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Post Posted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 5:49 am 
 

I have a brother that is planning on having me sell his comics, so basically I'm wondering if there is a slightly different grading scale for them? So any help would be appreciated.

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Post Posted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 6:18 am 
 

Ooooh, can o' worms. Big ol' can o' worms.

The comic book grading scale falls somewhere between that of baseball cards and diamonds. There are even professional grading companies that charge $20+ to grade a single comic book, though with what you are dealing with that should not be necessary.

There's a website for my erstwhile employers here:

http://www.cbgxtra.com/

Comics Buyer's Guide (CBG) has the best monthly price guide in print. You should be able to get a copy of the latest issue at Westfield Comics on the west side. Wizard prices are always horribly inflated, though not as bad as Overstreet. (Hell, Wizard will give you a price quote on a "collectible" comic that hasn't even been printed yet).

That said, unless the books are pre-80s and in excellent or better condition, you are probably best off just weighing the whole lot and paying byt the pound. Most modern comic books, unless they are graded by CGC or some other grading company and encased in plastic aren't worth pennies on the dollar on their cover price. The '80s/'90s glut followed by the get-the-trade-paperback-out-before-the-story-arc-ends movement has really destroyed the value of everything but a very few spectacular comics. The industry even has to create artificial scarcity to make anything collectible these days (such as the 1 in 20 covers, 1 in 100 covers, and 1 in 500 signed covers kind of thing).

So if these are just standard X-Men, Spidey, Supes, or Batman comics, or have been, God forbid, actually opened and read, they likely do not have any value.

Again, that said, if you could list some titles, maybe I could point you at something that might be worth paying for... most, he should consider himself lucky he hands them to you rather than walks them down to the curb.


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Post Posted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 8:18 am 
 

jamesmishler is right.  Comics are big sellers on eBay and buyers are discriminating.  Condition is everything, and condition inflation is rampant.  jamesmishler is also correct that eBay is vastly superior than going to the local comic shop.

I personally bought an Overstreet Comics grading book, but you don't have to go to that extreme.  If you have a Barnes & Nobles or Books-A-Million, or even a library, simply borrowing the book for an hour should give you a fairly good idea of what's what.  Plus, you can simply state in your auction that you are not a professional grader, and that covers a multitude of sins.  Good pictures also cover a multitude of potential misunderstandings.  When I was first learning, I tried to figure out what the different grades were and then took examples to my local comic shop to verify my education.  Most shop owners are all too happy to oblige.

Another way around the grading issue is to just not use conventional grading terms like mint, fine, very good and fair.  Use a scale like excellent, O.K. and bad.  I personally recommend you learn the system because you are going to get asked questions.

There are a number of people who like/collect comics on this site(Badmike, for example).  List what you got and we can give you further advice.  Some runs are worth selling individually and some are better sold in groups of ten or fifty or just thrown in a pile.

Finally, if you have any Ironman, unload them now.  Lots of people think that the price of titles go up after the movie shows, but statistics show just the opposite.  That's what happened with the Spidy movies, FF4 and especially Punisher.  Of course, re-sellers may have figured out this trend by now and it may be different this time, but the history may be worth noting.  Good luck! :)


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Post Posted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 8:28 am 
 

Well from a list tucked in one box seems he has:
Iron Man 132, 200-206, 209-224, 228-231, 233-235, 237-238, 240-242, 247, 249, 255-262
Amazing Spiderman 166, 265, 300, 303, 306-308, 313, 315-318, 322-325, 327-328, 331-352, 356-368, 370-373
And a crap load of various others: Spiderman, Xmen, Batman, Superman, Clive Barker, Incredible Hulk, etc

I know he was one to buy 2, open one to read and keep the other sealed, but damn this maybe a chore on my hands  :?

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Post Posted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 8:29 am 
 

For any comics I have sold on eBay I have used the following site for a rough idea about values.

http://www.comicspriceguide.com/default.asp

If you are completely upfront about any minor defects of the item, the customer will have a better idea of what they are getting.

