FAKE HULK 181 WARNING! Sell My Comic Books

Published: Wed, 01/18/17



If you're paying attention, then you'll know that Incredible Hulk #181 is a key issue.

Well, DUH!

It's the first full appearance of Wolverine.

If you're reading this email, then you know that all good investors should include an IH181 in their comic book portfolio.

I bought myself a CGC 9.0 during 2016, which I intend to hold medium-term.

There is HUGE demand for this book. And the old law of averages is, wherever there is huge demand, there will be criminals trying to take advantage of that.

Sell My Comic Books was just sold a FAKE 181. We want to warn you about this phenomenon.

How to Spot a Fake Hulk
It's really not that hard if you have the book in your hands.

The challenge is, from scans or photos, it's not easy unless you have a good enough image to 'zoom in' and spot the tell-tale signs.

Here are the ways to tell that you are being offered a fake Incredible Hulk #181:
1) The Faults are "Printed On" the Cover
The copy we bought looked about a 6.5 to 7.0 from a distance. It was a nice copy, free of major creases.

But it had bad spine stress, what looked like a color-breaking crease at the top edge, color rubbing on the spine, and at the top what looked like color loss from a bump.

Here's what it looked like from a distance:
Fake Incredible Hulk #181: front cover
Fake Incredible Hulk #181: back cover
Let's look a little closer, and you will easily see that this is just a color photocopy or color laser printed cover:
Fake Incredible Hulk #181: front cover detail. The 'crease' is printed on. Lettering appears patchy

Fake Incredible Hulk #181: front cover detail. The 'crease' and 'dirt' are printed on. Lettering and block of red color appear patchy

Even the 'dirt' is printed on!

Originals have solid color, not speckled or mottled color as you see on this fake.

A closer look at the spine shows how the 'spine wear' is also printed:

Fake Incredible Hulk #181: front cover detail. The 'spine wear' is also part of the printing
Fake Incredible Hulk #181: front cover detail
Finally, a look inside shows how the color copy does not match the quality of the original printing.

Also the pages are too blindingly white to be real:
Fake Incredible Hulk #181: interior detail. Colors are mottled, pages ultra bright
Why You Should be Worried
What's disturbing about this is that somebody bothered to copy and staple an entire comic book.

There is a phenomenon in sports cards collectibles called laminating. Where the front of a genuine card is sandwiched onto the back of another genuine card, to create a much more desirable card.

This has fooled experts in that field many times.

Sean Goodrich and I have discussed how comic books are much more sophisticated than cards, and therefore they don't get faked.

This raises the bar for criminals.

Just be vigilant, and if a deal seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

We paid a fair price (if it had been a real copy!), so sometimes the deal won't even seem too good to be true!

Walk away if you're concerned, or buy your Hulk #181 in a CGC holder.
What We Did About the Fake Hulk
We are giving the seller the benefit of the doubt, because he claims it's his grandfather's copy and he never took it out of the bag except to photograph it for us.

That is possibly true, or possibly a line.

If you're not a comic book person, you could be fooled (there used to be people who bought Famous First Editions thinking they were real Action 1s or Detective 27s, so let's be generous here!).

We simply opened a dispute with Paypal and then escalated to a claim.

If the same thing happens to you, then you should do the same.
More About Incredible Hulk #181
This book was published during the Marvel Value Stamp period.
Marvel created a stamp album, and encouraged collectors to (sniffle!) cut out the so-called Marvel Value Stamps from each comic book.
Here's what the albums looked like:
The cover of a Marvel Value Stamp album
If you ever find an Incredible Hulk #181 with a hole in the interior, then the culprit is this little stamp that was cut out:
Shanna the She-Devil Marvel Value Stamp, often cut out of Incredible Hulk #181
Hulk #181s without their MVS will still get graded by CGC. They end up with a green (qualified) label.

We sold a CGC 9.0 for $1,025 last year (normal price about $3,000). So they have value, just nowhere near as much.

A good rule of thumb is, pay 1/3 the price for a copy with the MVS removed as you would for a complete copy of the same grade.

Read More About Wolverine and Hulk
Read More About MVS
A superb site full of excellent info on Marvel Value Stamps is here.

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Ashley Cotter-Cairns
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Ashley Cotter-Cairns