So here’s a slabbed ‘n’ graded copy of Civil War #2, 2nd printing, that turned up in a box of unsold stock we acquired from another store. It’s an interesting artifact of a once red-hot comic book crossover event since supplanted by a cascade of other crossover events, themselves all secondary to the pursuit of the movie tie-in dollar which may or, more likely, may not trickle down from the cinematic breadwinners to their poor print cousins.
This particular edition itself is of note, a second pressing of the issue in which Spider-Man publicly reveals his secret identity, with a new cover reflecting said event to apparently take advantage of the real-world (as opposed to just comic book press) media attention. The revelation itself pretty much had “reset button” written all over it, and sure enough, shortly after Civil War was over and we were all on to the next thing, Spider-Man’s secret identity status quo was restored and thus, what small importance this issue had in the grand scheme of Marvel’s things was no longer what it was.
Currently, no one is really seeking out back issues of Civil War, and even the sales of the books collecting that series and its army of tie-ins have fallen the farther away we get from that event’s heyday. And now we have this…an item produced to exploit interest in a specific plot twist, since undone, in a Big Event Series, since…um, unbiggened, I guess.
This item’s only claim to collectibility at this point is that it’s sealed in a plastic slab, with an official condition grade assigned to it by a grading company. And, as we can see on auction sites and as used to be demonstrated by helpful graphics in the now-defunct print edition of Wizard Magazine, “slabbed” comics can often command much higher prices (or at least are set at higher prices) than the same comic without a slab.
If the story I was told of this item’s lineage is accurate, it was apparently offered, as is, slab and all, through the monthly distributor’s catalog as a prepackaged collectible. The price marked on the store sticker is $59.99, which is like twenty times the regular retail cost of the comic by itself. I was also told the item was ordered by mistake and could not be (or simply wasn’t) returned.
This is an empty collectible. Now, to be clear, I’m not accusing or blaming anyone for this. There was a time when this was possibly a viable item. There was demand for this series, for this particular issue, and interest was high in that plot development. And the graded ‘n’ sealed books are usually of interest to some collectors. However, you can infer a “sell-by” date on some items, and it’s reasonably clear this is one “collectible” that has outlived itself.
It’s my problem now, and hopefully I can get a few bucks for it on eBay.
I hope none of my potential bidders read this.