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About this journal

I finally completed my write-up for my newly acquired world class copy of Incredible Hulk #181 CGC 9.8 W for my (Incredible Hulk #180-#182 Wolverine) CGC Registry Set entitled, "Enter Wolverine!" Just wanted to share with the larger CGC Comic Collecting Community!  

This also makes history as my 1st Journal Entry in the "new format!"  I think I will keep the journal open to discussing past, current and future predicted  IH #181 sales and trends, as well as anything related to Wolverine and keeping the thread open for other collectors to share & post pics of their IH #181 copies!

Also, Journal Entry #1 contains many pertinent hyperlinks associated with the content. Therefore, feel free to click on any of the links in bold & underlined dark maroon color!

Hope you enjoy the read!

If you enjoyed reading my journal entry, please be so kind to have a heart <3 and "like" it - that would be awesome! (thumbsu

-Professor Pecora

 

 

Entries in this journal

 

AND NOW...The "Professor Pecora Copy" of Incredible Hulk #181 CGC 9.8 W! (1st full appearance of Wolverine)!

I finally completed my write-up for my newly acquired world class copy of Incredible Hulk #181 CGC 9.8 W for my CGC Registry Set entitled, "Enter Wolverine!" Just wanted to share with the larger CGC Comic Collecting Community! Enjoy!! -Professor Pecora [AND NOW...THE WOLVERINE!] Incredible Hulk #181 showcases the 1st full appearance of Wolverine and his 2nd overall appearance in the history of comics!   Moreover, there are only a handful of comic books that have literally stood the test of time and have reigned over any other book of its era; Incredible Hulk #181 is one of those exceptions!   If you were to think of a single comic book to represent the most sought-after, most valuable and most significant issue of an entire age, it would be Action Comics #1 of the Golden Age (1938-1955); Amazing Fantasy #15 of the Silver Age (1956-1969); and Incredible Hulk #181 of the Bronze Age (1970-1984). In other words, the 1st appearances of Superman, Spider-Man and Wolverine have superseded the importance of any other character of their respective time periods!   With that said, the world was introduced to the claw-slashing, berserker-raged mutant Wolverine, who made a long-lasting first impression during his debut in November of 1974, as he battled the most powerful character in the Marvel Universe—the Incredible Hulk! However, Wolverine wasn’t anything like the major superheroes before him; instead, he was ill-mannered, hot-tempered and walked the earth with a tortured soul, as he would later struggle with his origins and the purpose of his creation. He was a government experiment—the perfect weapon—Weapon X! As a direct result, the “anti-hero” was born!   Wolverine was originally created by writer Len Wein and designed by Marvel Art Director, John Romita, Sr. However, in October of 1974; it was the late Herb Trimpe (May 26, 1939 – April 13, 2015) who first drew the character for publication in a last panel cameo featured in the Incredible Hulk #180. The following month, Wolverine was depicted on the front cover lunging in midair and slashing through heavy chains to attack the Goliath Green Machine! In my personal opinion, this is by far the most badass 1st appearance entrance in the history of comics! Wolverine battled the most powerful being in the Marvel Universe head on, so the story title, “AND NOW…the WOLVERINE!” served as an impact statement as if to say, “move over Hulk…another badass is in town to take on all challengers!” With that being said, Herb Trimpe’s classic cover of Incredible Hulk #181 forever remains etched in the hearts and minds of all Wolverine fans and collectors, and is easily recognized and revered worldwide by any comic book collector or connoisseur!   Roughly 8 months later in the Summer of 1975, Wolverine made his 2nd “full” appearance in Giant-Size X-Men #1 and became a major addition to the new X-Men team. While Wolverine was kicking a** and talking trash in the process, he became increasingly popular with avid X-Men readers and became the most popular character on the X-Men roster! From this success, Marvel would later feature Wolverine in his 1st solo comic; in a classic four-part miniseries, which was published from September – December of 1982. Fast forward a little over six years ahead, and Marvel finally catapulted Wolverine into his own monthly series in November of 1988! Furthermore, in the 43 years of his existence, Wolverine has become the most popular character in the entire Marvel Universe, next to the franchise’s marquee character—the Amazing Spider-Man!   In the Marvel cinematic world, Wolverine has been characterized on the silver screen by famed actor Hugh Jackman for an astonishing 17 consecutive years in a total of 9 films! With the start of the new millennium in the year 2000 up until the year 2017, Hugh Jackman (as Wolverine) has been featured in the following Marvel films: X-Men (2000); X2: X-Men United (2003); X-Men: The Last Stand (2006); X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009); X-Men: First Class (2011); The Wolverine (2013); X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014); X-Men: Apocalypse (2016); and Logan (2017).   To say that Hugh Jackman has had success towards making Wolverine and the X-Men a viable movie franchise would be a gross understatement! Rather, he has ventured into “legendary status,” with almost 2 decades of filmmaking and helping to contribute a Worldwide Box Office Total of OVER 5 BILLION DOLLARS! As a direct result, copies of Incredible Hulk #181 will only continue to appreciate and rise in value annually, making it not only the most coveted book of the Bronze Age to collect and showcase, but one of the most secure long-term investments!   According to the CGC Census Report as of December 12, 2017, out of an impressive total of 9,989 copies graded, only one (1) freak of nature was graded (WAY BACK in April of 2001) as a Universal MINT 9.9, which sold for $150,000 on Comic Link back in February of 2011! Furthermore, only one hundred four (104) copies (including my copy) were graded as a Universal 9.8 and only ten (10) copies were graded as a Signature Series 9.8. With these statistics in mind, the rarity factor for a CGC Universal IH #181 in 9.8 is only 1.04% of the total population! That’s extremely rare! Considering the vast number of copies that have already been professionally graded and the fact that many 9.8 copies are stashed away in private collections, it is going to become increasingly difficult to locate any 9.8 examples; raw or professionally graded!   On that note, this particular CGC 9.8 copy sports PERFECT COVER WRAP, PERFECT CENTERING, and PERFECT WHITE PAGE QUALITY along with being PERFECTLY cut! (okay, if you want to be a snob...99.9% perfect! ) The color saturation is deep and bright and the corners are razor sharp! Of MAJOR significance is the absolutely PERFECT CENTERING & REGISTRATION ALONG THE SPINE! It is extremely RARE even in the 9.8 grade to find a copy in this immaculate condition, which makes the Professor Pecora Copy of Incredible Hulk #181 one of the finest and most valuable copies in the world!   I purchased this PRISTINE GEM in March of 2017 from the same auction house where the single CGC 9.9 MINT copy last exchanged hands—Comic Link! I had to bid very aggressively in the final seconds of the auction to secure it, along with auctioning off the majority of my CGC 9.8 Bronze Age Marvel Key Collection in the Pedigree Comic’s April 2017 Grand Auction to pay for it, but at the end of the day...it was all WORTH IT!   In closing, I would like to thank Mr. Doug Schmell of Pedigree Comics for helping me to acquire this MEGA Bronze Age Key!   -Professor Pecora

Professor Pecora

Professor Pecora

11/22/2017

Last Reply:
02/26/2018

Daredevil #158 CGC 9.8 WP (Happy 60th Birthday Frank Miller!)

In celebration of Frank Miller's milestone 60th Birthday today (1/27/2017), and in honor of one of our living legendary comics creators, please enjoy the write-up on my copy of Daredevil #158 CGC 9.8 WP, which is featured in my Daredevil #1-#310 CGC Registry set entitled, "See No Evil, Fear No Evil!"   -Professor PecoraDaredevil #158 showcases the 1st Frank Miller Daredevil + the origin and "death" of Death-Stalker!Published in May of 1979, this landmark issue is widely coveted by both Bronze Age and Daredevil collectors alike, as the legendary Frank Miller made his artistic debut for the Daredevil title!This classic cover depicts Daredevil standing in the middle of a graveyard in front of his prearranged burial location with the ground hollowed out six feet deep! With an eerie full moon shining brightly against the night sky and with the words "Rest In Peace Daredevil" carved into his tombstone, Miller solidified this chilling image by drawing Death-Stalker teleporting from a stone structure and descending on Daredevil from behind!In addition, with Daredevil's bright red suit, the Daredevil logo outlined in red and with the midnight sky depicted in contrasting purple hues; the colors really pop and make this classic cover very appealing to the eye thanks to a collaborative effort with famed inker Joe Rubinstein!Shortly after issue #158, Frank Miller became one of Marvel's rising stars as he began the process of revitalizing a title that was rumored to be canceled. In fact, beginning with issue #148 in September of 1977, Marvel decided to start publishing the title bimonthly due to lackluster appeal and disappointing sales.However, Frank Miller's success came with some challenges. For instance, he did not get along with former writer Roger McKenzie and even considered quitting the series because he disliked his scripts. After being impressed with a backup story Miller wrote and sensing his unhappiness from a lack of chemistry, newly hired editor Denny O'Neil fired McKenzie and gave Miller a chance to take over both roles as writer and penciler.Enter issue #168 published in January of 1981; not only was this issue Miller's 1st Daredevil issue in which he drew all the artwork and wrote the story, but he also created and introduced a major character named Elektra, who would dramatically change the Daredevil storylines and ignite the title to surging demands! As a direct result of instantly attracting a larger audience, Marvel decided to once again start publishing the title monthly, beginning with issue #171 in June of 1981!After nearly 4 years of Daredevil being published bimonthly and at risk of being discontinued, Frank Miller breathed new life into the title with his multitalented skills and evolved it into one of Marvel's best-selling titles. His cover art is considered some of the best in the title's history and his dark themes and storylines kept the fans craving for more! In addition to creating the enigmatic ninja assassin Elektra, Frank Miller also created and introduced Stick, the Chaste and the Hand during his tenure, all of which are integral characters portrayed in the hit Daredevil series on Netflix.Frank Miller's legendary Daredevil run concluded with issue #191 in February of 1983, for a total of 33 issues! With all that Frank Miller accomplished during his nearly four year run, it's no wonder why collectors will always view Daredevil #158 as a major Daredevil and late Bronze Age Key!In closing, I purchased this immaculate copy from eBay in February of 2016 and was very excited to add this gem to my collection! This 9.8 white-paged beauty is the best-looking copy I have ever seen! It sports PERFECT cover wrap, PERFECT centering and is PERFECTLY cut! The edges are sharp, the spine is drum-tight and the colors are rich and bright!Most copies that have been offered for sale in the market were angled miswraps or you could see parts of the back cover from the front. However, this unique specimen outshines them all and stands in a class of its own!A special shout-out goes to Donna of "outoftheboxcomics2013" on eBay for selling me this bad boy!Happy Collecting!-Professor PecoraTo see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.

Wolverine #1 CGC 9.9 WP: 1st Wolverine as Patch!

