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Comics Guaranty, LLC Numismatic Guaranty Corporation
November 2005  
 
Volume 4, Issue 9  
   
1. Turnaround Time Guarantee on CGC Submissions
   
2. Coraline…not Caroline
   
3. Dave Sim File Copy Pedigree Collection Sale Continues
   
4. A Timely Announcement from Heritage
   
5. The Flash Races to Heritage!
   
6. Feature, Smash, Military, and Police Comics
   


UPCOMING EVENTS

November 18-20, 2005
New York National

Penn Plaza Pavilion
New York City, NY
Onsite Grading Available for ALL TIERS


January 7-8, 2006
Big Apple Covention

Penn Plaza Pavilion
New York, NY


February 10-12, 2006
WonderCon

Moscone Convention Center
San Francisco, CA

 

Turnaround Time Guarantee on CGC Submissions

This year has marked an exciting period of growth at CGC. One year ago, we committed ourselves to bringing our turnaround times firmly in line with our stated service guidelines, despite increased submissions and new services for magazines. To accomplish this, we streamlined our handling process throughout all phases of our operations, and upgraded our invoice tracking methods. But the most noted changes have occurred in our grading room, where we've added new graders to our team, allowing us to handle a greater number of submissions than ever before.

The result is that we're on time — on all grading tiers!

We have received considerable support from the hobby to make this possible. In appreciation, CGC is offering a guarantee on turnaround times for all Economy submissions, including Magazine Economy submissions. Additionally, we are guaranteeing our turnaround time on Modern submissions and reducing this service time to 15 business days.

Turnaround times will be guaranteed based on the following schedule:

Tier

Item will ship from CGC on or before

Economy 40 business days from receipt
Magazine Economy 25 business days from receipt
Modern 15 business days from receipt

Should CGC fail to meet the above schedule, the submitter will receive a 20% credit on grading fees for each book on the late submission invoice.† This offer is valid on all books received before January 3, 2006.

Take advantage of this offer by submitting your books before the end of 2005. If you need any assistance, do not hesitate to contact CGC customer service at 1-877-NM-COMIC.

† Certain circumstances may cause a delay in processing your submission, and are not covered by our turnaround time guarantee. These include improperly completed submission forms; verification of pedigrees and foreign editions; confirmation of interior pages/back covers of restored or conserved comic books; submitter consent for poly-bag removal; submitter notification of fragile comic books; and authentication of suspect counterfeit comic books.

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Dave Sim File Copy Pedigree Collection Sale Continues

The GrimoireStarting in November 2005, Dave Sim and Toronto store Paradise Comics will resume sale of The Dave Sim File Copy Pedigree Collection of Cerebus the Aardvark back issues on eBay (eBay sellerid: paradisecomics).

Over the course of self-publishing the 300 issues of Cerebus the Aardvark from 1977 to 2003, creator Dave Sim set aside up to 20 high grade copies of each issue of Cerebus for his personal archive.

In March 2003, the archive collection of issues 1 to 136 was signed on the covers in the presence of CGC grader Paul Litch. They were then sent to CGC's Sarasota, Florida offices for grading and encapsulation, where they were given The Dave Sim File Copy Pedigree for meeting the Pedigree designation requirements.

CGC designates as a Pedigree collection any comic book collection that can be authenticated as having had a single owner prior to coming onto the back issue market. Examples of other Pedigree collections include The Mile High (also known as The Edgar Church) Collection from the 1970s, The William Gaines File Copies of E.C. Comics, and The Stan Lee File Copies of early Marvel Comics.

"By the time I started Cerebus, the story of Bill Gaines putting away twelve copies of each E.C. comic, fresh from the printer, was pretty widespread in the collectibles market," says Sim. "I had no idea if it was an urban legend or not. I had heard that he put twenty of each away, so that's what I did." Sim laughs, "I'm glad I got that part wrong."

Part of the property settlement when Sim and his wife, Deni, divorced in the early 80s, involved each taking half of the Cerebus #1s. Over the next few years, Sim bought copies of Cerebus #1 when they were selling for between $100 and $150. Because they aren't "single owner" copies, they will be encapsulated separately and will not be included in The Dave Sim File Copy Pedigree Collection.

"Fortunately," says Sim, "they're easy to tell apart. The copies I was able to buy on my own were usually in Very Good to Fine condition, at best."

