Action Comics #1
Action Comics #1 was the 1938 first issue of an American comic book series which introduced Superman, the first major superhero character (as the term is now popularly defined). The issue is also regarded as being the first superhero comic. On March 29th, 2010, ComicConnect.com sold another copy and fetched USD$1.5 million, making it the most expensive and most valuable comic book of all-time.
Action Comics #1 has been described as “the most important issue ever published” thanks to the popularity of Superman.
Auction house Heritage Auction Galleries described the issue as: “By general consensus, it's the comic that started the Golden Age, and Joe Shuster's cover remains the best-known in comic history.”
Creation and early concept
Jerry Siegel wrote a story entitled "The Reign of the Super-Man" in January 1933, then created a comic book entitled "The Superman" with partner Joe Shuster later in 1933.
After a Chicago publisher didn’t follow through on its early interest, Shuster tore up all the pages of this comic except for the cover. Later, in 1934, Siegel had trouble falling asleep and decided to pass the time creating dramatic elements for a comic strip.
It was during this creative session that Superman’s origins were devised. Siegel imagined a child on a far-off planet named Krypton, where all the residents had super powers. Because Krypton would soon explode, the boy was sent to Earth by his father, where he became Superman.
Superman’s planet of origin, Krypton, isn’t mentioned by name in the strip – it is merely described as being a “distant planet” destroyed by old age. There is no mention of his adoptive parents Jonathan or Martha Kent. Instead, the motorist who discovers his space-ship merely turns Clark over to an orphanage.
Superman’s powers in Action Comics #1
Superman's powers are quite limited in Action Comics #1 compared to the later Golden Age of comic books.
He can’t fly, but can instead "leap tall buildings at a single bound", and is invulnerable only to anything "less than a bursting shell". His powers increase gradually - and without explanation - over the succeeding issues of Action Comics.
An 8.0 graded copy of Action Comics #1 was sold by ComicConnect for $1m in February, 2010. This sale was later surpassed by the $1,075,500 World Record sale of Detective Comics, featuring the first-ever appearance of Batman.
On March 29th, 2010, ComicConnect.com sold another copy and fetched USD$1.5 million, making it the most expensive and most valuable comic book of all-time.
In November 2011 the record was broken once more, as a 9.0-graded copy was sold at auction by ComicConnect for $2.16 million. This copy is believed to be the book originally owned by the actor Nicolas Cage, before it was stolen from his renowned comic book collection in 2000. It was later discovered in a San Fernando Valley storage locker in April 2011.
Sales of lower quality Action Comics #1s include a Court Copy (DC, 1938) graded FN+ 6.5 Moderate with off-white pages was auctioned at Heritage Auction Galleries for $143,400. The copy sold is currently the highest-graded copy from the Comic Guaranty LLC (CGC), which stands at 8.5 VF+ grade.
Action Comics #1 is considered the most valuable comic for a given condition, followed by Detective Comics #27 (the first appearance of Batman) and Superman vol. 1 #1.