It was Batman versus Superman and Batman won. Last night, a mint-condition copy of Detective Comics No. 27 – in which, in May, 1939, Batman made his world debut – was sold at the Heritage Auction Galleries in Dallas for a record-breaking price of $1,075,000. Yet just three days earlier headlines were made when a near-perfect sample of the comic book Action Books No 1 – dated June 1938, in which Superman made his debut – was sold through an auction website for $1 million.
Until last week, the record price for the sale of a comic book was $317,000, a high set just last year with the purchase of another copy – in less perfect condition – of Action Comics #1.
Shirrel Rhoades, former publisher and executive vice president of Marvel Comics, told ABC News that the Superman comic – Actions Comic #1 – is perhaps more more historic than Detective Comics No. 27 (the Batman debut) but he added that, "We're probably seeing a little bit of a feeding frenzy. With the sale of Action #1 for a million, I think that's going to keep prices up for a while."
Back in the 1930s when they were first issued, both comic books sold for 10 cents. The last time this particular copy of Detective Comics No. 27 was sold, more than 40 years ago, a collector purchased it for $100.
So what should today's comic book collectors be investing in? According to The National Post, it's Incredible Hulk #181, the 1974 comic in which Wolverine made his debut. According to the Post, if you have one, you should "bide your time." And then, in "another 40 years or so and victory will" come to you.
Or perhaps to your heirs.
Marjorie Kehe is the Monitor's book editor.