Zap! Pow! Bam! First Superman Comic Pulverizes Previous Records with $1,500,000 Sale

Posted: 3/30/2010, one of the industry’s leading online auction and consignment sites, has sold the highest-graded copy of the world’s #1 comic book—Action Comics #1 CGC 8.5, which marks Superman’s 1938 debut—for a whopping $1,500,000. This follows on the heels of last month’s unprecedented sales of the first million dollar comic books, another rare copy of Action Comics #1 CGC 8.0, a. Shortly thereafter, a copy of the first Batman comic book, Detective Comics #27 CGC 8.5, sold for $1,075,000.

“This new record will be hard to break,” says co-owner and COO, Vincent Zurzolo. For most collectors, this 8.5-graded Action #1 is the ultimate object of desire. The comic has been legendary since it blasted out of obscurity in the late 1980’s. Even its discovery is the stuff of dreams. For 50 years, the comic book was buried in a stack of old movie magazines from the 1930s. When the magazines were sold at a antique auction in Pittsburgh, the buyer was surprised to find Superman keeping company with Clark Gable and Joan Crawford.

“Because it was tucked inside a magazine, it was well protected all those years,” says Stephen Fishler, founder of and its affiliate, Metropolis Collectibles, “That’s why it’s in such remarkable condition.”

The lucky buyer knew the value of his find. He brought the book, unannounced, to a New York comic convention, where he waved it around, offering it to the highest bidder. Fishler was there.

“What a ruckus,” remembers Fishler, who created the 10-point grading scale now used universally to evaluate the condition of comic books. “One minute, no one knew it existed…the next minute, everyone was dying to own it.”

In the years that followed, the comic book was bought and sold several times by various collectors, breaking records along the way. For the last 17 years, it had been in the possession of a single, established collector, who—after receiving numerous offers over the years—sold it to Fishler and Zurzolo.

It’s fair to assume that the new owner belongs to what Zurzolo and Fishler describe as the latest generation of comic book collectors. “They don’t want a Van Gogh or Picasso,” observes Zurzolo, “They want collectibles that mean something to them. Our society is built on pop culture. Superman, Spider-Man, Batman…they’re the icons now.”

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