Comic featuring Superman’s first ever appearance sells for record $6 million

Apr 5, 2024, 4:10 PM

"Action Comics No. 1" is the most expensive comic ever sold....

"Action Comics No. 1" is the most expensive comic ever sold. (Heritage Auctions via CNN Newsource)

(Heritage Auctions via CNN Newsource)

(CNN) —A 1938 comic featuring Superman’s first appearance sold for $6 million at auction on Thursday, becoming the most expensive comic ever, according to Heritage Auctions, which handled the sale.

The auction house dubbed it the “most important, impactful comic book ever published,” as it introduced the world to Superman for just 10 cents an issue when it was first released 86 years ago.

“Without Superman and Action Comics No. 1, who knows whether there ever would have been a Golden Age of comics—or if the medium would have become what it is today,” Heritage Auctions Vice President Barry Sandoval said in a statement ahead of the sale.

And despite its age, this comic was still in very good condition, with rich colors and a little wear at the top. Only two other unrestored copies exist in better condition, Heritage Auctions said, and only 100 in total are estimated to survive out of the 200,000 originally printed.

Rare 1939 Detective Comics issue that introduced Batman approaches $1.5M record as auction winds down

The story, written by friends Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, reveals Superman’s origins as an alien child sent to Earth to escape the destruction of his planet, and introduces his love interest, Lois Lane.

Such is the value of this particular issue that loose individual pages have fetched up to $60,000 each, the auction house added. Other copies have also sold for record-breaking prices, including one in 2021 that went for $3.25 million and became the most expensive ever comic at the time.

The first ever comic featuring Spider-Man overtook it later the same year, when it sold for $3.6 million, according to CGC Comics, before another issue of the Man of Steel’s adventures in “Superman #1” took the crown in 2022, fetching $5.3 million in a private sale.

In the years since his first appearance, Superman has become one of the most recognizable and enduring characters in American pop culture, spawning blockbuster movies, books, toys, and even bubble gum.

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Comic featuring Superman’s first ever appearance sells for record $6 million