First Superman comic soars to a record-breaking price of $3.2million

Up, Up and Away: First Superman comic that cost just 10 cents new soars to a record-breaking price of $3.2million

  • Action Comics #1 cost 10 cents when it was released in 1938 but the iconic issue has now fetched $3.25 million in a private sale
  • It narrowly beat the previous record for the comic of $3.2 million in 2014
  • The comic is the earliest to feature Superman, the first recognized superhero 

One of the few copies of the famous comic book that introduced Superman to the world has sold for the record-setting price of $3.25 million.

Action Comics #1 cost 10 cents when it was released in 1938 but the iconic issue fetched millions in a private sale, online auction company ComicConnect.com announced Tuesday.   

It narrowly bested the previous record for the comic, set in the eBay auction of another copy in 2014 for $3.2 million. 

Much of the edition’s attraction stems from the fact that it was the earliest comic to feature Superman, the first recognized superhero. 

One of the few copies of the famous comic book that introduced Superman to the world has sold for the record-setting price of $3.25 million. Pictured: Vincent Zurzolo, co-owner of ComicConnect, holding Action Comics first edition 1938 comic book

The comic, featuring Superman lifting a car over his head, ‘really is the beginning of the superhero genre,’ said ComicConnect.com COO Vincent Zurzolo, who brokered the sale.

Created by Cleveland teenagers Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, it told readers about the origins of Superman, how he came to Earth from another planet and went by the name of Clark Kent, a reporter.    

The seller of this particular issue bought the comic in 2018 for slightly more than $2 million.

Action Comics #1 cost 10 cents when it was released in 1938 but the iconic issue fetched millions in a private sale

The world’s first superhero has remained as a cultural icon since his comic debut and plays the hero in Hollywood blockbusters to this day. Pictured: Henry Cavill (second left) as Superman in Justice League

Record-setting comics 

The sale of this particular copy of Action Comics #1 has broken the world record for the most expensive comic. 

Here’s a look at the priciest comics: 

  • In 2014, another copy of Action Comics #1 was sold in an eBay auction for $3.2 million. 
  • In 2010, yet another copy of Action Comics #1 was sold for $1.5million
  • A copy of the 1939 ‘Detective Comics’ #27 – where Batman first appeared – sold at auction for $1.5 million in 2020
  • A near-mint condition 1939 copy of Marvel Comics #1, the Marvel’s first ever comic book, sold for $1.26million in 2019
  • The comic book The Amazing Fantasy #15 where Spider Man was first introduced sold for $1.1 million in 2011 
  • A copy of Action Comics #1 sold at auction for $1 million in 2010, becoming the first million-dollar comic book
  • Superman #1 sold for $780,000 

Zurzolo said that while there were hundreds of thousands of copies initially published, it’s estimated only about 100 exist today, and in varying conditions. 

He said this copy is among the best-kept ones.

‘There’s no comic book that you could value higher in terms of a comic book than Action Comics #1,’ he said.

Action Comics #1 was published on April 18, 1938 by Detective Comics, a corporate predecessor of DC Comics.

The franchise was started by publisher Jack Liebowitz while Superman was the brainchild of co-creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, who came up with the character as high school students five years earlier.

Siegel and Shuster were paid $130 for all the rights to Superman by Detective Comics.

The pair later tried to win back the rights to Superman in court after it became a huge success in the global industry – and they are still involved in the court battles. 

The original cheque used to buy the character was sold for $160,000 in 2012.   

Action Comics was an anthology, featuring a number of superheros alongside one another, but Superman soon got his own series when his booming popularity became apparent.

Superman features across 13 pages in Action Comics #1, featuring his origin story of coming to Earth from ‘a distant planet’ before moving to various adventures including stopping an innocent woman from being murdered, rescuing a woman being beaten by her husband, coming to aid of Lois Lane after she was kidnapped by a gangster.

The world’s first superhero has remained as a cultural icon since his comic debut and plays the hero in Hollywood blockbusters to this day. 

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