Comic Book Grading

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

  • The basic grading scale, also known as letter grades, uses the grades NM, VF, FN, VG, GD, FR, and PR. These are abbreviations for Near Mint (highest), Very Fine, Fine, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor (lowest).
  • 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 mycomicshop.com, we use the basic grading scale for most of our comics priced around $1.00 to $10.00. We use the ten-point scale to grade most comics valued $10.00 or more and those published before 1980. Comics graded using the ten-point grading scale are individually scanned and listed for sale, 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 an 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 or PGX. CGC and PGX are comic grading services that will grade a comic and then seal the comic in a hard plastic case that displays the assigned grade. Both grading services assign grades on the same ten-point grading scale used by mycomicshop.com. You can easily 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 can be referred to as a "raw" comic, which just means a regular comic not encased in a plastic slab.

Very few comics are returned to us due to grading, but should you receive a comic that you believe is not properly graded, please contact us at customerservice@mycomicshop.com or call us at (817) 860-7827 (Monday through Friday 9AM to 6PM Central Time) and report the problem. We will gladly work out a solution that meets your needs and concerns. Please note that unauthorized returns are returned at the sender's own expense.

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

Nearly perfect with only minor imperfections that keep it from the next higher grade. The overall look is "as if it was just purchased and read once or twice."

  • Bindery/Printing: Subtle, tears up to 1/16" on Silver Age and later, 1/4" on Golden Age.
  • Cover Inks/Gloss: Bright with high reflectivity.
  • Cover Wear: Flat, no wear, generally centered, secure.
  • Cover Creases: 1/16" bend with no color break allowed.
  • Soiling/Staining: None allowed except for slight foxing.
  • Dates/Stamps: Small inconspicuous dates/initials allowed.
  • Spine Roll: Tight and flat, no roll.
  • Spine Split: None allowed.
  • Staples: Generally centered, slight discoloration.
  • Staple Tears: None allowed.
  • Rust Migration: None allowed.
  • Stress Lines: Almost no lines.
  • Corners: Ever-so-slight blunting, no creases.
  • Centerfold: Secure.
  • Interior Tears: Slight tears allowed.
  • Paper Quality/Color: Cream/off-white, supple and fresh.
  • Acid Odor: None allowed.
  • Missing Pieces: None allowed.
  • Amateur Repairs: None allowed.
  • Coupon Cut: None allowed.
  • Readability: Preserved.

Very Fine (VF) condition

An excellent copy with outstanding eye appeal. Sharp, bright and clean with supple pages. A comic book of this grade has the appearance of having been carefully handled.

  • Bindery/Printing: Limited accumulation of minor defects.
  • Cover Inks/Gloss: Generally bright with moderate to high reflectivity.
  • Cover Wear: Relatively flat with minimal wear.
  • Cover Creases: 1/4" bend with no color break allowed.
  • Soiling/Staining: Minor foxing.
  • Dates/Stamps: Dates, initials, and store stamps allowed.
  • Spine Roll: Almost completely flat.
  • Spine Split: Minor color break allowed.
  • Staples: Some discoloration allowed.
  • Staple Tears: Very slight tears allowed.
  • Rust Migration: None allowed.
  • Stress Lines: Very minor to minor lines allowed.
  • Corners: Minute wear allowed.
  • Centerfold: Mostly secure.
  • Interior Tears: Minor tears in margin allowed.
  • Paper Quality/Color: Tan to cream supple.
  • Acid Odor: None allowed.
  • Missing Pieces: None allowed.
  • Amateur Repairs: None allowed.
  • Coupon Cut: None allowed.
  • Readability: Preserved.

Fine (FN) condition

An above-average copy that shows minor wear but is still relatively flat and clean with no significant creasing or other serious defects. Eye appeal is somewhat reduced because of slight surface wear and the accumulation of small defects, especially on the spine and edges. A fine condition comic book appears to have been read a few times and has been handled with moderate care.

  • Bindery/Printing: Some accumulation of minor defects.
  • Cover Inks/Gloss: Major reduction in reflectivity.
  • Cover Wear: Minor wear.
  • Cover Creases: Minor to moderate creases.
  • Soiling/Staining: Minor discoloration, staining, and/or foxing.
  • Dates/Stamps: Dates, initials, and stamps allowed.
  • Spine Roll: Minor roll allowed.
  • Spine Split: Up to 1/4" split or severe color break allowed.
  • Staples: Minor discoloration allowed.
  • Staple Tears: Minor tears allowed.
  • Rust Migration: Minor migration allowed.
  • Stress Lines: Accumulation of minor lines.
  • Corners: Blunting or abrasion more common.
  • Centerfold: Loose. Not detached.
  • Interior Tears: Minor tears in margin.
  • Paper Quality/Color: Brown to tan, supple, not brittle.
  • Acid Odor: None allowed.
  • Missing Pieces: None allowed.
  • Amateur Repairs: None allowed.
  • Coupon Cut: None allowed.
  • Readability: Preserved.

Very Good (VG) condition

The average used comic book. A comic in this grade shows some significant moderate wear, but still has not accumulated enough total defects to reduce eye appeal to the point that it is not a desirable copy.

