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Comics Guaranty, LLC Numismatic Guaranty Corporation
August 2005  
 
Volume 4, Issue 5  
   
1. Special Note: Hurricane Katrina Community Bulletin
   
2. CGC Certified Rarities In Latest Auction By Hake's Americana
   
3. The Shadow
   
4. Elvis Has Left The Building
   
5. CGC Census Analysis
   
6. The CGC Collector
   
7. Colmore Comics, Europe's Largest CGC Seller Celebrates 1st Birthday With A Special Sale!
   
8. Heritage Comics Latest Auction Sets New World's Records! Auction Highlights Include Many CGC Graded Books
   


UPCOMING EVENTS

Sept. 10-11
Big Apple Con
Penn Plaza Pavilion
New York, New York


Sept. 17-18
Baltimore Comic-Con

Baltimore Convention Center
Baltimore, MD


Sept. 30-Oct. 2
Wizard World Boston

Bayside Expo Center
Boston, MA


Hurricane Katrina Community Bulletin

All of us at the Certified Collectibles Group extend our deepest sympathy and heartfelt concern to all those affected by Hurricane Katrina. The devastation and aftermath is unimaginable, and we are hoping for the most expedited recovery possible.

We have created a Community Bulletin on our Message Boards for collectors and dealers to post temporary contact information and details about business interruptions. You can post directly by visiting the boards, or we can add a post for you. Please contact Customer Service to have your post added.

Hurricane Katrina Community Bulletins

The Certified Collectibles Group will also be matching up to $25,000 in donations to the American Red Cross made by its Authorized Dealers and Collectors’ Society Members. Please check back for further details.

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CGC Certified Rarities In Latest Auction By Hake's Americana

Hake's Americana & Collectibles auction #185 is currently online and features an extensive offering of CGC certified comic books.

Highlights in the auction include many CGC'd pedigree comics from noted collections including Edgar Church/Mile High, Crowley, D Copy, Big Apple, Vancouver, Allentown, Rockford, Bethlehem, Carson City, Circle 8, Pennsylvania, Larson, and others. Many of the comics offered are also noted as being some of the highest certified examples according the CGC Census. Notable books offered in the auction include Marvel Mystery Comics #2 CGC certified 9.0, New Adventure Comics #29 CGC certified 9.6 Mile High copy, and Eerie Comics #1 CGC certified 9.0.

The auction also features an extensive offering of comic character memorabilia, political Americana, vintage autographs, toys, and collectibles. Highlights include a Peanuts Sunday Page by Charles Schulz dated February 17, 1952, numerous early Disney pencil drawings from the 1930s, a scarce 1966 Batman promotional comic featuring Bob Kane, an autographed sketch of Superman by Jerry Siegel and more. Hake's Americana auction #185 closes September 20-22. To order the auction catalog and to register to bid, visit www.hakes.com or call toll free (866) 404-9800 ext. 443.

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Nolan's Niche The Shadow
Michelle Nolan

Considering that The Shadow Comics ran 101 issues in the 1940's, it's surprising how many fans don't either know or care much about the run.

Enough fans do care, of course, to keep prices of The Shadow high enough so that they are not just cheap impulse items. Yet every dedicated Golden Age collector would do well to snap up at least a couple of issues, especially since many issues seem quite scarce.

The Shadow was an iconic American radio and pulp magazine hero by the time Street & Smith entered the comic book field in 1940. When it came to outside-the-law costumed avengers with abnormal powers, The Shadow absolutely dominated the decade of the 1930s.

Street & Smith, a major pulp and magazine publisher and earlier a leading producer of dime novels, was never more than a second-tier outfit on the comic book scene. The Shadow was the venerable firm's flagship comic book title, first appearing early in 1940 with undated #1 and #2 issues. Issue was #3 was dated May. The Shadow was numbered 12 issues to a volume, with no numbering mistakes (as befitting such a classy major-money firm). The final issue was Vol. 9, #5 (August-September 1949). Street & Smith dropped its large pulp titles and comic books at the same time in 1949, though kept its digest fiction titles such as Astounding Science Fiction, later Analog. (By the way, doesn't it seem odd today that the company renamed the title for the 1960s because it sounded modern? Somehow, though, I doubt well ever see a "Digital" science fiction magazine!)

