Having appeared in the late 1930s, comic books became hugely popular. Familiarity with beloved superheroes marked a golden age, and today some issues are worth hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars.
Silver replaced the golden age of the late ’30s and ’40s and then a bronze age that lasted from 1970 to 1985. Modern comics and their franchise characters have entered a new era. There is a renaissance in the success of the Marvel and DC movie companies, which have opened up the world of comics to a broader audience. However, the growing desire for as much profit as possible is making the original and traditional images of beloved characters increasingly expensive, forcing the most ardent fans to splurge, as comic books are some of the most valuable collectibles. Today, even online casino India for real money has a comic book theme, which shows the genre’s popularity. Today we look at some of the most costly comics in the world.
The most popular and expensive comics
- Avengers #1, $274,000. Opening the rankings is the first issue of Avengers, which featured Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, Ant-Man, and the Wasp. The team battles against Thor’s evil brother, Loki.
- Whiz Comics #2, $281,000. Issue #1 was only used in promotional campaigns and never published, so #2 is the first installment. The comic shows the first appearance of Captain Marvel, or Shazam, to avoid confusion with Marvel’s superhero, Captain Marvel. The comic’s popularity and exclusivity made it sell for $281,000 in 2012.
- Fantastic Four #1, $300,000. Perhaps one of the most important comics on the list is Fantastic Four, the first issue sold for $300,000 in 2011.
- Incredible Hulk #1, $326,000. Everyone knows and loves the story of Dr. Bruce Benner and his big green giant side, better known as the Incredible Hulk. This comic book sold for $326,000 in 2014.
- Captain America Comics #1, $343,057. Another famous comic book is the first issue of Captain America. The comic’s cover is famous for the Captain punching Adolf Hitler in the face.
- Marvel Comics #1, $350,000. It was the very first issue of the Marvel Comics line. It featured such superheroes as Fakel Man and Namor.
Action Comics #1, 1938 – $3,200,000
In 1938, the retail price of the most expensive comic book in history, Action Comics No.1, was only 10 cents. Any teenager could afford to buy a comic book that first featured Superman on the cover. Now it is considered by collectors to be the Holy Grail, the beginning of the Golden Age of comics. And in his example, it is easy to explain the price of rare copies.
First, rarity and preservation: to date, there are nine known surviving copies in the world (one was found immured in the wall of a house in Minnesota), and eight belong to private collectors who have no plans to sell the treasure shortly.
Second, the story itself: Action Comics #1 first introduced Superman to the world. But it’s not entirely his classic version because it doesn’t yet have many of the details we’re familiar with: the adoptive family of the Kents, the home planet of Krypton. All these details are fleshed out in the following few issues. Superman’s alien origins are casually alluded to – he’s just a good kid from an orphanage who fights criminals and saves his girlfriend.
Third, the price skyrockets if celebrities are among the former owners. In 2000, one original copy of Action Comics #1 was stolen from American actor and comic book collector Nicholas Cage: it was discovered in March 2011 in California’s San Fernando Valley. But the comic wasn’t returned to Cage because the actor had already received an insurance payout. The magazine was auctioned off, first for $2.16 million and three years later, in 2014, for $3.2 million on eBay.
Detective Comics #27, 1939 – $2,570,000
These comics were published by DC Comics (the publisher is named after it) since 1937 and are known for the fact that it was in it that the classic superhero Batman made his debut in May 1939, with Gotham City as the setting. It was created by artist Bob Kane in collaboration with writer Bill Finger. Almost immediately after its appearance, Batman became so popular that he became a hero of a different series in less than a year. Now Batman is officially one of the three greatest superheroes, along with Superman and Spider-Man.
Cover sketch for “Tintin in America” comic book, 1932 – $1,700,000
Georges Remy created the character who became a symbol of Belgium in 1929. Sketches for the comic book – unlike in the US, in the Old World is more valued, not circulation, and unique author’s drawings – are sold at antique fairs, including the oldest BRAFA, along with Egyptian antiquities and ancient statuettes. In the first issue, Tintin, a reporter for a Belgian newspaper, travels with his Fox Terrier, Milou, to the Soviet Union, which is presented as the Evil Empire. Remy went on to take on the then malignant theme of the colonies ( “Tintin in the Congo,” 1931). Later he spoke both against the Japanese imperialists in China and against fascism – Tintin immediately became a vivid cultural phenomenon and a sharp political satire.
Amazing fantasy #15, 1962 – $1,100,000
Marvel Comics published the series from 1961 to 1962, 1995 to 1996, and 2004 to 2006. It is most famous for featuring Spider-Man for the first time – just in the 15th issue. Remarkably, the slogan “The magazine that respects your intelligence” was printed on the covers. By 1962, sales had plummeted, and production was about to stop. Then publisher Martin Goodman ventured to introduce a new superhero, not quite the usual one: an ordinary teenager with typical teenage problems – insecurity, lack of friends, and a complicated love affair. He was so beloved by readers that he soon developed into a stand-alone comic book, The Amazing Spider-Man.
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Batman #1, 1940 – $527,625
It is where one of Batman’s biggest adversaries, the Joker, first appears. In general, during his 79-year history, this sinister clown has changed his biography several times as befits a true trickster. According to the canonical version, the man who later became the Joker was a failed comedian – the new film about him, which took the Grand Prize at the Venice Film Festival, supports this theory. As a result, the entire Gotham police force chases the villain in the comic book. After another confrontation with Batman, the former is taken to Arkham Asylum, where another opposing hero, Puppet Master, cuts off the Joker’s face before telling him he is a devoted fan.
X-Men #1, 1963 – $492,937.5
Rounding out the top five are the X-Men, the protagonists of the commercially successful film series, several animated series, and several computer games. The comic book’s name was invented by one of its creators, Stan Lee, after Marvel publisher Martin Goodman rejected the original “Mutants.” The first X-Men team consisted of Cyclops, Geena Grey, the Beast, Angel, and the Iceman. In the first issue, they fought Magneto, who would later create his Brotherhood of Mutants, consisting of Mercury, Scarlet Witch, Toad, and Lord of Mind.
Flash Comics #1, 1940 – $450,000
It is where the Flash and Hawkman, lesser known to the general public, first appeared. The Flash can travel faster than the speed of light and use superhuman reflexes. In the DC Comics universe, Hawkman is distinguished by his antique weapons and artificial wings attached to his armor.