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Grading a Comic’s grading standards are based on the standards laid out in The Overstreet Guide to Grading Comics, with additional experience gained from our many years in the comic industry. We closely monitor and calibrate our personnel to maintain adherence to our established standards. However, grading is an inherently subjective process, and there will always be slight differences in opinion. Even professional grading services like Halo and CGC acknowledge that the same book may not receive the same grade if submitted for grading more than once. While we cannot guarantee that a book graded twice will receive the same grade each time, we can guarantee that every comic we sell has been listed at the grade at which we purchased it.

Comics listed for sale on are listed with one of two types of grades:

  • The basic grading scale, also known as letter grades, uses the grades from Near Mint (highest) to Poor (lowest):
    • NM Near Mint
    • VF Very Fine
    • FN Fine
    • VG Very Good
    • GD Good
    • FR Fair
    • PR Poor
  • The ten-point grading scale assigns grades ranging from 10.0 (highest) down to 0.5 (lowest):
    • 10.0 GM Gem Mint
    • 9.9 M Mint
    • 9.8 NM/M Near Mint/Mint
    • 9.6 NM+ Near Mint+
    • 9.4 NM Near Mint
    • 9.2 NM- Near Mint-
    • 9.0 VF/NM Very Fine/Near Mint
    • 8.5 VF+ Very Fine+
    • 8.0 VF Very Fine
    • 7.5 VF- Very Fine-
    • 7.0 FN/VF Fine/Very Fine
    • 6.5 FN+ Fine+
    • 6.0 FN Fine
    • 5.5 FN- Fine-
    • 5.0 VG/FN Very Good/Fine
    • 4.5 VG+ Very Good+
    • 4.0 VG Very Good
    • 3.5 VG- Very Good-
    • 3.0 GD/VG Good/Very Good
    • 2.5 GD+ Good+
    • 2.0 GD Good
    • 1.8 GD- Good-
    • 1.5 FR/GD Fair/Good
    • 1.0 FR Fair
    • 0.5 PR Poor

At, we use the basic grading scale for most of our comics priced up to about $20.00. We use the ten-point scale to grade most comics valued at $20.00 or more and those published before 1980. Most comics graded using the ten-point grading scale have cover scans, so when you’re considering purchasing a comic, you can see the front (and sometimes back) cover scans of the exact comic being offered. For cheaper comics graded on the basic grading scale, we show you a stock image of what that issue’s cover looks like, but we don’t scan the exact book being offered.

Additionally, some comics are ‘slabbed’ by CGC, Halo, CBCS, or PGX. These comic grading services will grade a comic and then seal the comic in a hard plastic case that displays the assigned grade. These grading services assign grades on the same ten-point grading scale used by You can quickly identify a slabbed comic because the grades will include the name of the grading service, such as ‘CGC 9.4’ or ‘PGX 9.4’. A comic that has not been slabbed is sometimes called a ‘raw’ comic, which means a regular comic not encased in a plastic slab.

Exceptionally few comics are returned to us due to grading, but should you receive a comic that you believe is not graded correctly, please get in touch with us at or call us at 0418 589 301 (Monday through Friday 9am to 5pm EST) and report the problem. We will gladly work out a solution that meets your needs and concerns. Please note that unauthorised returns are returned at the sender’s own expense.

Buyer responsibility and CGC, Halo, CBCS, and PGX comics: if buying comics graded and encased by CGC, CBCS, or PGX, please closely inspect the large, high-resolution cover images we provided before purchasing. By bidding on or purchasing a third-party graded comic, you acknowledge your acceptance of the grade assigned by the certification company. By purchasing a third-party graded comic, you accept that is not responsible for the grade assigned by the grade certification company.

Grading Standards

When reviewing the possible defects a comic may have, as shown below for the various grades, please keep in mind that while a single defect may not reduce a comic’s grade, that defect, if repeated and/or combined with other accumulated defects, may push the grade down by one or more grades.

Near Mint (NM) condition

  • Near Mint/Mint NM/M 9.8
  • Near Mint+ NM+ 9.6
  • Near Mint NM 9.4
  • Near Mint- NM- 9.2

A nearly perfect copy that looks brand new with only a few very minor defects. Acceptable minor defects on an NM copy include: a very small amount of spine stresses, very minor instances of denting (two or three at most), slight corner blunting, and minor (less than 1/8″) bends without colour breaks.

