cgclogoIf 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.

That’s something that has typically been difficult to explain, even on those aforementioned parts of the internet that talk about it a lot. It’s the picture worth a thousand words predicament multiplied by nuances of paper quality, tiny defects, difficult-to-spot restoration, and more. Even lots of photos and lots of text sometimes doesn’t get the point across.

Which brings us to the launch of an exciting video series today, CGC Insider. You’ll note that today’s episode focuses on one very specific issue: spine stress. Yes, it’s going to be that detailed, all throughout this ongoing series.

If you’re already a collector of vintage comics, I suspect I needn’t say much more to get you hooked on this. If you’re not already a collector, you may be wondering if that level of detailed focus will hold your attention for the length of the series, and on that front I’d say you have no worries. Having watched the first several of these, I can tell you that CGC Primary Graders Matt Nelson, and upcoming Paul Litch and Shawn Caffrey, really know their stuff so well that it’s second nature to them, which makes it entertaining to watch the explanation unfold.

This installment of CGC Insider is the one of many, tune in here next week around this time for another episode, and visit the CGC Insider archives to catch up or revisit the entire series.


Matt Nelson

matt-2Matt began collecting vintage comics at an early age starting with a copy of Iron Man #1 that he received for his 14th birthday. By age 20 Matt became the youngest Overstreet Advisor ever. Shortly thereafter, Matt opened Classics Incorporated, a business dedicated to comic restoration. After CGC opened in 2000, Matt quickly realized the potential of 3rd party grading in the industry and added pressing and removal services to his business. In 2008, Matt and Kenny Sanderson introduced the revolutionary process of leaf casting to comic restoration, elevating the process to new heights. CGC purchased Classics Incorporated in 2013, relocated the business to Sarasota, FL and renamed it Classic Collectible Services (CCS). In 2016, Matt transitioned from President of CCS to Primary Grader at CGC. His handling of hundreds of thousands of high end comics, including the most valuable comics ever sold, plus an intimate knowledge of their history and pedigrees gives Matt the skill set required to accurately assess any comic book he holds.

Paul Litch

paul-profile-picA lifelong collector and comic aficionado, Paul Litch, has been actively involved in many aspects of the hobby from collecting to publishing. A graduate of Rutgers University with a BFA in photography and drawing he founded the Cartoonists Association of Rutgers which produced a weekly all-comics newspaper as well as a triannual full-color comic. He has been with CGC since its inception, working with all eras from Modern Age to Golden Age and has gone up the ranks from Grader to Finalizer to Primary Grader. Working with all eras of comic books gave Paul a wide-ranging knowledge of variants, printings, and manufacturing defects as well as keen eye for restoration detection and pedigree recognition. Paul’s knowledge is vital in the recognition of pedigrees, including the recent recognition of the John G Fantucchio pedigree. Paul was instrumental in developing and cultivating the prestigious CGC Signature Series®, CGC Magazines and CGC Lobby Card certification. In 2005, Paul was named an Overstreet Grading Advisor. Paul’s expertise has led to multiple appearances on History Channels’s Pawn Stars and made Paul an invaluable asset to CGC.

Shawn Caffrey

shawn-profile-picA comic collector and fan of pop culture since the 1980s, Shawn distinguished himself as a new member of CGC’s operations team in 2000 and transitioned to the company’s grading team shortly thereafter. He currently serves as the Senior Grader for Bronze, Copper and Modern Age books. Through the years, Shawn has developed a keen eye for restoration and an in-depth knowledge of the hobby. As a result, he was named an Overstreet Grading Advisor in 2011. Shawn helped develop CGC’s Signature Series service, bringing CGC’s credibility to a market in need of trustworthy authentication services. His relationships with comic book publishers and creators have helped build his extensive knowledge of new books, and sharpened his ability to distinguish variants and manufacturing defects in today’s dynamic market. Shawn has appeared on AMC’s Comic Book Men, where he shared his grading expertise, and continues to educate collectors about comic book grading at conventions across the country.