Raw, Raw, Raw!

Last weekend was the Toronto ComiCon. Now I realize this site is read by people from all over the world, and if you have been following the posts here the last few days, a lot has been said about it already. So I will leave it at that except to say I was there looking for raw comics in particular but I was looking for one CGC graded book as well.

Enough about CGC. Lets talk raw, and the advantages or disadvantages of buying raw books.

Last weekend was the Toronto ComiCon. Now I realize this site is read by people from all over the world, and if you have been following the posts here the last few days, a lot has been said about it already. So I will leave it at that except to say I was there looking for raw comics in particular but I was looking for one CGC graded book as well.

I was there for the Friday and Saturday session, so my first day was a recon mission. Checking out who was there and what was available and where I needed to spend more time at on Saturday. Now I am not a fan of pouring through long boxes, and am really not a fan of long boxes that are not in alphabetical order, as that to me just eats up time with absolutely no guarantee of results.

I wanted to keep focused on high grade raw keys, primarily Silver Age but certainly open to some Bronze Age as well. This hobby is, without a doubt, nostalgia driven. Most collectors start off with the books they grew up with. For me it was the Silver Age, and I never grow tired of trying to find a better copy, or another excellent copy of my favorites.

When Marvel killed off Gwen Stacy in Amazing Spider-Man #121 and #122, that was the beginning of my loss of interest. Now it didn’t happen overnight but I can pinpoint that as single story that contributed to my loss of interest in my beloved hobby. I collected voraciously for another 20 years before selling my entire collection in 1992 only to come back about ten years later and start all over again.

Hard to believe but the Bronze Age is now 40 years old and a lot of the properties from that time period are really at the forefront of the collecting industry now. Moon Knight’s 1st appearance, Werewolf By Night, Power Man, Iron Fist, Shang Chi, many of these characters slated for upcoming TV or movie appearances. Thanos, all the great Jim Starlin Captain Marvel and Warlock story arcs, all are about 40 years old.

As a collector I am drawn towards the Silver Age, now as a business man I recognize the value in seeking out Bronze 1st appearances in high to ultra high grade. There is probably some financial upside in grabbing those properties before they also go through the roof.

So just to share with you some of the treasures I picked up, and for different reasons.

I picked up a raw copy of My Greatest Adventure #17 from 1957. Now I have never seen this book before and in all honesty being a Marvel Silver Age collector wasn’t even aware of this title except in passing. What caught my eye was a great grey tone cover by, I believe, Russ Heath. I opened it up and the main story in the book was a Jack Kirby story. No credits, but it’s the King alright and that was it: it now resides bagged and boarded in my “Miscellaneous” long box. A stunning, perfectly centred VF.

True Life Secrets 23 CoverA raw copy of True Life Secrets #23 from 1954. Google that book. The cover is worth the price of admission alone, a true classic of the Golden Age.

A beautiful raw Strange Tales #135 in 8.5 to 9.0. The first appearance of Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.! I picked this up on Friday, and when I went through it that night I was once again blown away at how complete the first appearance of this title is and how far ahead of its time. In that 12 page story from 1965, we are introduced to S.H.I.E.L.D., Life Model Decoys, Hydra, the Helicarrier and the amazing flying car. It took almost 50 years for that to reach the masses through billion dollar movies and weekly TV series.

Next on the list is a raw Fantastic Four #52 in 9.0 with white pages! First appearance of the Black Panther! More incredible Lee/Kirby magic! Something about holding and reading a 50 year old book that looks like it was just published turns my crank more than any CGC book can!

Avengers #57 raw 8.0! First appearance of the Vision! I’ll take this book any day over the current hot book, Avengers #55, first appearance of Ultron. The majestic Big John Buscema cover is a classic and tough to find in high grade.

One of my all time favorite King Size Specials! Fantastic Four #6 in 9.0 or better. I always loved a great square bound book! First appearance of Annihilus and the birth of Franklin Richards (although they never named him in that issue). An oversized story that packs a ton of punch!

And one last but not least Silver Age raw Thor #166 in 9.0. The 2nd appearance of Him (who would later become Adam Warlock) and a full out fist waving Kirby slugfest with that great white cover, so hard to find in high grade!

I did pick up one Bronze Age key as well, a pristine copy of Marvel Premier #15. The first appearance of Iron Fist.

For the next couple of days I have been going over in my head the books that I had to leave behind. A great run of Captain America from #100 to 120. That is a highly underrated and undervalued run( don’t you agree Walt?).

So what are the advantages /disadvantages of buying raw?

Well obviously the restored issue comes to mind, however that is how you learn. You have to get burned sometimes to figure out when the flame is hot.

But the Big plus, BIG PLUS!!! is that you get to read them! Again, for me there is nothing like handling a book that is 50 years or more old, and it looking like it was just published. It is such a powerful connection to the days gone by, and yet a powerful reminder of all the years of joy that this great hobby affords us!

Happy collecting everyone, and it would be great to hear what treasures you picked up.

Dennis De Pues
Dennis De Pues

Dennis is an admitted "Son of the Silver Age", having grown up with the influences of Silver Age greats: Kirby, Colan, Romita and Buscema.Three decades later, he is the creator of Crash!! and Galloway Park. More is definitely on the way.

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Dennis De Pues
10 years ago

One thing that I left out of this post was that another great advantage to buying raw is that you don’t pay the premium associated with buying CGC slabbed books as well.Another great value once you get pretty comfortable with grading , is you can actually slab the raw books yourself if you are so inclined for either your personal collection or to sell and generate capital to continue your quest for your Holy Grails!

Ed Dee
Ed Dee
10 years ago

Hi Dennis, your right, nothing like picking up a comic that is 40-50 years old and looks just like it came of the comic rack spinner! Am I just weird or does anybody out there smell their comics? Ah, nothing like the smell of fresh ink that is still retained for 40 years !

6 years ago