Avoid using the terms "perfect" or "mint" unless you have reason to believe that they would be professionally graded at that level. I have used "near mint" and then described what (in my opinion) limits it from being graded higher.


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Post Posted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 9:17 am 
 

Plaag wrote:I know he was one to buy 2, open one to read and keep the other sealed, but damn this maybe a chore on my hands  :?

:lol:

That's funny - Plaag complaining about cataloging something!

Comics are like stamps or coins --- collectors take them seriously.  Grading of the comics, good luck with that.  Pricing is affected by the first appearance of writers, artists, characters, character deaths, new costumes.  I'm no longer a real comic collector, but isn't Amazing Spider-Man 300 the first appearance of his black non-Venom suit?  A real collector would know that.  IIRC, Iron Man's alcoholic storyline and new armor issues were also slightly pricier than other issues.

If you missed the black-and-white comic glut of the 80s and 90s, then you missed watching speculators live and die with each new collectible issue from independent comic companies.  Most of those are worthless, though a few valuable series come to mind, like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Oddly enough, I was at a comic-book store and saw that the Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters have a new series being published right now.  First two issues of that are on the shelves.  And Scud: Disposable Assassin has also returned.  Maybe their back-issue prices will rise.

  

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Post Posted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 11:00 am 
 

Plaag wrote:Well from a list tucked in one box seems he has:
Iron Man 132, 200-206, 209-224, 228-231, 233-235, 237-238, 240-242, 247, 249, 255-262
Amazing Spiderman 166, 265, 300, 303, 306-308, 313, 315-318, 322-325, 327-328, 331-352, 356-368, 370-373
And a crap load of various others: Spiderman, Xmen, Batman, Superman, Clive Barker, Incredible Hulk, etc

I know he was one to buy 2, open one to read and keep the other sealed, but damn this maybe a chore on my hands  :?

ShaneG.




Shane; condition is everything in the comic book reselling business.  I'm actually working a comic book convention this weekend (going back up to the convention center for Day Two in  a couple hours); I could give you some general advice if you email me later.  



Generally, if you want the most money, it will be a chore akin to selling a gaming collection, and may take a year (or more) or so to grade, scan and list all the comics on ebay.  Be prepared to make much less on ebay than you would in say, private trading (since ebay has dozens and dozens of sellers, who quite often inflate grade), because of the large competition.  I'm in the middle of liquidating my collection right now; I expect it to be a 3-5 year task in all (yes you read that right); but I want to maximize the value.  I'm also going to CGC some comics (have them professionally graded and sealed) to make them easier to transport and sell in the years ahead, but I would only recomend that on exceptionally good condition "key" issues worth $100 or more.



The other method is the quick and dirty method.  You may only get half or less what the issues are worth in the guide, but generally it will only take a few months. I can tell you several very professional outfits that will give you a fair price for your books, they work mail order style...you send in the comics, they give you a offer, you either take it and receive a check, or say no and they send back your comics.  Most companies that do this are very, very professional, I can give you a couple names if you PM me.  The trick is not to send everything in at once, but in small batches.  Even if you choose this method I would advise you to cherry pick a few of the top sellers and sell them yourself, so to get the most money out of them.  



Oh, and some advice: Don't sell to the local comic book store.  They will give you a very small fraction of the worth of the books, much the same as if you brought a stack of used gaming stuff to a gaming store and expect to get anything more than a buck or so apiece per module.  



Once again, condition is everything.  Grading standards, and buyers, are notoriously opposed to even the tiniest of wear or stress lines. More than once a someone who tells me they have a great collection is shot down when I get a look at it and declare the condition unfit for human consumption.  A few stress lines or god forbid a crease can knock a $300 comic down to $10 pretty quick.  



Anyway PM me Shane if you want some names or other suggestions....hell I might even be interested in buying a couple since I'm back in the convention mode now!