"Then Came Number Thirteen!" Wolverine #1 showcases the 1st Wolverine as Patch! After a successful four part miniseries published from September-December of 1982, it took a little over 6 years before Wolverine was honored with his ongoing solo title apart from the X-Men! Published in November of 1988, right around the time of Halloween, not only does the dark imagery perfectly display the raw savagery of Wolverine, but it was very fitting that the Wolverine logo was inked in orange for superior marketing. The cover art drawn by the late John Buscema is a certified classic! A victorious Wolverine is featured standing on a pile of dead bodies with his shirt torn off his muscular physique and his pants slashed open, while his razor sharp claws are being ejected from his forearms with a full moon lighting up the midnight sky! In addition, the full-length Wolverine back cover pin-up drawn by John Byrne is awesome! After selling my former Wolverine #1 CGC SS 9.9 (Stan Lee) in which fellow CGC Registry member frostking70 now owns, I never thought I would ever own another CGC 9.9 example. The reasons for thinking this were simple; I have not seen a copy show up at auction in about 4 years and the known 12 Universal CGC 9.9 copies were all locked up in private collections. However, fate would have it otherwise! This particular copy was a personal submission and makes history as the 1st book I submitted to the CGC that was graded as a MINT 9.9! Officially graded in June of 2016, my copy became the "13th" Universal 9.9 in existence! This is a MAJOR accomplishment; as I can recall back in early 2012 the total number of Wolverine #1 Universal CGC 9.9 copies totaling to a mere 11 or 12! That means that in four consecutive years of submissions, only 1 copy (possibly 2) was graded as a CGC 9.9 due to the unforgiving dark cover! So just how rare is this book? Well according to the CGC Census Report as of August 13, 2016, there are a whopping total of 6,838 copies graded to date! Out of those 6,838 copies, only 13 were blessed with the Universal 9.9 grade (with only 1 copy graded higher), which means that this copy represents 1/10 of 1% or 0.001 (one thousandth) of the total population! Now that's RARE! The next question one might ask is..."how much is it worth?" To put this in perspective, on June 10, 2016, the single highest graded Wolverine #1 CGC Gem Mint 10.0 sold for an astonishing $17,644 on Comic Connect! With nearly 7,000 copies already professionally graded and being a dark cover in which the smallest of defects are detectable, it's highly unlikely that another 10.0 copy will emerge, let alone another 9.9 anytime soon! Therefore, this book will definitely command a pretty penny if it were ever to be sold! As a matter of fact, this CGC 9.9 white paged specimen may very well be the finest known 9.9 copy in existence! It is PERFECTLY wrapped, cut and centered with perfectly inserted staples and a drum tight spine! The color saturation is deep and vivid and looks like it was printed yesterday! Not even the single 10.0 copy is perfectly cut and wrapped like this pristine beauty! Furthermore, if you compare this copy to other CGC 9.9 examples, you will see that it is more perfectly wrapped and centered and displays superior aesthetic qualities! In closing, I want to give a special shout-out to Matt Nelson of CCS for prescreening and lightly pressing my book prior to submitting to the CGC for grading! I am truly grateful for your services! Last but not least, I want to thank God for blessing me with this awesome acquisition and for resurrecting and breathing new life into my Against All Odds Wolverine (1988) Set! The odds were truly against me...but then came number thirteen (13)! -Professor Pecora To see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.

Daredevil #168 CGC 9.8 WP: Origin & 1st Appearance of Elektra!

With only 6 days away from the release of Daredevil Season 2 on Netflix (March 18, 2016), another major character will make their debut in the series along with the Punisher, in which Daredevil's former lover will evolve into his "most deadly enemy!"   Yes folks, we are talking about "Elektra!" Please enjoy the scan and commentary taken directly from my Daredevil #1-#310 Set entitled, "See No Evil, Fear No Evil!"   -Professor PecoraDaredevil #168 showcases the origin and 1st appearance of Elektra!The debut of the female ninja assassin took place in January of 1981, during the late Bronze Age; a time in which women were still oppressed in the workforce and were not seen in positions of power. Most men held the traditional ideology that women should stay home and maintain daily housecleaning, take care of the kids and rely solely on their husbands for all of their financial and materialistic needs. However, not all men shared this view; some men actually provided women with opportunities to excel in professional fields not typically offered to them. These men honored the strength women exhibit and saw them as an asset.With that being said, although the comics industry was and continues to be dominated by males, there were several visionaries who created female characters who would lead, fight and symbolize power like their male superhero counterparts, while simultaneously maintaining their womanhood. Some examples include the introduction of Wonder Woman in 1941, Phoenix in 1976, Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) in 1977, Mystique in 1978 and Kitty Pryde in 1980.The legendary Frank Miller added to this roster by creating Elektra--the beautiful but deadly ninja assassin who would eventually serve as hero. Elektra is featured on the front cover as a very attractive female warrior lunging in midair, wielding her iconic sai weaponry and directing a flying side kick towards Daredevil. Elektra's face is not shown and is shrouded in the midnight darkness; only a silhouette of her body is captured during a lightning strike, which is symbolic of her mysterious character. In addition, the lightning imagery represents the physical embodiment and creative translation of her name. For instance, the lightning bolt = "Elektra," which implies "electricity" (for speed and power) and "electrifying" (for being dynamic and exciting)!On a side note, it's important to highlight that Elektra's name was misspelled on the front cover as "Elecktra." A similar error occurred on Daredevil #131 in which horn head was misspelled as "hornead."Since her creation, Elektra branched out from the "Daredevil" series to headline many of her own comics, including the acclaimed "Elektra: Assassin" miniseries and the "Elektra Lives Again" graphic novel. In addition, Elektra has starred in two feature films: "Daredevil," released on February 14, 2003 and the self-titled "Elektra," which was released on January 14, 2005. Actress Jennifer Garner portrayed Elektra in both films.Although the films weren't a huge success, Elektra's character is about to be revitalized by actress Elodie Yung, as she will play Elektra Natchios in season 2 of the critically acclaimed Netflix Daredevil series! Here's what Jeph Loeb, Head of Marvel Television said in Marvel's announcement:"After a worldwide search, we found in Élodie the perfect actress to embody both Elektra's impressive and deadly physicality, as well as her psychological complexity. Paired with Charlie as Matt Murdock, the two will bring one of the most beloved and tumultuous comic book relationships to life with all the accompanying sparks and spectacular action sequences the show is known for."From Jeph Loeb's commentary, the new Elektra sounds like a very promising addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe! In turn, demands for high-grade copies of Daredevil #168 are going to increase significantly. The importance of this issue cannot be ignored; it is one of the most valuable issues in the entire Daredevil run, one of the top 3 most valuable Bronze Age Daredevil Keys, and there isn't a single Daredevil book more valuable after this issue!I purchased this immaculate copy from a fellow collector on eBay in June of 2015. It's the highest certified copy and flaunts superb color saturation and perfect white page quality! It is also perfectly wrapped and centered and near perfectly cut, which is extremely difficult to find for this issue.For instance, most copies are cut at drastic angles across the top and are often miswrapped so that you see disproportionate parts of the back of the book from the front. In addition, sometimes the book is miscut so poorly along the edge that the "Comics Code Authority" stamp is partially cut off.With that said, I waited a long time to find that perfect to near-perfect copy before purchasing this gem!In closing, I'm eagerly anticipating the release of Daredevil Season 2 on Netflix on March 18, 2016! Elektra is going to "electrify" the audience and raise Daredevil #168 stocks!-Professor PecoraTo see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.

Amazing Spider-Man #129 CGC 9.8 WP: 1st Appearance of the Punisher (Frank Castle)!

In anticipation of the release of Daredevil Season 2 on Netflix on March 18, 2016, I have decided to share my recent acquisitions and commentary specific to the new characters who will be featured in what I consider in my opinion, "the best comic book movie adaptation ever created!"   The scans and write-ups are taken directly from my CGC Registry Sets; this one hails from my newly assembled "Arachnophobia" ASM Complete with Variants Set!   Next week, you can look forward to reading about Daredevil #168; the origin and 1st appearance of Elektra!   I hope you enjoy the scan and the read! Have a great weekend and try to enjoy the "small moments" leading up to the hunt!   -Professor PecoraAmazing Spider-Man #129 showcases the 1st appearance of the Punisher (Frank Castle) and the Jackal!The Punisher was created by writer Gerry Conway and artists John Romita, Sr. and Ross Andru, with publisher Stan Lee providing the name.The classic cover art displaying the "Different and Deadly" Punisher was drawn by legendary artists Gil Kane and John Romita. The most "lethal hired assassin" is featured in his iconic skull-imprinted black suit with an arsenal of weaponry, including an automatic assault rifle in which he is unloading a full clip of ammunition directly at Spider-Man. The close up view of the Punisher's sniper scope depicts a defenseless and aerial bound Spider-Man avoiding bullets exploding against the surrounding brick buildings, with cross hairs aimed precisely at his heart! Couple this action on a commanding bright yellow cover, and you have one of the most sought-after and treasured comics in the history of the Amazing Spider-Man title!As a matter of fact, ASM #129 is considered one of the top 10 most valuable Bronze Age (1970-1984) comic books of all-time and remains a contender for one of the top 5 most valuable Bronze Age Marvel Keys! For instance, sales for ASM #129 in CGC 9.6 and 9.8 have already begun surpassing that of what Giant-Size X-Men has been selling for in grade. In terms of the Amazing Spider-Man title, ASM #129 is THE most valuable and expensive issue of the entire Bronze Age!Moreover, what made the Punisher truly unique is that although he was originally created as a villain; he was gradually developed into a crime-fighting antihero. It was characters like the Punisher and Ghost Rider (1st introduced in Marvel Spotlight #5 in August of 1972), that would influence the industry in creating more violent and grittier material.Since the Punisher's inception in February of 1974, he has starred in 3 feature films. The first Punisher movie premiered in the USA on July 8, 1990 at the Los Angeles Comic Book and Science Fiction Convention, and was characterized by actor Dolph Lundgren.It wasn't until 14 years later; on April 16, 2004, in which The Punisher had a reboot and was played by actor Thomas Jane with John Travolta playing the antagonistic character Howard Saint. The setting took place in Florida, which was not true to the comics as Frank Castle's origins take place in Queens, New York.The most recent installment, Punisher: War Zone, released on December 5, 2008, was played by actor Ray Stevenson. In addition, actor Dominic West played the Punisher's arch enemy Jigsaw (William "Billy" Russo), which is true to the comics as Jigsaw was introduced in Amazing Spider-Man #162 and plays a significant and enduring role throughout the Punisher's storyline.Unfortunately, none of the aforementioned Punisher films were successful. There were a number of reasons why none of the films gave the Punisher's character justice; they ranged from inconsistencies in the comics to corny representations of the characters to not finding the "right" actor to emulate and embody the Punisher to perfection.Fortunately, after decades of failed attempts to portray the character and build a successful franchise, in March of 2016, the Punisher will be played by "The Walking Dead" alum Jon Bernthal (Shane Walsh) in the upcoming season 2 of the critically acclaimed Netflix Daredevil series! Furthermore, this also means that the Punisher will officially be integrated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. On that note, Marvel Head of Television Jeph Loeb said in the announcement on Marvel.com, "Jon Bernthal brings an unmatched intensity to every role he takes on, with a potent blend of power, motivation and vulnerability that will connect with audiences. Castle's appearance will bring dramatic changes to the world of Matt Murdock and nothing will be the same."Finally, it looks like the Punisher is going to get justice on the silver screen! In turn, this will also translate into increased demand for high-grade copies of Amazing Spider-Man #129, which means the market value is going to surge significantly! Actually...it has already begun!In closing, I won this pristine beauty at auction on Pedigree Comics in September of 2015! The bidding became ferocious during the final minutes, but I was blessed to end up with the winning bid!This particular copy sports perfect cover wrap, perfect centering, and perfect white page quality along with being perfectly cut! The color saturation is deep and bright and the corners are razor sharp! The only visible blemish is a small ink smudge located on the right-hand side of "The Punisher" text box; however, this is a common printing defect for this issue as some of the black ink would smear during the printing process. Nevertheless, this rare specimen is without a doubt one of the top 5 copies in the world and is currently the prized centerpiece of Arachnophobia!A big shout-out goes to Doug Schmell of Pedigree Comics for helping me to acquire this gem!Thanks for reading and Happy Collecting! :-)-Professor PecoraTo see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.