  • Bindery/Printing: Do not affect grade.
  • Cover Inks/Gloss: Major to extreme reduction in reflectivity.
  • Cover Wear: Moderate to significant wear, may be loose.
  • Cover Creases: Accumulation of creases or dimples.
  • Soiling/Staining: Some discoloration, fading, foxing, even minor soiling.
  • Dates/Stamps: Do not affect grade.
  • Spine Roll: Moderate roll.
  • Spine Split: Up to 1" split.
  • Staples: Discolored.
  • Staple Tears: Minor to moderate tears.
  • Rust Migration: Some migration.
  • Stress Lines: Minor to moderate lines.
  • Corners: Blunted or abraded corners.
  • Centerfold: Loose or detached at one staple.
  • Interior Tears: Minor to moderate tears.
  • Paper Quality/Color: Brown, not brittle.
  • Acid Odor: Minor odor.
  • Missing Pieces: 1/4" triangle, 1/8" square.
  • Amateur Repairs: Minor repairs on otherwise high grade.
  • Coupon Cut: None allowed.
  • Readability: Preserved.

Good (GD) condition

This grade shows substantial wear; often considered a "reading copy." Comics in this grade have all pages and covers, although there may be small pieces missing. Books in this grade are commonly creased, scuffed, abraded, soiled, but still completely readable.

  • Bindery/Printing: Do not affect grade.
  • Cover Inks/Gloss: Nearly no reflectivity to no reflectivity.
  • Cover Wear: Significant wear, may be detached.
  • Cover Creases: Book-length creases with minor to moderate creases, dimples.
  • Soiling/Staining: Discoloration, fading, foxing or moderate soiling.
  • Dates/Stamps: Do not affect grade.
  • Spine Roll: Roll likely.
  • Spine Split: Up to 2" split.
  • Staples: Degraded, replaced or missing.
  • Staple Tears: Moderate tears.
  • Rust Migration: May have migration.
  • Stress Lines: Lines are common.
  • Corners: Rounded corners more common.
  • Centerfold: Loose or detached.
  • Interior Tears: Moderate tears.
  • Paper Quality/Color: Brown, not brittle.
  • Acid Odor: Moderate odor.
  • Missing Pieces: 1/2" triangle, 1/4" square.
  • Amateur Repairs: Common in Silver age and older.
  • Coupon Cut: None allowed.
  • Readability: Preserved.

Fair (FR) condition

A copy in this grade shows heavy wear. Some collectors consider this the lowest collectible grade because comic books in lesser condition are usually incomplete and/or brittle. Comics in this grade are usually soiled, faded, ragged, and possibly unattractive. This is the last grade in which a comic remains generally readable.

  • Bindery/Printing: Do not affect grade.
  • Cover Inks/Gloss: No reflectivity.
  • Cover Wear: May be detached.
  • Cover Creases: Creases, tears and folds.
  • Soiling/Staining: Present.
  • Dates/Stamps: Do not affect grade.
  • Spine Roll: Roll more common.
  • Spine Split: Up to 2/3 length.
  • Staples: May be missing.
  • Staple Tears: Accumulation of tears.
  • Rust Migration: May have migration.
  • Stress Lines: Accumulation of lines.
  • Corners: Rounded or absent.
  • Centerfold: May be missing.
  • Interior Tears: Accumulation of tears.
  • Paper Quality/Color: Brown, edges show brittleness.
  • Acid Odor: Odor present.
  • Missing Pieces: Up to 1/4 front cover or entire back cover, and/or chunks.
  • Amateur Repairs: More common.
  • Coupon Cut: Coupon may be cut.
  • Readability: Generally preserved to difficulty.

Poor (PR) condition

Most comic books in this grade have been sufficiently degraded to the point where there is little or no collector value; they are easily identified by a complete absence of eye appeal. Comics in this grade are brittle almost to the point of turning to dust with a touch, and are usually incomplete.

  • Bindery/Printing: Do not affect grade.
  • Cover Inks/Gloss: Extreme fading.
  • Cover Wear: Detached with chunks missing.
  • Cover Creases: Extreme creases, ragged edges.
  • Soiling/Staining: Extreme soiling, staining and discoloration.
  • Dates/Stamps: Do not affect grade.
  • Spine Roll: Extreme roll.
  • Spine Split: Extremely ragged or completely split.
  • Staples: Missing or extremely rusted, discolored.
  • Staple Tears: Extensive tears.
  • Rust Migration: Extreme migration.
  • Stress Lines: Many lines.
  • Corners: Rounded or absent.
  • Centerfold: May be missing.
  • Interior Tears: Extensive tears.
  • Paper Quality/Color: Moderate to severe brittleness.
  • Acid Odor: Extreme odor.
  • Missing Pieces: Large chunks of front cover and back cover, and/or interior.
  • Amateur Repairs: Extensive repairs.
  • Coupon Cut: Coupon(s) may be cut.
  • Readability: Multiple pages missing.

A Quick Note On Digital Codes

Publishers may choose to include digital content codes in their comics. Except where noted, we cannot guarantee that comics we sell will contain valid, unused, unexpired digital codes, and 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 (in particular, carefully removing a sticker covering codes) are not considered to reduce the grade we would assign the book.