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Post Posted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 1:43 pm 
 

Minority viewpoint here ... but, hey, without the unpopular views, how would anyone know what the popular views were?

If we're talking about selling on eBay, I have a two-word answer about comic book grading: don't bother. The pathetic Overstreet "system" is outdated, meaningless, open to wide differences in interpretation, and will likely be ignored anyway by any potential buyers, all of whom are used to mentally subtracting at least one half-grade off the top when they're not dealing with someone they know.

Instead, use the time that would have gone to waste breaking down your collection using the industry's laughable definitions (it's a system lifted directly from coin collecting, BTW; thus the term "mint") to take lots and lots of good photos. That will make any potential bidders very happy; any idiot can claim something is VF+ (I love how, over the years, comics grading has added about 15 new categories that are essentially meaningless), but it's much more reassuring to look at well-lighted images of the covers, close-ups of any spine-wear, etc. Sometimes, cliches are true: with comics, a picture is worth 1,000 Overstreet grades.

And, yes, I've put my money where my mouth is: I haven't mentioned a grade in a comics auction since about 2001 or maybe 2002.** I've done just fine, too (I prefer to sell in lots of 15-20, BTW; I'll sometimes sell older issues as single items). I include anywhere from two to six photos with all of my comics listings, and I try to take the best photos possible. I even have one of those miniature light studios (since my house is so frickin' dark).

And here's an interesting thing: when I listed comics using the accepted Overstreet or CBG standards, I sometimes received complaints or the passive-aggressive nonsense that comics fanboys are well-known for ("are you sure this issue was F-VF?"), and I was answering 20 questions per day. Since I stopped using the grading scale and taking good photos, I've received not one single complaint, ever. In fact, some of my most enthusiastic feedback received has been from my comics auctions.

Actually, I haven't graded anything on eBay in years, now that I think about it, including all of the gaming items I've sold. But I also never post an auction without a photo, and, when in doubt, I start adding more photos. I'm convinced grading scales are pretty much a farce: they're too subjective, everyone uses a different scale, the terms themselves have become meaningless, and much more information can be conveyed with a single photo.

+++++

** I do make one exception: if I'm selling comics released within the previous year, I'll just mention that they are all NM. It's what the fanboys expect to see. I don't waste any time actually grading, though; I just add a line about how they are all NM ... and I've never been questioned about it once.

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Post Posted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 1:44 pm 
 

Badmike wrote:condition is everything in the comic book reselling business.


Wish the staff a Half Price knew this. It's a not-uncommon event for clerks at the register to stall my purchases of ratty old comics or magazines. They will see something resembling Action Comics #1 in their eyes, & call for a price check from the guys in back.

Invariably, it is decided that the items are indeed rogered beyond value & so were intended to be sold without a collectibles markup [I have low standards]. Often too the condition escapes notice of even the pricers, so a comic in fair/good condition is marked at mint price.  

They can be pretty dumb with the magic marker as well. They'll swipe over the original printed price on the cover with big black ugly gashes, assign it high collectible price, then apply an adhesive tag bearing a value they've just destroyed.

  

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Post Posted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 5:27 pm 
 

JohnGaunt wrote: :lol:

That's funny - Plaag complaining about cataloging something!


Yeah well it has to be something I care about :wink:

JohnGaunt wrote:If you missed the black-and-white comic glut of the 80s and 90s, then you missed watching speculators live and die with each new collectible issue from independent comic companies.  Most of those are worthless, though a few valuable series come to mind, like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.


Thats what I collected and still have, course I read all my TMNT comics so they are probably worth pennies now.

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Post Posted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 5:32 pm 
 

Xaxaxe wrote:Minority viewpoint here ... but, hey, without the unpopular views, how would anyone know what the popular views were?

If we're talking about selling on eBay, I have a two-word answer about comic book grading: don't bother. The pathetic Overstreet "system" is outdated, meaningless, open to wide differences in interpretation, and will likely be ignored anyway by any potential buyers, all of whom are used to mentally subtracting at least one half-grade off the top when they're not dealing with someone they know.

