11/30/06 - An update on the now it is, now it isn't, whoops...it is again, CGC 9.8 Northland Hulk Annual #1 being offered on Comiclink Auctions.  It just ended with a last minute snipe of $2,450.  That's a grand total of $114 more than it sold for in it's unpedigreed life on eBay.  So what have we learned?  Either a comics' pedigree status isn't nearly as important as the CGC grade awarded, the known manipulated history of this issue has scared off some buyers, or the original eBay buyer, now seller,  just realized he grossly overpaid.  I wouldn't be surprised if he still owns it...


11/28/06 - I've finally gotten around to updating my long neglected Comic Links.  Some previous entries have been deleted due to inactivity (Shiverbones) or I just can't support their site anymore (Mile High Comics).   In the case of MH, their high grade prices have gone through the roof to make up for their continual 50-80% off sales.  Don't believe the neverending Chuck Rozanski hype, you're still paying over guide (some significantly higher) prices for higher grade comics despite the sales.  

To more than make up for the deletions, there are some terrific new sites added.  I think you'll like some of the additions.  If you have a good website you'd like to recommend, please fell free to shoot me an e-mail with the details.

Enjoy...


11/26/06 - If you've ever moved from one location to another you come to expect that a certain amount of damage will occur to some of your possessions.   It's just human nature I guess that those who are being paid to move your items won't treat them with the same tender loving care you would afford them.  People who don't move a lot see the same disregard applied when they pick-up their luggage on the airport conveyor.  Only the luggage now looks like a cloth pizza box after some very well skilled airport personnel decided to run over said luggage with their vehicles...repeatedly...

Well I've moved a grand total of ten times in the last twenty years and have come to expect a certain amount of damage.  For some reason, my TVs and entertainment cabinets have been particularly vulnerable.  But other than one move (from Florida to Germany in 1998), my comics collection has surprisingly arrived in remarkably good shape.  And even the one bad move only damaged a couple comics at most.  

Recently though I moved from one place to another within the same city.  A grand total of 6 miles.  And even though I was on top of the movers every step of the way, or so I thought, my collection suffered more damage than all of the other moves combined.  The pictures below are only some of damage incurred by the boxes...

I haven't had time to go through and see the totality of damage to the comics within but a cursory look suggests at least a dozen in one box have damage to the backing boards.  None particularly valuable at this point.  I intend to get a more thorough look next weekend.  Hopefully, the damage will be limited...


11/21/06 - Another thing I forgot to mention below...this comic has been reslabbed twice in the last year.  Another reslabbing is promised due to scratches on the slab as an incentive in the Comiclink auction description.  How much handling and mailings can a ultra high grade comic take before it starts to not be ultra anymore?  I'd be leery of this comic just by knowing its travel history...


11/21/06 - Remember the Boy Comics #17?  Want another peek at how the CGC reslab game is played?  Here's a perfect example of an otherwise beautiful comic being manipulated to reach it's "full potential" and being reslabbed in search of higher grades and money.  Not to mention, a curious case of pedigree manipulation to enhance the profit margin.  Below is the Northland pedigree copy of Hulk Annual #1.   

Sold 1/21/06 on Heritage for $690 Sold 5/9/06 on eBay for $2336

Currently on Comiclink Auctions

In January 2006, a CGC 9.6 slabbed copy of the issue, with the Northland pedigree notation clearly annotated on an old style label, was sold on Heritage for $690.   Pretty copy...

Less than four months later, the same comic, only this time graded 9.8 in a new label slab and the Northland annotation missing, sold for $2,336 by Matt Nelson (spectre52) on eBay.  Nelson is a well known restorer in the hobby and admits to pressing comics, and other procedures not considered restoration by CGC, before submitting them to the grading company.  He also won't publicly disclose whether a book in an unrestored blue label has been worked on unless he's asked first.  Regardless, when the issue came to light on the CGC Boards after the eBay sale, Nelson claimed he "forgot" to mention the pedigree notation on his CGC submission form...

Now the exact same issue has resurfaced on the current Comiclink Auctions.  Only this time on yet another new label with the Northland notation annotated.  

It's pretty clear what's going on here.  Nelson bought the comic, did his magic, and resubmitted the comic back to CGC without mentioning the pedigree so the comic's history couldn't be traced (and no preconceived grades could be applied).  Once the new higher grade was achieved, CGC was notified of the comic's pedigree status and a new label was created to specify that.  Now what you have is a higher grade pedigree that's worth more in the marketplace than without.

And have no illusions this and the Boy Comics are isolated incidents.  Just go to the CGC Boards and click on the "Manufactured Gold" thread.  Due to the great work of a Forum member, multiple instances of manipulated reslabbed books, to include missing pedigree notations, have been identified.  And cases of this type manipulation will only increase with the recent revelation by CGC that disassembly of comics is NOT considered restoration by the company.  And, yes, you read the last sentence right...

It'll be interesting to see how much the new pedigreed copy will go for...  


11/15/06 - I've been as big a Rob Liefeld critic as anyone out there but have to admit this ad has me pretty excited.  Can't explain why because Liefeld's Heroes Reborn titles are among the worst comics produced in the 90s in my opinion.  But his art here isn't bad and if it's the same quality within the covers, and they come out on anything resembling a regular schedule, I'm going to give it a try.   But then again even if the art continuity is as bad as Liefeld has been known for in the past, I provided an example here a couple years ago, I'll still get my money's worth...


