The latest craze to hit comic fan preservationists is slabbing. So what the heck is it? Well my not so informed comic book geek brothers and sisters.... here's the skinny.
Back in 2000 a company called the Certified Guaranty Company (CGC) created a grading system for comics that made a little more sense to me than mint, near mint, good, poor etc. 0.5 - 10, how easy is that? Finally, an established grading system had been developed for comic books by an unbiased source. Gone are the days of hoping whoever you were selling your comics to wasn't ripping you off and claiming the comic wasn't worth as much because of some BS story they had spun you.
So, you're thinking, "they grade comic books... whoopity do da", right? Well here's the kicker. After they grade your comics there's no more worrying about the comic losing it's worth because of damage caused by moisture or acids in your bagging and boards because the CGC will slab it for you. Now this brings us back to our original question; just what the heck is slabbing?
Slabbing is street geek talk for encapsulating a comic book in a hard plastic shell. Inside the shell, your comic is sealed in a sleeve of a gas impermeable polymer called barex. This is great, nothing can hurt my collection now, right? Well for the most part, yes this is true. Your collection is safe, barring an act of God or some jackassery on your part.
Now you have to decide. Is it worth never being able to go back and read your old comics again after they've been entombed in plastic for good? Do you buy comics in the hopes that someday they'll be worth tons of cash? Or do you buy them because you love a great storyline?
The CGC isn't all smiles, apple pies, and cherry sundaes though.. what if you don't agree with their grading? In 2003, the CGC adopted the Overstreet Comic Buyer's Guide standards, which wasn't as strict as the CGC's previous standards. Now somebody else's comic that isn't in as good of condition may be able to get the same comic grade as your issue, effectively lowering the overall price of the issue. Is it a big deal? I doubt it really makes that much of a difference but you just paid someone to depreciate the price of your comic book. Sure, I guess you could always take it back out of the plastic casing, if you can fort knox the comic out of there without damaging it further and just write off the loss you paid having the comic slabbed anyway. You also have to deal with the increased space your collection will now occupy. Instead of bags and backings, now each comic book not only takes up it's original space but the space that the plastic case holding it occupies as well. CGC storage boxes for graded comics hold between twenty-eight to thirty graded comics. How many comic books are in your collection?
I might slab some of my more hard to find comic books but for the most part I just read comics for the entertainment, so this fanboy is going to stick with bags and boards.
I'd have to agree...I'll stikc to bags and boards. Even a few wall mounted-able UV protected cases to show off my first editions. But they are all re-openable. Not sure I'd want any of my collection Slabbed. I sometimes like to gently read through my old collections.