Comic book fans will have plenty to look at this weekend in New York City as they attend Comic Con, complete with costumes, video games, blockbuster films and many, many comic books.
Some rare issues can cost thousands of dollars more than they were worth when originally sold. And others? Even millions.
Right now, the comic book with the highest offering price on eBay EBAY, -0.46% is a near-mint condition “Flash Comics” from 1939 and is listed for about $1.2 million (when it was released, it cost 10 cents). If it’s sold at that or near that price, it will be one of the top five most expensive comic books ever sold, according to It’s All Just Comics, which tracks rare collectibles. Right now the top five, at least as December 2016, range from $1,075,000 to $3.2 million.
The issue is an ashcan edition, which are sometimes unlettered or unfinished, but was the very first DC Comics Flash edition, according to the seller, and was used to patent the title. It’s also one of six known to exist with the highest-graded quality. Other highest-priced collectible comic books for sale on the site right now are listed for $800,000 and $615,000. There’s a lot of eight “Lone Ranger” comic books listed for $1 million.
Why are comic books still so expensive?
Superhero movies have gained traction in recent years, and feature beloved characters such as Iron Man, Superman and Spider-Man, as well as previously lesser-known characters from “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Logan” and “X-Men.” The most expensive comic book movie franchises are “Spider-Man,“ at $3.96 billion, “Batman,“ at $3.8 billion, “X-Men,“ at $3.05 billion, “Iron Man,“ at $2.42 billion, and the “Avengers,” at $1.53 billion. Comics are seeping into television and series as well, such as Netflix’s NFLX, +1.87% “Daredevil” and ABC’s DIS, -0.04% “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” So original comics based on these pop-culture phenomena are in high demand.
What was the most expensive comic book sold?
But none come close to the most expensive comic sold on eBay, “Action Comics #1” in 2014, for $3.2 million. It was a nearly flawless copy of Superman’s debut, created in 1938, and sold by a fan named Darren Adam. A portion of the proceeds went to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. Christopher Reeve, who died in 2004, played the dashing Superman in four movies between 1978 to 1987 before being paralyzed from a spinal injury as a result of a horse-riding accident. The same issue with similar grade qualities were sold for $2.1 million and $1.5 million on ComicConnect, an online marketplace for comics.
Last August, Adam also sold three rare comic books featuring “Wonder Woman,” who has experienced a resurgence after DC Comics’ blockbuster movie starring Gal Gadot and directed by Patty Jenkins. The three were “All Star Comics #8,” which sold for $936,223; “Sensation Comics #1,” for $399,100; and “Wonder Woman #1,” for $226,877.77. The former was the first comic with a female lead to approach the $1 million sale mark, according to eBay, which would also put it in the top 10 list of all-time record comic book sales.