Grading Question: How Does General Use Affect Grade?

Color me a noob, but I have an honest question to ask those of you more seasoned collectors: Aside from obvious mishandling issues (drops, rips, tears, creases, etc) what effect does general manufacturing flaws and handling / reading a comic book have on overall grade of a book?

For example: I just read Stranger Things: Science Camp. The cover is dark colors and framed in black. I made sure the handle the book very carefully however along the spine of the book I can see cracking. It runs almost from the top to the bottom, also on the left hand corners slight fraying begins, aka “soft corner”. The cracking along the spine also SOMETIMES leaves “veins” that creep into the cover space.

This type of thing seems to happen with a fair amount of my books (but not all, and card stock covers tend to be more hardy than paper.) So my question is this: does CGC CBCS, etc severely downgrade a book for the aforementioned "reasonable " flaws? Are they taken with a grain of salt? I mean, it seems like in order to use the book as it is intended to be used some flaws are going to appear.

My thinking is this: You don’t buy a Ferrari for it to just sit in a garage… but you also don’t make it your daily driver. You don’t buy a book to not read it. The obvious answer is buy 2 or more copies but there are some books like Hell Arisen 3 that I don’t have the luxury of buying a second copy of the 1st print for $4.99… but I want to read the issue.

Any thoughts, insights, or advice is appreciated!


If you start causing spine damage from one read I would suggest reading them digitally there is the marvel app or some free websites. You start getting large cracks or multiple spine tics you’re looking at 8.5s. Also everything off the rack isn’t going to be a 9.8 to begin with so if you’re hunting 9.8s I wouldn’t touch them, unbag them, hit the brakes to hard while in the car on the way home, etc…


You might have a bit of a heavy hand when reading or most likely are just a very hard judge. Either way any physical damaged caused by reading won’t usually be passed over by a grading company such as CGC. Minor printing defects might be since it was part of the printing process such as poor staple placement or a larger than normal bindery cut on the top and bottom of the spine but stress marks and creasing/bending/blunting will not be given a free pass 99% of the time.

Oh, I have hit the brakes too hard with my comics in the front seat. Such a palm to face moment.

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I just did that yesterday. Some yahoo cut me off and that was it. Very frustrating

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Buy the books to read… don’t steal’em!


I’ve read a comic a couple of times, submitted it, and still had it come back 9.8 for me. Now, I treat my comics pretty gently as it is, so that may play a role.

For those of you who have experienced ‘hit the brakes and my books went flying off the seat’, try using a book briefcase, or basket if you know you are going to the LCS to buy a lot of books. Place your books in either of the containers mentioned above, put that on the floor of the car, and voila, that problem becomes one of the past.

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Yeah, I keep one of the cardboard comic holders in my car to put books in.

My favorite are the auctions advertising comics as “never read!” Like that means anything…steer clear of anyone that advertises books as “unread”…Sign of someone who does not know grading…or at least ask lots of questions and get pics if it’s a high priced book.

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So how do they know it’s unread to begin with? So what they’re also saying is, I don’t know if there’s any writing, tears, missing pages or digital codes.

It’s a gamble but those people also are ignorant of what they have in some cases so worth the risk.

I’ve put “never read” in the description… but it’s usually followed by… “Bought and bagged and boarded immediately, never read”… that means, I didn’t man handle it with my greasy fingers…

So you used rubber gloves? And everyone who touched it from the moment off the printing press?

I mean, I get it…but that doesn’t mean it can’t be riddled with defects from being shuffled in and out of a long box for years…

Just post 12 pictures and state more Details available upon request.

Nobody is ever going to describe a book as… " shoved into long box… man handled when I felt like sorting long boxes on 3 different occassions, opened a few times out of the bag to read it, skimmed it… licked it… molested it… blah blah blah"…

It means exactly as it says… “I didn’t sit down and turn every page to read it”… now, that’s not me saying it’s never been read, it could have been read by a previous customer who skimmed it at the shop… or an employee. It’s just me, myself and Irene (my other personality) who’s never read it… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

The point is “unread” is in no way indicative of the actual condition of the book, and therefore adds no value.

I do my best to handle the books gently. When I read them I don’t toss them around like a magazine or newspaper. I think it is the flexing of the spine from opening and closing the book, flipping pages etc. I don’t set the book on a flat surface, I more or less make my hand into a V shape and place book on the tips of my fingers.

I’m a collector as much as I am a reader, and I want to keep the books in as good of shape as I can… not sure how I can better handle a book while I read it.

You can buy white painters gloves. I have a pair and my LCS bags and boards all the books so I know it’s just them who touched the books. Maybe that can help you with the finger prints specially on black or glossy books.

I’m gonna make it in all bold and caps moving forward. :wink:

If you’re concerned about condition don’t read them. Get a digital or even a reader copy.

That is what I’m doing for the Booker that I am excited for, like Batman 100 & 96, etc.