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Million-dollar comics: first Superman, now Batman

February 26, 2010 | 10:04 am

Supermanbatman

On Monday, ComicConnect announced that it had sold the first Superman comic book, Action Comics No. 1, for a record-setting $1 million. That was the record -- until today, when the first Batman comic sold for $1,075,500. Sock! Bam! Pow!

Both comics marked the first appearance of each superhero, in Action Comics and Detective Comics, respectively. The popularity of both characters meant they each soon earned their own titles.

Although comic books were produced in mass quantities, in the 1930s -- and for a few decades later -- they were considered trash culture. They were read avidly by children who folded them, stuffed them in pockets, crumpled them under the sheets while reading with a flashlight.

The Superman comic, printed in 1938, and the Batman comic, from 1939, were not treated that way. Both were in pristine condition. 

Comic lovers now know to take care of their collections. The market has shot up since the 1960s. According to the Associated Press, the consignor who sold the Batman comic originally bought it for $100.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Images: The Superman cover, left. Credit: Associated Press. Right, the Batman cover. Credit: DC Comics.

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