Instead, use the time that would have gone to waste breaking down your collection using the industry's laughable definitions (it's a system lifted directly from coin collecting, BTW; thus the term "mint") to take lots and lots of good photos. That will make any potential bidders very happy; any idiot can claim something is VF+ (I love how, over the years, comics grading has added about 15 new categories that are essentially meaningless), but it's much more reassuring to look at well-lighted images of the covers, close-ups of any spine-wear, etc. Sometimes, cliches are true: with comics, a picture is worth 1,000 Overstreet grades.

And, yes, I've put my money where my mouth is: I haven't mentioned a grade in a comics auction since about 2001 or maybe 2002.** I've done just fine, too (I prefer to sell in lots of 15-20, BTW; I'll sometimes sell older issues as single items). I include anywhere from two to six photos with all of my comics listings, and I try to take the best photos possible. I even have one of those miniature light studios (since my house is so frickin' dark).

And here's an interesting thing: when I listed comics using the accepted Overstreet or CBG standards, I sometimes received complaints or the passive-aggressive nonsense that comics fanboys are well-known for ("are you sure this issue was F-VF?"), and I was answering 20 questions per day. Since I stopped using the grading scale and taking good photos, I've received not one single complaint, ever. In fact, some of my most enthusiastic feedback received has been from my comics auctions.

Actually, I haven't graded anything on eBay in years, now that I think about it, including all of the gaming items I've sold. But I also never post an auction without a photo, and, when in doubt, I start adding more photos. I'm convinced grading scales are pretty much a farce: they're too subjective, everyone uses a different scale, the terms themselves have become meaningless, and much more information can be conveyed with a single photo.

+++++

** I do make one exception: if I'm selling comics released within the previous year, I'll just mention that they are all NM. It's what the fanboys expect to see. I don't waste any time actually grading, though; I just add a line about how they are all NM ... and I've never been questioned about it once.


I like your style.
Keep it up.
I agree that overstreet is far too open to abuse by sellers and by buyers who try to whip the seller, usually after the fact.
Overstreet is overrated..............

That said and although I do have about 300-400 comic books, I am not a comic book collector. I got them about 10 years ago when I bought the remainder of the stock from a Comic Book and Sports Card shops closing sale.

Anyone want to buy the lot?
Ungraded of course......


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Post Posted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 12:26 am 
 

sauromatian wrote:
Wish the staff a Half Price knew this. It's a not-uncommon event for clerks at the register to stall my purchases of ratty old comics or magazines. They will see something resembling Action Comics #1 in their eyes, & call for a price check from the guys in back.

Invariably, it is decided that the items are indeed rogered beyond value & so were intended to be sold without a collectibles markup [I have low standards]. Often too the condition escapes notice of even the pricers, so a comic in fair/good condition is marked at mint price.  

They can be pretty dumb with the magic marker as well. They'll swipe over the original printed price on the cover with big black ugly gashes, assign it high collectible price, then apply an adhesive tag bearing a value they've just destroyed.


When it comes to pricing used gaming stuff, HPB employees are often clueless.  When it comes to pricing comics, they are down right mentally deficient to the degree Man-Thing would win a addition contest against them (inside Marvel comics joke, yuk yuk!).  I've seen prices that would be optimistic to say the least attached to silver age comics MISSING THE FRIKKEN COVER!!!!  Not to mention comics with a price sticker applied directly to the cover (uh, dumbass, you basically just DESTROYED any value the comic might have had).  From friends I know that have worked at HPB, comics are tossed in the trash by the truckload every so often to clean out the racks; always been surprised an enterprising employee doesn't dig them out and resell them (maybe they do, but considering the condition of many of these, they might not get much anyway).  