On the ten-point grading scale, a lower grade, like 9.2, will allow these defects in a greater quantity and degree than a higher grade, like 9.8, which sometimes may have no discernible defects at all. We do not assign grades 9.9 and 10.0 to any unslabbed ‘raw’ comics. You will only see these ultra-high grades on comics slabbed by one of the grading services. There is such a small degree of separation between the grades 9.8, 9.9, and 10.0 that even the most experienced comic graders may disagree on which of these three grades to assign to an apparently flawless comic, so the highest grade we will assign to a comic is 9.8.

In some cases, it is possible for a comic shipped brand new from the publisher or purchased new from a comic store’s shelves to already be in less than near-mint condition due to how the comic was produced, shipped, stored, or handled before purchase.

Very Fine (VF) condition

  • Very Fine/Near Mint VF/NM 9.0
  • Very Fine+ VF+ 8.5
  • Very Fine VF 8.0
  • Very Fine- VF- 7.5

A VF copy has minor defects but is in overall excellent condition. Most well-kept modern comics (especially if they have been read) fall into this grade. Acceptable defects on a VF are minor and include: Minor corner wear, a light accumulation of spine stress that may include colour-break, a light accumulation of dents, and bends or folds less than 1/4″ (note that on a VF copy, some colour-break is allowed in a bend/fold).

Fine (FN) condition

  • Fine/Very Fine FN/VF 7.0
  • Fine+ FN+ 6.5
  • Fine FN 6.0
  • Fine- FN- 5.5

A comic in FN condition is considered “above average” but still displays some wear. In general, eye appeal is somewhat reduced due to either an accumulation of minor defects or one or two moderate defects. Acceptable defects on an FN copy include: Slight spine roll, a moderate accumulation of spine stresses that may break colour, a spine split of less than 1/2″, minor water spotting or residue (less than the size of a dime), an impacted corner, and moderate foxing.

Very Good (VG) condition

  • Very Good/Fine VG/FN 5.0
  • Very Good+ VG+ 4.5
  • Very Good VG 4.0
  • Very Good- VG- 3.5

A comic in VG condition shows some significant wear but has not accumulated enough total defects to reduce eye appeal to the point that it is not a desirable copy. A VG copy may have an accumulation of minor defects or one or two major ones. Acceptable defects on a VG copy include Spine roll, 1/2″ to 1″ spine splits or other tears, a cover or centrefold that is detached at one staple, discolouration due to oxidation, and a moderate accumulation of water damage or staining.

Good (GD) condition

  • Good/Very Good GD/VG 3.0
  • Good+ GD+ 2.5
  • Good GD 2.0
  • Good- GD- 1.8

A GD copy has major defects but is still complete and readable. A GD copy will have significant damage, usually an accumulation of smaller defects punctuated with some major defects. Acceptable defects on a GD copy include a vertical book-length crease, 1.5″-2″ spine split, a cover or centrefold completely detached, major tears, heavy discolouration/brittleness due to oxidation, heavy amounts of staining, residue, and water damage.

Fair (FR) condition

  • Fair/Good FR/GD 1.5
  • Fair FR 1.0

An FR copy will have no eye appeal and display significant damage. A comic book in FR condition may have non-story elements such as coupons, portions of ad pages, or Marvel Value Stamps cut or torn out of the book, but all story and art will be complete. If an entire ad page is missing, the grade will drop to Poor. Types of damage that place a comic in the FR range include a spine split of up to 2/3 the book’s length, a missing back cover provided the front cover is still attached, severe water damage or residue damage, mould, and paper deterioration due to oxidation.

Poor (PR) condition

  • Poor PR 0.5

Comic books in PR condition may miss up to 4 pages (two spreads) of the story or ad pages, have a completely split spine or display severe damage that affects the book’s readability.

A Quick Note On Digital Codes

Publishers may choose to include digital content codes in their comics. Except where noted, we cannot guarantee that our comics will contain valid, unused, unexpired digital codes. We can take no responsibility if a publisher chooses not to allow you to redeem such a code. Additionally, reasonable efforts to redeem this content (mainly, carefully removing stickers covering codes) are not considered to reduce the grade we would assign the book.

Glossary of Grading Terms

Bend: When part of a comic is curved, interrupting the flat, smooth cover surface. Bends WILL NOT show distinct lines (see also crease/fold).

Bindery Tear: A small horizontal rip in a comic’s cover usually seen on both the front and the back. These are always found along the spine and should be graded like spine stress if they are shorter than 1/4″.

Chew: Damage caused by gnawing rodents or insects (usually). Results in multi-page paper loss with jagged edges. Very visually distinct.

Cockling: Bubbling on a cover’s surface (typically a printing defect).

Crease: A fold that causes ink removal/colour break, usually resulting in a white line (see bend/fold).

