by Ian Tennant, Shipping Manager
I began working for ComicConnect.com in January of 2010. At the time I knew nothing about comic books; I had been hired for my experience in libraries.
"Here, come hold the most valuable comic you'll ever hold in your life," I was told on what must have been my second or third day on the job. I was handed a copy of Action Comics #1 in a CGC slab graded as an 8.0. I pretended to understand what I was seeing. According to the holder this was the first appearance of Superman. "Cool," I said, and handed the book back.
The next two years at ComicConnect.com would prove to be interesting.
Try not to drop it, pal.
At the time I don't think anyone was aware that 2010/11 would be ComicConnect.com's annus mirabilis. My manager's words became a lie almost immediately. Six weeks after our sale of the world's first million dollar comic we shattered our own record by selling another copy of Action Comics #1 graded 8.5 for $1.5 million dollars. This time I was a little more prepared. I had been handling more comic books, and had prepped our company's convention inventory. I had become more aware of the value of a comic, and learned the meaning of a 'key book.' Under the tutelage of Stephen Fishler and Vincent Zurzolo I had begun to understand the miracle of such a book existing, let alone in nearly perfect condition.
The first record breaking book I was impressed with was an Amazing Fantasy 15 graded 9.6. By now, I actually knew what I was handling. In the months surrounding the arrival of the AF 15, I got to handle high grade copies of X-Men #1, Fantastic Four #1, and Whiz #1. More importantly, I had become familiar with our inventory. I was able to handle low- and mid-grade copies of these books. By the time the AF 15 came into the office, not only had I seen a fair share of lower grade copies, I had also seen more high grade but less desirable titles. That goes for the other key books as well; we have had our own rogue's gallery of Worst Copy We've Ever Offered!
By the time of our most recent record setting book (Action Comics #1 9.0) I was able able to understand -- really understand -- what I was holding. I had held three of the four million-dollar-selling books, and tens of thousands of other books. I was familiar with the classics, like Detective Comics (a title I hadn't heard of on my first day), Fantastic Four, Avengers, and More Fun Comics. I had also discovered former pop-culture icons like Captain Marvel in Whiz Comics. Most importantly, I had found books I genuinely enjoyed from the dystopian Watchman, to pulpy adventures like Tomb of Dracula and The Defenders, to campy romps like Henry Aldrich and Captain Marvel, Jr.
Because I had found some titles I would like to collect I started to understand the hobby a whole lot more. Understanding the hobby has allowed me to appreciate the treasures I'm continually shown.