How to Grade Comics

According to all those who know, the best way to attract visitors to your site is to supply readers with answers to the sort of questions they're likely to be asking. Obviously I can't answer the question, "Why don't you get a life and talk about something instead of comics?" because as we all know there is no, "instead of comics," so I'll answer the other one; "How do I grade comic books?"

Comic grading's a matter that caused me no end of vexation when I first started buying and selling comics on Internet auction sites and so I've pooled the wisdom I gained from various sources, in order to create a guide of my own. As always in life, nothing's ever complete, so, if you have anything you think should be added to it or amended, to make it more useful, I'll be glad to hear from you. Because comments can't be made on static pages, here's the post where you can share any thoughts you may have on the subject.

As you'll see I do prefer to use a more general guide rather than endless tables that tell you to, "Deduct 0.25 points for a 1mm tear and 0.27 points for a 1.1mm tear, but then add 0.32 points for..." as that's the sort of thing that can drive you mad. The best way to use this guide is to compare your comic's condition with the descriptions below and see which best matches what you've got.

So, here we go.

A comic that looks brand new.

May be slightly off-centre.
No creases.
No fading.
Should lie flat.

Should be straight, with no rolling.
Staples should look brand new.
Only the slightest bindery tears allowed.

Only minor fading allowed.
No stains or marks.
No tears or cuts.

A good looking comic with only minor flaws.

Should be lie flat but with some wear.
Colours may be slightly faded.
Corners may be slightly creased.
Dates, initials and store stamps allowed.

May have slight wear.
Should be flat, though some lines may be visible.

May have minor printing and binding defects.
May be yellowish in colour.
No stains or major discolouration.

Above average in appearance.

Minor wear.
Minor creases.
Corners may be blunted.
Some reduction in cover gloss.

May have a roll to it
Staples may have some discolouration. Minor rust migration allowed.
Minor creases.
Up to 1/4" split (6-7mm).

May have minor stains.
May have minor tears to the edges.
May be brown or tan in colour.

A very average used comic.

May have a price or date sticker.
May have a large amount of wear, including creases, fading and discolouration.
A better copy with a piece of the cover missing belongs in this category.
May be detached at one staple.
Low gloss.

May be rolled.
The staples may have rust.
Spine split of up to 1" (2.5cm) allowed.

May be brown.
May have a tear repaired with tape.
May have minor printing defects.
Minor acid odour.

A below average comic book.

May have coupons cut  from it.
May be detached.
May have creases, fading and major discolouration.
Minor tears and folds.
Low gloss.

The staples may be discoloured, rusted or even missing.
Creases and minor tears permitted.
Spine split up to 2" (5cm).

Shouldn't be brittle.
May be brown.
May have obvious types of repair, such as tape.
Small pieces of the comic may be missing.
There may be stains and other page defects.
Centrefold may be detached.
Moderate acid odour.

A bit of a mess but still readable and no pages missing.

May be detached from the comic.
May have large amounts of wear including fading, discolouration and stains.
Coupons may be cut from it.
Less than 1/12th of the cover may be missing.

Major wear allowed.
Staples may be missing.
The spine may be split up to 2/3rds of the cover.

Can be faded, torn, discoloured or stained but must still be readable.
Most of the page shouldn't be brittle.

In a mess and to be avoided unless you're desperate.

Major amount of wear.
May have large stains, large amounts of fading, rips, tears and pieces missing.

Probably bent and torn.
Staples may be missing.

May be brittle and break at the touch.
Large stains and possibly mould damage.
There may be pages missing.
Marks, tears and other flaws that may affect the story.