Have you ever read headlines such as, “A perfect copy of Action Comics featuring Superman sold for a record $3.2 million on eBay”? You might be tempted to think that such headlines are sham, and that there is no way a comic that once sold for ¢10 would go for millions, right? Well, the truth is that such headlines are 100% true, and yes, a comic that was originally sold for ¢10 can go for well over $4.5 million today.
People who collect stamps, baseball cards, comics, and other collectibles that were produced a few decades back know that original and mint condition versions of some of these collectibles can make them millionaires in a matter of minutes. Such news is enough to make you quit your job – but don’t quit just yet. It’s often very difficult to find original copies of popular comics that were produced about 75 years ago and are still in perfect condition.
DC comics are very popular today, especially because DC also produces very popular movies and series today that involve iconic characters. In 1937, the first American Action comics were published and released by the then Detective Comics Inc., which later changed to the National Comics, and finally to what we know today as DC Comics. It is therefore important to note that some comics featured here were not originally part of the Detective Comics, but they later joined and are now under DC Comics today.
Here are some of the most valuable DC comic issues of all time; would you happen to have one?
10. More Fun Comics No.52 (1940) – $316,000
More Fun Comics was a collection of American comic books from 1935 to 1947, a collection that would later become the famous DC Comics we know today. More Fun Comics were also referred to as New Fun Comics or The Big Comic Magazine, owing partly to the tabloid-sized collection and the entirely original material and characters in the comics that had never been seen before in any other publications or newspapers. Although the first issue is extremely valuable, the 52nd issue is the most valuable of all, going for anywhere between $310,000 and $316,000. One of the reasons for No.52 being of greater value compared to all others is because it is the issue that introduced The Spectre, a major character who detailed Detective Jim Corrigan’s murder and resurrection.
9. Detective Comics No. 29 (1939) – $324,000
Detective Comics issue 29 is one of the most valuable comics in history, with a mint condition copy going for as much as $324,000. This issue features Batman for the second time on the cover, but covers his third appearance in the series. In this issue, Batman gets to encounter Dr. Death, the first super villain that Batman ever has to deal with. Dr. Death’s plot was to extort money from the rich people in Gotham City using a deadly pollen-based poison, a plot that would work if he first eliminated Batman. Dr. Death fails in his first attempt to kill Batman, a mistake that would lead to his death and the death of his manservant Jabah, who dies in a terrible blaze after Batman discovers their hideout. It would seem that Dr. Death miraculously survived the fire, owing to his recurrent appearance in other Comic issues.
8. Detective Comics No. 31 (1939) – $418,000
Detective Comics issue 31 is another extremely valuable comic book that features Batman, Bruce Wayne’s fiancée Julie Madison, and a villain called The Monk. This 1939 comic is valued at approximately $418,000, and a mint condition comic is well worth the price tag. The story here is about the Monk’s abilities to hypnotize people, including Julie Madison who almost killed a man, were it not for the interference of Batman. The Monk tried to hypnotize Batman and even sent a gorilla after him, but thanks to his wits and useful gadgets, the caped crusader managed to escape. Batman eventually saves Julie and follows the Monk to Hungary, in order to avenge what he had done to Julie.
7. Action Comics No. 7 (1938) – $439,000
Superman has always been one of the most popular DC superheroes, and Action Comics No. 7 becomes one of the most valuable comic books because it is the second issue to have the Man of Steel on the cover. The story line in this issue takes us to a time where Superman had joined the circus in a bid to help out the circus owner Mr. Jordan from Mr. Niles, the man he owed a lot of money to. Mr. Jordan was performing to empty crowds, but when he hires Superman to be his main act, crowds started pouring in and he starts making money. Mr. Niles hires a man called Trigger to plan some accidents in order for the circus to fail, but every time Superman saves the day. Trigger captures Loise Lane and takes her to Mr. Nile’s office, but Superman arrives just in time to save Lois and put Trigger and Mr. Nile in jail.
6. All-American Comics No. 16 (1940) – $572,000
All-American publications are responsible for the release of 102 Comics going by the name All-American Comics from 1939 to 1948. These comics would later become part of the DC collection, and are still some of the most valuable comics today. Issue 16 is the most expensive All-American comic book we have today, going for about $572,000. This issue introduces the Green Lantern, a Superhero who is famous to this day, and it gives a detailed explanation of the origin of his character. In the comic, the first Green Lantern, Alan Scott, is the sole survivor of a train wreck, thanks to supernatural power from a green miner’s lantern. When he wakes up, a voice from the lantern explains what the green light is all about; he molds the lantern’s flame into a ring, wears it, and becomes one of the most powerful superheroes of all time.
5. Detective Comics No. 1 (1937) – $586,000
Detective Comics’ first issue is without a doubt one of the most valuable comic books of all time because it was the beginning of DC comics and the DC Universe that has become a household name in entertainment today. This comic was the first of the 881 issues to be produced from 1937 to 2001, and has over the years introduced us to numerous detectives, some ordinary human beings and others having superpowers. The longest serving and arguably the most popular detective of Detective Comics is Batman, who was introduced in the 27th issue. A mint condition copy of the first Detective Comics issue will go for around $586,000.
4. Batman No. 1 (1940) – $634,000
This is the first comic solely dedicated to Batman and the villains that were directly connected to him. This comic featured new material and not just what people knew about him from the Detective Comics, material such as his origin, when his parents were killed, and the circumstances under which he chose to use the bat as his disguise. This issue introduces villains such as the Joker; a clown faced killer who has been Batman’s worst rival over the years, the Cat; a jewel thief character who was to develop into Catwoman, whose striking beauty makes Batman unable to bring her to book, and the Giants of Dr. Hugo Strange. This comic is worth slightly more than $634,000 today.
3. Superman No. 1 (1939) – $768,000
Superman’s first issue is the most expensive issue featuring a single superhero, and was the first individual comic of its kind. The first issue of Superman was released in 1939; it turned out to be such a great success that Detective Comics did not mind producing it as a monthly comic from that point onward. The Superman comic continued production until its 714th issue in 2011, after which the series was rebooted. This comic was the beginning of a more in-depth knowledge of Superman’s history, powers, and escapades. The success of the comic led to the development of other standalone comics such as Batman. A copy of this first issue is worth $768,000 today.
2. Detective Comics No. 27 (1939) – $2,490,000
The 27th issue of the Detective Comics happens to be the most valuable copy under that name, retailing at a mind-boggling $2,490,000. This issue marks the introduction of Batman to the world, and it happened at a time when superhero comics were gaining popularity from creative teams and especially readers. 1939 was the Golden Age of comics, resulting into Batman and Superman becoming serious hits to this day. The story line of this first issue has Commissioner Gordon talking with Bruce Wayne when he receives a call about a murder that he has to solve, involving a businessman and his son. The dead businessman’s other partner calls the commissioner while he was at the crime scene, claiming that someone is threatening to kill him. As soon as the call is finished,he is immediately killed. Batman later interferes with the killing of the remaining business partner by the other living partner, first in a gas chamber and later through stabbing.
1. Action Comics No. 1 (1938) – $4,530,000
The first copy of the Action Comics is rightfully the most expensive comic in the world, since it the first of its kind in the world, and it introduces, among other characters, one of the most powerful DC superheroes; Superman. In 2014, an original first issue of the Action Comics was sold for well over $3.2 Million, but is today worth slightly more than $4.5 Million. This first issue of the Action Comics was published in June 1938 by the National Allied Publications, and it opened up the doors to the superhero genre that the world was apparently craving for. The value of an original copy of this comic in mint condition and many others of its kind will continue to increase, a trend that is not likely to change in the near or even distant future.