Today is December 28, 2017 which means it’s Stan Lee‘s 95th birthday! Happy birthday, Stan the Man!
Stan is known for being an iconic comic book writer / editor / publisher for Marvel Comics, and more recently known as the King Of Cameos (in the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies). He created Spider-Man, the Hulk, Doctor Strange, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Daredevil, Thor, Black Panther, X-Men, and so many more! I loved meeting him at New York Comic Con 2016 which is around the time I also learned that Stan is a huge supporter of CGC as well.
CGC (Certified Guaranty Company) was founded in 2000 and was the first independent and impartial third party grading service for comic books. I’ve always been a fan of comic books and always wondered what the process was for getting a book “slabbed” (graded and encapsulated in a protective container). When I met Stan at NYCC 2016, the process was incredibly simple. CGC was already at the autographing area where their witnesses would help fill out your respective forms to submit your books to their facility in Sarasota, FL.
On their website, you can see all kinds of grading that can be done (not just for comic books) as well as the possible grades & labels you can receive. As a huge Star Wars & Marvel fan, naturally I had to get my 1977 Star Wars #1 (first printing) signed by Stan Lee himself:
Here are some fun facts about Star Wars #1, straight from CGC’s December newsletter:
What makes it special? The first issue of the comic book was sold just over a month before “A New Hope” premiered in theaters. The first six issues adapted the movie, before the comics explored an “expanded universe,” a fresh concept at the time.
Why is it interesting now? Star Wars is one of the top-grossing movie franchises of all-time, and “Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi” will be in theaters in mid-December, followed by “Han Solo: A Star Wars Story” in May 2018.
Did you know? Lucasfilm approached Stan Lee and Marvel about doing the comic books before the release of the movie, but Lee was initially resistant. Both Lucasfilm and Marvel have been acquired by Disney in the past decade.
Total graded by CGC: CGC has graded 7,266 copies of this book (including 503 of its variants), as of Nov. 28, 2017. Ten percent of them are in Signature Series labels.
CGC median grade: The median grade for these books is Near Mint- 9.2
CGC highest graded: CGC hasn’t graded any copies of this book or its variants in Mint condition (10.0 or 9.9). CGC has graded several hundred at the 9.8 level.
Sales highlights: A 35-cent variant graded 9.4 by CGC was sold by Heritage Auctions in May 2016 for $26,290. More recently, Heritage sold a standard CGC-graded 9.6 for $478 in July 2017. A 9.8 signed by six key actors, including Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher, sold for $15,000 in 2017.
All in all, my 7.5 isn’t a bad grade, especially for a 40 year old comic with a Signature Series label… By the way, happy 40th anniversary to Star Wars this year! It’s been an incredible journey for this saga, even if the reports for The Last Jedi are pretty divided among fans…
But my journey with CGC is just beginning… While this slabbed book is now one of my most prized possessions, CGC became one of my most visited booths at cons this year & last! My experience with them is always nothing but stellar, and their staff is so easy to work with. True, at bigger cons, the lines can be epically long – so don’t expect to be in & out, especially if you have a lot of back & forths to do between autograph sessions. If you’re just dropping off books to be graded, the process is a lot quicker & smoother (especially if express drop-off is available).
Long story short, if you’re attending a con with the intention of getting a comic book autographed and care about the future authenticity of it, definitely consider CGC. Follow the procedure and get your books verified, protected, and display-ready! The turnaround time isn’t bad and the cases are really cool.
As we approach the end of the year, I won’t be posting a “Year Of The Con” like last year but you’ll see the chronicle of my cons from my list of CGC books. As of this post today, I have 17 CGC’d books:
- Star Wars #1 (1977) – [7.5] – Signed by Stan Lee at New York Comic Con 2016
- X-Men #1 (1991) – [9.6] – Signed by Jim Lee at Big Apple Comic Con 2017
- Wolverine #24 (1990) – [9.6] – Signed by Jim Lee at Big Apple Comic Con 2017
- X-Men Annual #1 (1992) – [7.0] – Signed by Jim Lee at Big Apple Comic Con 2017
- Batman Beyond #1 (1999) – [9.4] – Signed by Will Friedle at Wizard World Philadelphia 2017
- Deadpool #12 (1998) – [9.8] – Signed by Rob Liefeld at Wizard World Philadelphia 2017
- Chuck Norris #1 (1987) – [4.5] – Signed by Chuck Norris at Wizard World Philadelphia 2017
- Star Wars: Heir to the Empire #1 (1995) – [9.6] – Signed by Timothy Zahn at ComiCONN 2017
- G.I. Joe #241 AR Variant Cover (2017) – [9.8] – Signed by Ian Nichols at ComiCONN 2017
- Superman #650 (2006) – [9.6] – Signed by Dean Cain at Garden State Comic Fest 2017
- Batman Adventures: The Lost Years #5 (1998) – [9.6] – Signed by Loren Lester at Garden State Comic Fest and Kevin Conroy & Tara Strong at New York Comic Con 2017
- Star Wars Adventures #1 SDCC Ashcan Variant (2017) – [9.4] – Signed by Derek Charm & Landry Walker at New York Comic Con 2017
- Dark Nights: Metal #1 Cliff Chiang Variant (2017) – [9.8] – Signed by Cliff Chiang at New York Comic Con 2017
- Batman Gallery #1 (1992) – [9.4] – Signed by Joe Quesada at New York Comic Con 2017
- Contemporary Bio-Graphics #4 Pee-Wee Herman Cover (1992) – [8.0] – Signed by Paul Reubens at Rhode Island Comic Con 2017
- Deadman #1 (2018) – [9.8] – Signed by Neal Adams at Rhode Island Comic Con 2017
- Obi-Wan & Anakin #1 Sketch Variant (2016) – [9.8] – Sketched & signed by Creees Hyunsung Lee at Garden State Comic Fest and signed by Weird Al Yankovic at Rhode Island Comic Con 2017
As you can see, I received a lot of 9.6 & 9.8’s… so my New Year’s resolution is to finally get a Mint 9.9 or Gem Mint 10.0!