Sometimes you get a deal.  My best HPB comics deal was an Amazing Spiderman #13 (first appearance Mysterio, circa 1964) for the whopping price of $8; I can only think the employee who priced it must have figured the issue was a reprint or something (it wasn't, and it's in pretty nice shape).  However, other than that, the prices usually run the other way: A torn, taped, and browning key issue for $100 more than you could get it anywhere on the internet if you spent five minutes searching.

BTW, I raise absolute HELL when an employee at HPB tries to price check me; I've been rewarded with coupons and such in these cases, as I usually cause a fuss.  My theory being: the name of their store is HALF PRICE BOOKS; if you don't have a clue what the frakken book costs, CHARGE ME HALF THE COVER PRICE YOU G*D D***M MORON, or if it isn't obvious, a token $1-$2.  Believe me it won't break your store, since your typical buy price for most merchandise is pennies.  They pay an average of 10 cents a book and they get nervous I might accidentally purchase a $12.50 book for $10.  Give me a break.

In 40 years they still have yet to come up with a consistent policy on pricing their comics, although lately I've seen more and more stores doing the correct thing of cherry picking the key issues to price up, while dumping everything else in the racks and charging half cover.  This is the best solution and I can't believe it took them decades to think up.

BTW, I've twice had an employee actually try to charge me MORE than the marked price on a book because "whoever priced the book got it wrong"; in both cases I refused to buy the item, asked for the manager, raised holy hell, and wrote a letter to corporate.  The explanation was never "We think you are a thief and switched prices" but "some new employee heh heh must have put the wrong price on it". My reply is "So what?  NOT MY PROBLEM.  Now give me the item for the PRICE THAT IS ON THE FRONT  or I'll bust your balls, dude".  It's a used book for God's sake not a mislabeled Da Vinci masterpiece, jeez.

I'm a bit hard core when it comes to HPB; since I have spent tens of thousands of dollars there in the last 30 years and have spent more time in their stores (and know more about their procedures) than 90% of the employees I figure I'm entitled..... :twisted:

Mike B.

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Post Posted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 12:36 am 
 

Xaxaxe wrote:Minority viewpoint here ... but, hey, without the unpopular views, how would anyone know what the popular views were?

If we're talking about selling on eBay, I have a two-word answer about comic book grading: don't bother. The pathetic Overstreet "system" is outdated, meaningless, open to wide differences in interpretation, and will likely be ignored anyway by any potential buyers, all of whom are used to mentally subtracting at least one half-grade off the top when they're not dealing with someone they know.

Instead, use the time that would have gone to waste breaking down your collection using the industry's laughable definitions (it's a system lifted directly from coin collecting, BTW; thus the term "mint") to take lots and lots of good photos. That will make any potential bidders very happy; any idiot can claim something is VF+ (I love how, over the years, comics grading has added about 15 new categories that are essentially meaningless), but it's much more reassuring to look at well-lighted images of the covers, close-ups of any spine-wear, etc. Sometimes, cliches are true: with comics, a picture is worth 1,000 Overstreet grades.

And, yes, I've put my money where my mouth is: I haven't mentioned a grade in a comics auction since about 2001 or maybe 2002.** I've done just fine, too (I prefer to sell in lots of 15-20, BTW; I'll sometimes sell older issues as single items). I include anywhere from two to six photos with all of my comics listings, and I try to take the best photos possible. I even have one of those miniature light studios (since my house is so frickin' dark).
.


I acutually find a scan in most cases lets me see detail in the comics; most people are, charitably, camera-challenged when it comes to pictures of ANYTHING on ebay and you end up with a blurry blob with Captain America's face on it (or is that Spidey?) devoide of any details.   But yeh if you can take a good picture, that's explanation enough.  I try to let the buyer know any glaring problems, but since the majority of comics I sell online are in beautiful shape, and I usually soft pedal their condition (to have expectaions exceeded), I have had nothing but complements. Apparantly there are a lot of scumbags out there; "Near Mint" has become the equivalent of "She's got a great personality" in that the application is complete untrustworthy used in describng the object.  I've had a couple of buyers tell me my comics were the best condition ones they've ever bought on ebay; which is actually pretty sad since I would expect that almost every transaction should meet a buyer's level of approval unless the buyer himself is a jerk.

