SATURDAY SLABS : Key/Investment Grade Comics – SGT ROCK/OUR ARMY AT WAR Issues 1 to 100!

SLABS –slabbing is slang for getting a comic professionally graded and encased in an un-openable hard plastic shell from CGC, PGX, or CBCS. A slab therefore is that graded comic, encased.

I’m not a big one for getting books encapsulated (the more technical term for slabbing), especially for modern books. But I do understand the benefit of third party grading, especially when it comes to older books. Ensuring the book is complete, annotaing any issues, and providing a grade from an outside third party, eliminates much of the haggling regarding condition that would otherwise occur when buying or selling a comic book.

So for reasons of liquidation, I see the benefit of comic book certification (including encapsulation), but again, I see the benefit as it relates to older or scarce books (real scarcity, and not this manufactured scarcity of variant covers on modern books). Now that said while I can see the use of grading and slabbing for select investment grade books, I DO NOT agree with the fad of pressing comics.

What is pressing comics?

It is a relatively new bit of snakery, people attempting to make the cover of their book look better, by actually applying moisture and heat to their comic, to ‘press’ out wrinkles, creases, folds, rounded spines etc.

And while it will make your cover lay better and arguably get you a slightly higher grade, based on a nicer cover, ‘pressing’ does this as the expense of the interior which in older books is newsprint. You can not apply heat and moisture to newsprint without shortening the life and speeding up the degradation of that pulp paper.

Period.

No ifs, no ands, no buts. Heat+moisture+newsprint = nothing good. That comes from the Library of Congress.

Now no specific long term studies have been done to show the damage of ‘pressing’. In 10 years when you open up that sealed book, will you find it is more degraded and corrupted then a say non-pressed book? Have those previously white pages started to brown rapidly due to the excess moisture pressed into those pages? have you induced mold growth into your valuable collectible.

There is no science to pressing comics, no agreed upon heat settings, or moisture exposure times, or drying times, it is a bunch of disparate people making it up as they go along, giving you short term results, at the expense of the longevity of your book. Why on earth would you let your collectibles be the guinea pig for such untested experiments.

Just say no to pressing your comic book.

That public service announcement out of the way, onto this installment’s investment grade books.  Out of the first 100 issues of the ground breaking DC War Series OUR ARMY AT WAR, here are the issues worth adding to your collection… and why.

 

 

15 MUST OWN ISSUES OF OUR ARMY AT WAR!

 

Our Army at War 1 - Dc - Superman - National Comics - Sword - Battle - Carmine Infantino

You do not expect sophisticated storytelling from a nearly 70 year old comic book, but this debut issue of OUR ARMY AT WAR offers up just such a compelling and surprising reading experience. Particularly in the story ‘DIG YOUR FOXHOLE DEEP’. OUR ARMY AT WAR #1 is a pricy acquisition, but one worth acquiring if you have the disposable income.

Next of the must have issues would be #15:

Our Army at War 15 - Explosive Battle Action - Fire - Thunder In The Skies - Sunday Walk - Fifteen Minute War

Just based on that striking cover with its beautiful use of yellows and purples.

For similar reasons, the following issue, #46, makes the must own list:

Our Army at War 46 - Soldier - Army - War - Action - Explosive

 

Next up, #50:

Our Army at War 50

This issue is notable in that, from here forward, the cover art gets far more sophisticated. It is also the first taste of the letterbox covers that would come much later,

The next 50 issues, from 50 to 100, with one or two exceptions, are all worth owning.Standouts being:

53,54,56,57(1st Grey Wash Cover), 61(Wonderfully desperate and emotive faces by Frank Robbins I believe), 71(Great, you-are-there pov camera angle), 74,75,80,81,82,83,87,89,90,92,94,95,96!

