It’s a price tag that would even make the Man of Steel stop mid-flight and say, “Hey, that’s pretty super.”
An original copy of Action Comics #1 — the one that introduced Superman to the world — sold for $1 million last week, thanks to the efforts of a Bensonhurst-born collectible broker and online auctioneer.
“[Action Comics #1] is the Holy Grail of comic books,” says Stephen Fishler, a leading expert on collectible comics and founder of ComicConnect.com. “Before Action Comics #1, there was no such thing as a superhero or a man who could fly. Comics weren’t even that popular. It’s the single most important event in comic book history.”
The $1 million sale is quite a jump from the dime kids across the country forked over for the mag when Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joel Schuster first published it back in 1938.
Last week’s bid (Fishler is keeping mum on who bought it and who sold it) blew the doors off the last record holder of an Action Comic #1 sale, which was purchased for $317,200 in 2009.
Fishler said that the million-dollar comic was in much better condition than the one in 2009, which he also brokered.
He should know — he’s also the one who created the 10-point grading scale now commonly used to evaluate the condition of comic books, he said.
The Action Comics #1 sold in 2009 had a grading of 6.0. Their $1 million dollar baby had a grading of 8.0 — considered very fine.
In comic book parlance, an Action Comic #1 with a grading of 8.0 is more rare than stumbling across veins of red kryptonite (that’s the one that turns Superman into a slacker) and magic kryptonite (that’s the one that gets Supes high) in the same extraterrestrial rock quarry.
Fishler and this comic go back a long way — he helped broker another sale for the same book 15 years earlier. At the time, however, the comic only sold for $150,000.
What a different a decade and a half makes. Those rumored to be interested in the sale included longtime Superman enthusiasts Jerry Seinfeld, Shaquille O’Neill and Nicholas Cage.
“I knew that someday, there would be a seven-figure comic book sale, and I dreamed of being part of that historic moment,” Fishler explained, trying to hold back his enthusiasm “But I didn’t think it would happen so soon, particularly given the current state of the economy.”
But comicsconnect.com co-owner and COO Vincent Zurzolo has an idea why such a big sale took place in the middle of a recession.
“While the real estate market and stock market keep falling, comic book sales remain very strong,” Zurzolo said. “Some people are taking their money out of low-interest bank accounts and under-performing stocks and investing in hard assets like comics, coins, and other collectibles.”
“A hard asset is an appealing alternative to a soft stock market,” he said.
with Joe Maniscalco