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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220 Comments
  • brainfreezer
    brainfreezerThursday, January 30, 2020 at 12:08 pm
    this article reminds me of stan lee RIP stan lee 1922-2018
    • 4usa
      4usaTuesday, January 28, 2020 at 10:03 am
      I❤superheroes but wouldn't spend that much💵.
      • iron-man
        iron-manWednesday, January 22, 2020 at 9:22 am
        i would do anything to get that comic book!
        • orangehamster
          orangehamsterWednesday, January 22, 2020 at 8:54 am
          Holy Cow! I don't know if I'll ever have that much money... XD
          • ilovenutellayay
            ilovenutellayayMonday, January 20, 2020 at 4:38 pm
            woah 1.26 million$ is a lot for a comic book
            • coolbot3553
              coolbot3553Monday, January 20, 2020 at 9:57 am
              omg!!! btw, i love marvel so so much
              • iron-man
                iron-manWednesday, January 22, 2020 at 9:21 am
                same
              • opsniper88
                opsniper88Monday, January 20, 2020 at 8:18 am
                I love marvel. My lil bro has a fantastic 4 comic. On the back it says phinious and ferb coming out this summer. lol
                • yujushin
                  yujushinSunday, January 19, 2020 at 10:14 pm
                  This is so interesting!!
                  • crazytaco1
                    crazytaco1Friday, January 17, 2020 at 7:33 pm
                    Man I wish I was selling that
                    • hbcvfnmfb
                      hbcvfnmfbThursday, January 16, 2020 at 11:52 am
                      I wish i had that money