 

Our Army at War 53 - Dc - Tank - Soldier - Machine Gun - WarOur Army at War 54 - Gun - Sword - Jan No 54 - Grenade - Battle Line - Joe KubertOur Army at War 56 - Joe KubertOur Army at War 57 - Bullets - Machine Gun - Helmets - Men - ExplosiveOur Army at War 61Our Army at War 71 Our Army at War 74 - Bullet - Face - Head - Fear - AirplaneOur Army at War 75 - Blind Night Fighter - Airplane - Gunfire - Double Length Story - GooglesOur Army at War 80 - Tank - Ruins - No 80 - Tank Bait - SoilderOur Army at War 81 - Dc Comics - The Rock Of Easy Co - Gun - Nazi - HelmetOur Army at War 82Our Army at War 83 - Gone With The Gun - Flying Machines - The Trooper - Big Guns - The WarfareOur Army at War 87 - Battle Action Comic Book - Vintage Army Comic - Easy Company Army Stories - Wwii Tank Warfare Comic - Chute Dragging Soldier Into TankOur Army at War 89Our Army at War 90 - Easy Company - Dollar Comics - Superman - National Comics - Approved By The Comics Code Authority - Joe KubertOur Army at War 92

Our Army at War 94 - Target Easy Co - Combat Happy Joes - Battle - New Two Part - Fight - Joe KubertOur Army at War 95 - Battle Of The Stripes - Barb Wire - Gunfire - Crawling - Battle - Joe KubertOur Army at War 96 - Tank - Building - Panzer - Gun - Dc Comics

Well those are my collectible/investment picks for this installment.

Now you can actually pick up some of the aforementioned issues via one of my current favorite comic book stores, LONE STAR COMICS. Better known by there website presence, MY COMIC SHOP. Please use the link below to order from them, and when you do you will earn this blog a few pennies, that will be greatly appreciated and go back into the blog, and more content you can use.

So Thanks to anyone who supports this blog, and this specific post, via the following link:

https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=180591&AffID=200301P01

Thank You for looking and come back next Installment for more great selections!

Excelsior!

RIP To Stan Lee 1922 to 2018.

For the love of all things good, STOP pressing and cleaning your old comics!!! You are DESTROYING them!

Watching these Youtube videos on line of people so-called pressing and cleaning their comics.

I can not believe what I am seeing  it is like giving baboons knives. 🙂

People do not press your comics yourself, and do not pay to have an ‘expert’ do it for you.

Why?

Few reasons.

1/All of these so-called experts are using t-shirt presses or steam irons to ‘improve’ your comic. They are all just winging it, with no real understanding of ph balances, and acidity and moisture content, before or after. It’s a bunch of hacks, each one with no understanding of reason 2.

2/ The application of heat and moisture to newsprint, jump-starts a chemical reaction in the pulp paper, the newsprint, that continues and accelerates long after the initial application is supposedly done. The process is called advanced deterioration. The two things you should never apply to pulp paper, to avoid early deterioration, heat and moisture. A whole slew of new and returned collectors are doing just that. In hopes of turning short term profits by slabbing and reselling their ‘hot’ comic. In the long term what they are doing is SHORTENING THE LIFE of that bronze, silver age or golden age comic.

It is far better that your comic has a spine roll in it, than you BURN IN heat and moisture and humidity deep INTO the fabric of newsprint paper. That as stated is kicking into high gear deterioration and breakdown of that pulp paper on a molecular level, that CONTINUES after you have it graded and slabbed in plastic.

And yes, it comes back on the surface looking flatter and squarer, but internally you have taken years (if not decades) off the life of that pulp paper.  And that deterioration process will continue, as well as the possibility for mold growth, IN THE SLAB. Particularly if there is not sufficient time between ‘pressing’ and slabbing.

I’ve seen warped books in a slab before, and the root cause appeared to be a disastrous ‘pressing’ job, immediately followed by slabbing that still humidity soaked book, in plastic.

Now of course the person who sells you the book, doesn’t care, as long as he is getting paid for the arbitrary grade on the slab, people only seeing the cover of the book in the slab, and having no idea of excessive humidity or ph levels in the actual pages of the book. So it becomes a game of hot potato, to not be the one stuck with this graded book, that when finally unslabbed from its protective case, will be found to be in worse condition than a similarly aged book that had not suffered heat and moisture intrusion.

So arguably people are paying more for slabbed books (that is what they call graded comics, that have been sealed in plastic after grading) that are actually shortening the life of their comics, that because of this mania of people seeking a ‘perfect’ cover, they are ruining the actual comic book pages by entrusting them to witch doctors claiming to ‘press and clean’ them.

