Bob Levin is back today with a review of a rather odd consumer reference, Fogel’s Underground Price & Grading Guide. An excerpt:

... [Isn’t] the collecting of UGs a blasphemous affront to the spirit of their creation? Cheap, trashy, mass-produced, they were meant for “the people” to paw through and drool over, between trips to the barricade, or while spaced out, stoned, on the water bed. To proclaim these books' worth diminished each time a page is turned seems a surrender to the capitalist lackey running dogs they warred against.

And once you have them, what do you do with them? Shelved, like rare books, they have no spines facing outward, trumpeting their envy-arousing, status conferring presence. I suppose you can follow the advice of the informational-like collaborative contribution to FUGG of Howard Gerber and Certified Guaranty Company: seal them in plastic and hang them on your walls. But then you might as well collect front covers only, which actually makes sense, for that would free the contents for the enjoyment for which they had been intended.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—News. Per the Wall Street Journal, Charlie Hebdo's owners plan to reinvest much of the magazine's profits back into the company after several recent employee disputes.

The Verge has a long true-crime story about comic books and con artists. I haven't been able to read this entire article yet, but it looks very promising.

—Interviews & Profiles. Oliver Ristau & Shawn Starr interview Alex Degan Degen, and the results are very funny and smart (it's okay to edit, though, guys).

—Reviews & Commentary: Sean T. Collins has a piece comparing the Hellboy Mignolaverse with the rest of superherodom at Grantland.

Rob Clough reviews Marc Bell's Stroppy.

The AV Club has an aggressively random guide to comics that will "get newcomers hooked."

Both the AV Club and The Guardian enthuse wildly about recent work by Ales Kot, in a way that seems out of proportion to me based on the only issue of his writing I've read (Material #1), but maybe this deserves more investigation.

—Misc. Tom Spurgeon has started a Patreon for a new monthly comics news magazine that will be affiliated with Comics Reporter, which I encourage everyone interested in comics to check out.