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CGC Mail Call: New Mutants 98

This week’s mail call from CGC only contained one book, but it’s a special one, New Mutants 98 – the first appearance of Deadpool, signed by Rob Liefeld at NYCC 2019.  I’m sure most of you are just interested in the grade and pic, but here’s the backstory of this book anyway.

I am the original owner of this book, having purchased two copies at Albany’s Earthworld Comics when I was 22 years old.  Not long after this purchase, my collecting went on hiatus for a couple of decades due to other commitments.  I still followed what was going on in the comic collecting world, but rarely bought new issues.  When I saw the value of New Mutants 98 starting to hit the $30 range, I re-bagged them in Mylites, and returned them to their place in the short box.

I sold the other copy of NM 98 raw on eBay a couple of years ago.  While I tell myself that I don’t regret that decision, I do find myself wondering where it ended up.  Fast forward to present, and I’m back in the hobby pretty deep – as evidenced by my launching of this blog!!

As mentioned in previous posts, I attended NYCC 2019 on Friday only.  I recapped most of the other books I had signed at the show in a recent post (embedded below), while NM 98 was submitted on a separate invoice.

There was a pretty sizable line of fans awaiting Liefeld’s signature, but it went pretty smoothly.  For those that aren’t aware, he charges a premium to sign New Mutants issues 87 – the first appearance.of Cable, and 98 – the first appearance of Deadpool. Although Liefeld can have a polarizing personality, he does a good job on engaging with collectors.  His booth was setup directly adjacent to the CGC booth in Artists Alley, so for those submitting for a Signature Series label, you leave Liefeld’s line after the signing and directly hand the book to CGC for submission or security bagging.

NM 98 writer Fabian Nicieza was also at the show, and rather than wait in another line, I opted to submit the book to the private signing CGC was holding with him.  Unfortunately, CGC contacted me sometime thereafter and advised that Fabian wasn’t able to sign all of the books that were submitted, mine included.  I initially asked CGC to hold onto the book to have Nicieza’s signature added at a show this year.  However, due to COVID-19 related show cancellations, CGC was unsure when that might happen.  Rather than have the book sit in a vault/warehouse for an undetermined amount of time, I asked them to proceed with pressing/grading/slabbing with Liefeld’s signature only.  I asked CGC to apply $5 of the refund owed to me for Fabian Nicieza’s signature to adding the new Deadpool custom label to this book.  While I typically don’t request these special Marvel labels, I opted for it on this book as it seems,appropriate to what the character has become over the years.

The Result

Needless to say, I am thrilled with the grade following signature by Liefeld.  This book looked fantastic even prior to pressing, so I was optimistic, but was still sweating due to the printed streak that begins in the Marvel logo box and lightens as it runs through Cable’s face.  About a year ago when I started thinking about submitting this copy for grading, I inquired about that streaking on the “Ask CGC” sub-forum on the company’s chat boards.  The reply was that the streaking would not result in a Qualified label, but they would not comment on potential impact to the grade, instead directing me to their grading guide/standards. I recently saw a copy on Facebook with similar streaking that was graded 9.4, so I was relieved that it didn’t cause too big of a hit, but was still worried that it would keep it from a 9.8.  Not being greedy, but had that streak not been there, I wonder if this book could have been a 9.9 candidate?

I mentioned sweating it out while awaiting CGC’s grading of this book, but I also experienced some anxiety while awaiting its delivery by the USPS. CGC showed the book as shipped on April 13, 2020 and USPS Tracking updates originally showed an expected delivery of Saturday April 18th. However, the book didn’t arrive until Wednesday the 22nd. Given the impact of COVID-19 on businesses and services in general, I certainly understand the delay, but the yo-yo changes I was seeing in tracking status had me a little concerned that the book was lost. Glad to have it back home and safely in my collection!!

I’ve learned that Liefeld has recently ceased signing books witnessed by CGC. According to media reports, he initially reported that he would not sign books that would have this special Deadpool label, but subsequently changed his position to no Signature Series participation. We’ll keep an eye out for developments and post them here should Liefeld and CGC reconnect.

As with the 9.8 Signature Series Moon Knight #1 that I recently posted, I have a special appreciation for the outcome of this New Mutants 98 signing/grading/slabbing since I am the original owner.  Sure, I am thrilled to own key books that I bought already slabbed, but it really has a different feeling to have books that I bought 30 or 40 years ago come back in high grades.

I’ll have a couple more mail calls from NYCC to post here, so be on the, lookout for them.  Thanks for visiting!!

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Gary Govel
Gary Govel is a life-long fan and collector of comics, with a particular interest in Bronze and Copper Age Keys. He recently launched Collector Syndicate to share his experiences and promote the hobby.

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