And I’m sure there is at least one restorative service that is keeping ph levels and moisture content, in mind. However they are the conservationists at the Library of Congress, and are not the services selling themselves as pressers to help you increase the grading on your comic book. 🙂

This is not brain surgery. I do not know what it is about the 21st century , or America in the 21st century, where common sense is not common, and idiocy is contagious, and sought out over reason. How do we  jump on obvious idiotic band wagons like ‘Me too’ and ‘Let’s iron my old pulp comics!” 🙂

And before I get hate mail, I think crimes of abuse when proven in a court of law, people should of couse face the punishemnt prescibed. However, I think when punishment is applied by the mob, before the verdict is in, people losing their jobs, their families, their name before their day in court… that is not justice. And when you are making judgements on your biases and trama, and projecting your issues, or unapplied vengeance in your own life, over the facts of a case that has nothing to do with you, that is mob rule. That is lynch mob justice. That is a witch hunt. And calling it ‘ME TOO’ doesn’t make it any less so. Okay back to the regularly scheduled program.

I do not have a major issue with drycleaning, provided the person knows what he is doing, however If you love your comics, for the love of GOD, spread the word to have people stop pressing their comics. If you have to get out an overwrap or wrinkle, do it the old fashioned way, apply weight and time, to the book. Not heat or moisture.

That should be common sense to anyone over twelve years old, especially anyone who is a comic fan. The fact that it isn’t… disturbing.

Not trying to be belligerent, I’m a collector, so I hate the idea of people shortsightedly ruining collections, in this new speculator’s bubble we find ourselves in, a couple decades after the last speculator bubble popped.

Love the hobby guys, and avoid the snake oil salesman. 🙂

Here endeth the public service announcement. 🙂

 

COMICTOM101 vs PGX and We Love Comics?!

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqRVhjeLzR4PErfe_jOqHMA

If you are not watching Youtube channel COMICTOM101, and are a fan of this niche hobby called comic/comic books, you may want to start.

Like I mentioned in previous posts I find myself watching Youtube channels courtesy of streaming platforms like Roku or Amazon Fire, more than I watch regular broadcast or cable programming. And while I watch a variety of topics and channels, from nature shows to woodworking to short films to cooking shows, the number one tyoe of channels I watch is the comic related ones.

This week’s 15 best channels, have changed a tad from my previous posting.

A mainstay WE LOVE COMICS, that has some good advice and tips on his channel, has been bumped because of his antics in PGXgate. As a channel that goes out of his way to speak about integrity, I think his very selective defense of his sponsor PGX is suspect. As is his silence on the subject in light of the questions COMICTOM101 brings to light.

PGX is a certification company that has been involved in suspect story, after suspect story, from (per Bleeding Cool) certifying fradulent copies of Walking Dead as a rare collectible,  to the well known grading issue stories, to the most recent claim of an ex-employee, of plans by the company to sell graded comics under a shill account.

It is that last story, that any user of PGX would be concerned about, that WE LOVE COMICS completely failed to address when bringing into question the claims, of a ‘possibly disgruntled’ employee.

Especially when WE LOVE COMICS goes out of his way to say he talks to the owner over the phone, and not to address that issue and other issues, such as the WALKING DEAD fiasco,  has to call into question any claims of impartiality.

And look, I don’t really have a dog in the certification fight.

While a long time comic book fan, I’ve always looked at slabbing of books (encasing them in plastic once graded) very skeptically, regardless of the company.

Only this year, 2018, have I really decided that for me, for select books that I already have in either a collected or reprint format, that having the original issue of a select, upwardly mobile, original bronze or silver or golden age comic, can be a smart addition to a long term collection or investment.

I still think slabbing modern day comics is suspect at best. But that is an argument for another day,

Anyhow, So from 0 certified comics at the beginning of 2018, I now have 10 of them. So still a very modest graded collection. Nine CGC titles and 1 CBCS title.

I went with CGC because of its long standing history, and the fact that the books are easily bought and sold on Ebay and other channels. Also because of their reputation.

Because especially when it comes to trusting someone to grade your comics, reputation is everything. CGC is not perfect, it has issues, as does CBCS. I prefer to just buy already certified books, than goes through the delay and cost of sending my own books in. A smart shopper can get a slabbed book at a very affordable price on the secondary market.

I’ve bought a total of eleven books, one I had to return for a refund, for obvious pressing issues visible from outside of the slabbed book. Pressing is another practice I have issues with, as it damages the comic long term, to get it to get a higher grade in the short term. That is also an argument for another day.

Back on track, the ten books i have that are graded with none of the books costing me over a $110 in already certified condition, is not a bad deal at all.

