The only draw back is if you open the case, then you would need to pay to have it graded and resealed. So some argue that it takes away from the enjoyment of the comic. I think that this new sketch cover idea is a fantastic alternative. You can always buy the regular copy off the shelf and read it whenever. Then get a blank version, if it's offered, and have your favorite artists create a completely original cover to your comic. It becomes a one of a kind, and can often become incredibly valuable. It's value will depend on how good the condition of the book is, (on a scale of 1-10), the artist who does the sketch, the quality of the sketch, and finally the rarity of the book.
In the case of the guy who got this Iron Man from me, this has become his new collector's hobby and he has at least dozens of graded sketch covers. At first I abhorred doing these, but that was early on when the cover stock to draw on was glossy and terrible. But publishers (specifically Marvel and recently DC) have picked a great card stock cover to draw on, and apparently to color marker on as well!
For this sketch I was specifically asked to recreate the look of the animated Iron Man dvd cover, which has a head shot of Iron Man on it. So I did my best.
Iron Man Colors - 430
My first colored sketch cover.
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