Alternatively, make your own grades such as "Near Mint" (BTW, nothing is ever mint, that's a sure warning sign the seller is a twit), "Excellent", "Read condition", "Poor", or something similar.  Include examples of each grade, and describe the comics accurately, you shouldn't have a problem.

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Post Posted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 1:45 am 
 

Yeah, I didn't emphasize that enough before: if you (meaning anyone) want to avoid having to jump through the Overstreet hoops, you must take good photos. No blobs or blurs allowed.

This might mean, for the average clueless "point-and-shoot" person out there, that they must either improve their skills, improve their equipment, or both. I've done both over the years ... I'm now at the point where I take a certain amount of pride in my eBay listings.

But the bottom line is that you can't fake it; you'd be better off just using the grading scale(s) if you're not going to put a bit of effort into your images.

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Post Posted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 8:49 am 
 

Badmike wrote:....BTW, nothing is ever mint, that's a sure warning sign the seller is a twit.........
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Do you really truly think that, or were you being dramatic in order to push a point?


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Post Posted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 9:12 am 
 

Aneoth wrote:
Whow......  8O
Do you really truly think that, or were you being dramatic in order to push a point?


I think that too.  And "Near Mint" is WAAAAAY overused.  Kinda like how some people overuse VGC. :lol:


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Post Posted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 9:56 am 
 

Aneoth wrote:
Whow......  8O
Do you really truly think that, or were you being dramatic in order to push a point?


IMO, the only way to get a comic in true mint condition is if you are sitting there at the printing press when the book comes off of it.  Any comic purchased off of a rack at a comic book store is at best near mint.  Either it has been dinged during shipping (corner wear, spine crease, etc.) or touched by some foul employee or customers fingers that just ate a Whopper or took a huge crap only half an hour before.  I might take exception to certain comics that have cardstock covers simply because they stand up to the stress of shipping a lot better.

Take your "Mint" comics to CGC to get them graded and see just how flawed they really are.  There are very few comics that get a grade of 10.0 and if they do, you can usually turn around and sell them for ten times what they are normally worth if they are key issues.


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Post Posted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 11:37 am 
 

Kingofpain89 wrote:
IMO, the only way to get a comic in true mint condition is if you are sitting there at the printing press when the book comes off of it.  Any comic purchased off of a rack at a comic book store is at best near mint.  Either it has been dinged during shipping (corner wear, spine crease, etc.) or touched by some foul employee or customers fingers that just ate a Whopper or took a huge crap only half an hour before.  I might take exception to certain comics that have cardstock covers simply because they stand up to the stress of shipping a lot better.

Take your "Mint" comics to CGC to get them graded and see just how flawed they really are.  There are very few comics that get a grade of 10.0 and if they do, you can usually turn around and sell them for ten times what they are normally worth if they are key issues.


What King said (like the part about the guy taking a crap and wiping his hand on your comic, heh!).  I look at it the same as "uncirculated" in coin grading....if it's been touched by human hands at any point, it's not mint.  Just the fact CGC grades less than 1 percent of 1 percent of comics as a perfect 10, shows you how impossible it is to find this.  

But yeh, a comic direct off the press, unread, and immediately slipped into a solid plastic CGC type casing...yeh, that would be my definition of mint.  

Even Near Mint is woefully overused, but it's become accepted in the industry that anything that looks pretty nice and new is technically "near mint".  

Mike B.


"THE MORE YOU THINK ABOUT WHY i DONE WHAT i DONE THE MORE i LAUGH" Cougar
"The Acaeum hates fun" Sir Allen
"I had a collecting emergency" Nogrod
Co-founder of the North Texas RPG Con
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