUR 10 - Kirby Page!!!!

Kirby FANTASTIC FOUR 10---Sensational Page!!!!

Nice page with an opening bid of almost 6 grand. Seems a bit steep... wonder if anyone will bite...

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Restored FANTASTIC FOUR #1 CGC 9.4

FANTASTIC FOUR #1 CGC 9.4A

I'm really curious to see how much this goes for. However, I suspect that it will go for far less than a restored copy that was simply color touched with replaced staples. The trimming will kill it. Most collectors that can swing this kind of money hate trimming.

Frankly, a sliver width trim wouldn't bother me that much, but this book looks very skinny and screams, "trim job!"

Gulp!

Since adding the hit counter a week ago, I am shocked at how many people hit this page!

I guess this should motivate me to update more often and get on the computer on the weekend. But then who is going to mow my lawn and paint the bathroom? ;-)

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Ebay Scam of the Week

"115" OLD COMIC BOOKS!!! Vintage comic books,no reserve

One must presume that the 4 books depicted are the very best in the lot...

So, it looks like someone paid $1,075 for 4 moldy horror books perched on top of what are most likely a stack of worthless moderns.

Presuming the winner is not a shill, he's going to be in for a bad surprise. I'm probably go to track the feedback on this one just for shits and giggles.