Pristine Copy Of First Marvel Comics Issue Auctions For $1.26 Million

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The first-ever Marvel comic book fetched a record $1.26 million at a recent auction (Credit: Heritage Auctions)

A perfectly-preserved copy of Marvel's first-ever comic book was sold to an anonymous buyer for a record $1.26 million by Dallas-based Heritage Auctions on November 21, 2019. Published in 1939 by Timely Comics, which later became Marvel Comics, it features an android superhero called The Human Torch, a costumed detective known as Angel, and a mutant anti-hero dubbed Namor the Sub-Mariner.

The graphic novel was first purchased in 1939 for a mere 10 cents by a Uniontown, Pennsylvania, mail carrier, well-known for his penchant for buying first issues of comics and magazines. Though it has changed hands a few times since, the issue is in "outrageously" good condition, scoring 9.4 on a scale of one to ten. According to the auctioneers, only two other known comic book copies compare with scores of over 9.0.

"This is a historic copy of a historic comic book," Ed Jaster, Heritage Auctions senior vice president, said of the graphic novel. "Without question, this is the granddaddy of all Marvel Comics, without which we would not have the characters and stories we enjoy in today's comics and feature films."

The first-ever Marvel comic book features an android superhero known as The Human Torch (Credit: Marvel.com)

As the name indicates, the android Human Torch, created by fictional scientist Professor Phineas Thomas Horton, had the ability to surround himself with fire and control flames. Initially portrayed as a science fiction horror, he soon becomes a hero and even adopts a secret identity as a police officer.

Though reminiscent of the Fantastic Four member with similar powers, the original Human Torch was the brainchild of American comic book artist Carl Burgos. Similar to many other superheroes created at the time, he fell into obscurity by the 1950s. In 1961, legendary comic book creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby repurposed his name and bestowed his powers on the modern-day Human Torch, a human mutant named Johnny Storm.

The first Marvel comic book was purchased by a mail carrier for 10 cents in 1939 (Credit: Heritage Auctions)

Though the latest sale surpasses the $1.1 million paid in 2011 for a Marvel Comic featuring the first Spider-Man, it is not the most paid for a graphic novel . That honor belongs to the first issue of "Action Comics." Published in 1938 by DC Comics, the graphic novel, which debuted Superman, sold for a mind-boggling $3.2 million in 2014!

Resources: independent.co.uk, comics.ha.com

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157 Comments
  • i_am_ava_hi_bye
    i_am_ava_hi_byeMonday, December 9, 2019 at 6:39 am
    from 10 cents to 1 million wow
    • genos
      genosSunday, December 8, 2019 at 11:18 am
      Thats a lot of money
      • bowlingscore
        bowlingscoreSunday, December 8, 2019 at 10:02 am
        So cool
        • ta_boss14
          ta_boss14Saturday, December 7, 2019 at 12:53 pm
          Using this article for current Event project
          • invincikitty
            invincikittySaturday, December 7, 2019 at 11:51 am
            I know that my foster dad used to collect comics a lot more than I thought. He has a good collection of comics and it is a great amount of them. I like that he is still collecting them and they are good 👍
            • timathey92
              timathey92Saturday, December 7, 2019 at 10:58 am
              Well my foster dad did collted comics when he was a kid and the funny part is that when he went to go boot camp he came back I think that he had lost all of his comics and he could not find them and he said that he had more than 100 and I felt I should go to comic ware house to go and get some comics and that is my story 😂😂😂😂
              • zeakfly
                zeakflyFriday, December 6, 2019 at 8:19 pm
                Oohh comics I have read hundreds
                • emmaly1107
                  emmaly1107Friday, December 6, 2019 at 12:37 pm
                  it is really good i am shocked
                  • berrypenguinblu
                    berrypenguinbluFriday, December 6, 2019 at 10:17 am
                    Woah! I like comics there pretty cool.
                    • berrypenguinblu
                      berrypenguinbluFriday, December 6, 2019 at 10:19 am
                      And R.I.P Stan Lee
                    • pandas376573992
                      pandas376573992Friday, December 6, 2019 at 8:31 am
                      This is awesome!