The Washington Post

A MILLION-DOLLAR-PLUS ‘SUPERMAN’? Rare 1938 comic book expected to fetch record price tonight

This image released by Metropolis Collectibles shows the June, 1938 cover of Action Comics. (AP)

The Man of Steel is up for auction, and Wednesday night’s winning bid could be a record north of $1.5-million.

A rare 1938 Superman comic book was put on the block Nov. 11, and with less than 20 hours to go, the auction/consignment site and its sister dealership, Metropolis Collectibles, expect the book — Action Comics No.-1 — to fetch a record prize. (As of 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, the top posted bid — though not yet officially authenticated, of course — was $1.552-million.)

The record bid for a comic book at auction is $1.5-million, set in 2010 — also for an issue of Action Comics No.-1. This June 1938 book — which features the debut of Siegel and Shuster’s Superman — was reportedly found early this year in a California storage shed. And according to the book’s lore, it was once owned — and stolen from — actor and Super-fan Nicolas Cage.


[Rare Superman on the auction block]

The issue at auction is graded at “9.0” — or near-mint condition. There are estimated to be about 100 extant copies of the comic, few in good condition.

In 2010, there was a spasm of big-spending on Action Comics No.-1and Detective Comics No.-27 (Batman’s debut), with the ping-ponging record escalating to $1.5-million.

Metropolis Collectibles says the current “9.0” issue has twice before been the most valuable comic book: It set records when it sold in 1992 (for $86,000) and again in 1997 ($150,000), according to the AP.

Writer/artist/visual storyteller Michael Cavna is creator of the "Comic Riffs" column and graphic-novel reviewer for The Post's Book World. He relishes sharp-eyed satire in most any form.


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