Is CGC Comics A Scam? No, But It’s Pretty Close To One

Is CGC Comics A Scam

Is CGC Comics A Scam? No, But It’s Pretty Close To One

Try as I may, I’m a collector at heart. I tried to curb this addiction in the past when I sold it all off. Unfortunately, 5 years after selling it, I’m at it again. The most frustrating part isn’t that I’ve jumped back on the wagon but that the wagon has become more costly than ever.

CGC (Certified Guaranty Company) redefined the comic book collecting world many years ago and since then, everybody and their dog has jumped at the chance to make a buck. CGC isn’t the only to blame as there have been others to do what they do, however, they are the king of capsulation and the easiest to blame.  

What they have done to the industry is found a way to increase perceived value in the books. What does this mean? As comic book inspired movie comes out, a surge of people race to get their books graded.

And why?

  1. The potential increase in value
  2. The chance to make some money

Which, for true collectors is frustrating beyond belief. For example, the last time I wound up fed up with the collection world, just 5 years ago, I sold a graded 9.8 copy of NYX 4, the first appearance of Laura Kinney, for $200.  Now a person can’t get a copy for less than $1,000. More than that, the spread between a non-graded sought after issue and a graded one is incredible. Just look at Amazing Spider-Man 129 to see what I mean. 

Ludicrous?

Absolutely. Nothing appreciates that quickly without severe repercussions. 

What drives a market is demand. Sadly, at the end of the demand, a market becomes devalued and nobody wants what’s left. Just look at what’s going on in Detroit.

In a time where comic books and everything that relates to them is the “hot ticket”, this is a scary thing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for it. I grew up idolizing all the characters that are now popular. But, I didn’t come in after the first X-Men movie. And I will be here long after, as I’m sure you will be.

They say timing is everything and right now is the time for comics. I worry, however, that the damage that is being done to the comic book collecting part of the industry may be irreversible. As is almost always the case, most of those who jump in to “what’s happening” only to make money, lose money. It isn’t done out of passion, love, nostalgia, or heart. It’s done from a place of…well, I’ll leave that for you to decide. 

So, is CGC Comics a scam?

And the comic companies aren’t helping either. Gone are the days where a story arc lasted 3 issues or less. To the detriment of the industry, they’ve been replaced by ones that drag on what feels like forever. Last year my brother and I had a chance to sit down with a true legend of the industry, Jim Shooter. I asked him point blank what the problem with the books nowadays and he replied with exactly what I just said…the stories are too long. If I remember correctly, he said that in the 60’ and 70’s, Spider-Man’s origin could be told in a few pages. From there, the hook or the action would begin. Today? Upwards of 2-3 issues to flesh out an origin. 

Worse yet, 

  • Variant covers
  • Chase covers
  • Alternate covers
  • And covers whose only purpose is so people can say that they got the rare version of an issue

If you’re unfamiliar with variants, let me quickly explain. A company creates a comic to sell to the stores. In an effort to get the stores to buy more books, they have an artist do an alternate cover. They then take that cover and tell the stores that they are only available to those who purchase the book in quantities of 10, 25, 50, 100, and so on. Those out to make a buck then scoop up the books because, hey, they’re rare and will be worth something. The books are then sent to CGC and placed in capsulation and sold.

And the cycle goes on. Is CGC comics a scam? No, I don’t think so…at least not by itself it isn’t. 

The fix

The industry needs to shift this way of thinking to captivate more people to the books and not those who are only out to profit. 

If profiteering continues to happen to the comic book world, I fear that the thing that has driven the industry for 70 years…the actual comics…may not drive it again. Shortsightedness may say that this is acceptable because of the widespread popularity of the movies. However, as I’ve said in the past, even westerns died out. There will be a time where the industry isn’t forced forward because of cinema. And that time will lean heavily on the same people that have been around for decades. 

I say let’s get rid of capsulation, fix storytelling, and go back to honest collecting.

What do you think? Is CGC comics a scam? Do you think that the value they bring is a value at all?

Cheers,

Joel

  • I am a family man first and foremost. Everything that I do is for my family. They keep me focused and moving forward. I grew up loving comics, this hasn't changed and on occasion, I wonder if my wife thinks I'll never grow up. I hope you enjoy your stay at comicbasics.com.