Our staff has been trained to take their time in assessing every comic. Each grade is assigned after all defects have been considered and the book is graded as a whole item. Graders are reminded to treat the grading of newer and older comics consistently and asked to ignore the value of the comic when grading key or older issues.
Please keep in mind that these guidelines are not a rulebook. Personal opinion of the grader does come into play. In cases where a comic is borderline between two grades and the grader is mentally debating between which grade to assign, we ask that our staff lean towards assigning lower grades to avoid controversy and ensure customer satisfaction.
New/Unread - Ungraded
New comics which have been received from the distributor and placed into a bag with a board straight out of the box after minor visual inspection for damage. Most will grade at Near Mint or better with only a few Very Fine comics existing in this category.
Mint - MT 10.0
This comic is absolutely perfect. It looks as if it had just been printed and has absolutely no defects.
(As perfection is elusive, this grade is nearly unattainable.)
Mint - MT 9.9
An extremely subtle bindery defect may be present.
Near Mint/MINT - NM/MT 9.8
Very minor imperfections are present which are generally unnoticeable. An interior page tear under 1/32 of an inch or an interior date stamp which is almost hidden from view.
Near Mint+ - NM+ 9.6
Has defects that will not be detected unless carefully scrutinized. The cover may have small, nearly imperceptible indentations. Staples may show very slight discoloration.
Near Mint - NM 9.4
A visually impressive comic that has only slight defects. A bend of up to 1/16 of an inch may exist without any break in color of the cover. The comic may have tiny blunting of the corners, and very few light stress lines. Comic must lay perfectly flat with no spine roll.
Near Mint- - NM- 9.2
A noticeable minor defect such as a single cover crease up to an eighth of an inch without color break. Interior page color may be slightly off-white.
Very Fine/Near Mint - VF/NM 9.0
A comic with a single noticeable defect or a combination of minor imperfections. Slight staple tears may be present, a small amount of wear is shown on the cover including some minor stress lines, up to an eighth of an inch in a bend of the cover without a color break. Perhaps some very minor interior tears exist.
Very Fine+ - VF+ 8.5
This comic may have some very minor spine stress with some color break permitted. A cover crease of up to a fourth of an inch may exist without color break. Interior pages can be creamy to tan in color, but are not brittle or stiff. A very small tear could exist.
Very Fine - VF 8.0
A comic in excellent condition with only a few flaws. The comic must lay nearly flat, but may have a little spine roll. Corners may have small fold creases. Spine stress can be present, but will not be significant.
Very Fine- - VF 7.5
The comic is visually impressive, but is beginning to show some light wear and may have some light cover soiling. The cover may have blunted corners and may not lay perfectly flat. Interior pages may have slight tears.
Fine/Very Fine - FN/VF 7.0
The comic has absorbed some of its environment, but has generally been kept in acceptable condition. The cover will typically have a reduction of reflectivity. There may be minor creases. Slightly rusty staples may exist. The corners of the comic can be blunted with minor tears along the margins of the pages. The spine will often have several stress lines and a few may be deep with color break.
Fine+ - FN+ 6.5
The comic may not lay flat as a minor spine roll is present. The cover could have some minor staining or discoloration. There will typically be minor to moderate cover creases and a spine split of up to a quarter of an inch, or a major color break is present.
Fine - FN 6.0
Cover wear is more significant with moderate creasing with and without color break, spine stress, and could have some minor spine splitting. Spine roll may be present. A Fine grade comic can show some slight age and wear with the presence of a significant fold/crease and the possibility of off-white to yellowing pages. The interior pages will not be brittle and there can be no water damage. All pages must be attached.
Fine- - FN- 5.5
The cover shows more dramatic wear with the possibility of chips missing from edges and tears. Bundling ridges may be present on comics that were on the top/bottom of a stack during original shipment. A major fold, yellowing pages with minor edgewear and the possibility of light pencil writing may exist.
Very Good/Fine - VG/FN 5.0
A worn comic that is fully readable. The cover will have low gloss with dimpling and creases present. The spine may be rolled moderately with up to half an inch of spine split. A light acidic odor may be present from the paper aging.
Very Good+ - VG+ 4.5
Cover wear is moderate with multiple creases and color breaks and some fading. Staples can be discolored with tears at the staple and up to one inch of spine split. Spine stress will be present with moderate interior tears. The acidic odor of paper aging should be minor. There may be minor repair attempts to the comic present. A torn and missing piece of between an eighth to a quarter of an inch may exist, but it can not effect the story. Interior pages can be brown, but will not be brittle.
Very Good - VG 4.0
The comic has light scuffing or staining on the cover. May have pen or pencil writing as long as it is not extensive. There will likely be heavy spine wear, significant stress lines, and creasing with color breaks. It could have a small tear of up to a quarter of an inch that does not interrupt the story. Acidic odor will likely be present and pages can be brownish in color, but will not be brittle. The comic is complete, but may have a partially loose interior page such as the centerfold.
Very Good- - VG- 3.5
A well read, used comic. The edges of the comic will show significant wear and fraying. There will be large and significant cover creases. The cover will likely show dimpling/indentations, have yellowing to brown interior pages, and the corners will be heavily blunted/abraded.
Good/Very Good - GD/VG 3.0
A comic that may be nearing the end of it's readability. The cover will have very low or no gloss and could be detached on one staple. The cover will show significant wear, scuffing, and creasing. A spine split of up to one and a half inches may be present. Interior tears will be up to half an inch, but will not effect the story. Water damage may be present upon close scrutiny. In some cases, the staples may have been replaced.
Good+ - GD+ 2.5
The cover may be completely detached, but is present. Corners can be rounded. Acidic odor is beginning to become heavy. Spine split and spine roll can be present. Scuffing, missing chips, and significant edge wear may exist. Staining and warping from water damage is often noticeable. Interior pages could be browning.
Good - GD 2.0
The spine can be heavily rolled and the cover will show significant wear/scuffing/creasing. A spine split of up to two inches can exist. The staples may be rusty with some discoloration on the book. The acid odor is heavy. The comic may have significant warping damage from water/liquid, but will not have pages that stick together. The comic must be complete and fully readable, but may have writing that does not damage the story. The cover or centerfold can be completely detached.
Good- - GD- 1.8
The comic has heavy staining and may contain significant writing throughout. Water damage causing heavy warping may be present. The comic has been damaged, interior pages may be missing pieces or have become unreadable and the story may slightly be effected.
Fair/Good - FR/GD 1.5
Tears, heavy creasing and folds will exist in the cover which can be detached with considerable wear and significant staining. There may be rust staining and a missing staple. The back cover can be missing up to a tenth of its length.
Fair - FR 1.0
A ragged comic that has lost most of its collector's value. Coupons or panels may have been cut out which effect the story somewhat. The cover can be torn and missing significant pieces. The centerfold could be completely missing. Pages may be brittle with multiple tears. Numerous folds and creases throughout the comic. The cover may be crumpled and damaged.
Poor - PR 0.5
The comic is only a slight remnant of its original condition. The comic is missing its cover or has major damage. Massive water damage or damage effecting the majority of the book may exist. Pages may be missing.