Denting: Indentations or dimpling (usually in the cover) that don’t penetrate the paper or remove any gloss but do interrupt the smooth, flat surface.

Double Cover: Technically a printing defect, double-cover books had an extra copy of the cover stapled on during manufacturing. This protective extra cover can be a boon, as the condition of the innermost cover grades these books.

Dust Shadow: When a comic has been stored in a stack at some point in its life, any portions of the cover that weren’t covered up by the adjacent books have been exposed to environmental air, light, and settling dust particles, sometimes creating lines of discolouration along the edges.

Fingerprints: When finger oils left behind from everyday handling remain on a comic’s surface, they can eat away at the ink, creating colour-breaking fingerprints on the cover that are sometimes distinct and sometimes smudged. Finger oils can usually be wiped away, but fingerprints are irreversible.

Flash: A method of examining a comic that uses its natural gloss and light (glare) to help you see imperfections on its surface, like denting.

Fold: Linear dents in the paper that have distinct lines, but DO NOT break colour (see also bend/crease).

Foxing: Bacterial or fungal growth in the paper of a comic (usually the cover) that presents in brownish-discoloured clusters or spots.

Gloss: The shiny surface finish of a comic.

Moisture or Water Damage: The damage left behind when a comic has been exposed to moisture (directly or environmentally). Water damage often presents with staining and/or a stiff or swollen feel to the paper. Look for lines of demarcation.

Paper Loss: When the surface of a comic has been compromised. This can result from heavy scuffing/abrasion, accidental tape pull, or chemical reactions caused by some moisture damage.

Paper Quality: Paper quality refers to the colouration and structural integrity of a comic’s cover and interior pages. We do give some leeway on pre-1980s comics. Still, when environmental conditions have caused the paper to oxidise and/or deteriorate significantly, the decrease in eye appeal and paper strength will bring a book’s grade down. Generally, paper quality will not be a concern for most modern (post-1980) comics.

Printing Defect: A flaw caused in the printing process. Examples: paper wrinkling, miss-cut edges, misfolded or miss-wrapped spine, untrimmed pages/corners, off-registered colour, colour artifacts, off-centred trimming, misfolded or unbound pages, missing staples.

Reading Crease: A vertical cover crease near the staples that run (generally) parallel to the spine, caused by bending the cover over the staples or just too far to the left. Square-bound books get these very easily.

Restoration: Any attempt (professional or amateur) to enhance the appearance of an aging or damaged comic book. Dry pressing/cleaning and adding tape repairs are not considered restoration. Still, the following techniques are recolouring/colour touch, adding missing paper, stain/ink/dirt/tape removal, whitening, chemical pressing, staple replacement, trimming, re-glossing, married pages, etc. Restored comics generally carry lower value than their unaltered counterparts.

Scuffing: A light paper abrasion that may or may not break colour but interrupts the surface gloss of the book. Its effect on grading is determined by severity.

Soiling: Substances or residue on the surface of a comic. Most commonly found in white spaces. The residue is a more severe form of soiling.

Spine Break: A spine stress that has devolved into a tear (usually through multiple wraps). Spine breaks greatly decrease the spine’s structural integrity and is often found close to the staples.

Spine Roll: A condition where the left edge of a comic curves toward the front or back, caused by folding back each page as the comic is read. It also usually results in page fanning.

Spine Split: A clean, even separation at the spine fold, commonly above or below the staple, but can occur anywhere along the spine length.

Spine Stress: A small crimp/fold perpendicular to the spine, usually less than 1/4″ long.

Staple Detached: When a wrap has come completely loose from a staple and is no longer bound to the comic in that area.

Staple Migration: When staple rust has moved onto the surrounding paper, causing staining.

Staple Popped: When one side of a cover has torn right next to the staple but is still attached by the slip of paper beneath the staple. A popped staple can lead to a detached staple if not handled carefully.

Staple Rust: Literally, rust on the staple.

Subscription Crease: A vertical cover-to-cover fold caused by the book being folded in half when sent through the mail directly from the publisher.

Wrap: A single sheet of paper folded to form four story pages. Most modern comics have eight wraps, plus the cover (but there are exceptions!).

Writing: Writing can be found in comics in many forms, and downgrades are based on severity. Everyday things you’ll see:

  • Minor initial or date markings (do not affect grade except in the highest range)
  • Names were written on covers or in margins
  • Interior puzzles filled out
  • Marker scribbles
  • Markings/colouring over interior art
  • Writing indentations, in which no ink or pencil has touched the comic, but it has been used as a writing surface, so you can see rough areas where the writing is dented in.
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