Now, the one company I actually sent books to, via a convention was CBCS, and I ended up canceling that order, because of the delay time, and was charged $28 to get my books back, and received one of them back water damaged. Possibly not innocently so.

And again I researched all 3 of the certifying companies, CGC, CBCS, and PGX, not content to listen to just rumors.

But yes from personal experience I have no plans to go through the hassle of getting anything certified via CBCS. If i get it via the secondary market fine, but me dealing with that process, not so much.

PGX from research one, had a lot of shady stories attached to their name, but they were older stories. That maybe you could chalk up to growing pains. But years into their business model and new stories of concern pop up to add to the existing story.

I recently just came across the Walking Dead story, and to follow that up with these pretty damning accusations of a ‘let go’ employee, is cause for questions. Especially when you see the questions the company should be answering they are avoiding.And i saw that video from WE LOVE COMICS where he did hint at drug use being the reason a PGX employee was let go.

And for WE LOVE COMIS and PGX to now backtrack from that when called on it by COMICTOM101, does not fill one with confidence in either the company PGX, or their ‘impartial’ spokesperson WE LOVE COMICS.

Based on CoMICTOM101’s great reporting, for me the PGX question is answered in regards to the question of whether graded items from them should be avoided.

Now can they right the ship? Absolutely.. But it would seem it would need to be an overhaul and transparency from top to bottom. With the leadership paying to staff the company with recognized and respected graders. Once that A team of great vetted graders is in place, and an established perhaps third party inspection of their grading and database process is in place, you do the hard part of restoring your name. You own up to perhaps not doing it right in the first place, and not planning it right in the present. But a willingness to correct it in the future. To own up to any incidents that could be perceived, rightly or wrongly, as an attempt to scam people. If the employee in question who was let go was correct, hire him (or them, since it sounds like it was more than one let go) back.

And the number one thing you to to restore your reputation, and this is going to hurt, you offer a recall and free regrading of every PGX book out there in the wild. Yes it is expensive, yes it is going to require real graders, yes you are going to put yourself in the red in the short term. And yes it is absolutely the right thing to do, to restore customer confidence.

 

Do i expect PGX to do that? Based on their history, absolutely not. I expect them to continue doing what they have been, making income where they can, however given the prevalence and the increasing number of negative stories around PGX’s name, it is not a path I see as sustainable for them.

I, to speak for myself, as i said the verdict is in. I’ll not be buying any PGX books or their sertification process. And I find any channel that advertises sending your books to PGX without addressing the issues, is not impartial, and has to be viewed as a paid commercial for the company, rather than anyone with any real concern for the comic book community.

 

I would like to be wrong in that assumption, but given how the ground currently lays, I do not see it.

 

That’s all for now, and come back tomorrow for my installment on this week’s recommendations of the TOP 15 Youtube Comic Book Channels!

 

 

RATING MOVIES 101: How to determine which IMDB reviews to give weight to?

How to determine which IMDB reviews to give weight to?

Some quick, easy guidelines.

1- if someone just has one review, ie just jumped onto IMDB to bash or gush over one movie, toss their opinion out. They are either a plant, marketing shells or friends of the film/filmmaker, or they are a 1 hit wonder, without enough of a history to give weight to their opinion. Dropping off these reviews, helps immensely.

2- people who don’t know how to grade. ie Every film they don’t like is a 1. If these people had to be graded by the way they grade on IMDB, they would never have graduated any school. It’s a 10 point scale guys, which means 7/10 is a film that just passes, ie a C. You can dislike TITANIC all you want, but any way you grade it, that’s a competently made movie. You bring a movie like that to great directors like John Ford or Fritz Lang, it at least gets a passing grade of 7/10. And more than likely if those directors were available to grade it, they would give it a 10/10.

Unless you find a film morally reprehensible, really offensive, or incompetent, rating it severely under a 5 to 7, perhaps not called for. So just lookout for people who can’t grade, and discount their opinions.

3- look at the quality of their reviews. Is it well written or is it moronic? Do they come off as a drunk frat boy, or does their review sound well thought out.

4- And finally, See if you can find in their reviews, movies you’ve seen, and if you agree with more of their reviews than you disagree (I would say 7 out of 10), then that’s a reviewer you want to put some stock in.

With these 4 steps it will help you with navigating worthwhile IMDB reviews from useless ones. It’s helped me. 🙂 .