Cameo 1st Appearances VS 1st Full Appearances In Marvel Comics

Is there any comic book in which the cameo 1st appearance of a character is worth much more than the character's 1st full appearance? It's been a while since I wrote a journal post, but this is one of the topics that I have wanted to write about for some time now. I primarily collect Marvel Comics with a focus on Bronze and Copper Keys, so for any DC fans or collectors reading this journal, I welcome your feedback and your DC perspective on the topic. :-) To begin the discussion, I would like to start by mentioning probably the most famous brief cameo appearance in Marvel Comic's history, which is none other than the 1st appearance of Wolverine, featured in the Incredible Hulk #180, published in October of 1974. I remember when I purchased arguably the finest copy of Incredible Hulk #180 CGC 9.8 WP, which was one of the two Suscha News Pedigrees, for $4,500 from Darren Adams of Pristine Comics back in March of 2013. A year prior to making my purchase, Darren sold a Suscha News Pedigree of Incredible Hulk #181 CGC 9.8 WP; Wolverine's 1st full appearance...for $15,000! That is more than 3 times the amount of Wolverine's 1st true (but very brief) single-panel cameo appearance! Why is this so? If Incredible Hulk #180 documents the very 1st time Wolverine was brought into existence, then why does this issue continue to be undervalued? I came up with three very important factors to consider: 1) There isn't much of the character being offered in a cameo 1st appearance; sometimes the character is just there and not involved in much of the action. A good example is the 1st appearance of Gambit (in a cameo) in X-Men Annual #14, published in 1990. Gambit is featured in several panels, but is really not doing much in comparison to his 1st full appearance in Uncanny X-Men #266, in which he plays an intricate role in aiding Storm. 2) The character is not featured on the front cover, like most 1st full appearance issues display. Think Incredible Hulk #181 (1st full appearance of Wolverine), X-Men #101 (Origin and 1st appearance of Phoenix), Daredevil #111 (1st appearance of the Silver Samurai), Daredevil #131 (Origin and 1st appearance of the new Bullseye), and Iron Fist #14 (1st appearance of Sabretooth). 3) The first full appearance is widely considered the acceptable "rite of passage" in the comic book collecting industry, in order for a new character to become "official." Therefore, demand for a character's 1st full appearance will in most cases command more cash than the character's prior cameo appearance (if applicable). So let's look at some Bronze and Copper cameo 1st appearances VS their 1st full appearance counterparts. I typically purchase and collect CGC 9.8 books, so I will be comparing current fair market values (as of July 23, 2015) at the CGC 9.8 Universal Grade. Character: Wolverine Incredible Hulk #180 (cameo) VS Incredible Hulk #181 (full) $2,500-$3,000 VS $9,000-$12,000 Character: Mystique Ms. Marvel #16 (cameo) VS Ms. Marvel #18 (full) $350-$500 VS $900-$1,200 Character: Gambit X-Men Annual #14 (cameo) VS Uncanny X-Men #266 (full) $120-$175 VS $350-$475 Character: Apocalypse X-Factor #5 (cameo) VS X-Factor #6 (full) $100-$150 VS $300-$450 Character: Venom Amazing Spider-Man #299 (cameo) VS Amazing Spider-Man #300 (full) $200-$275 VS $1,000-$1,300 Characters: Starjammers X-Men #104 (cameo) VS X-Men #107 (full) $450-$600 VS $800-$1300 As you can see from the list above, the numbers don't lie! Every character's 1st full appearance is valued more than its predated cameo appearance. With the exception of Mystique (Ms. Marvel #18) and Venom (Amazing Spider-Man #300), every character is featured on the front cover in their 1st full appearance. In terms of Amazing Spider-Man #300, Todd McFarlane's cover art is a certified "classic," as this issue also illustrates the last time Spider-Man would wear the black costume. In addition, the black costume is symbolic to Venom (which is also identifiable to his physical appearance), and I believe most collectors just find the cover really cool to collect (even if they're not a Venom or Amazing Spider-Man fan). These are some of the reasons why I believe this Copper Key continues to soar in value, along with the hordes of Amazing Spider-Man collectors seeking out the best copies for their prized collections. On the other hand, the 1st full appearance of Mystique in Ms. Marvel #18 does not feature Mystique on the front cover; but rather Marvel Girl enlarged in the center with some of the Avengers in the background and subtitled at the bottom, "Even Avengers Can Die!" Mystique is a HUGE X-Men character; a super-villainess who has appeared in ALL of the major blockbuster X-Men films and has even led the brotherhood of evil mutants. Therefore, Ms. Marvel #18 is by far undervalued in our current market. However, I truly believe that if Mystique was drawn on the front cover and had a headline like, "Now Behold the Mysterious Mystique," I bet the prices would be at least double than what they are currently selling for! This is also the same scenario with the 1st appearance of Rogue in Avengers Annual #10; CGC 9.8 copies are only going for $200-$400 at best, and if it wasn't noted on the CGC label, you would have no idea that this issue featured her 1st appearance. What does this reveal? That a character featured on the front cover in their 1st appearance helps increase overall collector demand and value. Now take a moment to analyze the following comparisons: Character: Bishop Uncanny X-Men #282 (cameo) VS Uncanny X-Men #283 (full) $100-$150 VS $75-$100 Characters: Alpha Flight X-Men #120 (cameo) VS X-Men #121 (full) $1,000-$1,400 VS $350-$475 What do you notice? Or did I make a mistake in current CGC 9.8 market values and need to reverse the numbers? Nope! That's right! These books represent a few examples in which the cameo appearance is consistently selling more than its 1st full appearance counterpart! What's different with these issues? Well as one of my 3 initial points, you will notice that Bishop and Alpha Flight are featured on the front cover in their 1st cameo appearance, unlike any of the other cameo 1st appearance issues mentioned above! I am pretty confident that the X-Men film, "Days of Future Past," has helped to increase the value of Uncanny X-Men #282, as it was the first time an actor portrayed Bishop on the big screen. However, if you look at the front cover of Uncanny X-Men #282, you will see Bishop standing directly in the center with plasma balls emitting from his hands, with a catchy title reading..."His Name Is Bishop!" Of course you want to grab you a copy of his 1st true appearance because he's featured on the front cover and represented very well! Similarly, X-Men #120 features the 1st cameo appearance of Alpha Flight, but artists Bob Budiansky and Terry Austin decided to depict them on the front cover in a silhouette, as they look upon the X-Men from a distance while they are fleeing for safety! Again, Alpha Flight is featured on the front cover in their 1st true cameo appearance, which means more intere To see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.

Professor Pecora IS 2-T.O.N.E.

So what has The Professor been up to since his last journal post on November 6, 2013...? First, after I decided to liquidate my entire CGC collection due to personal and financial reasons back in November of 2013, I made some major life changes. With that said, I know many of you have been wondering what happened with me or just wondering what I've been up to in the last 6 months? Well, I will keep this short and sweet! I used some of the proceeds from my last CGC auction to begin my own record label in Atlanta, which is 2nd Life Entertainment, LLC. I also began the process of recording many of my songs that will be featured on my debut album entitled "2 Sides to Everything." On March 20, 2014, I released my first single under my label entitled Organic Flow! It is currently available for purchase through iTunes, CD Baby and Amazon MP3. I have always loved Hip-Hop since a young adolescent, just as I have loved collecting comic books. However, writing songs and performing has always been the more powerful constant in my life, to the point of it being a true-calling! With that said, I am now embarking on that journey and starting my own empire from the ground up! I would love for all of you reading my update to please follow and support me. I have currently submitted Organic Flow to be featured on the next Coast 2 Coast Mixtape, which boasts the most downloaded Mixtapes "Worldwide!" However, only the Top 5 songs that receive the most VOTES will actually be featured on the upcoming Mixtape! I am currently holding down the #6 spot, and I'm only about 10 votes away from moving into the #5 spot! Therefore, I could use the support of all of my CGC family to help boost my overall votes! To cast your vote for my song, you will either need a Facebook account or a Twitter account. Here is the info: ALL VOTES must be submitted by Friday, May 2, 11:59 pm EST Directions: Click on the link BELOW (or copy and paste into your web browser), then click on the VOTE NOW button, then WAIT for the 10 second video promo ad to count down to zero, then click on "Vote with Facebook" or "Vote with Twitter" - whatever you prefer. At this point your vote should be submitted successfully and I will receive an instant e-mail confirmation with your name on the ballot! Here is the website to cast your vote: http://coast2coastmixtapes.com/audiodetail.aspx?audioid=330455 In addition, please feel free to visit my official website at: www.2ndlifeentertainment.com The full website design will be completed soon, but my active Splash Page contains all of the links to my social media and online music stores. Please reach out to me directly if you have any further questions, etc. I am looking forward to hearing back from some of you, as it has been a while since we last chatted! Wishing you well,   Professor Pecora, AKA Thomas 2-T.O.N.E. Pecora To see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.

The Professor's Hiatus from CGC Comic Collecting: An Insider's Perspective Into the Life & Times of

After investing countless hours, finances and quality time buying and selling CGC comics to build a World Class CGC Collection...how difficult would it be for you to just let go of your entire collection? This is the question I have been wrestling with for the past 3 months... However, after tossing back and forth many nights (due to increased anxiety) while trying to get some rest, and after reevaluating what is most important in my life, I made the extremely difficult decision to auction off my entire collection in order to repair my relationship with my wife and to begin digging myself out of credit card debt! I have been intentionally avoiding having to write this journal, as it is still quite difficult to witness my prized books being auctioned off, knowing how hard I worked to assemble my present day collection. However, at the end of the day, I do feel at peace with my decision because I know I did what was right for my family and I. So here is "my" personal story of my CGC Collecting Career... As I reflect back on how I began collecting CGC Graded Comics, I realized that I ventured into the hobby with the wrong mindset. It was in late November of 2011, when I moved to Highlands Ranch, Colorado; a suburb outlining the city of Denver. This was a MAJOR transition for me, as I previously lived in the Bronx, NY for 7 years and primarily lived the majority of my life in other North East boroughs and cities such as Manhattan, Northern New Jersey and Rochester, NY. I was there because my wife's company offered her a temporary leadership position that would significantly boost both her pay and her resume credentials. Prior to relocating to Highlands Ranch, I never thought that I would experience "culture shock," let alone the effects it would later have on me. Unfortunately, this is exactly what happened...although I didn't realize it during the time. I was fortunate to have funds in my bank account due to receiving my summer pay checks, as many of you know that I am a real-life teacher/professor. Therefore, I didn't feel pressed to immediately search for a position in higher education or within one of the local school districts. As long as I was able to pay all of my bills without placing that burden onto my wife, I felt like I was okay. So I waited...and took my time...all the while looking around my environment and feeling totally out-of-place-like a misfit! As I drove through my neighborhood, I witnessed the cookie cutter constructed houses and the "Edward Scissorhand" perfectly manicured lawns...this was getting really weird for me! Then, no diversity...and just surrounded by a horde of suburban Caucasian folk in which I felt I could not relate to, especially the ones who were trying to emulate people living in city environments and fabricating a fake "hard-core" lifestyle! After all, I was born and raised in the inner city of Rochester, NY and went to an all-black middle school, and actually lived through major opposition and trials in which I could have died on several occasions. Further, I later experienced a ton of diversity after moving to NYC back in 2001. Therefore, I was now used to street lights, subway trains and people walking around and talking at all hours of the night...this was "my" norm. I was also used to simply walking outside of my building to eat at various restaurants from all types of cultures, and could pretty much buy groceries and get anything I needed within a ten block radius! "Who is that...? Is that a...black woman...?" This was the look and strange facial impressions that one of our neighbors had on her face when she saw my wife pull up in our driveway in her shiny Jaguar! She actually walked out of her house and into the middle of the street in order to peer over into our driveway to get a better look at my wife, as if this was the first time seeing a black woman in the neighborhood-let alone driving a Jag! Now this was getting really uncomfortable! We were now surrounded by a bunch of nosy neighbors and felt like we had little privacy, which also includes having really needy and annoying landlords who would always call and stop by the house we were renting! Not good! As time passed by, I slipped into a depression without realizing it. After visiting my brother for Thanksgiving in Rochester, NY in November of 2011 and pulling out all of my old Wolverine, X-Men and Amazing Spider-Man comics from the attic, I fell in love with my books like when I was 12 years old and felt an instant desire to collect again, after not purchasing a single comic since the age of sixteen (1994 to be exact)! When I arrived back to Highlands Ranch, CO, I looked up Mile High Comics online, and literally purchased an entire run of Wolverine (1988)! Then, I researched the CGC, and sent about 30 books to be graded in December of 2011, without having any knowledge of grading criteria and standards. I received my first batch of graded comics in March of 2012; the grades weren't so hot, but I did land 9.8 copies of Wolverine #41 Second Printing and Wolverine #155 (Deadpool Cover). Anyhow, in the interim while waiting for that initial submission to arrive, I kept myself glued to the computer screen and learned all about CGC grading criteria, the CGC census, and took note of all the major KEY Silver, Bronze and Copper Age books. I researched pricing trends and compared past sales with the current market value, and began winning books off of eBay. As a direct result, I became a CGC Registry member in January of 2012 and began assembling a Wolverine (1988) Set, "Against All Odds," which would eventually become the #5 CGC Ranked Set in the world, the first to showcase 15+ consecutive issues in CGC SS 9.8 or higher, and the first to receive the Best Presented Set (2012) for that Set Type! It was on now! I studied the CGC comic book market like the stock exchange and began flipping books on eBay and using the profits to reinvest into more books to complete my sets! Unfortunately, I started to view my CGC Collecting "hobby" as a full-time "job!" I was so into my collecting, that I started to loose my connection with my wife, as she worked all-day while I was networking with CGC dealers all across the country and building up my sets. Our communication gradually became impersonal and limited, as all I had on my mind was my next deal and acquisition, which of course I couldn't share with her because it was selfish, and I didn't want to hear "the truth" from her that I needed to spend my energy in finding a real job! What was really messed up, is that I became so intent in wanting to take over a #1 spot in a set type, that I literally spent thousands of more dollars on my credit cards, while still unemployed and already in credit card debt, without telling my wife a thing! It was my little secret, after all, it was my money...wasn't it? So "The Inaugural Slashing" was birthed, and became the #1 CGC Ranked Wolverine Limited Series (1982) Set in the world for both 2012 and 2013! I was so ecstatic to have taken out World's Best Comics, who previously held that title for "5" consecutive years! I now had "2" world class Wolverine sets and continuing to acquire more precious gems, like my Incredible Hulk #182 CGC 9.8 WP, that I only paid $100 in exchange for two copies of ASM #129; one in CGC 6.0 and the other in CGC 8.5-a very nice flip! I was getting really good at this! I began moving from collecting primari To see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.