The Shadow Comics ran 68 pages through Vol. 3 #8 (Nov. 1943), then 60 pages for 12 issues through Vol. 4 #8 (Nov. 1944). The remainder of the run was 52 pages. Although numerous issues ran multiple Shadow stories, the title was basically an anthology, with many characters pulled from the pulps.

For the collector who wants only a few copies at best, your best bet is to check the covers in the Gerber Photo-Journal and decide if any appeal to you strongly enough to collect for the covers alone. Some were pretty pathetic, but others were quite dramatic, particularly those drawn by Bob Powell in the last three years of the series.

In the first six issues, The Shadow played only a minor role in what was supposedly his own title, appearing in single stories of five to seven pages. Most of the features in the first six issues — none longer than eight pages — were related to pulps and dime novels, including Nick Carter, Doc Savage in #1-3, Iron Munro, Horatio Alger, Jr., stories, Carrie Cashin, Bill Barnes, Frank Merriwell, Norgil the Magician (#3) and The Avenger (in #2-6). These are very "old-style" looking comics, considering all the stories were original.

Rather than focusing on these issues, I recommend the collector consider several issues ranging from Vol. 1 #8 through Vol. 2 #4 (May 1942). The Shadow story in Vol. 1 #9 (March 1941) is 33 pages long! Most other issues in this period had Shadow stories of 20 to 28 pages. This was highly unusual for a costumed hero title.

One of Street & Smith's few non-pulp costumed heroes, The Hooded Wasp, appears in most issues of The Shadow Comics from Vol. 1 #7 through Vol. 3 #8 (Nov. 1943). This cool character was sacrificed when the The Shadow Comics dropped to 60 pages.

The editorial direction of The Shadow Comics was erratic, at best. For example, there was a 26-page Shadow story in Vol. 2 #1 (Nov. 1941), then three Shadow stories with a total of 27 pages in Vol. 2 #2. Multiple Shadow stories, some as long as 20 pages and some quite short, ran in many issues of the rest of the run. If you are going to buy an issue of The Shadow Comics, I recommend a close examination of the contents.

The origin of the clever early satire strip "Supersnipe — the Boy with the Most Comics in America" appeared in a 10-page story in Vol. 2 #3 (March 1942). Because that issue contains a 25-page Shadow story and a 12-page Doe Savage tale, not to mention 13 pages of a revived version of Little Nemo, many collectors try to find this issue.

A kid partner who was never in the pulps, The Shadow, Jr., debuted in a Shadow story in Vol. 6 #9 (Dec. 1946). Talk about a day late and a dollar (or dime) short! By this time, few new super heroes, much less kid partners, were being created. The Shadow, Jr., had his own eight-page stories in Vol. 7 #2 (May 1947) and Vol. 7 #5 (Aug. 1947), making those issues a bit more collectible for some folks.

Doc Savage appeared only in the first three issues before a long absence after he got his own title. After that failed, The Man of Bronze came back to The Shadow Comics in Vol. 3 #10 (Jan. 1944) and appeared in most issues through the rest of the run. I always thought it odd that Doe Savage was not able to sustain his own title, but his cancellation in 1943 after a 20-issue run may have had more to do with wartime paper restrictions than popularity. However, the comic book version of Doc had some pretty bizarre interpretations.

Again, I heartily recommend that you carefully examine every issue of The Shadow Comics before you buy one, especially considering that the "good" Overstreet Price Guide Value is never cheaper than $40. Some issues, though, are definitely well worth the price.

I have heard of pulp collectors who have the run of all 325 issues of The Shadow, but I know of no comic collectors who have amassed all 101 issues. I would love to know if anyone has ever accomplished that feat! But consider this: No other character of pulp and comic book fame appeared in a total of 426 issues (not counting Shadow Annuals) during the 1930's and 40's!

