So this may (not) come as a surprise to you but I loooove me some comic books. Long before I was a hardcore action figure collector and customizer I was an avid coming book collector. I worked at a LCS (Crush Comics in Castro Valley, CA) for a couple years and bought books every single Wednesday for about a solid decade before I finally gave it up. Reason for that are in my previous "No More Comics..." article that I wrote several years ago. But, despite that, I still love 'em, and from time to time I'll pick up a few key bronze/copper age books that I want to have in my collection.
Call me old fashioned but I try to stick with that era of comics because the hype over this modern stuff is, in my opinion, redonkulous. All this hype over virgin variant, 1:50 store incentive, exclusive-to-one-store covers is just silly. Do we not remember the 90s!? Do we not remember the 13 variants of Gen 13 #1 that everyone was dying for in 1994 and that are now worth less than they were then? A lot of these books are shipped straight from the store shelf (or maybe even the supplier), directly to these grading companies and we're supposed to be shocked and awed when they come back 9.8s? Or, we're supposed to spend top dollar for a book that shares that treasured 9.8 grade with literally thousands of other copies? I prefer to spend my money on the older stuff. The stuff that will retain its value and has a cool history to it. The stuff that's actually rare because people just tossed them out or threw them in a box. Not books that are basically manufactured to be "rare". That's essentially printing money and there's a moral grey area there that I'm not a fan of.
Anywho, I got distracted there. Back to the main reason for this long ass post. So, I was doing some googling a while back for grading guidelines, because I was looking to buy some raw books online and I wanted to see what the potential grades may be based on the flaws that I could see in the photos. I stumbled upon this year old CGC forum post where a member was questioning why CGC trimmed down their grading standards to vague, one sentence descriptions for each grading tier. As the internet does, several other members came to CGC's rescue and defended their practice saying thing like, their standards are proprietary and even comparing it to Coke's secrete recipe. Now, I have this love/hate relationship with these grading companies. I find the whole thing a bit suspicious and I hate how it's inflated the market and treats everything that's not a 9.8 like trash. But, I do find it necessary for online sales. I've been hosed more than a couple times buying raw "NM" books only to get them in hand and realize they're VF at best. So I get it. They're like this necessary evil with the bonus of making your comics look real purty on the wall. So after reading through everyone's post, and despite this whole discussion being a year old, I thought I'd chime in. "But wait a minute", you might be saying. "I clicked that there link and there ain't no Supertom post!" Well, well my astute friend, it happened to be the first time I posted to the CGC forums which means a moderator needs to approve it before it's published. So, I wrote out this long winded rant of sorts and threw it out there and kinda forgot about it...until now. Today, I was googling once again, this time for information about old CGC labels, and I find another forum link. I click on it, and I'm greeted with this lil' diddy:
I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say the moderator did not approve my post! LOL. I think I may have struck a nerve! Thankfully, I'm a frikin' genius and I copied the whole thing to a google doc because I had a feeling they'd be sensitive Sally's about this. So here it is in all its ban-worthy glory.
Ok, so maybe I was a little salty while writing that but despite my intentional snarkyness and hyperbole, I think I brought up some valid points. I reached out to them to see if this was in fact the reason I was banned and sure enough, this was their response,
Now, I don't really care that I was banned. I can still sign out and read through the forums to my hearts content. I just can't share my thoughtful and well crafted ramblings anymore. I don't think what I said was overly mean or crude. My comments were no more "unfounded" than the ones praising their lack of transparency. If they were completely unfounded, then there should be simple responses that would quickly shut me up, right? But, they didn't give anyone the chance to make such a retort. They just flat out banned me without notification. What I find interesting is you'd be hard pressed to find ANYTHING online, other then maybe some random comments on IG or YouTube, that brings these company practices into question. Even the big name YouTubers will briefly cover some of their questionable practices, but then end the discussion with "but I'm not gonna stop submitting books to them" or "but I still really like them".
So what say ye? Did I cross a line trying to post that? Should I just shut up and accept the fate of the comic industry and enjoy my raw books even though they're mostly trash tier 9.2s? Or should we start to look a bit deeper into what these companies are really after and how they're effecting the market. I'll leave you with these final thoughts. Why would they ban me for something like that? What harm could possibly come from my incredibly witty yet "disparaging" words? Are they worried what might happen if someone did really start to investigate their practices? I mean like some Morgan Spurlock type shit (seriously if anyone has his number hit me up). What if someone discovered something that proved these companies weren't totally on the up-and-up? Could it be that if there was even a sliver of doubt that made people second guess the validity of their grading, it could potentially cripple the comic book market, send big name auction houses into a downward spiral and decrease the value of some collections by tens of thousands of dollars? Hell, I donno.
I'm still gonna send some books to CBCS though. I like their new case.