Iron Fist #14 CGC 9.8 WP! The World's Finest Copy!

SABRETOOTH SAVAGERY! Here it is! The most in-demand comic book of the late 70's and one of my personal favorites! I acquired this gem back in February of 2013 in a hard-fought online bidding war on eBay! :-) Even though I paid a little more than I originally intended, I was pretty content with the outcome for the simple fact that this example looks like it should have been graded as a CGC 9.9! The book looks that superb! Further, if you visit my Iron Fist #1-#15 CGC Registry Set, "Sabretooth Savagery," you can also view the full high-resolution back cover scan, which will blow you away! It's utterly amazing how this book is 1.17 years older than I am, but yet looks like it was printed yesterday! The corners are razor sharp; the spine is super tight and impeccable; the colors will blind you; the white pages are incredible; the book is perfectly wrapped and centered and the staples are fresh and perfectly inserted! You couldn't ask for a finer-looking specimen, and since I was out to acquire the best-of-the-best of the KEY Bronze Age books in the industry, once I saw this book being auctioned-I was ON IT! With that said, thank God I placed my final bid during the 2012 Tax Return Season! I think it's also significant that I acquired this book while I was living in the Mile High City of Denver, Colorado, in the midst of the "Winter" season where I also had spectacular views of the snow-packed Colorado Rocky "Mountains!" Therefore, the cover of Iron Fist #14 truly takes me back to my short time living and working in Denver, and has already brought back nostalgic feelings from having only been living in Atlanta, Georgia for a little over 2 months now! (As of this writing - 10/29/13 :-) On that note, please enjoy the following scan and commentary of my Iron Fist #14 CGC 9.8 WP! Peace & God Bless! -Professor Pecora _________________________________________________________________ Iron Fist #14 showcases the 1st appearance of the super-villain known as...Sabretooth! Although Sabretooth gets badly beaten by Iron Fist, he would venture on to become the most menacing foe that Wolverine has ever encountered! With that said, Wolverine and Sabretooth have a long and dark history together. For starters, they were both a part of the Cold War super soldier program Weapon X, where they not only received enhanced superhuman abilities, but also lost accounts of their past, as their memories were tampered with! As a direct result, both Sabretooth (Victor Creed) & Wolverine (Logan) have clouded accounts of their past life, and often receive blurred visions of what may or may not have happened to them. It was during this program, where Sabretooth viewed Wolverine as competition, and wanted to challenge him in a death match! From this point on, they battled each other on numerous occasions, beginning in X-Men #212, #213, and #222! They would continue to meet religiously, as in Wolverine (1988) #10, and would create a track record of historic battles of epic proportions! Moreover, due to Sabretooth hunting down & locating Wolverine every year on his birthday to fight him (with nearly killing him on occasions), solidifies Sabretooth's legacy as being Wolverine's life-long arch nemesis! On another note, Sabretooth was created by writer Chris Claremont, along with artist/co-writer John Byrne, who collaborated with Mr. Dan Green on the interior artwork! In addition, the classic cover art was drawn by Mr. Al Milgrom! In closing, I want to thank Brian of A-1 Comics for selling me this pristine gem! Written By: Professor Pecora To see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.

Incredible Hulk #182 CGC 9.8 WP! One of the World's Finest Copies!

Wolverine's 3rd overall appearance in top CGC grade! Since my previous two journals reflected on my CGC 9.8 WP copies of Incredible Hulk #180 and #181, I figured that it would only be appropriate to follow-up with a reflection on my Incredible Hulk #182 CGC 9.8 WP! So as always, please enjoy the following scan and commentary! Moreover, please check out my current #2 CGC Ranked Incredible Hulk #180-#182 Wolverine Set entitled, "Enter Wolverine!" In doing so, you can view the back cover scan to this pristine beauty! The corners are razor sharp, the staples are perfectly inserted and the back cover is SNOW WHITE! :-) Enjoy!! -Professor Pecora [bETWEEN HAMMER AND ANVIL!] Incredible Hulk #182 showcases the "3rd" appearance of Wolverine, who is featured in a three-panel cameo on the first page! In addition, we also have the 1st appearance of Hammer & Anvil! As if this issue did not contain enough substance to be classified as a Bronze Age "Key" already, we also have the very 1st appearance & "death" of Crackajack Jackson! As with Incredible Hulk #180 and #181, the classic cover & art was drawn by the legendary Herb Trimpe, and the story was written by the original creator of Wolverine ... Mr. Len Wein! According to the CGC Census Report, as of 9/27/13, there are zero (0) copies graded as either a 10.0 or a 9.9. Further, there is only one (1) copy graded as a Qualified 9.8 and only one (1) copy graded as a Signature Series 9.8. Moreover, there are only a mere total of seventeen (17) copies (including my copy) graded as a Universal 9.8. Based on these statistics, coupled with perfect "white page" preservation, makes this Incredible Hulk #182 one of the finest copies in the world! To see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.

My Latest Acquisition: Incredible Hulk #181 CGC 9.8 WP [Mile High II]!

AND NOW...THE WOLVERINE! For those of you who read my previous journal entry entitled, "Mile High Providence," with this acquisition, you can now fully understand the significance of having discovered that my X-Men #94 CGC 9.8 is also a Mile High II Pedigree! With that said, I am now a proud owner of the two most valuable Marvel Bronze Age Grails in CGC 9.8, in which both originate from the Mile High II Collection! Furthermore, I encourage you all to visit my CGC Competitive Set, "Enter Wolverine," listed under the Incredible Hulk #180-#182 Wolverine Set Type, so that you can get the full experience of my presentation! In the meantime, like I would normally say, please enjoy the following scan and commentary, as I proudly document my acquisition on the #1 Grail of the entire Bronze Age! -Professor Pecora _________________________________________________________________ [AND NOW...THE WOLVERINE!] Incredible Hulk #181 showcases the "1st full" appearance of Wolverine, as well as his "2nd" overall appearance in the historical record! Moreover, there are only a handful of comic books that have literally stood the test of time and have reigned over any other book of its era, and Incredible Hulk #181 is one of those exceptions! If you were to think of a single book to represent the most sought-after, most valuable and most significant issue of an entire age, it would be Action Comics #1 of the Golden Age; Amazing Fantasy #15 of the Silver Age; and Incredible Hulk #181 of the Bronze Age! In other words, the first appearances of Superman, Spider-Man and Wolverine have superseded the importance of any other character of their respective time periods! With that said, the world was introduced to the claw-slashing, berserker-raged mutant Wolverine, who made a long-lasting first impression during his debut in November of 1974, as he battled the most powerful character in the Marvel Universe--the Incredible Hulk! However, Wolverine wasn't anything like the major superheroes before him; instead, he was ill-mannered, hot-tempered and walked the earth with a tortured soul, as he would later struggle with his origins and the purpose of his creation. He was a government experiment--the perfect weapon--Weapon X! As a direct result, the "anti-hero" was born! Wolverine would later become a major addition to the new X-Men team, who would eventually become the most popular character on the X-Men roster! From this success, Marvel featured Wolverine in his first solo comic; in a classic 4-part mini-series, which was published in September of 1982. Fast forward a little over six years ahead, and Marvel finally catapulted Wolverine into his own monthly series in November of 1988! Furthermore, in nearly 40 years of his existence, Wolverine has become the most popular character in the entire Marvel Universe, next to the franchise's marquee character--the Amazing Spider-Man! For any hard-core Wolverine fan or collector, acquiring a high-grade example of Incredible Hulk #181 is a special event! When I first opened up the package and unveiled my beautiful CGC 9.8 WP copy...I was speechless! I finally became a proud owner of my favorite character's 1st full appearance in history! This particular copy originates from the Mile High II Pedigree collection. However, the CGC will not recognize "Mile High II" on the actual CGC label, because the books from the Mile High II find were not a part of an original owner's collection, such as the famed Edgar Church find in 1977, which was discovered and purchased by the legendary Chuck Rozanski, the president of Mile High Comics. Therefore, Certificates of Authenticity (COAs) were issued for every Mile High II comic, to document the book's origins to its original warehouse find and to identify it as being one of the finest copies in existence. On the back of the COA, which cannot be seen from the scan, the following is written: "The second Mile High collection was located in a long-forgotten warehouse in New York by Mile High Comics in early 1985. In total it contained 1,700,000 comics from 1965 to 1979 that had never been sold to the public. While most of the comics were in excellent condition, only the finest were selected for the designation of quality expected from a "Mile High" comic. Please respect the unique quality of the comic you have purchased by keeping it out of light, heat, and high humidity. Also, maintain your certificate of authenticity with it at all times as no replacement certificates will be issued. For your protection, be sure that the corporate seal is embossed on this certificate. Only embossed certificates are genuine." From this background information, I definitely agree with the COA statement in regards to the premium quality of a Mile High II comic. This copy is one of the most perfectly-wrapped and centered examples I have seen on the market! In addition, the colors are brilliant, the staple placement is impeccable and the corners are razor-sharp! This pristine gem truly rivals the lone CGC 9.9 out there! In closing, I would like to thank Mr. Doug Schmell of Pedigree Comics for selling me this Bronze Age Grail! To see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.

The World's Finest Copy of Incredible Hulk #180!

