If you're a reader and/or collector of comic books I imagine that at some point in time or another you have heard about the Certified Guaranty Company, or, "CGC," for short. They are an business entity which you can send a comic into and have "graded" based on its overall condition. After being graded the comic is sealed within plastic (a process known as "slabbing") and proudly displayed with its grade as a sort of conversation piece/item to be traded and sold.
|An example of a comic once graded and "slabbed".|
Views on the CGC
I have feelings about the CGC that could best be described as, "complicated."
I've always felt the point of owning a comic is to be able to read it and enjoy it. If you take your comic and have it "slabbed" you basically now have something where besides the front-and-back cover you can never read the contents--unless you smash the thing out of its encasement, of course. This would make me sound like someone who dislikes the CGC, but if I were ever to get my hands on an "Amazing Fantasy #15", "Action Comics #1", or the first issue of "The Walking Dead", I wouldn't hesitate for a second to get that sucker graded, slabbed, and then either stored away safely or sold to someone who wants to give me lots of money.
|Should I ever own a copy of this, it's getting "slabbed" and sold ASAP.|
Don't judge, I have student loans to repay!
I don't own any CGC graded comics, and I don't think I have any valuable enough to bother getting graded. Perhaps some of my favorite comics could be slabbed if for no reason other than to preserve them, but then how can I read and enjoy these favorite comics now that they are stuck in plastic? There is the argument that with digital taking off people can have their comics slabbed but still be able to enjoy them by reading a digital copy. Fair enough, but I'd really rather be able to flip through one of my favorite comics than just stare at the physical copy stuck in clear frame (of sorts) while I skim the digital-version.
No Easy Answer
The CGC provides a service that some find vital in comics--they have a universal rating system all can rely on--but they also serve to take something I enjoy and make it little more than a commercial product people can buy and sell. Then again almost anything we do for enjoyment can be (and often is) made a commodity, so why should I bemoan the CGC when people have been doing basically the same thing with sports cards and other memorabilia for so long?
I may end up never using the CGC, and I may also have some hostile feelings towards it, but I can also see a use for it, and for that reason you won't see me protesting the existence of the company. I won't be singing praises of the CGC anytime soon either. As I said, my feelings are complicated. Probably because at the end of the day this is a complicated issue without much black-and-white answers. It's all various shades of gray...kind of like the varying levels of quality comics can be given--or did I just blow your mind?