Sunday, 16 February 2014

Cerebus Gets "Slabbed"

Cerebus #300 (March 2004)
CGC Signed 'Dave Sim File Copy' Graded 9.8
Art by Dave Sim & Gerhard
(from Following Cerebus #1, July 2004)
Aardvark-Vanaheim and Paradise Comics (Toronto) are co-ordinating a plan to have premium-condition copies of Cerebus "slabbed" by Comics Guarantee Corporation (CGC). Over the past few years, collectors have responded favourably to graded-and-encapsulated issues, in part because it allows for greater confidence in mail order and eBay purchases that the comics are in the condition advertised. As such, CGC comics bring significantly higher prices than non-CGC issues in the same conditions.

One hundred copies of Cerebus #300 have been selected to be included in the CGC Signature Series, the only authenticated signature service in comics... Peter Dixon, owner of Paradise Comics, selected the best hundred copies from five hundred provided by the printer, and those hundred will be forwarded to CGC after being signed by Dave Sim and Gerhard. The "Own A Piece Of Issue 300" edition will be previewed on the Paradise website before being offered on eBay (beginning with #91-#100). Eventually they will work their way down to #1, with the money from the first five numbered copies going to charities picked by Sim, Gerhard, and Dixon.

(from the Official Press Release, 22 February 2004)
I know a lot of comic-book people who aren't part of the 'collectibles' side look askance at slabbing (grading and encapsulation) of comic books in the first place and particularly at the slabbing of new comic books, but I've always been a big supporter of the CGC phenomenon. To me it represents a vote of confidence in the future collectible value of today's comic books. Starting in 1938, no one tended to take comic books seriously and the watchword was always 'comic books won't even be here in five years.' The fact that sensible people invest real money in the highest grade of comic books tells us that we've moved past that point. We now believe that comic books will be here, and will have value, fifty years from now, a hundred years from now. I considered it a great vote of confidence that CGC thought Cerebus No. 300 was worthy of being part of their Signature Series.

Cerebus #1 (December 1977)
CGC Signed 'Dave Sim File Copy' Graded 9.4
Art by Dave Sim
(from Following Cerebus #1, July 2004)
In addition to the copies of Cerebus #300, CGC will also be slabbing the A-V file copies of the entire Cerebus run that Sim set aside beginning with the first issue. Because of the expense involved in getting all of the file copies processed, it will be done in stages. The first group will contain six copies of each of the first twenty-five issues, two copies each of the next fifty, and one copy each up to issue 135. Sim graciously decided that the highest-graded copy of Cerebus #1 would be auctioned at the Toronto Comicon on June 19 to benefit A.C.T.O.R. (A Commitment To Our Roots, an organization formed to benefit veteran comic book creators in need of financial assistance)... The issue (which graded 9.4 out of a possible 10.0) brought in an astounding $10,600 (US), and interest is high in the remaining issues, though it will take time to get them all out.

(from the Official Press Release, 22 February 2004)
By the time I started Cerebus, the story of Bill Gaines putting away twelve copies of each E.C. comic, fresh from the printer was pretty widespread in the collectibles market. I had no idea if it was an urban legend or not. I had heard that he put twenty of each away, so that's what I did. I'm glad I got that part wrong... This is where I'll be saying goodbye to the highest graded Cerebus No. 1, which has been with me ever since it was sitting with 1,999 other copies in our living room on the second floor of - the long since demolished - 48 Weber Street East. I hope it goes for a million dollars. Ger and I have been so lucky in the comic-book field, it's time to share some of that luck with the guys who came before us who weren't so lucky. We stand on the shoulders of giants.


Michael Grabowski said...

Never having seen a slabbed comic in person, I must ask: are these sealed like Tupperware, so that the eventual owner can, foolish as it may seem, carefully pry it open and actually READ the comic stored within, despite decertifying the CGC grade in the process? Or is the book forever trapped, the only sign of it's worth being the displayed cover? If the latter, it seems a ridiculously ironic fate to confine a book so that the contents for which is it reknowned can never actually be viewed.

Any one know the cause of the .2 deduction for that #300 up there? Greasy fingerprint smudge somewhere in the black area? Signature not quite legible enough?

A Moment Of Cerebus said...

Hi Michael,

Coincidentally, I just saw this article at Bleeding Cool about CGC 'slabbed' comics. It implies that 'yes', you can indeed open a slabbed comic.

A side-note... I am shamed by the poor condition of my own Cerebus collection -- permanently strewn all over the floor as I forage for something to post on AMOC each day -- but comics are for reading, aren't they?

Mind you, if I did own that 9.4 graded Cerebus #1, I'd probably leave it 'slabbed'.


Michael said...

Thanks, Tim!