The first "true" appearance of Wolverine in top CGC grade is vaulted in the Professor's collection! Although I actually acquired this one-of-a-kind specimen in July of 2012, I recently revamped my entire commentary in my CGC Competitive Set, and decided to document it along with all of my recent CGC journal acquisitions! As usual, please enjoy the following commentary and the high-resolution front cover scan of this Bronze Age KEY! :-) -Professor Pecora _________________________________________________________________ [AND THE WIND HOWLED...WENDIGO!] Incredible Hulk #180 showcases the very "1st" appearance of Wolverine, who is featured in a single panel cameo on the last page! Aside from Incredible Hulk #181, in which Wolverine makes his 1st "full appearance," in my personal opinion, this book is the second most important KEY Issue of the Bronze Age! We are talking about the very first time "Wolverine" was brought into existence! Moreover, not only is this copy the highest-graded example currently attainable, but it is arguably the finest copy in the world! By analyzing the front and back scans, it's hard to believe that it was not previously graded as a MINT CGC 9.9! Further, this pristine example originates from the Suscha News Pedigree Collection; out of Sheboygan, Wisconsin! For a deeper insight, the following is an excerpt taken from the original owner's detailed explanation as to how he amassed his world-class collection, which can be read in its entirety at: http://www.metropoliscomics.com/load_feature.php?article_id=268&amp;type=feature&action=view. "Although comic books were only 15 to 25 cents each at the time, buying more than a hundred a month represented a big chunk of my tiny, $3-per-hour paycheck. The books were mainly purchased at newsstands and drug stores. It was about this time that I got the idea to go directly to the local magazine and comic distributor, Suscha News (founded in November 1937), and propose a deal. I explained to them how many comic books I bought on a regular basis, and how I'd buy a lot more if the prices were lower. To my surprise, they agreed to sell me newly arrived comics at half price off the pallets in their back room. This gave me access to the books as soon as they arrived in Sheboygan, so l was more likely to get certain low-distribution titles. I also got to "cherry-pick" books, and my comics from then on were free of shelf wear from browsers. I would carefully go through distributor boxes filled with the same issue of a book. I'd get it down to around a dozen or so mint copies of a given book to try to find the MOST mint copies in the group. I was looking for books with the best centering, the shiniest staples, the flattest covers and the sharpest top and bottom of the spine. Now that the cost of buying comic books was cut in half, I also was able to buy multiple copies of each. Sometimes, I'd get a half-dozen or more copies of Number One or milestone issues, such as Thing vs. Hulk matchups. My arrangement with the distributor lasted until 1976, when I decided to give up the comic book buying and boxing grind, and "lock" the collection. I bought very few comics after that -- a few hundred at most." From this background information, I want to personally thank the original owner for the impeccable job he has done in hand-selecting some of the finest KEY issues in the world! Another interesting fact to add to this wonderful acquisition is that out of all the known CGC-recognized pedigree collections to date; the Suscha News Pedigree is the only one that contains a copy of Incredible Hulk #180 in CGC 9.8! Further, there are actually two (2) CGC 9.8 Suscha News Pedigree copies of Incredible Hulk #180. However, according to the CGC certification numbers on the CGC labels, this copy was graded first, which happens to be the better-looking of the two as it displays razor-sharp edges, perfect centering, and extremely bold and vivid ink-color saturation! With that said, I challenge you to locate a more perfect-looking specimen of this historic issue! :-) In closing, I am sending a BIG SHOUT-OUT to Darren of "Pristine Comics" for selling me this rare gem! To see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.

My Latest Acquisition: X-Men #100 CGC 9.8 WP!

Out with the old, and in with the new! X-Men #100; the classic cover that Dave Cockrum drew! Although I actually acquired this gem along with my X-Men #97 CGC 9.8 about two months ago, I finally completed my commentary on it for your reading pleasure! Moreover, I have decided to catalog all of my acquisitions in the order in which I actually attain them, so although I have another major book I would like to write about NOW (as it just arrived last night), I am going to hold off in order to maintain accurate journal acquisition logs! With that said, please enjoy the following commentary and the high-resolution scan of X-Men #100 CGC 9.8! -Professor Pecora _________________________________________________________________ X-Men #100 showcases a classic Dave Cockrum battle cover between the old X-Men and the new X-Men! As I mentioned previously in my commentary on X-Men #97, I LOVE battle covers! Therefore, this cover is one of my personal favorites in the entire run! So what defines a cover as "classic?" To answer that question, just like any classic song in the music industry, it has to transcend time! On that note, X-Men #100 has made a lasting impression throughout several decades, as it has been reused for the following covers: Uncanny X-Men #134, Defenders #100, New Warriors (v.4) #14, Thunderbolts #172, Secret Invasion: Front Line #5, Nova #24 and Avengers Academy #38. Now that's a lot of cover swipes! Further, just as a popular musician will play their rendition of a classic song, various cover artists have recreated their versions of X-Men #100 with different characters specific to each title! With that said, God Bless the late Dave Cockrum who passed away on November 28, 2006! He would be honored to know that his creation has been reproduced by a multitude of inspired artists! In terms of the actual condition of this 9.8 example, it is perfectly wrapped along with unblemished white page quality! Moreover, when I first saw this copy at auction, what really prompted me to ensure I won this beauty (aside from loving the classic battle cover), was the superb centering and the razor sharp edges! You could cut someone with those corners! :-) In closing, please enjoy the complete synopsis of this issue, which was retrieved from: http://marvel.wikia.com/X-Men_Vol_1_100. Please note that I edited various parts of this synopsis to meet my posting standards! -Professor Pecora _________________________________________________________________ Continued from last issue... Aboard the space station run by the anti-mutant Project: Armageddon, it's leader Stephen Lang seemingly has control of the original X-Men (Cyclops, Angel, Iceman, Beast, Marvel Girl, Havok, Polaris and Professor X) and has ordered them to kill the new team (Storm, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Colossus, and Banshee). As the battle rages on, the new team of X-Men find some interesting inconsistencies from those that they are fighting; the original team seemingly has no memory of their replacements. Further, the Beast isn't covered in blue fur and Cyclops is wearing his old visor. As they fight on the defensive, Wolverine decides to take the battle to Professor X and is caught off guard when the Professor stands on two legs and knocks Wolverine out in one punch! Then, Marvel Girl uses her telepathic powers on Wolverine, but he finally realizes that they have been distracting him from using his enhanced senses. Without any hesitation, Wolverine strikes at Marvel Girl, revealing that she is not the real Jean Grey at all, but a robot. This angers Lang, as he had created his army of X-Sentinels to be unbeatable duplicates of the original X-Men to exterminate other mutants. Lang explains to the captured Cyclops, Professor X, Jean Grey, and Peter Corbeau how he was a member of a government project organized to determine the cause of mutants. Moreover, having developed hatred against the mutant race, he would utilize the Sentinel base once owned by Larry Trask and go over the notes there to build his own Sentinels. Making a deal with a clandestine organization calling themselves the Council of the Chosen, Lang was given the funding he needed to begin "Project Armageddon" to devise a means of eliminating mutants. While Lang has been ranting, Cyclops uses the opportunity to blast through his confinement with his optic blast and then frees the others. As the X-Men in the other room destroy the Sentinel doppelgangers of the original team, Cyclops attempts to knock out Lang. However, Lang manages to flee to his gunship and attempts to kill Cyclops, however, Jean uses her telekinesis to mess with the controls and forces Lang's gunship to crash into a view screen and explode, seemingly killing Lang in the process. With the space station compromised and about to blow, the X-Men find themselves stranded on the space station now that Lang's minions have escaped in all of the escape pods. Going back to their ship, they find that the autopilot has been damaged, making it impossible to fly the ship through the solar flare passing through Earth's atmosphere without someone to pilot the ship. Corbeau points out that whoever pilots the ship would be flash fried by the radiation. However, Jean steps up and offers to fly the ship -- pulling Corbeau's flying skills from his mind and believing that her telekinetic shield could protect her from the radiation. When Scott tries to protest, she uses her powers to knock him out and orders the other X-Men and Corbeau into the radiation shielded room. Even Wolverine and Storm fail to talk Jean out of sacrificing herself for them, but to no avail. Sealing the hole in the ship with a telekinetic shield, Jean begins to pilot the ship back through Earth. In the shielded room, Cyclops revives and tries to break free, forcing the other X-Men to restrain him, telling him that it's too late to save her. As Jean flies through the solar storm, her powers are pushed to the limits and the radiation penetrates through-causing her extreme pain. As she is overcome, she screams out Scott's name. This story is continued next issue.... To see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.

Mile High Providence!

Earlier today (8/2/13), I discovered a very interesting fact regarding my newly acquired X-Men #94 CGC 9.8! The story begins with me conducting some online research regarding the sales trends of previous CGC 9.8 copies of X-Men #94. I began the search by browsing through Heritage Auction's "archives" database, and I stumbled across a solid 9.8 copy and said, "Hey, that looks similar to my copy..." With some curious excitement, I looked at the serial numbers and carefully compared them, and no, that copy was not the copy I currently own! Then, as I inspected that particular copy in further detail, I noticed that it was not as beautiful as my example; the corners were not as razor-sharp, the colors were not as bold and vivid, and it was also not as tightly wrapped! From this point, I was now obsessed with scrolling through ALL of the previous X-Men #94's sold at auction in any grade, and I stumbled across another CGC 9.8 copy that again looked like my recent acquisition. Without any hesitation, I clicked on the book to get a closer view, and this one looked beautiful! Like I did previously, I cross referenced the serial numbers and this time...it was a match! This was my copy that previously sold at auction for $12,547.50 (including the Buyers Premium) on February 24, 2011! WOW! However, it gets even more interesting! As I scrolled down the original listing, I started to read the description, and to my surprise I was stunned when I read the following statement, which I am quoting directly: "This particular copy is from the collection known as 'Mile High II,' and includes the certificate identifying it as such." Here is the link to the Heritage Auction archive for your review: http://comics.ha.com/c/item.zx?saleNo=7030&amp;lotNo=91234 Are you serious!!! My X-Men #94 originated from the prestigious Mile High II collection!! I was ecstatic!! I had no clue, as I obviously did not receive the original Certificate of Authenticity (COA) with the book! Further, I highly doubted that Robert of KEY Comics knew about it either, because he would have mentioned this in his original eBay listing. At this point, I am hyped up and highly motivated to investigate the situation towards acquiring this COA! After all, I am the new proud owner, and I would like to have the documentation behind it! My first point of reference was obviously Robert of KEY Comics, whom I purchased the book from. I shared my recent discovery with him, and provided the link to the original listing on Heritage. He responded within an hour, and was also completely surprised! He also had no idea that the CGC 9.8 example he sold to me originated from the Mile High II collection! So he contacted the person whom he bought it from, and after an hour or so, he confirmed with me that the guy who sold the book to him, was indeed the individual who originally won the book from the Heritage auction on February 24, 2011! Now I was onto something! I felt confident that I would get that COA soon! However, to both my surprise and Robert's surprise, the original buyer from Heritage also had no idea that the X-Men #94 CGC 9.8 he purchased was from the Mile High II collection, because he did not even read the book's description!! Therefore, the guy said he had no clue as to where the COA would be, as he was not even educated in terms of knowing what a pedigree comic is and even what to look for! From this information, I contacted Heritage Auctions directly, and they said that the COA should have been shipped out with the book to the buyer at that time, and if he lost it that there was no way that they could replace it. However, they suggested that I simply print out the Heritage Auction original lot with the description, to use as a "Pseudo COA" since the serial numbers match identically. On that note, that was exactly what I did for the time being! What is ironic or even symbolic for that matter, is that I currently reside in the Mile High City! I have direct access to meeting with Mr. Chuck Rozanski, the president of Mile High Comics, in person as I have previously, so I am going to plan a meeting with him in the near future, to see if he can generate a new COA to confirm that my X-Men #94 CGC 9.8 hails from that world-class collection! However, I will have to act soon, as I will be relocating to Atlanta, GA with my wife in exactly 2 weeks as of this writing! If for some reason I cannot make the arrangement, my Heritage Auction print-out should suffice! Moreover - what a find! Now I can proudly showcase my copy as: X-Men #94 CGC 9.8 OW/WP [Mile High II]! In closing, this story is not quite completed, as you will have to wait until Monday evening or sometime on Tuesday, as I will be posting another MAJOR CGC 9.8 Acquisition that will truly embody and solidify the title of this journal entry..."Mile High Providence!" So stay tuned... :-) -Professor Pecora To see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.

My Latest Acquisition: X-Men #97 CGC 9.8 OW/WP!

