The 10 Most Expensive Comic Books Ever Sold
Comic books are big bucks. With the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) and the DCEU (DC Extended Universe) taking in millions upon millions every year, superheroes cemented their place in pop culture a long, long time ago. It’s not all about the giants of the comic books world like Marvel and DC some of your favourite characters started life out in hand drawn independent comics such as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Crow though you will struggle to find them in the most expensive comic books ever sold list.
The reasons these books are so expensive is because historically speaking no one cared about comics in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. They were seen as rags and many a mother threw out early issues of Amazing Fantasy and Detective Comics having no idea that in 40 years time they would be worth a small fortune. Comics were silly just tales that little children read therefore the amount that have been destroyed has pushed up the rarity and also the value. When the comic book boom hit in the 1980s and original issues and first appearances of your favourite characters started selling for a lot more than the cover prices the general public started snaffling comics books up left, right and centre. There is an abundance of the 1992 comic “The Death of Superman” because people literally thought they could pay off their mortgage in 20 years time and this simply isn’t the case. The same can be said for vinyl. A couple of years ago when everyone and their dad went vinyl mad people thought their copy of “Ziggy Stardust” was going to pay for the boat they had always wanted. Truth is there are so many out there because of how popular the album was the chances that your copy was worth anything more that £30 were slim to none. Especially after Bowie died and everything he ever made was repressed. What casual collector would never spend £40 on a Very Good copy of “Hunky Dorey” when they could get it brand new for £14 from Sainsbury’s. The market was flooded and the same rang true for comic books.
There are some comics out there that go for an absolute fortune. Here are 10 if the most sought after issues, their grading and what they sold for.
10. The Incredible Hulk #1 Grade – 9.2
This was the first appearance of everyone’s favourite angry green man. In the first couple of issues The Hulk was grey which is what he was originally intended to be however the printing presses were having trouble with the colour and he kept coming out greenish so Marvel decided to just make the Hulk green. The comic was first released in 1962 and was created by two of the most influential names in the superhero world, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Rumour has it there only one copy in existence that is graded better than 9.2. This copy sold for $320,000 in June 2014.
9. Captain America Comics #1 Grade – 9.2
Captain America was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby and made his first appearance in 1941. The cover has The Cap’ feeding Hitler a knuckle sandwich but the issue was released in March 1941. The attack on Pearl Harbour didn’t happen till December of the same year which means the US hadn’t entered World War Two when Steve Rogers was kicking nazi rear ends. Both Simon and Kirby were Jewish writers and received death threats for the issue. This copy sold for $343,057 in 2011.
8. Marvel Comics #1 Grade – 9.0
This issue was the precursor to the advent of the Marvel Comics we know and love today. “Marvel Comics” was released in 1939 under Timely Publications. By the 1950’s came around Timely was rebranded to Atlas Comics and the publishers didn’t reach its final incarnation as Marvel Comics until 1961, the same year The Fantastic Four was launched. This issue is the first time we see the Original Human Torch and Namor. If the grading of this comic book was higher it would be much, much further up the list but as of yet no other copies have emerged.
7. Tales of Suspense #39 Grade – 9.6
This was the first appearance of Iron Man and was published in March of 1963. This issue sold in 2012 when Robert Downey Junior was helping to make Iron Man a household name. This particular copy was in impeccable condition and thats reflected in the price it was sold for.
6. Flash Comics #1 Grade – 9.6
This book was sold in 2010 for $450,000. It belonged to a man called Edgar Church. Church was an artist and collected comic books and pulp fiction. As it turns out his basement in Colorado was the perfect place to store comic books because of the humidity his collection was kept in incredible condition. Most of the worlds Golden Age comic books came from his basement and were purchased by Chuck Rozanski of Mile High Comics. Sometimes comics book are referred as from the “Mile High Collection” or the “Church Collection.” This issue of Flash Comics is the first appearance of both The Original Flash, Jay Garrick and Hawkman.
5. X-Men #1 Grade – 9.8
The X-Men series is vast. The series includes The Uncanny X-Men, The Astonishing X-Men, X Men Forever and believe me I could go on for quite some time. Even characters like Deadpool are linked to the X-Men and many issues in the Deadpool series have storylines that jump across into the X-Men comics but this was the book that kicked it all off. In 2004, Stan Lee recalled, “I couldn’t have everybody bitten by a radioactive spider or exposed to a gamma ray explosion. And I took the cowardly way out. I said to myself, ‘Why don’t I just say they’re mutants. They were born that way.” The issue was first published in 1963 and this particular copy sold for $492,937.50 due to the high grading. A previous copy graded at 9.6 sold for half the amount.
4. BATMAN #1 Grade – 9.2
This is one of the very few comic books that has ever sold for more than half a million dollars and why not. With the first appearance of both The Joker and Catwoman this issue solidified some of DC’s most important characters. Believe it or not a vast amount of Batman characters which are still present today appeared in the first year of issues which in itself is an incredible feat. Batman number 1 was first published in 1940.
3. DETECTIVE COMICS #27, Grade – 8.0
This is the first ever appearance of The Batman. Technically if you want to play Uber Geek the first very appearance of Batman was in Action Comics number 12 when an advert for the upcoming issue of Detective Comics Number 27 was telling readers it going to feature a brand new hero. It was also the first appearance of James Gordon so you can see how important this issue actually is.
2. AMAZING FANTASY #15, Grade – 9.6
This comic needs no introduction. This issue had the first appearance of Spider-Man. First released in 1962 this would change the comic book world . This teen vigilante came with his own bag of teenage problems something no one had ever really seen before in the comic world. Spider-Man was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko and has become one of the most instantly recognisable characters in history. This particular book sold for $1,100,000 in 2012.
1. “ACTION COMICS” #1, CGC 9.0
No less than four of these comic books have sold for over $1 million. All of them were over 9.0. Arguably one of the most recognisable covers in history, Superman was a very different beast in 1938 when Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster unleashed him onto the world. Superman originally had more powers than sense, in fact he could make up powers on the spot depending on what situation he was in and he would instantly have that ability. As the years went on Superman changed. After a while you will eventually run out of stories to tell when the main character has no weaknesses and can quite literally do anything. Kryptonite was first metioned in 1948 as a way to bring Superman down a peg or two. Regardless this comic is worth a fortune!