In the summer of 2003, a small number of books for this collection were auctioned off to the general public and reached record prices, including the only copy of Cerebus #1 to be sold to the general public from this collection — a CGC 9.4, the highest graded copy of Cerebus the Aardvark found to date. All profits from the sale of the #1 went to ACTOR - A Commitment to Our Roots to benefit veteran comic book creators in need of financial assistance.

"I know a lot of comic book people who aren't part of the 'collectibles' side look askance at slabbing (grading and encapsulation) of comic books in the first place, and particularly at the slabbing of new comic books," said Aardvark-Vanaheim president and Cerebus creator, Dave Sim. "But, I've always been a big supporter of the CGC phenomenon. To me, it represents a vote of confidence in the future collectible value of today's comic books. Starting in 1938, no one tended to take comic books seriously and the watchword was always 'comic books won't even be here in five years.' The fact that sensible people invest real money in the highest grade of comic books tells us that we've moved past that point. We now believe that comic books will be here, and will have value, fifty years from now, a hundred years from now. I considered it a great vote of confidence that CGC thought Cerebus was worthy of being part of their Signature Series."

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The Flash Races to Heritage!

Heritage Galleries & Auctioneers (HG&A) will offer the finest known copy of the landmark Flash Comics #1, the fabled Mile High Copy, in their upcoming Comic and Original Comic Art Signature Auction, to be held January 20 & 21, 2006, in Dallas, Texas. Read More

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cgc registry
Caffrey Chronicles
Coraline…not Caroline
Shawn Caffrey

I spent the past month looking for something to read that left any positive impression on me. Unfortunately, in this hobby, not all of the material that comes out is good. In fact, I read an awful lot of books in between each newsletter, in search of something to write about, and this month in particular proved extremely difficult for me. So many new titles come out every week, making my task of going through them all an arduous one. But thanks go out to Eric, a fellow CGC employee in our Receiving Department, whose recommendation saved me from my almost routine effort. Unlike most books that I review here, this book, titled Coraline, isn't comic related — it's a children's novel.

Coraline is written by comic fan-favorite Neil Gaiman (Sandman, Books of Magic), with illustrations by Dave McKean (Sandman cover artist). A book aimed at children but highly enjoyable for adults, Coraline combines elements of fantasy and adventure, but not in the typical "Disney" fashion. Though this book is aimed at a younger audience, Neil Gaiman doesn't hesitate in making this one of the creepiest fantasy stories yet.

The story involves Coraline, a young girl who has become bored with her world of being a typical young girl: nothing to do, parents that seem more distant than she would like, with only older, more eccentric characters as neighbors. In her house, there is a mysterious door that opens onto a brick wall, a doorway that was walled off when the house was split into a duplex. Coraline begins to hear noises from behind the door, and her curiosity grows, eventually taking her through the door into the fourth vacant flat. Coraline comes to find that this flat is another world, where she meets one of the most disturbing creatures in the story, a thing that looks much like her mother, except for the two white boney hands and the black buttons she has instead of eyes. She tells Coraline that she's her "other mother," and that Coraline may stay with her forever, be fed delicious food (Coraline's own parents seldom cook anything to her liking), and live without disciplinary restraints. The "other mother" is pushing for Coraline to live with her, and when she refuses, Coraline realizes the "other mother's" real evil intentions.

Neil Gaiman writes an amazing tale, and, even though aimed at children, a tale that scared the pants off of me. The "other" world he created represents aspects of our lives, twisted and perverted, and the "other mother" character is enough to send chills down your spine. All in all, Coraline was a great read, and even though in novel format, it's a fairly quick read also, one that I can't wait to read to my children (who probably won't be as scared as I was).

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A Timely Announcement from Heritage
Many CGC graded key books offered

Heritage Galleries & Auctioneers (HG&A) will offer a selection of some of the most desirable Golden Age comics ever published in their upcoming Comic and Original Comic Art Signature Auction, to be held January 20 & 21, 2006, in Dallas, Texas.

"Timely produced some of the most popular comics published during the 1940s," said Lon Allen, Director of Sales, Comics, "including such titles as Captain America, The Human Torch, and The Sub-Mariner. Unlike DC Comics of the same period, the Timely heroes actively fought World War II, patriotically doing their part to overthrow the Axis menace." Read More

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Nolan's Niche Feature, Smash, Military, and Police Comics
Michelle Nolan

Way back in the 15th episode of Nolan's Niche, we covered Crack, Hit, and National from Quality Comics. Now it's time to round out what might be called the "Super Seven" — with Feature, Smash, Police, and Military/Modern.