My Brother, My Enemy! Although I have actually had this book in my possession for about a month already, I just finished writing my commentary on it - so please enjoy! -Professor Pecora _________________________________________________________________ X-Men #97 showcases the 1st appearance of Lilandra (whose face is not shown) and the return of Havok and Polaris! In addition, Eric the Red makes his first appearance in the new X-Men title! This is by far one my favorite covers in the entire new X-Men run! I LOVE battle covers in particular, and this classic showdown between Cyclops (Scott Summers) and Havok (Alex Summers) blasting each other with powerful energy beams - does not disappoint! As depicted on the cover of X-Men #94, the iconic jet in which the new X-Men abandoned in mid-air after an explosion, is now shown burning violently in the background while a startled Colossus, Storm and Nightcrawler witness their leader fighting his brother in a death match! As a direct result, the ground is cracked open from the impact of the jet's crash-landing, and the magnitude of Cyclops and Havok's energy collisions are emitting heat so intensely, that it appears to be creating a crater surrounding the area in which they are standing! Who will win? Will it be older brother Cyclops putting his younger brother Havok in check? Or will it be younger brother Havok imposing his will and making an example of his superior? Furthermore, will one of these major X-Men characters die in this issue? These were the speculations of many avid X-Men fans back in February of 1976, simply from viewing this classic Rich Buckler and Dave Cockrum battle cover! In terms of the physical condition of this book, it's important to note that high grade copies are very difficult to acquire in CGC 9.8, due to the partial black portions on the upper half of the cover that reveal the slightest of defects! Moreover, this example is perfectly wrapped and centered and has excellent color strike! Therefore, once I saw this copy, I fell in love with it and made sure that I was the one bringing it home after auction! In closing, please enjoy the complete synopsis of this issue, which was retrieved from: http://marvel.wikia.com/X-Men_Vol_1_97 -Professor Pecora _________________________________________________________________ Professor X is plagued by nightmares of a galactic war, in which some alien being draws his attention to her lone ship attempting to escape the destruction. However, before Charles can see the alien's face, he awakens screaming. His screams awaken Moira MacTaggert who comes down to the kitchen to find Charles making tea. He explains his dreams to Moira and when she tells him to confide in his X-Men, he asks her how can he explain to his teammates that he's going mad. Meanwhile, in the Rio Diablo region, Alex Summers and Lorna Dane have made themselves an idealistic life. As Alex goes off on another geological survey, Lorna goes about her daily chores in bliss over their current lot in life. When she hears a knock at the door, she goes to answer it, expecting Alex. Lorna recognizes the person at the door but finds it impossible that they are here now. Before she can act, the unexpected visitor blasts her with an energy beam, knocking her out. Hearing the noise, Alex doubles back and finds Lorna is pulling out a new costume. When he asks her what's going on she calls herself Polaris and blasts Alex. Three days later, Charles Xavier has decided to take a vacation and is leaving from JFK Airport. Scott Summers, Jean Grey, Storm, Nightcrawler (using an image inducer that makes him look like actor Errol Flynn) and Colossus see him off. They are surprised to see Alex and Lorna appear in costume. Jean picks up thoughts from their minds and warns the others that it is a trap; however the warning comes too late as Polaris attacks her. As Xavier's plane pulls off and flies away, the X-Men suit up and try to stop Havok and Polaris from destroying the Professor's plane. Colossus stops Havok from blasting the plane by knocking him over, causing his cosmic blast to strike an empty 747 instead. Cyclops grabs his brother and demands to know why his brother is attempting to kill Professor Xavier. Cyclops gets a shock when Havok's leader appears wearing his old Erik the Red costume[1]. When the X-Men attempt to attack Erik, he blasts them away. Polaris turns her attentions to Storm and Jean Grey, and Storm has to save Jean from a nasty fall. Havok and Cyclops battle it out, but when Havok buries his brother under rubble, he goes to his aid. This plays into Scott's hand because he was only playing possum and knocks his brother out. Colossus and Nightcrawler attempt to take out Erik the Red, but find themselves no match for the powerful being who easily bats them aside. Storm meanwhile, loses her temper when Polaris refers to their battle as a game and strikes her down with a lightning bolt. Seeing Lorna get injured is all it takes to make Havok lose his cool and lash out at full power, vowing to kill all the X-Men for harming her. Just then, Wolverine and Banshee arrive, prompting Erik the Red to order Havok and Polaris to retreat, and the three flee the scene. Cyclops has the perfect opportunity to blast them out of the sky but cannot bring himself to injure his former comrades. When Wolverine calls him a coward, Cyclops angrily punches Wolverine, and when Wolverine goes to strike at Cyclops, Storm orders him to back down. As the X-Men prepare to head back to base, they are unaware that they are being watched by two separate sets of eyes; one being the mutant hating Stephen Lang, and a second an unknown figure. To see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.

My Latest Acquisition: X-Men #95 CGC 9.8 OW/WP!

The Day One of the New X-Men DIED... Hello everybody, this journal post is the follow-up to my previous journal regarding my X-Men #94 CGC 9.8 acquisition. With that said, please enjoy the front cover scan and my commentary on the historical and cultural significance of X-Men #95! RIP to the Apache Warrior...Thunderbird! -Professor Pecora _________________________________________________________________ X-Men #95 showcases the 3rd appearance of the new X-Men and the "death" of Thunderbird! Moreover, killing off a major character was unheard of until June, 1973, in the Amazing Spider-Man #121, when Gwen Stacy was killed by the Green Goblin! Then, to keep the fans on the edge of their seats, Marvel Comics decided to kill off the Green Goblin in the following issue! These tragic events truly set the "tone" for the Bronze Age of Comics, as it ushered in a "dark reality" of life and presented the readers with severe situations and tragedies, which the main characters had to learn how to cope and manage their emotions, while moving on with their lives. Fast forward 2 years and 4 months after the Amazing Spider-Man #121 was published, and only into the second new X-Men issue, Marvel decided to shock the world again by killing off Thunderbird, whose government name was John Proudstar! Thunderbird's tenure with the X-Men was truly short-lived, as he was an original member of the new X-Men team who made their debut in the summer of 1975! His background was that of the Apache tribe, in which he was born into at Camp Verde, Arizona. After lying about his age, John Proudstar joined the US Marines for a two-year tour of duty. When he returned to his Apache tribe, John found himself bored and at times depressed, and would use his super speed and mutant strength to chase and wrestle down herds of buffalo to pass the time! John was eventually called back into duty by the US Marines; he won several medals of honor and was eventually released on honorable discharge. However, upon his return home, he was informed that his mother was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, a terminal form of cancer, by Doctor Edwin Martynec of Arroyo Medical Laboratory. After he was informed by Michael Whitecloud, John's reporter friend, that something was severely wrong with his mother's diagnosis, John Proudstar decided to investigate the Arroyo Lab and Dr. Martynec's practice. To John's surprise, he discovered that his mother was in perfect health and that Dr. Martynec was using completely healthy human subjects for his own illegal research on genetic enhancement! Further, it turned out that Dr. Arroyo was a wolfman creature himself, but John's maturing mutant powers were sufficient enough to get everybody out of the lab to safety, before Dr. Arroyo detonated his labs to cover his escape! While living back at Camp Verde, John had more time to reflect on his battles in the war, which made him extremely conscience of how his Apache tribe and other Native Americans were killed off by the "white man." With the hypocrisy of Dr. Arroyo recently uncovered, John became extremely bitter and angry towards life! It was during this self-destructive condition, when Professor Charles Xavier discovered John and offered to make him a member of his 3rd X-Men team. Although John was reluctant at first, because of his personal views about working for a "white man," John accepted the position and took on the superhero name "Thunderbird!" After completing his first successful mission with the X-Men, Thunderbird started to argue with his team members over non-significant issues, and often clashed with Cyclops--his team leader, and would even question Cyclops' authority! He allowed his anger to get the best of him, and Thunderbird became ill-mannered and took things extremely personal--therefore throwing off his team's positive energy and spirit of unity, which made the other X-Men feel uncomfortable around him. Further, Thunderbird always felt like he had to prove himself and often compared his abilities to the other X-Men--especially Wolverine, as he wanted to be the best! While he would remain tense and competitive, the other X-Men would take time to relax after their previous missions. The result was that Thunderbird was on the edge of exploding at any moment; it was just a matter of "when?" After asking Iceman to provide him with a tour of the mansion, Thunderbird was let down from a very rude Iceman, because he disliked the idea of newcomers entering "their" sacred grounds. Although Thunderbird would be willing to "fight" to get into the mansion, just like potential UFC fighters have to fight in order to get into the fighter house on the Ultimate Fighter, Thunderbird didn't even have to break out a sweat, as almost all of the original X-Men decided to quit and leave the mansion in order to pursue "regular" lives. Now that Thunderbird was in the mansion, it did nothing towards quenching his thirst towards outdoing the other X-Men. His over eagerness caused him to become careless, which was the reason he injured his leg during a Danger Room session! From this event, Cyclops refused to take Thunderbird on another mission, because his actions proved to be erratic and harmful to both himself and his team members. It was now time for the new X-Men to begin their second mission, which was located at Cheyenne Mountain in the Colorado Rockies. This was the location of a North American Air Defense Command Center that was ruled by Count Nefaria. Although Cyclops would have preferred for Thunderbird to have stayed behind, he allowed him to be a part of the mission, as he was still part of the team. After the X-Men arrived at the mission location, Count Nefaria managed to escape in a small aircraft. However, Thunderbird used his mutant powers and leaped onto the plane in an attempt to capture Nefaria and claim the glory of single-handedly completing the mission! However, Banshee tried to warn Thunderbird with these exact words, "For God's sake, Laddie--GET OFF THE PLANE!" Moreover, Professor X also tried to communicate with Thunderbird telepathically: "John Proudstar, GET OFF THE AIRPLANE BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!" As quoted from the actual comic, this was Thunderbird's response to Professor X: "Butt out, baldy--I'm thru takin' orders! I've been a loner all my life, Xavier--dumped on by everyone I met--But I'm a man Xavier, a Warrior of the Apache--an' TODAY I'M GONNA PROVE IT!" Shortly after these last words, the plane exploded and Thunderbird died, while Count Nefaria survived! Unfortunately, Thunderbird could have avoided his untimely death, but due to his warrior pride and ego, he chose not to listen to the instructions and warnings of his team members...and the cost was his life! It seems that John "Proud"star was a bit too proud for his own good! His brother James (Warpath) would eventually take over the Thunderbird name, and John Proudstar would eventually be resurrected by Eli Bard, but this event ventures way beyond 1975, so I'll end the discussion here! What a story and superb character development by Chris Claremont! It's stories like this that m To see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.

My Latest Acquisition: X-Men #94 CGC 9.8 OW/WP!

