Up, Up, And Away: First Superman Comic Sells For Record $6 Million At Auction

Superman is continuing to soar to new heights. Action Comics #1, where Superman was first introduced in June 1938, sold for a record $6 million at Heritage Auctions on Thursday, making it the most expensive comic book of all-time. The rare comic is graded a CGC 8.5.

The previous record sale for a comic book was $5.3 million set in April 2022 for another Action Comics #1.

“The colors are stunningly rich, and the cover is almost pristine and largely unmarred. Some mild toning to the white areas, slight dulling of the staples, and a little wear along the top seem to have kept the grade at ‘only’ 8.5. There is a single, tiny color break at mid-spine, and the corners are relatively sharp for an 85-year-old comic book,” Heritage writes in the description lot.

This is the highest graded Action Comics #1 of the only four known pedigreed copies. The one that sold for $5.3 million in 2022 was a CGC 8.0.

Created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, both children of Jewish immigrants, the Man of Steel has evolved over the years, reflecting the changing times and values of society.

In the early days, Superman was depicted as a champion of the oppressed, fighting against corruption and injustice during the Great Depression. As World War II erupted, he became a symbol of hope and patriotism, often depicted battling Nazi forces and other threats to democracy. Superman’s biggest foe, Lex Luthor, first appeared in 1940.

Action Comics #1
Action Comics #1. (credit: Heritage Auctions)

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Superman’s adventures took on a more lighthearted tone, with the introduction of colorful villains like Brainiac and Bizarro, as well as the expansion of his supporting cast, including Lois Lane (who also was introduced in Action Comics #1), Jimmy Olsen, and the citizens of Metropolis.

The 1970s and 1980s saw a shift towards more complex storytelling, with tales exploring Superman’s alien heritage and his place in the universe. The landmark storyline “The Death of Superman” in 1992 shocked readers worldwide, demonstrating that even the most invincible heroes could fall.

Superman has also been adapted into numerous films, television shows, and video games, each offering a fresh take on the character while staying true to his core values. From Christopher Reeve’s iconic portrayal in the 1970s and 1980s to Henry Cavill’s modern interpretation, Superman continues to inspire new generations of fans.

Superman’s 85th anniversary was celebrated in 2023.

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