11/09/06 - An update...I'm all moved in to the new place now.  The move was pretty much uneventful for the bulk of my stuff except for a few dents and scraps on a couple comic boxes.  When I get some pics of the damage, and their effect on the comics contained within, I'll be a little more specific.  Let's just say now that I'm a little peeved...


11/09/06 - Something fishy is going on with Comiclink.   Though that won't be surprising to some of you who have used the website.  For those of you who aren't familiar with Comiclink -- it's a web-based comics selling venue where collectors, and Comiclink themselves, can sell items in a similar fashion to a local bulletin board.  Either you can hit the Buy It! button for the price the seller is asking or place a bid on the item and wait for it to be accepted or a counterbid offered.  The site has been discussed at length within comicdom for at least the last year due to various questionable practices by the owners directly or by association with some sellers that use the site.  Most obvious is the site's three percent "Buyer's Fee" if a credit card is used to buy an item.  This tactic is illegal in New York state, Comiclink's base of operations, and despite various calls for them to follow the law, they have simply ignored it.  Also, the site is used frequently by sellers flipping manipulated slabbed comics that have been resubmitted for higher CGC grades.  And finally, but definitely not the last item I could talk about, the confidentiality afforded to sellers using the site and transparency of how the deals are finalized have generated many negative discussions within the community among the website's buyers.

Personally, I've stayed away from the site and generally refused to do business with them due to the concerns outlined above.  But...yesterday, I decided to see what was on the site and saw this comic shortly after it was offered:

Unexpected #161.

For those that collect DC horror, it's widely agreed this issue is among the hardest, if not THE hardest, of the 100 pagers to find in high grade.  And it was offered for the grand total of $75.  Not cheap mind you for a mid-70s slabbed 9.0 but a bargain considering it is tied for the highest graded copy on the CGC Census.  So I disregarded my concerns and promptly hit the "Buy It!" button.  I immediately received an e-mail confirming my order.  Now all I had to do was sit back and wait for the final confirmation from Comiclink...   

I waited...waited a tad longer, and then waited a little more.  Occasionally, I'd check the website to make sure the item wasn't sold beforehand and no one let me know.  But it was still there each time.  So I waited some more.  Finally, the expected e-mail arrived after almost 24 hours of waiting which seems to me an excessive amount of time to let a buyer know their order status.  And to top off the wait, the e-mail wasn't what I was expecting.  Here's the e-mail:

"The following buy order that you have placed on ComicLink.com cannot be filled because the item is no longer available"

OK...my immediate thought was someone probably jumped on the comic before I placed my order.  Shit happens.  So I checked the site to see if the normal "Sale Pending" notation, placed on comics that have sold, was in fact there.  An example of which is below:

What I found was the comic, as well as other Unexpected 100 pagers that were offered at the same time were now gone.  Not sold mind you but gone off the site completely as if they were never there.  For the past 24 hours, the comics have been listed but then, suddenly, the comics disappeared...  

Now I don't know what happened but it's possible, but unlikely, the seller accidentally posted the comic for sale in the first place.  I doubt that since it wasn't the only comic offered that's now missing.  What I think is more likely is one, or a combination, of a couple things:

-  The seller was testing Comiclink to see how these comics were received in the marketplace.  No doubt they were well received...

-  The seller decided he underpriced the comics due to their quick bids and decided to pull them.  

If either of these two happened, I have a serious problem with Comiclink.  If sellers can arbitrarily yank comics in which a buyer has made a good faith offer to buy at the sale price then the system is broke.  Good faith works both ways and Comiclink can't look the other way and let sellers get away with this.  This has happened in the past and because of the confidentiality sellers receive in the deal, it just brings up questions about Comiclink in general and their role in an honest selling environment.  

There is also this possibility:

-  Comiclink bought the comics. 

I have no proof of this mind you but it's a fact the owner, Josh Nathanson, buys and sells his own comics on the website.  What better way to get a good deal then when someone lays one on your lap?  You can be rest assured I'll be looking for this comic turning up on the site in the future.

Regardless of what happened, I'm now soured yet again on Comiclink.  Should have listened to my better judgment before jumping into a deal with a website that has so many questions surrounding it.  To be honest...someone did me a favor by not selling the comic to me.  Now I can sleep a little more comfortably knowing I still haven't bought any comics from the site in a couple years.  And not supported some of the shady crap that been tolerated on the site all too frequently lately.  I was momentarily weak, as only a comic collector who sees a prized comic can attest, but am over it now and with more resolve to not to play the Comiclink game...


11/01/06 -  Won't be able to post anything here for a couple days.  Time, yet again, to move Casa AWE4ONE to another destination.  This will be the 4th move for me in as many years.  And like every move, I yet again need to be concerned that the collection won't be mangled along the way.  This move is just down the road a bit though (no intercontinental journey this time) so I'm not all that worried.  But you can never be sure about these things until you see the boxes enter the new address, hopefully in one piece.   Bottomline, it depends on the quality of the moving crew.  I'll let you know how it turns out once I'm settled in...