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The CGC Collector

My name is Chris Brown, and I am a Valiant Fanatic... The story reads like the first step of a 12-step program, and it is entirely true.

I had a good friend who was big into comics, on both the business and collecting sides of things. I was interested, and asked him in the summer of 1992 what modern books had the most "potential." The answer was pretty unequivocally, "Valiant."

I went to every store within 50 miles of Boston, and bought every back issue they had. When every store was ravaged, I used the online community to find more books. This was pre-Web, so I was using the USENET newsgroups, and was able to acquire collections. My friend and I started setting up at shows, where even more collections would come our way. Pretty soon, Valiant was the focus of all our show activity. By the winter of 1993, we were able to do the huge Javits Convention Center show in New York and have a display wall full of just Valiant. Hundreds of each Valiant book had passed through my hands, and I would continually upgrade my personal collection with the best looking copies.

As quick as it started, it ended. Along the way, I made the mistake of actually reading them, and was supremely hooked. The stories were inspired, the color art process bright and dynamic, the style consistent through the Valiant universe.

I kept at least two of every book for my own personal collection, and fell out of the hobby until I came across www.valiantcomics.com (run by board member "valiantman," aka Greg Holland) around year 2000. Knowing that these books were not easy to get in high grade, I went on another buying spree from eBay, Web comic vendors, and local shops, hoping to get suitable candidates for slabbing at CGC 9.8. Prices on the pre-unity books were cheap at this time — around cover price in bulk. By 2001-2, I had critical mass.

Since then I have done two 150+ book pre-screens, as well as other straight-out CGC submissions. I keep the best grade received on each book for my set, and sell the rest to cover my grading costs and the cost of the books I keep. I have been able to sell, in my estimation, over 150 CGC encapsulated Valiants to a great community of fans. My initial fear of not being able to break even on the venture was quite unfounded.

The hardest books to get in super high-grade are Harbinger 1 and Solar 10. The Solar is infamous for the all-black cover, and I have failed to get a 9.8 in about a dozen attempts. I have managed a 9.6 or two. Even more of an issue is Harbinger 1, as it appears to be the victim of a really bad cover stock. Splitting and flaking are the norm, even on unread books, making 9.6 really tough. I have received exactly 3 9.6s, and nothing higher, in over 20 pre-screen attempts. Do not neglect to realize that I had to purchase many more copies than what is mentioned in order to have that many to bother pre-screening.

The highlight of the set would have to be its near-completeness in 9.8 and nothing below 9.6. I continually try to upgrade through additional submissions and buying when necessary. Demand has made the Harbinger 0 Pink CGC 9.8 white the most valuable book in the set, despite the high numbers in the Census compared to other books. It is certainly pretty!

CKB's Valiant Pre-Unity set titled BestPreUnity

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Heritage Comics Latest Auction Sets New World's Records! Auction highlights include many CGC graded books

Heritage Comics Auctions (HCA) held its most recent Signature Auction August 11-13, in Dallas, Texas. 2,706 total bidders competed for 3,341 lots, 646 of them successfully, for an overall total of $4,329,485. 15 lots were purchased after the auction by 12 bidders for a total of $38,726, although after-auction sales are still ongoing and could push the total even higher. Read More.

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cgc registry


Elvis has Left the Building
Shawn Caffrey
Caffrey Chronicles

For those of you who read our newsletter last month, you might remember that we printed a press release for The King, a new graphic novel by Rich Koslowski, writer and artist of past works like Image Comics' 3 Geeks and Top Shelf's 3 Fingers. Having thoroughly enjoyed 3 Fingers myself, I was looking forward to his follow-up work, but never being a big fan of Elvis Presley, I had my reservations. After I managed to immerse myself into the meat of the story and tear through its contents in a matter of an hour, I came to the conclusion that not only am I now a bigger fan of Rich Koslowski's work, but thanks to Rich, among my fan favorites now sits Elvis.