The scarcest Marvel Bronze Age Grail in top CGC grade is now a part of the Professor's collection! I just finished adding my newly acquired X-Men #94 CGC 9.8 to my CGC Competitive Set, and wanted to document this major acquisition in a new journal post! Therefore, please enjoy the following front cover scan and complete commentary on my new pride and joy in the collecting world! -Professor Pecora _________________________________________________________________ X-Men #94 showcases the 1st New X-Men issue since X-Men #66, which was published back in March of 1970! After roughly 4.5 years of recycled X-Men stories, spanning issues #67 through #93, and with the X-Men title on the verge of its demise, writer Len Wein and artist Dave Cockrum introduced a new X-Men team consisting of "adult" mutants from around the globe! This was a momentous event that occurred in the summer of 1975 in Giant-Size X-Men #1! For the first time in history, the world was introduced to the dynamic characters of Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus and Thunderbird! In addition, Giant-Size X-Men #1 also showcased the 2nd full appearance of Wolverine, who was also featured for the first time in his iconic yellow and blue suit with the extended face mask! It was a scorching hot summer in 1975, as the new X-Men team was born, which would not only revitalize the X-Men title, but would catapult a major cult following in the comic collecting community. Due to the diversity of the characters originating from various countries on different continents, thousands of X-Men collections would eventually be spawned worldwide in the years to come, and the X-Men title would later evolve into an international franchise! This movement inevitably ignited the demand for more new X-Men stories by the fans, which prompted legendary writers Len Wein and Chris Claremont, along with the artistic team of Dave Cockrum, Gil Kane and Bob McLeod, to launch the "official" All-New, All-Different X-Men series beginning with X-Men #94 in August of 1975! This ground-breaking 1st new X-Men issue showcases the 2nd appearance of Nightcrawler, Storm, Thunderbird and Colossus, and also documents Sunfire leaving the X-Men! Moreover, out of ALL the major Marvel Bronze Age Grails, X-Men #94 is and will always remain the scarcest in CGC 9.8, due to the dark green and partial black ink that surrounds about 75% of the cover! For instance, let's compare the statistics of CGC 9.8 graded copies of X-Men #94 to Giant-Size X-Men #1, Incredible Hulk #181 and Amazing Spider-Man #129. We will begin the analysis with X-Men #94. According to the CGC Census Report, as of 7/23/13, out of a total of 3,631 copies graded, there are only eighteen (18) copies (including my copy) graded as a Universal 9.8! Also, there are currently zero (0) copies graded as a Signature Series, Qualified, or Restored 9.8. In contrast, Giant-Size X-Men #1 has a total of 4,310 copies graded, with a staggering ninety-five (95) copies graded as a Universal 9.8, four (4) copies graded as a Signature Series 9.8, and one (1) copy graded as a Restored 9.8! Out of the 4 Bronze Age Grails discussed here, this one will remain the most abundant in CGC 9.8, hence why I have chosen to acquire this book at a later time in my collecting career! Next up is Incredible Hulk #181, which has a whopping total of 5,945 copies graded, with only one (1) copy graded as a Universal 9.9, sixty-six (66) copies graded as a Universal 9.8, and four (4) copies graded as a Signature Series 9.8. Based on the fact that almost 6,000 total copies have been graded, Incredible Hulk #181 would be considered the second rarest book in CGC 9.8 out of the 4 major Bronze Age Grails! Finally, we have Amazing Spider-Man #129, which has a total of 4,794 copies graded, with only sixty-one (61) copies graded as a Universal 9.8. Further, there are currently zero (0) copies graded as a Signature Series, Qualified, or Restored 9.8. From these statistics, Amazing Spider-Man #129 is just slightly less rare than Incredible Hulk #181 in CGC 9.8, which would place this book third in overall rarity. With this information in mind, rudimentary economics tell us that due to the high demand and very low supply available, that X-Men #94 in CGC 9.8 will most-likely either maintain its marketing sales trend, or even exceed overall sale prices compared to its Bronze Age Grail counterparts! Although several recent X-Men #94 CCC 9.8 sales realized between 6K and 10K, make no mistake that this trend is NOT the norm and prices WILL demand much more in the near future, especially when the time arrives when you hardly see a 9.8 example surface on the market, due to collectors (such as myself) tucking away their copies in private collections! Therefore, if you are an X-Men fan or collector, or seeking the highest-graded Bronze Age Grails, X-Men #94 should be your TOP PRIORITY! In terms of the condition of my 9.8 example -- it is one of the best copies in existence--period!! Although I prefer my books not to show any part of the back cover from the front, I made an exception with this copy, because the white strip to the left is PERFECTLY STRAIGHT and actually coordinates well with the cream, white, and light blue colors on the cover! Further, all of the previous 9.8 examples I have seen up for auction also show parts of the back cover from the front view, but those examples were not perfectly wrapped, like this copy is! In addition, the color gloss is extremely bold and vivid--it looks like this book arrived straight off the printing press yesterday! Also, the corners are razor-sharp coupled with a perfectly solid spine devoid of any minor spine stresses, with the staples perfectly inserted in the right location! So once I saw this book listed on eBay, I told myself, "THIS is the example that needs to be showcased in The Professor's collection!" In closing, I would like to personally thank Mr. Robert Letscher II of KEY Comics and Mr. Doug Schmell of Pedigree Comics for helping me to acquire this MEGA Bronze Age KEY! -Professor Pecora To see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.

My Latest Acquisition: Daredevil #111 CGC 9.8 WP!!

Is this KEY Bronze Age book going to surge in value...? Well the answer is YES, because due to recent sales, it has already begun! I just finished editing my official write-up for my newly acquired Daredevil #111 CGC 9.8 WP in my Registry Set, and I decided to share it with the collecting community, as this acquisition is a significant one! Therefore, please enjoy the following commentary and the high resolution front cover scan! :-) -Professor Pecora _________________________________________________________________ Daredevil #111 showcases the 1st appearance of Kenuichio Harada, who is better known as the supervillain...the Silver Samurai! Moreover, high-grade examples of this classic Bronze Age KEY are extremely scarce, due to the fact that it predates the 1st appearance of Wolverine (Incredible Hulk #180) by 3 months and contains a large portion of black and gray inks, which make super high-grade examples very difficult to acquire! For example, according to the CGC Census Report as of 5/25/13, there are only a total of six (6) copies (including my copy) graded as a Universal 9.8 and only sixteen (16) copies graded as a Universal 9.6! With that said, as of May 7, 2013, my copy was officially graded by the CGC as the "6th" Universal 9.8 in existence! Further, of all the CGC 9.8 and 9.6 examples, very few of them contain perfect "white page" quality, as this copy displays! As a native New Yorker, I can also appreciate the cover art, as it displays the spectacular NYC skyline in the background, with the Empire State building featured as the central iconic structure! Moreover, the attention to detail by Mr. Bob Brown & Jim Mooney is superb, as the accuracy of the NYC landscape is impeccable! They drew the Hudson River with sailboats and ships in motion with the water, and if you look closely, they even included a portion of the Jersey City skyline located directly to the East of the Hudson! Suffice it to say, the imagery depicts a realistic view of a typical NYC day, while the Silver Samurai slashes his sword against Daredevil, while suspended on a rope ladder hanging from a cargo plane in midair! Truly, this is a Bronze Age KEY that I will cherish for a LONG TIME to come! The Silver Samurai's popularity is going to increase exponentially in the near future, as he will be featured as the main villain in The Wolverine, which is scheduled to premiere at the box office on July 26, 2013! Therefore, considering the following books have the same CGC grade and page quality, I can easily see a copy of Daredevil #111 competing in overall market value with an Iron Fist #14 (1st appearance of Sabretooth)! Although Sabretooth will always remain Wolverine's arch enemy, this book might eventually exceed Iron Fist #14 in overall value, due to it being more rare and harder to obtain in high grade, as it was published a little over "5" years before Iron Fist #14 was initially published! In closing, I am sending a HUGE shout-out to my fellow CGC Registry and Board member Chin, AKA "Manifesto," for selling me the original book prior to submitting it to the CGC for grading! THANK YOU my brother!! For those interested in the history of the Silver Samurai's character development, please enjoy the following information retrieved from http://marvel.com/universe/Silver_Samurai: _________________________________________________________________ Keniuchio Harada is the mutant son of the former Japanese crime lord Shingen Harada. As a youth, Harada mastered the attendant disciplines of the medieval samurai and sought employment as a warrior for hire. He first worked for the criminal Mandrill and clashed with the blind hero Daredevil. Harada then served the Viper, an agent of the terrorist organization Hydra, as her bodyguard. In that capacity, Harada battled opponents such as the costumed crime fighter Spider-Man, the martial arts master Shang-Chi, and the team of mutant trainee heroes the New Mutants. Following his father's death, Harada sought the leadership of Shingen's Clan Yashida from his half-sister Mariko Yashida, but was opposed by the ronin Yukio and Mariko's lover, the mutant adventurer Wolverine. Later, Harada worked with Wolverine to free American private investigator Jessica Drew from the influence of Black Blade of Muramasa, a sword mystically imbued with its creator's madness. Wolverine himself fell under the sword's spell, but managed to overcome his possession after which Harada took up the sword, finding himself worthy of its power. After Mariko's death, Harada claimed leadership of Clan Yashida and was briefly employed by the Japanese government as leader of their fledgling super-team Big Hero 6. Ultimately, his inability to lead Clan Yashida allowed the Mongolian crime lord Haan Kaishek to take control, and he allied with Wolverine to defeat the Kaishek's. However, the disgrace of losing leadership was too great for Harada, and he returned to his mercenary ways. Eventually falling into the service of Hydra once more, Harada was dispatched to battle the female ninja Elektra and was seemingly killed. Revealed to have survived, the Silver Samurai resumed his criminal career following an encounter with the mutant Blindspot. Allied with known terrorist Lady Deathstrike, Harada attempted to establish himself as the "Silver Shogun," leader of the Yakuza. He was also briefly a prisoner in The Raft as part of a super-villain stockpiling conspiracy, but he escaped and returned to Japan. Harada subsequently became a member of the Japanese Prime Minister's security cadre. During the course of his duties, Harada faced Wolverine, who cut off his hand in search of information on the Muramasa Blade! To see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.
 

Ideas for Enhancing CGC Competitive Sets: Page Quality Points

Does your favorite book contain White Pages, Off-White to White Pages, Off-White Pages, Cream to Off-White Pages or just plain Cream Pages? This journal is going to focus on my proposal that the CGC should begin thinking about allocating points to each registered book according to its "page quality." If page quality wasn't such a big deal, then why is it even noted on the CGC label for each professionally graded book? If page quality wasn't important, why is it highlighted in professional online auctions, such as Heritage Auctions, where they will write a comment under the book's description like, "the CGC has designated this book with perfect page quality as is contains WHITE PAGES! Therefore, this is the finest example available!" If page quality wasn't important, then why do I see a copy of The Incredible Hulk #181 CGC 9.8 with Off-White Pages sell for 12K, and 9.8 copies with White Pages sell for 14K - 18K? If the market is so critical of "page quality," then why wouldn't the CGC initiate a page quality point system, to differentiate between the quality of books registered in sets with the same grade? After all, it is the CGC who classifies this information on the label of every book they graded ... so, why not? For instance, let's say that two competitors are working vigorously towards completing their sets in the same set type with the highest possible points. Since I am primarily a Wolverine collector, I will use the set type, Incredible Hulk #180-#182 (Wolverine) for my example. With that said, the highest graded copies of issues #180 and #182 are 9.8s. However, we are all aware that the highest graded copy of issue #181 is a Universal CGC 9.9, which there is only 1 copy on Earth and recently sold for 150K! Ok - definitely NOT attainable! We will be lucky if we even see it surface in the market within the next 10 years or so! Back to discussing matters in a practical sense, the current top-ranked Incredible Hulk #180-#182 (Wolverine) set [Logan Gems: owned by iecarus], showcases a spectacular spread of 9.8s - all of which sport the prestigious CGC Signature Series gold label! This is quite impressive! However, NONE of these 3 books contain white pages! In turn, my personal goal is to also attain all 9.8s of these issues and have them signed by artists and writers specific to these books. However, I typically only purchase books with WHITE PAGES! I already own a copy of I.H. #182 CGC 9.8 with White Pages, and I am currently working on paying off the only CGC 9.8 pedigree copy of I.H. #180 with White Pages! My final piece would be to acquire the I.H. #181 CGC 9.8 with White Pages and then have them all signed! So then what ...? Will we just remain tied forever as owning the number 1 Incredible Hulk #180-#182 (Wolverine) set? This would be weird, because unless one of us were to somehow acquire the single I.H. #181 CGC 9.9, it is simply NOT POSSIBLE to gain any further points! Maybe we will eventually have "4" people tied for a number 1 ranked set! This is why I think the CGC should begin allotting points for page quality and show the amount of points in ( ) next to the page quality description for each registered book! The importance of page quality in the marketplace should transcend in the CGC Competitive Sets, as we represent the community of the most hard-core collectors in the world! I would suggest a 10-point system that may look as the following: WHITE PAGES = 10 points OFF-WHITE TO WHITE PAGES = 8 points OFF-WHITE PAGES = 6 points CREAM TO OFF-WHITE PAGES = 4 points CREAM PAGES = 2 points The CGC would still maintain their point system that calculates scores for Restored, Qualified, Universal, & Signature Series labels, that correspond to their ascribed CGC grades. Moreover, the page quality points would serve as "additional points," which would increase the odds of two competitors becoming stuck in a "dead end" situation - a "non-tiebreaker" scenario as described above. I know that I am not the only CGC competitive collector who has shared these sentiments. I am hoping that others who share a similar view will support me in this theoretical CGC Registry enhancement, as it would make things more interesting, exciting, and ultimately more "accurately" competitive! I would love to hear from others regarding this topic. Maybe we can have a strong enough response so that the CGC actually considers adding the Page Quality Point System in the near future! Stay tuned for the next few journals I will be writing in regards to "Ideas for Enhancing CGC Competitive Sets." "Page Quality Points" serves as Part 1 of a series I intend to author. Thanks for reading! -Professor Pecora To see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.

