As an entrepreneur myself it's always great to meet creative people that are creating products for the comic book hobby. This interview series is with Justin Kerr of Premium Comics, who came up with these great looking slab holders. They look like an awesome way to display your graded books in a clean and professional way.What got you into comics?
- At the age of 12, I remember going to a flea market in Capitola CA. I had never seen a comic book, but I knew that movies like Batman and Superman were based on them. A man at the flea market asked “hey kid, I have 5 comics that are worth a lot of money, want to buy them?” my dad walked away and laughed at the sales tactics the man was using. The man handed me Amazing Spider-man #130, 159,181,182 and 184. I emptied my pockets and asked my dad for $20 to make my first comic purchase. This experience taught me a valuable lesson about comic economics, collecting and investing in something I believed in. It motivated me to start drawing comics and take care of the things that I collected.
- Two weeks ago, a 12-year-old neighbor boy came to my garage and asked if I had any valuable flash comic books, I could sell him. I was so excited that I wanted to give him my most expensive flash book just for asking. I reached in a bin and handed him The Flash 324 (death of Professor Zoom) and said $20 please. Afterwards I handed him a stack of other flash books and said there is a lot of value in these to make sure you store them and keep them safe.
- My favorite comic book memory was going to my local comic store and pulling handfuls of comic books out of the 50 cent bins and thinking to myself, they were worth so much more than money. I would get a story, artwork and something to collect. Mowing lawns, I earned just enough money to go to the comic shop a few days a week. My friends were all collecting POGS, milk caps that got turned into a game. My friends would tell me that their collections would be worth boat loads of money one day and I was missing out. As a kid it was never about money only that really cool wolverine artwork I would later try to draw.
- 3D printing has always interested me along with displaying my collection in a unique way. I love to look at my small collection and really enjoy them. I wanted a stand that matched the book I was looking at everyday and add an extra bang/zip to my collection. I tried other stands that can be hung on the wall and transformed into stands, but they really did not look cool. I started experimenting with ways to hold my graded books such as J channel on the wall and art cabinets, but in the end, there was nothing special about them and they all looked like every comic shop display I had ever seen.
- After lots of trial and error I had a 3d designed stand that could support the book and could be customized with 3d text or logos of my choice. It is also a way that I could contribute to the comic book community in a creative way. Susan, my significant other, has always had a gift painting and drawing. After my printer spits them out, she takes the time to sand, paint and seal each stand. We work together as a team and it brings us closer together.
Biggest mistake you made when you started making them?
- My biggest mistake was adding too much to the stand. One thing I love to do is 3d model a character and add them to the logo. The problem with that is that the purpose of the stand is to display something that is already beautiful and not over crowd the book. One of the first venom designs had venom popping out at you, needless to say my expensive venom book did not need help looking good and sometimes less is more.
What’s your favorite character or title to collect?
- I wish I could give a cool answer like Venom or Daredevil, but truthfully Spider-man will always be my favorite. My two favorite books are ASM #300 and Giant-Sized X-men #1. Too many good things about both to ignore.
- Daredevil #1 is one of the most underrated blue-chip books of its time. I have been saving/searching for the right copy of that book. My hope is to one day find a very special copy before it’s too expensive.
- My favorite book at this time is 9.8 ASM #300 and 9.8 Amazing Spider-man #361 Sketch cover signed by Mark Bagley, Randy Emberlin and David Micheline. Very iconic covers that I will never get tired of looking at.
Raw or Graded? Why?
- I think that some books are worth preserving and grading for the long term. Some collectors believe in slabbing everything, but there is nothing special about a graded 1992 8.0 X-Men #1 with an 8 million print run. By slabbing and grading our comics we can guarantee correct pricing and grading.
- After all, if you have a 9.8 mint condition book shouldn’t you be compensated for it? Furthermore, without companies like CGC, the full value of superior collections will be lost and people would have no measure to grade or price their collection.
Best find or score?
- My best find was a New Mutants 98 in NM condition. The entire collection was full of modern books and it wasn’t until I got home and realized that a gem mint copy was hiding in a collection of 2000 books. There is an amazing feeling, similar to gambling, when you find a high value key in perfect shape.
Advice to new collectors or anyone that wants to create a comic-based product
- Collect what you enjoy.
- The monetary value of comic books is an important factor so strategically plan how you plan to invest in your collection.
- Learn how to grade. The more you know about the condition of the books you are buying the better off later you will be.
- Knowledge is power and this saying directly applies to comics. Know what you have before you sell and trade. Know your 1st appearances, crossovers and errors.
- Is what you are creating beneficial or adds value to the community? Yes, then go for it.
Thanks for an awesome interview, there are some great stories and pictures to illustrate as well. If you're interested in their slab holders, check them out here.
Drop a comment on any products you've found that not many know about.