The King, published through Top Shelf, is a story of a washed up tabloid writer named Paul Erfurt, who is hired to write an article for Time Magazine about a man who recently "resurfaced," claiming to be Elvis Presley. Now at first, I had a hard time getting over the fact that the story revolved around the Elvis "legend," especially with being more of a Beatles fan myself, but I was pulled into the world of Elvis Presley, thanks to an amazingly written and illustrated cast of supporting characters created from Rich's extensive imaginative and comical brain, that showed me how much more there was to Elvis' legacy than just his music.

From the beginning of the story, the reader is brought through a mysterious journey of the past and present, reliving Paul's past as a tabloid writer, and detailing his present search to find the truth behind the man who calls himself "The King". It is during this journey that one learns the significance of Paul's assignment, and what it actually winds up meaning to him in the end. But through the bulk of the story, you're introduced to characters like his friend Dave, who helps tie Paul's past perfectly together with his obsessive research into the mystery behind the man that claims to be Elvis. But the characters that really express the theme of the book itself are the members of Elvis' entourage. They each have their own story to tell as to why they not only believe that the man they follow is in fact Elvis Presley, but also the effectual importance that his existence has/had on them. The character of Elvis is an anomaly himself, leaving the reader wondering throughout the tale, "Is he really the man who supposedly died nearly 30 years ago?"

In the end, and what I loved the most about the book, is the fact that the above question has no importance. This isn't about whether or not the man that Paul is following is really Elvis resurrected. It's about his legacy, something that I never understood until now, what he meant to his fans, how important his existence was not only to music, but to people. It also explores faith and how in some instances having faith can lead to redemption. So thanks to Rich Koslowski, whose talents made a believer out of me.

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CGC Census Analysis
Greg Holland

THE USUAL SUSPECTS

Evaluating the most often submitted books within the CGC census, it's clear that a few "usual suspects" have been regularly submitted since the inception of CGC. For example, the most often submitted book of the 1960s has been Fantastic Four #48. At no point in the history of CGC has there been a period where Fantastic Four #48
was not among the Top 10 in Universal Submissions for a period of six months or more. In fact, FF#48 has only been outside the Top 5 once, at number 6 in late 2004, but returned to the #1 spot in early 2005.

Some books, like Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1, were popular submissions in the first few years of CGC, only to fall from the Top 25 in recent years. Other books have fluctuating submissions as major external events like movie releases have come and gone.

Linked below are the Top Universal CGC Submissions of all time for the decades of the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. In each table, the Top 50 overall books are listed, as well as any other book which was among the Top 25 submissions in a given timeframe. Each table has seven Top 25 timeframes, corresponding to historical CGC census datasets. Earlier decades were excluded due to the overall low number of submissions for books of those dates.

Greg Holland - Usual Suspects - '60s
Greg Holland - Usual Suspects - '70s
Greg Holland - Usual Suspects - '80s
Greg Holland - Usual Suspects - '90s

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Colmore Comics, Europe's Largest CGC Seller Celebrates 1st Birthday With A Special Sale!

CGC Authorised Member Dealer Colmore Comics & Collectibles celebrated its first birthday on August 16, 2005 with the addition of over 100 new CGC-graded comics to its Web site coupled with a bumper sale involving price reductions on over 200 other CGC-graded comics. Colmore Comics specialises in high grade Silver Age and Bronze Age comics and has Europe's largest selection of CGC-graded comics.

Owner and collector Mark Arrand said, "Our first year has been a wonderful, if hectic, experience for us. I have been fortunate to have met some great guys involved in all aspects of the business and some truly terrific collectors. It has also been a great learning experience for me personally and so I would like to express my sincere thanks to all my fellow collectors, CGC, and many friends out there who have helped to make our first year such great fun. I am eagerly looking forward to seeing what our second year will bring!"

"Colmore Comics & Collectibles has become a very strong presence in such a short time" said Steve Borock, CGC's President and Primary Grader. "I, and the rest of the team at CGC, wish to express our congratulations to Mark on Colmore's first birthday.

For more information go to www.colmorecomics.com.

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