Ideas for Enhancing CGC Competitive Sets: Point Reassignments for Rare & Low-Print Books

Which rare book do you own or know of, that is drastically being short-changed in terms of its CGC point value? In this segment of Ideas for Enhancing CGC Competitive Sets, I will be discussing reasons in which the CGC should consider reassigning point values for certain rare/ low-print run books, and the possibility of designing a point value system for recognizing pedigree books. Before I begin, I just want to thank all of you who contributed to my previous journal, which addressed "Page Quality Points!" Some of you came up with some interesting solutions and ideas, and I was very pleased with all of your feedback! With that said, the topic of reassigning point values for low-print run books and whether or not pedigree books should be allotted bonus points came up quite often. So let's get the ball rolling on this topic and see where it takes us! First of all, I have to give the CGC credit for explaining how they generate a point value for each book based on their current method. I am not sure if all of you read this information, but if you drag your mouse over "My Collection" and scroll down to "Registry and Ranking Info," they delineate the various methods they used to generate a point value system from when the Registry was first created up until now. Basically, early attempts towards deriving a book's score were based on price value & individual grades. However, both of these methods proved to be impractical towards the CGC's goal of creating a "competitive but fun vehicle for both serious and beginning collectors to gain recognition for their sets." Due to the constant and unpredictable fluctuations with market value prices, and the fact that grades alone could not account for a book's 'rarity,' their solution was to create a scoring algorithm to venture beyond these limitations. To quote the CGC specifically, "The goal of the scoring algorithm used by the Comics Registry is to represent accurately each comic book's scarcity, desirability, and value, while ensuring a fun and competitive collecting environment." If you continue to read the CGC's explanation as to how they calculate a book's final score, you will learn that they begin with a 'raw' score that equates to the market value of a Near Mint copy of that book (which we will never know of), which is then multiplied by a figure of "standard weights," - which is definitely ambiguous. In contrast, the CGC states that "The algorithm attempts to weigh the relative value, scarcity, and desirability for each grade and category, and varies based on the comic age and other variables." I think that based on this information, the CGC has come a long way since its inception. However, I believe it is now time for the CGC to update their algorithm and to analyze the market more thoroughly, in order to generate a point system that more accurately reflects specific books. For instance, I will use my copy of Wolverine #145 Dynamic Forces Edition CGC SS 9.8 with White Pages (see image below). This is one of the rarest books of the entire Wolverine (1988) series! There were only a total of 3,000 copies printed and most of them were signed for promotional purposes, without a CGC affiliate being present to witness the signing, so at best most of the books would be graded as a Qualified (green label) example. To provide more insight, a raw near mint copy of this 1999 published Marvel book will sell for $222.00 on Mile High Comic's online store! That is pretty expensive for a book nearly published in 2000! Now if any of you are familiar with the rare issue of Wolverine #145 Nabisco Variant Cover, which one had to mail a specific amount of UPC's in order to attain a copy of this book, the CGC has allotted a whopping 352 registry points for a CGC SS 9.8 example - which I also currently own! Aside from issue #1, this book has the second highest amount of registry points in the Wolverine (1988) set type! On that note, the #145 Dynamic Forces Holofoil book that I have scanned below had a similar print run compared to the Nabisco Variant Cover. However, guess how many registry points I received for this book at the same grade, which is a CGC SS 9.8 (highest graded)? Are you ready ... "39" points! Now, does that make any logical sense? Basically, the #145 DFE CGC SS 9.8 would receive as many points as the regular issue #144 signed as a CGC 9.8! This is ridiculous! I paid $400.00 to attain this beauty, and although I don't purchase my books solely to gain registry points, it just seems downright degrading! I feel like the book doesn't get the proper "respect" that it deserves. This is a clear indication that the CGC needs to consider the variables they include in their current algorithm, so that books like these and others (many of which you probably own) can be appropriately recognized! I would at least ascribe 200 registry points for a Wolverine #145 DFE CGC 9.8 SS with White Pages. However, the CGC has a rebuttal on this as well, "Comic scores do not equate to market dollars. A more valuable book will in most cases receive more Registry points, but its score is not directly correlated to its value. The algorithm is also designed to enhance and encourage competition in the Registry by reducing extremes in value differences between grades and categories. For this reason a very valuable book may receive fewer points than might be expected, or a relatively common book will receive more points than might otherwise be expected." I think a recurring theme you hear from the CGC is that they want the collecting experience to be "fun" for the novice or inexperienced collectors. However, those newbie collectors will soon mature into more serious collectors, who will also still know how to have fun, but will now know the actual "value" of specific books and would like that worth to simply be reflected by its corresponding point system! Nevertheless, the CGC appears to be open-minded with their closing statement on the issue, "Research is continuing into more advanced methods to provide a ranking system that recognizes the intelligence of the market, while offering a better reflection of relative rarity in higher grades and adjusting for market distortions. The goal of the system is to continually increase the breadth and depth of available sets, taking into consideration valuations and opinions in order to fairly and objectively apply Registry point values." Now the question is, "when" will the new changes take effect? If it is comparable to your standard comic submission, we might be waiting for a very long time! :-) Thank you for reading! I am looking forward to reading all of your feedback! I will have to write about "Pedigree Books" in a separate journal, which will serve as Part 3 to the "Ideas for Enhancing CGC Competitive Sets." -Professor Pecora To see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.

What Is Your Most Prized Book That Represents Your Birthday Month? POST & TELL! :-)

This post is intended to be "interactive" and fun! With that said, we all have books that we own in which were published during our birthday months! However, which book out of your personal collection is your most prized book published in that month, and the closest to the actual year you were born? What is the significance of the book to you? For me, it is my copy of Wolverine Limited Series (1982) #2 CGC SS 9.9! The book was published in October of 1982, and I was born in October of 1978! Therefore, there was only a 4 year difference from the time I was born until the time this classic issue was published! Moreover, this book means so much to me because Wolverine will forever be my favorite comic book character for LIFE! However, it gets deeper! If we look back at Wolverine's very first appearance in existence, we have to venture back to October of 1974, where Wolverine appeared in a cameo on the last page of The Incredible Hulk #180! Once again, there was only a 4 year difference from the time Wolverine was brought into existence from the time I was born! In essence, Wolverine and I are both October "babies!" :-) So when I look at this copy of Wolverine Limited Series (1982) #2 CGC SS 9.9, I feel "connected" in a special way! However, not only because it was published on my birthday month 4 years after I was born, but simply because this is the only 1 in the WORLD like it ... just as there is only 1 "me" in the world! Furthermore, it is the highest graded representation of this issue, and it was signed by the legendary Stan "The Man" Lee, which elevates this book as the only Wolverine Limited Series 9.9 Signature Series in the world! So these are the reasons this is my most prized CGC book from my personal collection that represents my birthday month! :-) NOW, WHICH ONE IS YOURS & WHY? I can't wait to see scans of your most prized comic published on your birthday month, and your personal thoughts, comments, and/or reflections! SO POST & TELL! :-) Have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend! -Professor Pecora To see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.

Learning Self-Discipline Towards A Focused Collection!

Have you ever seen several KEY issues of various comic titles and just go bananas and say, "I have to have these books," when you know you already have sets you started working on, but never completed? Well if you are like most hard-core CGC Comic Collectors, such as myself, you probably have! What I have learned is that this behavior is strictly impulsive, and can sometimes impair our good judgement! I grew up collecting primarily Wolverine (1988) comics and secondly Amazing Spider-Man comics. Although Wolverine has always been and always will remain my favorite character, I couldn't help but to get into buying Amazing Spider-Man comics - especially because I personally feel that they contain the BEST VILLAINS in the entire Marvel Universe! Just look at all the silver age ASM gems that depict Spider-Man VS a Villain on the front cover! They made Spider-Man look like the champion superhero as they advertised & promoted those early issues like a prized boxing match!! Anyway, if we fast-forward into my adult years - primarily my early 30's, as I just recently got into collecting CGC comics, this passion, or "impulse" ... compelled me to buy certain comics at random, sometimes when I really couldn't afford it! I had the collector's "itch," which meant that I saw an opportunity and I did not want another collector to grab ahold of the book-I needed to have it! With this in mind, I began my CGC collection by attaining a few 9.8 graded books of Wolverine Limited Series (1982). Since I was always a Wolverine fan first, I thought this would be a good set to begin with, as there are only four (4) issues with one (1) Trade Paperback to complete the set. Great! After gaining some momentum, I continued to expand my FOCUS on collecting Wolverine books, so I branched out my search engines towards finding several KEY Wolverine (1988) books of a 222 book set! It was going pretty good at first, but then, the Amazing Spider-Man threw me off course! () So now I purchased 9.8 copies of ASM #298, #299, and #301! Then I purchased a 9.6 copy of issue #300! Then bought 9.8 copies of issues #200 and #361! I even purchased "two" raw copies of ASM #129 off of eBay; one I acquired for $345.00 and the other for $811.00. I submitted them into the CGC for grading, and the $345.00 copy received a Universal 6.0 and the $811.00 copy received a Universal 8.5. WOW! Now I am like $2,000.00 into ASM comics that I never planned on purchasing!! IMPULSES got the best of me!! It came to a point where I had to really sit back and evaluate my collecting goals, the buying patterns - or lack thereof, and devise a realistic financial plan in attaining these collecting goals. I had to be honest with myself, as much as I loved my new ASM CGC collection, my real goal was to focus on assembling one of the strongest Wolverine collections, with the future potential of being one of the best in the world! This is a lofty goal to say the least! From this point on, I made some decisions. So the first one was to start working on the Incredible Hulk #180 - #182 set, because you cannot possibly have one of the best Wolverine colletions if you do not own any of these Bronze Age classics! So what I managed to do, was make a CGC Comic Trade Agreement with another seller on eBay. He had a copy of Incredible Hulk #182 CGC 9.8 with White Pages (see attached below) for sale and boy I REALLY WANTED THAT GEM! So I reached out to him, we made a deal that was also in "writing" in the form of a contractual agreement, and I traded both of my ASM #129 books (the 6.0 and the 8.5) for the Incredible Hulk #182 CGC 9.8 with White Pages! YES! I was ecstatic that I got myself back on track with my collecting focus, and just attained the highest graded copy of that KEY issue with white pages, without paying with any cash!! It was a tremendous collecting accomplishment and "come back!" I also ended up selling the majority of my ASM books on eBay, along with several other Wolverine books not used in my competitive sets, and generated all my money I previously invested in the ASM books and more! I continued my collecting focus, and the result is that I am currently ranked #1 for the Wolverine Limited Series (1982) set and currently ranked #6 for the Wolverine (1988) set! In addition, I am in the process of paying off the only 9.8 pedigree copy of Incredible Hulk #180 in existence! So my collecting FOCUS has been shifted in the right direction, and once I am thoroughly finished with completing and achieving the highest possible rank in the following sets: Incredible Hulk #180-#182 (Wolverine) Wolverine Limited Series (1982) Wolverine (1988) THEN, I will entertain the thoughts of investing in some KEY ASM books! I won't have to meander in different directions this time! HAVING A CLEAR, FOCUSED APPROACH TO COLLECTING CGC COMPETITIVE COMICS MAKES LIFE EASIER & RELIEVES THE ANXIETY OF FEELING PRESSURE TO ACQUIRE EVERY BOOK THAT APPEARS ON THE MARKET THAT YOU DESIRE! With that said, there is no stopping me now!! Watch out for Professor Pecora in the coming months and years! I know I blessed someone with this Journal Entry! Thanks for reading! :-) I plan to write on a more consistent basis, so look for more journal postings in the near future! HAPPY COLLECTING! -Professor Pecora To see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.