CGC Grading Comic Books No. 01 with Primary Grader Matt Nelson

If you've ever visited this site to stare in amazement at a nice high grade copy of Wonder Woman #1 or Superman #2 and wondered how they became known as the best-graded copies, or wondered exactly what the difference was between this particular copy of Action Comics #1 and this other copy of Action Comics #1, you're not alone. Learning how to grade a comic book takes years of experience, and even then, debating the difference between a 9.0 and a 9.2 is a favorite topic of conversation in some parts of the internet. And even when CGC has graded a comic for you, it's important to know what that means. Nobody should pay $3,207,852.00 for a comic, or even $32.00, without having a sense of what the info on the CGC label means, and how it was determined.

CGC Grading Comic Books No. 01 with Primary Grader Matt Nelson grading a copy of Incredible Hulk #181.
CGC Grading Comic Books No. 01 with Primary Grader Matt Nelson.

This week, CGC Primary Grader Matt Nelson takes us through the process of comic book grading.  Using the example of an Incredible Hulk #181 CGC 3.5, Nelson explains the grading checklist which guides his process:

  • First Impression
  • Identify Variants or Pedigree
  • Page Count
  • Page Quality
  • Restoration Check
  • Assess all defects and determine final grade

Seeing Nelson go through this entire process at CGC is interesting, and serious collectors will find his explanation of the restoration check and printing defect aspects of the process are particularly interesting.  The call-out of common defects for this particular comic book, the ever-popular Incredible Hulk #181 featuring the first full appearance of Wolverine, is also noteworthy.  A missing Marvel Value Stamp has a tremendous impact on the final grade, of course.

This installment of CGC Insider is part of a new series that covers comic book grading at CGC in great detail, tune in here next week around this time for another new episode, and visit the CGC Insider archives and their Youtube channel to catch up or revisit the entire series.  CGC is a sponsor of Bleeding Cool.

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About Mark Seifert

Co-founder and Creative director of Bleeding Cool parent company Avatar Press. Bleeding Cool Managing Editor, tech and data wrangler. Machine Learning hobbyist. Vintage paper addict.
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