The 1 Million Dollar (Super)man

For the first time ever, a comic book has sold at auction for seven figures.

Action Comics #1, the first appearance of Superman, sold for $1 million in an auction conducted by ComicConnect.com.

A million dollars?  That shatters the old record, which was something like $350,000.  I can’t help wondering if the secret buyer was Lex Luthor, and he’s going to use it in some bizarre scheme to travel back in time and undo Superman’s birth.  Really, I can’t help wondering stuff like that. 😉

I jokingly asked people in a tweet if they were mad at Mom for chucking their comics.

However, the real story of why comics became rare is far more insidious than that. 

Comic books were destroyed in what was really the first US culture war (preceding the smashing of rock and roll records).  Elementary school kids were encouraged to make bonfires of comic books…yes, even Superman.

If you are interested in more of that story, I recommend The Ten Cent Plague (Kindle edition) (paperback) by David Hajdu.  It’s well-researched…and scary.

Superman didn’t fly in this issue, by the way.  Remember the old opening?  He “was able to leap tall buildings in a single bound”.  Yeah, leap…didn’t fly.  Like some others, he was influenced by one of my heroes, Doc Savage.  Doc (who debuted five years earlier and was very popular) is the Man of Bronze…Superman is the Man of Steel.  Doc’s first name is Clark.  Doc has a Fortress of Solitude in the Arctic Circle.  Doc was called a “Superman” in advertising.

Still, Superman is undeniably an iconic figure, starring in comics, movies, radio, multiple TV series, novels…even a Broadway musical!  I was always more of a DC comics person (Superman, Aquaman, Batman) than a Marvel guy (Spider-Man, Iron Man, the X-Men)…I just didn’t want my superheroes to have acne, you know?  I did really like the old George Reeve series.

Anyway, congratulations to Superman!  Prices are up, up and away! 😉

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

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