The popularity of superheroes is on the rise, staggering and looming up above all over franchises. Superheroes are more aptly consumed than cop dramas and romcoms at this point in time. Understandably, this has caused a severe uptake in the price of comic books. Comic books used to be relatively cheap, easily accessible forms of entertainment for the younger masses. Now they suck the money from the wallets of everyone, from genuine nerds with a lifelong interest to wealthy trust fund kids who just watched the newest Marvel movie. It is about time such talented artists and storytellers got recognition for the cult classics they developed. These particular comic books have been bought and sold so many times that some of them could have a top ten list all their own—like Action Comics, which, with two copies, has successfully had the highest transaction costs of all time. From the least absurdly priced to the ridiculous amount ever spent on a couple of color pages, this is the comic book countdown.
10. The Incredible Hulk, Issue 1 – $326,000
Sold in 2014 for $326,000, this comic book features the very first appearance of one of the Avengers’ finest. A token superhero that everyone and his brother knows about, the Hulk is a man turned monster by gamma radiation. He goes from regular, mildly beefy scientist to huge hulking green berserker in a fit of emotional fury that would rival Dr. Jekyll and Mister Hyde. This character flips the status quo on connotative bad and good guy attributes. The Hulk seems like a villain—bulging and ugly and angry, with green skin and an inability to be reasoned with—but he wants to help, and help he does.
9. Captain America Comics, Issue 1 – $343,057
Coming in at roughly twenty thousand more dollars, the first issue of Captain America was sold in 2011 for $343,057. This character is actually a great foil for the Hulk; both start as regular guys, with a tenacious desire to aid and protect others. Captain America is introduced fighting Hitler—he was a super soldier, created by the United States government using gamma radiation. Instead of turning into a walking physical deformity, however, the captain maintains his aesthetic with the generous donation of muscle mass. A patriotic defender of the American way of life, Captain America is as rigorous as he the standard for beautiful.
8. Marvel Comics, Issue 1 – $367,000
Clocking in at a whopping $367,000 in 2003, the appearance of the Human Torch is apparently quite lucrative. Without touching on the Fantastic Four, this first issue introduces Jim Hammond and his ability to “flame on.” This character’s debut is initialized by him being unconscious in a tube in a laboratory. He escapes, and later realizes that he is hurting people with his uncontrollable powers. This seems strange in conjunction with the story that was popularized by each installment and redoing of the films, wherein all members of the Fantastic Four are created by exposure to unknown cosmic rays while aboard a spaceship.
7. Tales of Suspense, Issue 39 – $375,000
In 2012, someone paid quite a lot of money for the comic featuring the first ever appearance of Iron Man, to the tune of $375,000. Iron Man is a widely popular superhero and the first one on this list without any actual powers. Unless an astonishingly high IQ and painfully acute sarcasm counts as a power, Tony Stark’s entire façade is based on his billionaire status and ability to make extreme technological advances. He follows in his father’s footsteps, but with longer and more intriguing strides. Anthony Stark has a connection with Captain America, but that’s where his intrigue stops. Tony creates a super-powered suit and helps save the day.
6. Flash Comics, Issue 1 – $450,000
For $450,000, the first issue of the Flash was sold in 2010. While the Flash’s storyline seems to change at the speed of light, this comic introduces Jay Garrick as a college student who undergoes a peculiar transformation due to inhaling a gaseous substance. This issue focuses on his girlfriend, whose father needs rescuing. He moves to New York to become an assistant professor, but his real career as the Flash kicks off as he stops bad guys and perpetuates the truest characteristics of being a hero.
5. X-Men, Issue 1 – $492,937
In the recent past, 2012 to be exact, the very foremost issue of comics about what could quite possibly be described as the single most well-known cluster of powered individuals was sold for $492,937 or over forty thousand dollars more than the preceding comic book. This is the first comic series to introduce the idea that superpowers can be a natural progression in evolution as opposed to some monstrous lab creation. With a variety of characters from different backgrounds and social classes, it connects the idea of dehumanization of individuals due to biological and unchangeable differences between the two primary methods of railing against oppressors. The X-Men strive to change the perception, while the majority of the mutants want those without powers to feel the ostracisation and pain they grew up with.
4. Batman, Issue 1 – $567,625
The year is 2013. The amount is $567,625. The comic? For that price, it could be none other than the first issue about wealthy, antisocial billionaire Bruce Wayne. With dead parents and more money than he knows what to do with, this angry antihero rages against the bottom feeders of Gotham in a hard wrought vendetta. He is the hell they have to pay for their crimes against humanity. While this isn’t the very first appearance of Batman, it is the comic wherein he receives his whole individual storyline and character arc.
3. Detective Comics, Issue 27 – $1,075,000
This is actually the comic where Batman first appears, speak of the devil. It was sold for an astonishing $1,075,000 in 2010, which is double his actual first issue. Experts on the subject claim that this is, based on several attributing factors, the single most valuable comic in existence. The introduction of the world’s most famous disgruntled nighttime hero begins with the head of the police explaining a case to Bruce Wayne, who couldn’t care less. The case becomes intriguing when the chief mentions that the Batman aided in the cessation of these criminal activities. In the end, it is revealed that Batman is actually the tragically apathetic Master Wayne.
2. Amazing Fantasy, Issue 15 – $1.1 million
In 2011, the beautiful tale of one of the greatest heroes of all time was sold for 1.1 million dollars. Peter Parker is a small and non-threatening bookworm with a rather depressing prospective future ahead of him. Because of his nerd-esque interests, he visits an exhibit showcasing several new scientific discoveries. This ends with him getting bitten by a radioactive spider, which gives him strange, albeit still rather nerdy, powers. His powers are displayed when he is about to be hit by a car on the walk back home—he should be a stain on the concrete, but instead, he finds himself magically clinging to a building. This issue explores all of the initial powers he receives from the spider bite, as well as examining the biochemical and technological advancements that can be made to assist his newfound abilities.
1. Action Comics, Issue 1 – $3.2 million
Coming in at a steady first place, with little way for any comic to bridge the gap, is the incredible first appearance of Superman. There are two copies of this issue currently on the market, with the second raking in approximately 2.1 million dollars. The first, however, hits home at an outrageous 3.2 million dollars. It is so far above any of the other comics it could feasibly be each number on this list at separate points in its timeline. Everyone knows the tale of the baby sent from Krypton as it explodes. The yellow sun, Earth orbits around gives this quirky, but otherwise completely, humanoid individual miraculous powers. This issue focuses on the specifics of his powers as he reaches maturity, like leaping great bounds and hurtling over buildings. His goal is to help mankind in the DC Universe.