Perhaps no other Golden Age firm has gained more respect in the past 20 years or so than Quality Comics. Publisher I "Busy" Arnold's top-tier firm often took a back seat to DC and Timely in the 1960s and 70s because of connections to then-current characters, but collectors have long since realized how appropriate the name of the company really was.

Noted for using artistic geniuses such as Will Eisner, Lou Fine, Reed Crandall, and so many more, nobody published a more consistently colorful lot of super heroes during the World War II era than Quality. That is reflected in the fact that Quality titles have increased in value more than most Golden Age comics.

Feature Comics (known as Feature Funnies for the first 20 issues) began as a typical newspaper reprint anthology in l937. Few original features were thrown in, until one of the most original of all Golden Age costume heroes appeared — Dollman in #27 (Dec. 1939). It's difficult to realize that his first five adventures were four-pagers! Feature is generally the least-regarded Quality title, partly because Dollman was its only truly successful costume hero. The others were short-lived — the heroines U.S.A., the Spirit of Old Glory in #42-48 (1941) and The Spider Widow (with The Raven) in # 57-72. These characters were almost always limited to five-page stories, and it's hard to win a following that way. Quality's version of The Phantom Lady showed up in #69-71 in an unusual team-up, but with only five-page tales, it was hardly worth it. Feature died along with many other Quality titles in 1950, but not before an innovative attempt at a new type of feature, Stunt Man Stetson, in #140-144, the final five issues.

Smash Comics, on the other hand, went from being a lackluster second monthly title in 1939 to a sparkling example of Golden Age storytelling during World War II, featuring The Ray in #14-40, Midnight (somewhat of a Spirit knockoff) in #18-85, The Jester in #25-85, Wildfire (a heroine) in #25-37, The Marksman in #33-58, and Lady Luck in #42-85. Issues #33-37 give you all of them except Lady Luck, who was originally created for The Spirit newspaper sections. All of the issues of Smash with The Ray are highly collectible, even though the character's page count never exceeded nine. You can get by with only two or three issues of Feature Comics in a representative Quality collection, but you'll need as many as you can afford of Smash, especially #14-40.

Most dealers seem to price early issues of Police the highest of all Quality Comics, and for good reason. You absolutely can't go wrong with Police #1-58 with Jack Cole's wonderfully wacky creation Plastic Man in every issue along with The Human Bomb. Plastic Man quickly became Police's lead feature and ran in all 102 issues. You'll need to get several issues of Police to cover all of its costumed characters. The Fireband (#1-13), 711 (#1-15), Phantom Lady (# 1-23), and The Mouthpiece (# 1-13) all ended too soon. The Spirit began in #11 (Sept. 1942) and Manhunter started in #8 (March 1942), with both running in almost every issue thereafter.

Police, by the way, made a superb transition to a crime title, featuring hard-boiled sleuth Ken Shannon, the best of his type in comic books. He ran on most of the extremely colorful covers and as the lead feature in #103-127 when the title shifted from costume heroes to crime.

The final long-running Quality title was Military/Modern, one of the few comic books to change its title but keep the same contents following the end of World War II. Blackhawk and his crew appeared in all 102 issues of Military, which became Modern with #44 (Nov. 1945). Military also carried an odd second-banana costume hero in The Sniper in #5-34. Military's covers ran the gamut from extraordinary to less-than-ordinary. Your best bet is to carefully examine any issue you think might be cool. Some of the Blackhawk stories are great; others are not. The last 15 issues (#88-102) are all uncommonly hard to find and quite attractive, albeit only 36 pages.

Any issue of Military is a nifty wartime period piece. At the time, it was consistently the best war title on the stands, and one of the few marketed as such (thus the quick title change). The ever-loving femme-fatale Torchy appeared in #53-102. Many collectors think Police is the best of Quality's seven long-running heroic anthologies, but for my money, Military was consistently the best throughout its run.

Due to Quality's house style of heavy inking, it's often tough to positively identify artists. Unfortunately, Quality's artists almost never signed their work (or were allowed to sign, as the case may be). Quality experts such as Jim Vadeboncoeur Jr., Hames Ware, and Bud Plant have done uncanny work in assessing the art credits.

If you can acquire about 50 issues of Quality's "Super Seven" — especially the World War II issues — you'll have a wonderful example of first-rate Golden Age storytelling. For my money, Quality beats Timely 19 times out of 20! For some reason, I especially like the 1949-50 issues, but that may be simply because they are a lot more affordable than the early issues.

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